Companies should not be like Henry VIII

April 28, 2015

An upgrade in technology can help a company improve revenues and avoid making grave mistakes.  

Henry VIII is best known as the king who killed his wives. The English monarch continually married women who bore him daughters instead of sons. Growing frustrated, he decided to kill his queens, erroneously blaming them. Henry VIII needed a son to be the rightful heir to the throne. However, the unsuspecting king was unaware that males are the ones that determine the sex of the child and that not having a son was essentially his fault. At the time, science could not alert him of this fact because knowledge of genetics and X and Y chromosomes was nonexistent. Perhaps Henry VIII would have spared his queens’ lives had he known a little more about biology, but that is not the case. 

Sometimes, in business, companies do the same thing. When a company fails to hit sales targets, the management team will assume there is a flaw in the product line, or that consumers no longer desire their services, and fail to see the real problem. As a result, management will cancel products or try to change their services – essentially killing parts of the business – instead of digging deeper and finding the flaw in their methodology. Oftentimes, the problem is not in products or services, but in the underlying sales infrastructure.

Updating sales platforms is a departure from old ways
If companies want to avoid making the same mistakes over and over, they should try something different. One way that a company can avoid becoming like Henry VIII is by evaluating current methods of reaching consumers. Today, e-commerce offers consumers the convenience of browsing product catalogs from home – or on their mobile devices – and ordering what they want directly to their home. A traditional brick-and-mortar business may witness a decline in revenues because competing stores offer online ordering and same day delivery and they do not. TechCocktail mentioned that e-commerce platforms do not require the same resources that physical stores do. A dedicated group of online assistants can effectively manage an online website for several stores at once. As such, for a company struggling to reach sales targets, investing in technology and expanding its reach may be the way to rejuvenate the business. In the same way that science could have helped Henry VIII avoid committing a grave error, technology can help a business avoid dipping further into the red. 

E-commerce catalogs must be easy to navigate and visually appealing 
Unfortunately, in today’s business environment, simply having a website is not enough. Consumers react to unorganized websites the same way they do to messy showrooms – they leave. An effective e-commerce catalog should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Simple site designs work best for this purpose. Also, allowing customers to read and post reviews helps foster a sense of trust.

Part of the reason that sites like eBay and Amazon enjoy such high rates of customer satisfaction is because their site designs are very intuitive. Consumers like having their shopping experience be easy and convenient. Henry VIII thought he could marry his way into having a son. A company that thinks having a website is enough would be making the same mistake. Making a website is not like having a son, but both do involve some degree of persistence and constancy. 

Business 2 Community recommended that companies use responsive site designs. This type of design allows the site to adjust to the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. Because so many consumers today prefer to use their mobile devices for research and e-commerce shopping, whether they access a smartphone, tablet or desktop, a responsive site design will ensure that page layout remains optimal.

Customer information and security are important
Considering the mass credit card breaches that took place last year at large retailers like Home Depot and Target, consumers may be hesitant to use their cards at stores that use magnetic stripe readers. To help customers feel protected, business should upgrade their point of sale devices. NFC-enabled sales terminals are essential for chip-based cards and mobile payment programs like Apple Pay. Both technologies offer added security over traditional cards because they use encryption to protect transaction data.

By having a sophisticated sales platform and new POS devices, a company is better prepared to sell its products and services to consumers. Furthermore, modern equipment means better information. Having an accurate view of which products sell best and which customers spend the most will allow a business to make smarter decisions going forward. Henry VIII is remembered as a man who made serious mistakes because he did not have important information that could have saved his Queens lives. Companies today can make sure they don’t commit the same mistakes as the blundering king and use data to guide their decision making going forward.

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