QRT Task1 Essay

Submitted By kbellows43
Words: 2930
Pages: 12

1. Product Viability in an Online Environment KB Works specializes in custom leather product production. This includes custom leather tooling designs on leather products ranging from book covers to briefcases. KB Works has relied on craft fairs, convention booths and word of mouth for sales. Over the course of the last 18 months KB Works has identified and developed a niche market in which its customs tooling designs have found a significant fit. This market is based on the Steampunk genre of Science Fiction. Much like the Trekkies of the Star Trek fan base, Steampunkers adopt the dress, demeanor and general life style of the genre; however, Steampunkers are known to adopt the culture for daily life, dressing in Steampunk fashion as a norm. Steampunk is a sub-genre of the science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. (“Steampunk”, 2013, para. #1) The genre is generally considered to be of British Queen Victorian rule (Victorian era) and relies upon steam power and clockworks to power the various technologies of present day or further into the future. Thus, those that participate in the sub-culture and lifestyle will dress in elaborate Victorian style fashion with clockworks, gears, fanciful machines and weapons as accessories. Often time goggles, elaborate leather eyepieces and patches will adorn a Steampunker’s attire. As leather was a common base manufacturing material in the 19th century this material has become a staple in the Steampunker’s lifestyle. KB Works has adopted the styling of the Steampunk movement in the design of all its products using Celtic figures, gears, chains and other steam related items. KB Works has also adopted a product line of notebook covers specifically designed to fit the Moleskin® notebooks which by popular lore were popular in the 19th century. AS KB Works adopts more of the Steampunk genre in its designs, the business needs a daily means by which to sell these goods. As the participants are a techno-culture they are very connected through the internet, mobile networking and social networks. As a niche market the market is spread throughout the United States, Japan and Europe (mostly in the United Kingdom). Thus to reach the market an online presence is essential. For example, according to demographic information provided by lexicalist.com in which they use a proprietary artificial Intelligence to analyze the language and words being used they have determined that the Steampunk culture spans the United States with only nine states not having any hits on the word Steampunk in 2010. (“Lexicalist, 2010)
Why does it make sense to go Online? According to the IBM Social Sentiment Index indicators the Steampunk sub-culture will be the biggest trend in 2013 to 2015. “It’s poised to break through into a full-fledged fashion trend in 2013. But I’m not just saying it because I like it. Actually, I’m quoting…IBM, which calls steampunk a “New Retail Trend in the Making.’” (Pinchefsky, 2013) As such, KB Works needs to take steps now to establish itself in this market before the trend escalates. By opening a webstore KB Leather will be able to enjoy a virtual storefront on the global market reaching both Japan and the United Kingdom. Setup properly, the website (through the shopping cart) will calculate all currency conversions and taxes involved in the overseas transaction. Startup costs will be relatively low, “Many business portals allow you to build web sites from templates. For less than 100$/month you can have a full-fledged corporate e-business site with all e-commerce features!” (Platz, 2013) Since KB Leather is not a high volume producer and is a low margin business being able to do business without a “Store Front” helps increase margin, also by implementing possible B2B web processes through the website decreased cost could be realized in raw…