QNET: energising eCommerce
The eCommerce sector is expanding rapidly, and so are customers’ expectations of eStore functionality. QNET’s CIO and CTO have devised a plan to conquer the industry — and it is about to go live
"Changing a global platform is not a small initiative,” says Malcolm Chiu, the Chief Information Officer of Hong Kong-based direct selling titan QNET. In the rapidly-expanding world of eCommerce, user experience is a crucial factor in turning casual browsers into buyers. Chiu, and the firm’s Chief Technology Officer, Ivan Woo, have long understood the role of personalisation and agility in creating a dynamic eStore. Four years ago, they also realised that QNET’s existing legacy platform could not accommodate many of the features that customers were coming to expect from an online shop. In 2012, QNET set about the mammoth task of creating an entirely new Next Generation Platform (NGP) — which is due to launch this year.
“This is the largest IT project in the company’s history,” Chiu explains. “We had our entire platform built in-house about 10 years ago and we grew that platform to serve hundreds of countries and many languages.” However, as time went on, there proved to be some legacy issues with the firm’s original platform. “It was really imperative that we transform or migrate the platform to a much more modern and robust solution,” Chiu says.
QNET’s unique sales model and wide global reach requires a highly personalised web platform capable of producing detailed analytics. The company relies on teams of independent representatives (IRs) to sell its products to consumers in their communities. The IRs are then compensated based on the sales volume of their referrals and the revenue of the other IRs in their teams. Retail customers can only purchase QNET products if they are given access to a representative’s referrer ID.
“We sell many different kinds of products,” says Chiu. “From vacations all the way to cosmetics. And we have many networks — they build their business and target customers on different segments — so they have many different needs when they go back to the shop.”