MEGAZYME EMPLOYS 12 people and develops and supplies diagnostic test kits for the cereals, feed, fermentation and related industries. Megazyme launched its first Website in 1994, when the company was then based in Sydney, Australia. However, thanks to the Internet, when the company relocated to Bray in 1996, none of its custmers even noticed.
It was decided to move to Bray to have easier access to key European and US markets. The Website was instrumental in ensuring that the move passed off without a hitch. The company's customers saw none of the careful planning that went into the move, including a three-month process of relocating the laboratory. Instead, they were informed that the company would close on a given Friday evening and would reopen the following Monday.
The company also took the opportunity to move the Website from www.megazyme.au to www.megazyme.com, reflecting its new global outlook. All e-mail was forwarded to the new address and all visitors to the website were automatically re-directed. In the end, the firm did not lose a single day of business.
Over time, the company's Website evolved with new functions added such as pricing in euro and shipment tracking with FedEx. In March of this year, however, Megazyme conducted a thorough review of its web operations and initiated a series of updates. Most of the enhancements were carried out by Webtrade, which also hosts the site. For the graphic design aspects, Megazyme engaged the services of Zeus Design, the agency responsible for its advertising and print matter.
"We outsourced to Webtrade based on its implementation of advanced e-commerce solutions, flexibility, understanding and tailoring of unique ordering and shopping cart systems," says Angela Kennedy, Business Director. "We used the company's Live Edit business modules and customised shopping cart. This allows us to have in-house control over the editing in six areas of the new site: new products, purchase products, FAQs, media news, publication and customer database.
Megazyme has its own virtual server, which Webtrade hosts on a Windows NT machine. Communication with the virtual server is via ISDN and orders received through the site are e-mailed to Megazyme.
The site now accounts for 45 per cent of the company's worldwide sales (across 45 countries) and 50 per cent of all new business. And since March of this year the number of monthly page impressions has grown from 60,000 to 166,000.
Her advice to other companies considering e-business is to think very carefully. "It is important to recognise that not all products can be readily sold online. Before manufacturers and retailers give up established, traditional distribution routes and move into the virtual world, they should conduct an electronic shopping test, putting all products and services through the test to assess their likely "electronic characteristics".
Smart Company, Q1 2002