David Dovan is the president of David’s Hardware, Inc (DHI), a regional chain of 14 hardware stores located in Michigan, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania. DHI currently has a website that includes information about the company and some store information, such as locations and hours. David is thinking about expanding the DHI Web site to include online shopping. He believes that DHI customers might find the Web site to be useful way to order items, see whether items are in stock at the nearest store, and comparison shop among different brands of a particular item. David is also hopeful that the Web site can reach customers that are not located near an DHI store. Many of the items sold at DHI are small and have value-to-weight ratios, so they have a good delivery service shipping profiles. David has decided that not all of DHI’s inventory items should be available for sale on the Web site. Item such as wheelbarrows and live plants would probably be among the types of products that should be excluded. David does not want customers to be able to order these items on the Web and pick them in the store, however.
DHI enjoys an excellent reputation as a chain of friendly neighborhood stores. The store managers are all active in their communities and the stores regularly sponsor youth sports teams and support local charities. When hired, salespeople go through a comprehensive training program that includes skill training in the areas of the store in which they will work (plumbing, electrical, power tools, flooring, garden, and so on), and they are trained in customer service skills. As a result of DHI’s focus on service, most of the stores have become community gathering places.
On Saturday afternoons, the stores are full of woodworking hobbyist, gardeners, and customers planning weekend projects of various kinds. On weekday mornings, electricians, plumbers, remodelers and