strategies are developed for products purchased in shops. The internet has changed the way we sell our products and services. That’s a fact. Consumers use the internet to research and purchase products online, so firms need online strategies to attract and retain customers. The e-Marketing mix refreshes the marketing mix ready for the online market place.
The Diagram below shows the components of the e-marketing Mix
We walk into a shop and see a product we like, we can assess it, touch it. Online, this immediate tangibility disappears. But, is that a disadvantage? Within the U.K. e-commerce sales are increasing at extremely high rates. Why? What does buying products online offer over one to one sales? Firstly there are clear online facts about the product you are purchasing. The buyer knows immediately about product features, the facts, not a sales persons assumptions.
The buying process is also customised for returning visitors, making repeat purchases easier. Organisations can also offer immediately ancillary products along with the main purchase. For example, the chance to buy extra printer cartridges along with your purchase of your printer online. The product can also be customised to consumers needs. www.nike.com offer customised trainers to users online. Users can design and see their trainers online before they order!
As mentioned in our Marketing Mix section, pricing is always difficult to do and must take into account many considerations. Traditionally pricing was about finding about your costs, discovering how much consumers are willing to pay, taking account competition pricing then setting your price. The internet has made pricing very competitive. Many costs i.e. store costs, staff cost have disappeared for complete online stores, placing price pressures on traditional retailers.
The internet gives consumers the power to shop around for the best deal at a click of a button. Website such www.kelkoo.com compare products from different websites informing consumers of where the best deal is. Such easy access to information helps to maintain prices within the online world. The growth of online auctions also helps consumers to dictate price. The online auction company www.ebay.com has grown in popularity with thousands of buyers and seller bidding daily. E-pricing can also easily reward loyal customers. Technology allows repeat visitors to be tracked, easily allowing loyalty incentives to be targeted towards them. Payment is also easy, Paypal, or online credit cards use allows for easy payments. However the downside to this is internet fraud, which is growing rapidly around the world.
One of the biggest changes to the marketing mix is online purchasing. Consumers can purchase direct from manufacturers cutting out retailers totally. The challenge for online retailers is to ensure that the product is delivered to the consumer within a reasonable time. Location is important within our place strategy. Online location can refer to where links are placed on other websites. Placing a link on www.google.com home page would generate high consumer traffic for you. Knowing your customer and knowing where they visit should help you understand where to place your online links and advertisements.
Promoting products and service online is concerned with a number of issues. Having a recognisable domain name is first stage towards e-promotion. Organisations such as egg.com have successfully positioned the brand on the online world as an online bank.
Most organisations today have some form of web page used in most if not all advertisements. Placing banner advertisements on other web pages is a common form of e-promotion. Banner ads must be placed where potential customers browse. Web public relations (WPR) is another approach to promoting online. News worthy stories based on product or service launches can be placed on the companies web page, or WPR articles sent to review sites for consumers to read. Hopefully this form of online promotion will pull the consumer in. Direct e-mail is a popular and common form of e-promotions, although slowly becoming the most hated my many consumers. Organisations can send e-leaflets to hundreds and thousands of respondents, hoping a small percentage will reply. The problem is that for every 100 e-mails sent the response rate will be 1-2! Direct e-mailing is also known as SPAM which stands for Sending Persistent Annoying e-mail(SPAM).
Although may firms continue with SPAM it has been superseded by the use of social media as firms can directly communicate with consumers and gather useful data from their social media profiles. As this is a big topic we have covered it in our marketing with social networking article.
To summaries e-promotion includes dedicated website for the firm with an effective domain name, web public relations, e-leaflets, SPAM and active social media presence.
Each element of the e-marketing mix must compliment and support the other e-marketing mix elements and traditional marketing mix elements if the company is to have a successful online marketing strategy. The internet enables consumers to access the company 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It allows the firm and consumer to instantly connect with each other where ever and when ever. However these advantages create their own challenges as the internet has become a crowded place, at a click of a button consumers can access you and your competitors. Everybody is now on the internet, it is not like a high street or shopping mall where you only have a limited number of shops to compete with. The winner will be the firm who continuously manages to get the consumer's interest and continuously persuades them to buy from them.
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