Online Marketing Opportunities Available to the Firm – findings from research

Advantages and Disadvantages of Marketing Online

One of the advantages of online sales is its ability to serve a wider variety of consumers thus increase the revenues for the company. For instance, online retailing ensures that a retailer’s reach is not limited by the location of ones stores by expanding such retailer’s reach to any target population with the access to internet connection (Van Vliet & Pota, 2001). Accordingly, online sales eliminate the disadvantages of store locations, providing retailers with a means to acquire customers through the quality of their products or associated services such as home delivery services.

Online retail channels also enhance an entity’s profitability by decreasing operation costs and increasing efficiency. For instance, Xia and Zhang (2011) note that online channels help retailers reduce costs associated with aspects such as ordering and invoicing since the customer plays a core role in the process. Additionally, online selling could help reduce the costs associated with warehousing since it separates the aspects of ordering from fulfillment (Xia & Zhang, 2011). In this respect, since customers may not need the products ordered to be delivered immediately, the retailers could save on the costs they would incur otherwise, where they need to have the products in-house. By allowing customers to track their purchases, online retailing also facilitates inventory management by enhancing information visibility (Xia & Zhang, 2011; Pavic, Koh, Simpson & Padmore, 2007).

Despite such benefits, online retailing poses various challenges for retailers. Firstly, such retailing poses the challenge of maintaining the privacy of information provided by customers, hence may necessitate substantial investment in building an online platform (website), in which the customers can place their trust (Roman & Cuestas, 2008; Chen & Dibb, 2010). Unlike the offline retailing where customer information is obtained and maintained onsite, online retailing involves provision of customer information over the Internet thus posing enhanced risks of breach during transmission. Additionally, online retailing could increase cases of credit card fraud (Roman & Cuestas, 2008), which could result into the entity losing money where the purchasers for instance use stolen cards, and the transaction is reversed subsequently by the owner of the credit card.

Potential Impact of Online Sales to the Company

Online sales have the ability to enhance the sales of [insert company name] due to aspects such as increased reach to the targeted consumer market (Van Vliet & Pota, 2001). For such impact to occur, the company however may need to change its strategies such as the product offerings provided by the entity (Van Vliet & Pota, 2001). In this respect, aspects such as the level of consumer inspection required for a purchase to take place could determine the kind of products that the entity avails through online sales (Van Vliet & Pota, 2001). Where customers need to inspect the product physically before purchase, online sales may be a costly aspect where the company has to incur costs for delivery and return of products that do not meet the client’s need.

Online sales also present the entity with a chance to garner more targeted consumer information thus improve its service to customers. For instance, an interactive website helps in engaging customers thus helps the retailer learn of customer preferences through ways such as conducting customer surveys (Bulearca & Bulearca, 2009; Rogers, Lambert & Knemeyer, 2004). Accordingly, introduction of online sales will offer the entity an in-depth view of its customers thus facilitate formulation of strategies that seek to meet such customers’ needs.

Requirements for a Successful Online Marketing Campaign

To succeed in its online marketing activities, the entity will need to create the right tools to foster its success. Some of these include enhancing website performance, security, and reliability (Tamimi, Rajan & Sebastianelli, 2003). Other aspects that will ensure effective entry into online sales include efficiency in delivering products ordered, providing multiple payment capabilities for customers, and enhancing availability of online services by reducing the frequency and duration of server down times (Tamimi, Rajan & Sebastianelli, 2003). Additionally, concerning the website, availing relevant and full content on products offering is vital to ensuring that new customers find the retail store (Thongpapanl & Ashraf 2011). This arises since the search engines used to find information on the website use such web content to direct individuals to the most relevant content on their queries.

With increasing popularity of the social media, the online campaign need to also include a social media strategy to enhance customer engagement. Such social media platforms for instance provide a cost-effective means of conveying personalized messages direct to the target customers (Wright, Khanfar, Harrington & Kizer, 2010). The social media strategy would be required to shape the online communications that take place concerning the entity thus helping to boost customer trials and subsequent loyalty to the entity. Go to part 3 here.

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