Business Management — Retail Marketing
What should online retailers do to establish a clear difference from retailers that have off-line stores?
Online retailers must be concerned with some factors that are entirely different from their off-line counterparts. They must create and optimize their websites in a manner conducive to customer satisfaction and they must manage transactions in a manner that earns repeat patronage (Francis, 2007). , online retailers must maintain processes to deliver goods to the customer and they must ensure the security of their online systems sufficiently to guarantee the safety and privacy of their customers’ information (Francis, 2007).
Online retailers compete with a much larger community of similarly situated retailers and, therefore, rely more heavily on the success of their advertising and marketing initiatives (Francis, 2007; Ravi, 2006). Specifically, online retailers need to determine how their customers found them, why they selected them from their competitors, and what factors in their websites were perceived positively and negatively by their customers (Francis, 2007; Chinta, 2006).
Online retailers must also invest more energy into following up sales with customer contacts and marketing initiatives designed to publicize sales. That is largely because the online medium allows customers to shop for bargains through search engines. Unlike relationships between offline retailers and their customers, online retailers cannot rely on repeat patronage based on the convenience of proximity of location or on the goodwill created by between customers and retail personnel. Therefore, online retailers must maximize the value of post-sales contacts through promotions and to customers through email-based initiatives.
What should be the strategies for retailers with physical locations that intend to also establish themselves online and how should these retailers seamlessly integrate their channel offerings?
One of the first concerns of retailers with physical locations that intend to establish themselves online is to make sure that they do not do so in such a way that alienates their current offline customer base. Ideally, they should integrate their new online channel offerings in such a way that offline customers perceive them as additional opportunities rather than as a restriction or imposed limitation of the options and choices that have been available to them in the traditional offline medium. One of the safest approaches to encouraging offline customers to explore the online medium is to provide promotional savings codes that are redeemable only online. However, it is also important to make sure that those opportunities are supplemental to existing promotional savings opportunities rather than replacements for opportunities previously available offline.
In that regard, in-store publication of the new online portal is essential; it can be accomplished by visual promotion of website addresses and of exclusive discounts and other rewards for signing up and for placing an order for the first time. On the other hand, it is important to integrate the two media, particularly with respect to combining the convenience of online shopping with the of seeing and touching merchandise offline. Therefore, online systems should allow browsing, comparison, and storing of items being considered for purchase but without limiting the in-person options available offline. Ideally, the two media should allow customers to perform initial searches and feature and price comparisons online with the offline availability of merchandise in the store for of products, especially of major contemplated purchases.
Because online retailers must invest greater effort in understanding the needs of their customers and the specific factors that draw customers to their businesses, retailers contemplating the integration of online operations should also invest more heavily in the collection of relevant consumer information from their existing customer base. In that regard, they may want to incentivize the provision of personal information about consumer preferences and interests in their offline outlets by establishing rewards programs or discounts for that information. Thereafter, they can gradually encourage their offline customers to use the website and they can apply the data collected in that process to design marketing strategies to maximize their ability to attract online customers whose preferences and priorities are similar to those of their offline customers.
How has globalization influenced marketing trends?
On the positive side, globalization has dramatically increased the volume of potential customers; on the potential negative side, globalization has also correspondingly increased the competitors for customer business (Chinta, 2006). To maximize the potential benefits of larger communities of prospective customers, marketing initiatives should optimize the collection and integrated application of that data. The other most significant aspect of globalization in connection with marketing trends is that globalization has greatly increased the value of culturally diverse marketing themes and methods of presentation to accommodate consumers with entirely different perspectives and sensibilities from those of their traditional customer bases (Chinta, 2006).
Chinta, Ravi. “Retail Marketing Trends in USA and Their Effects on Consumers and The
Global Workforce.” Business Renaissance Quarterly. Business Renaissance Institute. 2006. Retrieved April 09, 2011 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1262560331.html
Francis, Julie E. “Internet retailing quality: one size does not fit all,” Managing Service
Quality, Vol. 17, No. 3; (2007):.341 — 355.