Connecting with cyber consumers
The on-line community is now a consumer market that ranks with the top 3 national markets worldwide. The e-commerce economy is growing at a faster rate than brick and mortar businesses.
However many on-line individuals do still visit brick and mortar stores. Human beings are also social beings. We are still willing to make the effort to get out on the road and head out to a shopping destination. Especially in winter, a brightly lit mall may just be the tonic to avoid “cabin fever”.
The website in such a scenario can play a dual role of providing information with the option to purchase on-line. The buying decision could be triggered on-line even with customers wanting to visit a physical store to see, touch and examine a product before concluding a sale.
The future may just see smaller stores with larger warehouses ready to deliver just on time to the store.
It is important to note that e-commerce does not remove the effectiveness of “word-of-mouth” recommendations of friends or trusted advisers. The challenge then is in creating web platforms to amplify these recommendations that lead to sales.
We do also need to know how to use traditional advertising like meetings, billboards, newspapers, television, radio and flyers to re-enforce the on-line message.
The Cyber and Physical Markets
Convenience, trust and pricing are the factors that physical markets have always used. This needs to be transposed onto the on-line world. We need to work on communications strategies that work well in each medium electronic and physical with cutting edge technology re-enforcing the traditional medium.
Providing convenience can mean making the customer aware of the fact that making a buy decision on-line reduces stress, time and cost involved in taking immediate action.
Building trust comes from making sure the customer believes the information provided is from a reliable source. Providing access to consumer feedback over time builds trust. Testimonials from satisfied customers are good ideas to work on. The promotion of mavens and consumer advocates is another avenue that should be developed.
Pricing strategy is a critical component for business planning when developing an e-commerce business. At the end of the day the strategy must promote sales that lead to profit. To understand pricing requires an understanding as to where on the supply chain will your business operate in.
For long term continual success e-commerce requires a presence that consumers notice and inter-act with very much like they do with traditional physical stores. Research the information pertaining to your industry or service and plan based on facts supported by market intelligence.
International Business Consultant
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