E-commerce Research Paper
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E-commerce has taken over traditional marketing and replaced it with a modern day way of doing business. Over the past two decades our society has become accustomed to buying and selling goods as well as services online, it has become a more efficient, cost-effective, and convenient way of living. With E-commerce becoming more prominent by the day it is important that businesses strive to meet expectations of their consumers when advertising online. Social media plays a substantial role also in helping businesses promote products or services to other businesses or directly to consumers. When businesses do business with each other, also known as B2B marketing, it is important for them to have a clear idea of what their company represents and how their products or services will benefit consumers.
Social media handles such as Facebook and Twitter have given businesses no matter how successful a platform to build up their consumer base which in turn will attract other businesses to take part in your product or service. Consumer-to-Consumer marketing also known as C2C is a consumer base which regular people are able to take part in e-commerce by selling their goods and services online. Websites such as Ebay and Craiglist have been home to Consumer to Consumer marketing since the beginning. Social networks such as Facebook has provided a great platform for independent sellers to get their products out there. It provides a great advantage because most consumer sellers aren’t backed up by a huge organization; therefore, social media is a great tool to take advantage of.
M-Commerce, the method of e-commerce on a Smartphone or tablet has been continuously on the rise the more technology becomes advanced and thus easier to use. Mobile commerce is great for those who lead busy lives and tend to be on the go. Many companies such as Amazon and Ebay have taken advantage of the expansion of mobile commerce by creating Apps that are available for free to have direct access to the company’s website providing an in-store experience through an App rather than the browser. Most successful companies as well as individual sellers have taken advantage of these four e-commerce marketing strategies, it seems difficult to come up with a product, service, or company that does not use these strategies because it is mostly what makes them known.
E-commerce has changed the game for business marketing, it creates a platform for businesses of all different sizes to transfer information through the internet on consumer based retail sites as well as exchange goods and services between corporations. E-commerce is considered one of the most important aspects to emerge on the Internet because it provides a foundation of never-ending opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. Traditional marketing strategies are becoming something of the past with social media taking the reigns in promoting goods and services of different businesses. Businesses are also able to capitalize on their target market as well as other organizations in order to get the word of their product or service out there. Buying and selling goods online provides a fast and efficient way for distributing these goods and services whether it is from business to business, business to consumer, or consumers to consumers.
Business to business also known as B2B marketing is essentially used to sell products to other businesses also known as buyers rather than to consumers. Refers to the electronic commerce between businesses rather than between business and consumer (What is E-commerce?). Business to Business deals often deal with hundreds or thousands of other businesses, either as customers or suppliers, carrying out these transactions electronically saves a lot of time and money for both ends of the deal (What is E-commerce?). B2B marketing tends to focus on the logistics of the product and use little to no emotional value in promotion (Lake). By doing so, businesses are able to focus solely on what the product is used for and why consumers will purchase them.
When business-to-business marketing takes place it is important that a clear idea on organizational buyers, how they operate within the organization, and their procedures. Buyers will be more likely to carry products or promote services of a business if the sellers have a clear understanding of what they represent. B2B can be broken down into different categories the first being company websites (Hom, 2013), this serves as an entrance for consumers, registered users, or internal users and must be laid out neatly and efficiently for easy use. Companies can also sell from this website or link other businesses, a great example of this are travel websites such as Travelocity. Travelocity does not link purchases straight from the browser but directs you to hotels and flights based off of your price range. Some B2B companies provide software for building other B2B websites, tool such as templates and data features are available to build your own website (Hom, 2013).
Social media has impacted all aspects of business, but more so in business-to-business strategies. The Salesforce Facebook business page shows an active and engaged community where visitors are able to explore and learn about the company’s offerings such as their CRM (Hanford, 2014). Buyers are able to research products based off their Facebook because consumers are able to comment, like, or share. Based off these numbers it will help sway the decision as to if different businesses want to carry a particular product. B2B in e-commerce provides a fast and efficient way in doing business straight through the Internet. Web pages should provide a clear explanation of what the product is and an easy way for retailers and trading partners to purchase orders.
Customized pricing levels as well as quoting tools should be readily available so outside organizations have the same convenience as the consumer does when purchasing (Business-to-consumer).
Another marketing strategy in e-commerce is Business to Consumer also known as B2C; this strategy exists in both traditional marketing as well as online marketing. In B2C marketing the consumer is the main focus, this is what sets it apart from B2B marketing. It is important for businesses when using this strategy to get straight to the point in discussing the benefits that their product will provide to the consumer. Consumers are more likely in for the outcome of the product, how it will help them in the long run. This is especially important in B2C marketing because most of the time the consumer is unable to see the product in real life before making their purchase.
Therefore, discussing benefits as well as giving examples of real-life people using their products or services is vital in attracting consumer attention and getting their purchase. Business to consumer marketing plays more on emotions, consumers are more interested in what the product will do to help them achieve their goals rather than what the product is there to do like business to business marketing. Social media has also made a grand impact on the way businesses expand product knowledge to consumers, many customers are on social media today, because of this the “word of mouth” method of getting product reviews and opinions out there is critical in if a product will profit. B2C e-commerce is beneficial for consumers because it provides a convenient shopping experience where consumers are able to purchase wherever, whenever.
Consumer to consumer also known as C2C is where consumers come together to buy, sell, or trade items that are no longer needed or wanted. Great examples of C2C marketing would be Ebay and Craigslist. This modern day e-commerce strategy allows regular folks who have no interest in owning a business able to capitalize on e-commerce. Another website that uses C2C marketing is Etsy; Etsy is a place where majority of stuff is handmade and sold from individual retailers. Social media is also a great place for consumer marketing because consumers that are not as well known as big time businesses are able to have their items liked or shared on Facebook in hopes that in the process someone will take interest in purchasing. C2C marketing differs from B2B as well as B2C because consumers are able to interact directly with each other (Swarthout). It is easier to come in contact with consumers that are also sellers than it is for consumers to contact big corporate businesses, which also makes it a lot more personal.
C2C has become an increasingly popular outlet in e-commerce because it provides low cost and high profits for buyers and sellers (Swarthout). Ebay, being one of the top consumer-to-consumer markets, is an easy to navigate outlet for regular people to get rid of things they don’t need anymore for extra cash in their wallet. Ebay provides a space where other consumers can give ratings to the seller so that future consumers do not get scammed. Thus making it a trustworthy environment for consumer-to-consumer marketing, because it provides future customers with assurance of product as well as the seller. Craigslist is another place where consumers interact with each other to sell goods or services.
Consumers are able to not only buy but also sell and trade items, and even hire services the are looking for. Craigslist is considered a classified place for ads, and is similar to those found at the back of your local newspaper. The site is very user friendly and allows the consumer to register and list an item for sale in minutes. I have personally used Craigslist before and I find that it is the easiest as well as fastest way to sell on a consumer basis. Craigslist also sections off different areas pertaining to your state in order for consumers to be able to pick up in person or see the product before purchase which is a big plus in e-commerce as it is hardly available anywhere else.
In today’s society it is I hard to come across a person that does not own a Smartphone or tablet, a lot of our society revolves around the newest technology available to purchase. E-commerce is on the rise, however M-commerce also known as Mobile E-commerce is rapidly growing as well. In 2012 mobile e-commerce was expected to reach 10 billion by the end of the year, 2 years later it is not a surprise that profits have increased above that. M-commerce has experienced continued growth because many online retailers are offering mobile Apps making it an easier shopping experience for the consumer. Often times browsers on a mobile device will vary depending on which device you own or software it carries, therefore making it impossible for all websites to cater to each and every type of Smartphone or tablet.
By developing Apps that lead directly to online shops make it a much more accessible and user-friendly source to purchase from, thus merging mobile shopping with an in-store experience (Strugatz, 2012). Companies such as Ebay and Amazon have taken part in creating their own app where consumers can have direct access to the website. M-commerce marketers such as Amazon are also able to use an always-on approach, which helps to capitalize on sales and increase transactions to provide the best services to consumers (Krol, 2012). M-Commerce will only continue to show increased growth as well as revenue because technology will only become more advanced and ironically easier to use. Mobile e-commerce provides consumers with the ultimate convenient shopping experience perfect for people who lead busy lives and are always on the go.
Many companies use these four strategies in their marketing plan, one of the biggest being Amazon. Because of this Amazon experiences rapid growth and profit, not only are consumers able to sell on their website but businesses are also able to do so, which is essentially a great move on Amazon as the top online retailer. However, not all online retailers are like Amazon, they do not all provide a convenient shopping experience as well as customer service. It seems hard to think of a website that does not cater to all four of these e-commerce approaches because they are generally what help companies strive and produce the most revenue. However, some websites do not need to use these four strategies because they are already so established in our society that they are not needed. High-end designer websites such as Chanel present no way to purchase any product through the website, a lot of times prices are upon requests and a number is presented if interested in a certain product. I believe this is done to keep the high-end appeal but in my opinion all it does is inconvenience the consumer.
The products are also not mass-produced, therefore they expect the consumer to go through the tedious process in order to obtain further information on a product or even purchase it. This is not the way that e-commerce should be done, e-commerce is thriving because of the convenience it provides to the consumer which high-end designers do not cater to. However, they will continue to do business as they do because it works for them. It is highly unlikely that they will experience a potential set back due to this. However, I believe Chanel could benefit from these e-commerce approaches because it will represent customer service rather than customer inconvenience. I also believe this is done because it wants to protect the brand and image that is represented on such a high quality and prestigious product, but in the end using strategies such as B2C as well as B2B will do nothing but benefit them.
Another website that does not represent all four of these e-commerce strategies is Wanelo. Wanelo is a place where people post items that they have trouble finding and receive answers through other members of the website. Wanelo uses business to consumer, business to business, as well as m-commerce but not consumer to consumer. Wanelo’s motto is to bring unique finds that are incapable of being found in real life such as pictures you see on a blog or in a magazine to consumers everyday. I believe that by using a consumer-to-consumer approach will help their business grow even more because it is focused on unique products that are hard to find. Sometimes these products are no longer available or there is only a specific amount, however if a consumer is in possession of a highly searched for product on the website there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to sell right through it.
Overall, e-commerce has taken over the way business is done today consumers are able to purchase directly from their fingertips making it the most convenient shopping experience available. All four of these e-commerce marketing strategies are what makes online shopping such a success.
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