Information technology has been the cataclysm for the development of international businesses. One area, which has been given increased attention, is the explosion of international marketing activity on the Internet. According to the international data statistics of 2003, they predict that there will be approximately one billion of active users in the world by 2005, which means more electronic commerce (www.cyberatlas.internet.com). These figures demonstrate the attention of international marketing stakeholders.
The usage of Internet as a medium international marketing brings along many benefits to international marketers. Some major advantages are mentioned below:
Firstly, the net acts as a gateway to global opportunities. It allows companies, specially small and medium enterprises to position themselves globally at low cost. In addition, it alleviates the red tape regarding the prospect of doing business globally, consequently avoiding the regulations and restrictions in export countries, which normally companies should abide by if they physically enter the market ( Paul, 1996). Furthermore, low cost can also be associated with the elimination of intermediaries because Internet connects end-users to producers directly. Moreover, the global advertising costs which was considered as a barrier to entry, is now reduced as internet permits to attain the target audience cheaply ( Eid & Trueman, 2002).
Secondly, it provides accessibility. Companies which use internet for their international operations are able to increase their hours of business through email and customer ordering and interactive communication (Eid & Trueman, 2002). Although the different time zones which exist, they have increased their opportunities by providing 24 hours access for their branch offices and consequently this results in an increase in the number and potential international customers (Paul, 1996). In addition, the one to one interaction allows marketers to build strong and sustainable relationships with their customers, which as result enhance the brand loyalty (Arnott & Bridgewater, 2002).
Thirdly, the net contribute to an appropriate form, place and time utility which create a competitive advantage to the marketeer . Instead of exasperating the customers with the different types of marketing approaches, the choice is given to the customers to decide when, where and what they want. All the company’s products are provided on the net which increase the chances of trial, purchase and repurchase (Paul, 1996).
Fourthly, the net enhances advertising effectiveness. Through Internet advertising media, it is possible to achieve all advertising purposes across all possible market segments. All concerned parties can create, transmit and access advertisements on the net through a computer and appropriate software ( Paul, 1996). However, the effectiveness of the advertisement will depend on a well design and effective marketing of the site (Hamill, 1997). Moreover, Poon and Jevons(Eid & Trueman, 2002:57) argued that hard selling and push promotion strategies are not effective on the internet.
Lastly, the net improves market intelligence, market research and analysis. Studies show that the success to enter new market is systematically to gather, analyse accurate and timely information. The Internet provides up to date information on customer contact, potential market opportunities, technical reference materials which help managers to identify shifts in product and customer trends (Hamill, 1997). Ultimately, it enables managers to capture the right product and market opportunities, from which they can mold an appropriate marketing mix relative...