Online sales can not only increase sales for a business it is also very appealing for consumers. According to an article in Time Magazine online “rising financial anxiety and tight credit availability are making holiday shopping this year an exercise in self-restraint, and the web offers a quick, clean shot at purchasing 24 hours a day. Bargain hunting for the best value is a convenient mouse click away. That's an easier proposition for many than slogging to the mall and fighting traffic, crowds and parking problems. Comparison shopping online dwarfs what you can do in the real world. You just open up six browsers."(Time Magazine) This convenience is one reason that the holiday season for 2008 is expected to produce higher growth of online sales than that of brick and mortar stores. In fact “the internet should outdo the sidewalk in delivering sales growth: holiday forecasts predict zero to 2.2% overall sales gains for November and December, according to respective estimates by Bain & Co. and the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world's largest retail trade association. By comparison, online retail sales are expected to grow 12%, to $44 billion, according to Forrester Research.”(Time Magazine) Businesses that have user friendly, easy to navigate web sites seem to do the best overall. Another way to attract consumers to purchase online is to offer free shipping. This can really be beneficial to the business that is offering it as some consumers may refrain from shopping on the internet due to the fact that they will have to pay shipping costs. Still for some it is worth it since they save a lot of time and hassle by not having to go to brick and mortar stores, wait in line and fight traffic. The ease of shopping from home can be very appealing.
Along with sales the way marketing is being conducted has also changed due to the internet. According to research by Efthymios Constantinides “online marketers can influence the decision making process of the virtual customers by engaging traditional, physical marketing tools but mainly by creating and delivering the proper online experience, the web experience: a combination of online functionality, information, emotions, cues, stimuli and products/ services, in other words a complex mix of elements going beyond traditional marketing. The prime medium of delivering the web experience is the corporate web site, the interfacing platform between the firm and its online clients”.(Constantinides)
There is a certain marketing mix that has proven to be effective in marketing online. According to researchers “the marketing mix's 4Ps including fulfillment are essential contributors to the web experience. The elements are as follows:
Communication. The literature references on this aspect refer to the quality of information provided about the firm's products, the clarity of selling conditions and the delivering terms. Information can to a certain degree compensate the lack of physical contact with the product, reducing the online consumer's uncertainties. Fulfillment. With the exception of digitized products (music, software, e-books, etc.) easily delivered online, for all other types of products offered online the order fulfillment and product delivery do not coincide with the placing the online order. The way online vendors follow up orders and deliver products has an immediate impact on the willingness of customers to order and more importantly, to return to the Web site for business in...