E-commerce and Marketing: Designing and Implementing an Online Business
Table of Contents
Businesses are competing for the opportunities available online in order to make their brands known. E-commerce has emerged to be the in-thing in the current technological age, where a substantial section of population spends significant number of hours online. According to the Center for Retail Research (2014, p.1), in Europe e-commerce is the fastest growing market. Social platforms serve as the most prolific mode of network communication today. Therefore, advertisers have found the opportunity to target social media users with their products. This report puts into perspective the situation at Very.Co.Uk, a subsidiary of Shop Direct Company in regards to its future while embracing the use of digital platforms. Since the introduction of the online platform, the mother company, Shop Direct started surging in profitability courtesy of the online platforms (Harrison 2014, p1., Shop Direct 2014).
Social media has been the most prolific mode of network communication at both personal and business levels. Internet platforms continue to evolve while new ones are getting into the market every day. The largest social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, You Tube, and Tumblr. The users of social media are people across all ages though majority are young adults. Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world with an industry command of up to 67% of the total internet users and boasts over 1.15 billion subscribers (Duggan & Brenner 2012). Social media has many uses, a majority of which is beneficial while a few are detrimental. Social media have revolutionized the way advertising is being done since it harbors a great potential in building brands and facilitating sales. This technology has been used in advertising, delivery of news, chatting, sharing of photos and images, as well as relaying information both locally and internationally. Very.Co.UK has embraced social media in its quest to reach as many people as possible. However, their strategy can be advanced further through adoption of multiple strategies to market the brand, hence increase sales.
Organizations have been forced to embrace social media for many reasons, all which are geared towards building a name for the company and making the product sell while maintaining the customers and making additional others. By 2012, more than half of the total internet users were subscribed on social media, an aspect that made businesses to rethink about their strategies (Berzal, 2013). It is not a strange thing that companies have embraced social media, because they want to be where their customers are. The good thing about social media is that has made it a powerful tool in business is the ability to have direct communication with the customers at minimal costs as opposed to other strategies used in advertising brands.
In creating product awareness, Very.Co.UK ought to create accounts across as many social media sites as possible. Already, the online retailer has accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and the Blogger (Shop Direct 2014). Such accounts helps customers find the products that they need. Once one customer has been served well, the others follow through referrals. Positive reputations over the social media platforms are tantamount to high profitability (Tod & Oliver 2013, p3). Therefore, the position of the brand in the market is respected resulting to increased customers.
Some social media sites such as Facebook provide platforms for advertising. Advertising through this platform is relatively cheaper and has high chances of targeting potential customers. With the opportunity to reach the target demographic, Facebook advertising provides an opportunity for Very.Co.Uk products to reach the most preferable customer.
Another strategy that social media can be used by Very.Co.Uk in marketing its products is through posting its products to the timelines of its followers. Social media sites provide an opportunity for the company to network with its customers as well as potential customers through sharing information (Alqeed 2013). The company can respond to the customers’ queries promptly while ensuring that products are displayed across the social media site so that the customers can view them. Communication with both the existing and potential customers is therefore, made to be very efficient with social media (Dehkordi, et al. 2012).This is because the communication is instant; the company has the opportunity of marketing itself from the comfort of its employees’ chairs.
In order to enhance efficiency in use of social media, the company is required to hire experts to operate the social media platforms. In this regard, the employees should ensure that the company’s social sites are updated from time to time in order to ensure high traffic is reached. The experts should be swift in addressing concerns raised by the customers and should have good public relation skills. The customers are able to give their feedback hence they experience some satisfaction based on the feeling that their concerns have been addressed (Sharma, Baoku & Lijuan 2012). On the other hand, potential customers usually have many questions about the company as well as its products. Through social media, their questions will be answered.
Very.Co.Uk can attract customers through social media by developing quality content. In this regard, the company should have a variety of products in which it ought to post in its social sites frequently. People are likely to share quality products with their friends, therefore, helping build product and brand awareness. Many people are likely to relate with quality content while developing the need to visit the site again (Colton 2012, p.32). On the flipside, a site with poor content attracts less attention hence the levels of traffic and referrals are low.
Online companies such as Very.Co.Uk that have not put their apps together to compete effectively with the online retail giants such as Amazon ought to be creative in developing promotional strategies that ensure many people are aware of the products without spending a lot of money in advertising. One of the strategies Very.Co.Uk can use is by giving some offers to its second time clients. This can work by ensuring that all the second time customers are given a 50% discount on one unit of a product that they purchase through the online platform. This would help create brand awareness as many would buy the first time so that they could get the second time offer. Having known about the brand, chances are high that the customers will continue to buy at the online store (Shen 2012).
Another way of promoting Very.Co.Uk is through initiating a ‘disloyalty’ strategy. In this case, a customer that leaves their preferred online store for Very.Co.Uk is given a 20% discount for all their purchases within the first month. This will ensure that, as many people are able to know about the brand and the product offers while building the initial trust (Brengman & Karimov 2012). Customers that become disloyal to other online platforms are awarded loyalty points, which can be redeemed in purchase of products. In addition, to ensure that customers remain loyal, the company can develop random incentives to the customers including free shipment, gifts, warranty, and reduced prices from time to time.
In addition to the above strategies, the company can embrace content marketing. In this regard, Very.Co.Uk should develop good content, which is appealing to the customers. This content can be in form of images depicting the products on sales, or words that describe the product on sale as well as he entire brand. The content should be relayed to a network of existing and potential customers through their social media and email accounts. Regular email newsletters should be sent to all people in the company’s database. The newsletters should contain strategic information, which helps the customers to realize what products are on offer, price changes, and new arrivals among others. The content can also be in form of images and videos in order to have a visual appeal to the customers. Visual contents leave a lasting impression, which helps the customer relate with the use and quality of the product on sale (Pelet & Papadopoulou 2012, p. 441). With the adoption of these strategies, Very.Co.Uk can make a leap in its profitability.
Very.Co.Uk, a subsidiary of Shop Direct Company can perform better through adoption of more creative online strategies. In the first place, the social media plays a significant role in promoting the company. Social media is very convenient, capable of targeting potential customers and very affordable. Creation of accounts across social media platforms and getting qualified and creative individuals to run them can help create brand and product awareness. Social media requires development of quality content that can appeal to the potential customers so that they a chain of referrals is created. Besides the social media, other promotional strategies can help Very.Co.Uk achieve more than its status. By giving offers to second time clients encourages many people to get to become second time clients hence building a pool of customers. Alternatively, the company can develop loyalty and ‘disloyalty’ awards schemes in order to ensure that the company retains its customers as it acquires more from the competitors. Finally, developing good content that appeals to the customers is a good strategy towards making the customers keeps on checking out what the company has to offer.
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