Information functions

Web sites provide retailers with an important opportunity to give customers information. Many companies see the web as a means of expanding customer services through offering their customers wider ranges of information than is possible in-store. One of the greatest advantages of the web according to UK retailers is its ability to facilitate the dispersion of low-cost information. Retailers have been proactive about providing information on their web sites, and offer a wider range of different types of information:

• Product information includes product descriptions and prices, promotional information and web advertisements, colour swatches and graphical images.

• Financial information includes company reports, annual statements and investor information. The depth of coverage can vary considerably, as can the extent of accessibility.

• Company information includes such items as history of the company, store location information, details of employees and company incentive schemes.

• Press releases appear in various forms. Some companies use press releases as part of their consumer promotions whereas others include such information in their corporate web sites aimed at enhancing the overall profile of the brand(s) (see how Ben and Jerry's are using the web, Figure 10.4).

• Recruitment information - companies have recruitment features providing potential applicants with job details.

October 17, 2005 09:15 AM US Eastern Timezone

Ben & Jerry's Sows Fresh Campaign to Help Small-Scale Family Farms; New Ad Aims to Support and Raise Awareness of the Plight of Smaller Family Farms

The most immediate step consumers can take is to send a personalized letter to their representatives urging support for the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC). This program, which helps dairy farmers survive during lean times, expired on September 30, 2005. Ben & Jerry's and the National Farmers Union have embarked on this collaborative effort to extend the MILC program and are urging both producers and consumers to help send this message to Congress.

'These ads aren't about selling ice cream,' said Walt Freese, Ben & Jerry's CEO. 'We're trying to initiate public dialogue about the fact that small and mid-size family farms are in danger of disappearing. We think Ben & Jerry's consumers care about this issue as much as we do, so we're using our marketing dollars to encourage them to tell Congress that smaller family farms are important to a diverse food supply.'

The company has launched a number of initiatives over the years to support small to mid-size family farms and sustainable practices in the dairy sector, specifically the Vermont Dairy Stewardship Alliance, the Vermont Dairy Farm Sustainability Project and the Caring Dairy Program in Europe, all of which focus on sustainable agriculture and the support of small-scale farms.

Source: Adapted from

Figure 10.4 Ben and Jerry's use the web to support the cause of small and medium-sized farmers in North America.

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