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The Internet also offers the opportunity to sell directly to customers in both the consumer market and the business-to-business market. This direct selling of goods and services has been labeled e-commerce. Many of the sites already mentioned in this chapter have a sales compo-nent—either as a primary or secondary goal.

Many companies maintain their existing "brick and mortar" stores while also selling through the Internet. Consumer-targeted companies like Eddie Bauer, The Gap, and Barnes and Noble are a few examples. Sears allows online visitors to Sears.com to choose from 4 million parts and carries schematics of 90,000 items. The items carry the same prices as they do in the stores and can be picked up at and returned to the stores as well.11 Circuit City has a similar program. Others like Amazon.com, eBay.com, and E-toys.com maintain Internet sites only (Exhibit 15-7).

We will discuss more about e-commerce and strategies employed in this area a little later in the chapter. Before we do, let's have a look at how the Internet can be used as part of an IMC program.

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