Most Internet or online businesses require research to support all stages of business planning, and the need for good and timely information to support business decisions in this sector is as great as in any market. Indeed, the absence of research in the sector and the overreliance on data rather than intelligence are major issues. Research in these markets will help in:
■ forecasting market trends
■ analysis of market size
■ trends in market size
■ estimating demand for online services
■ competitive position of company products
■ determining characteristics of markets
■ determining present uses of existing products
■ studying economic factors affecting sales volume
■ generating online/offline pricing strategies
■ evaluating proposed new products and services
■ evaluating the impact of channel integration
■ assessing the impact of online advertising
■ evaluating affiliates
■ ensuring ongoing customer satisfaction.
The use of marketing research in online markets is growing, but there are some differences in emphasis in the way in which techniques outlined in this book are applied. This chapter considers each of the previous chapter topics in turn and indicates ways in which there are similarities or differences for using research in online markets.
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There are people all over the world trying to find ways to make money online. From stay at home moms looking to make a few extra dollars to college students and entrepreneurs, the allure of making your own hours and working from home or from the local coffee shop is very appealing.