Music Gyberstores Now Plays a Global Song

Marketing

Highlight 22.2

The upbeat tempo may not be music to all ears. The cost of Internet placement deals, expansion and software advances is proving loo much for smaller companies. Meanwhile, N2K and CDnow are intent on battling it out, making substantial investments from their flotation proceeds to keep the business rolling in cyberspace.

SOURCES'- Alice Hawthorn, ¡"Chain" of online stores planned' and 'Internet music retailers hear an upbeat tempo', Financial Times (5 December 1997), p. 27: Paul Taylor, 'Virgin Group to launch Internet shopping service', Financial limes (18 November 1997). i. 47; Louise Kchoe, 'Intel tries to net TV, Financial Times (10 December 1997), p. 22.

and behaviours of online service and Internet users. SRJ's Web site (www.future.sri.eoni) allows visitors to take the VALS 2 questionnaire and get immediate feedback on their VALS 2 type. Fully 50 per cent of those who have visited this site so far are Actualizers, the stereotypical up-scale, technically oriented academies and professionals. Only 10 per cent of the general population belongs to this segment.2S

Finally, Internet consumers differ in their approaches to buying and in their responses to marketing. They are empowered consumers who have greater control over the marketing process.2''People who use the Net place greater value on information and tend to respond negatively to messages aimed only at selling. Whereas traditional marketing targets a somewhat passive audience, online marketing targets people who actively select which Web sites they will visit and which ad banners they will click on. They decide which marketing information they will receive about which products and services and under what conditions. Thus, in online marketing, the consumer, not the marketer, controls the interaction.

Internet 'search engines', such as Yahoo!, Infoseek and Excite - with huge databases containing searchable details about most Internet sites and the pages within those sites - give consumers access to varied information sources. This helps to make them better informed and more discerning shoppers. In fact, online buyers are increasingly creators of product information, not just consumers of it. As greater numbers of consumers join Internet interest groups that share product-related information, 'word of Web' is joining'word of mouth' as an important buying influence. Thus, the new world of elcetronic commerce will require new marketing approaches.

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