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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Volume 11, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 19–29
Retailers may engage in a range of marketing communications on their web sites. Our content analysis of web sites for 152 Fortune 500 retailers showed that more profitable retailers were more likely to use company specific, shareholder, web specific and customer service elements. We also found differences in the use of advertising, shareholder, company specific and web specific elements among goods, financial and services retailers.
Rapidly increasing household Internet penetration underscores the potential for using corporate web sites to communicate with new and existing customers. Via their web sites, retailers of goods and services may engage in a range of marketing communications, such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing. Retailers can communicate directly with potential customers on-line (and vice versa). Since consumers perceive advertisers with web addresses as more customer-oriented, responsive and sophisticated (Maddox et al., 1997), retailers may be convinced of the need for a web site, but unclear about how to utilize the web site in terms of marketing communications (Budman, 1998). The opportunities to use web sites as a new marketing communication medium increase as more and more consumers access the Internet. At the heart of these opportunities are advances in new technologies that have provided retailers competitive advantages. As new technologies were incorporated into web site designs retailers were quick to adapt their on-line marketing communication strategies to meet the needs of the new market. But as these new technologies become diffused across the retailing industry what can we expect? Currently, we observe some differences in how service, financial, and goods retailers utilize marketing communications in the physical marketplace, but do differences also persist across retail affiliation in the on-line environment? If so, what do these differences indicate about the development of norms in the on-line environment? The specific research questions we address in this study are: (1) Are differences in web site marketing strategies associated with firm characteristics such as net income? and (2) Are differences in web site marketing strategies associated with industry affiliation (goods retailers versus financial institutions versus service providers)? While we will hypothesize web site marketing strategy differences based on industry affiliation, we do so by extending the concepts of firm size, industry norms and organizational inertia in the physical marketplace to the Internet channel.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We focused on two main issues that lead to differences in web site marketing strategies. First, we found some support for the existence of a relationship between retailer profitability and web site marketing strategies. More profitable retailers used their web page as an information source for company and shareholder information as well as to enhance consumer relationships through technology. Specifically more profitable retailers were more likely to provide customer services and web specific elements such as email, and database searches. What these elements have in common is their ability to foster a positive relationship with consumers through enhanced web site utility and usability. With a stronger focus on consumers, more profitable retailers will likely continue to be more profitable well into the future as more and more consumers turn to the Internet. Moreover, our study provides direction for less profitable retailers. These retailers should reflect on how more profitable retailers make use of such utility enhancing elements and find similar, but perhaps lower cost, ways to enhance consumer relationships in the Internet environment. Based on our comparison of Internet web site marketing strategies, we can conclude that meaningful differences do exist between more and less profitable incumbent retailers. The second issue we address is the relationship between industry affiliation and web site marketing strategies. Previous research would suggest that retailers in a particular industry sector establish norms regarding their web site strategies. We found some support for differential use of promotional, informational, and technological strategies. Financial and service retailers’ web pages were distinguishable from goods retailers based on promotional and technological strategies. Financial and services retailers used advertising and web specific elements more frequently in the design of their web sites, whereas goods retailers were noted for more frequent use of sales promotion. Such a differential emphasis is logical given the relative heterogeneity of services compared to goods. Given the intangibility of their offerings, financial and service retailers have an increased need to establish a positive company image with consumers but a lesser need to compete via short-term sales promotion tactics which may ultimately diminish their image. In addition to the goods versus services comparison, we also found differences in marketing strategies between financial and services retailers. Financial retailers focused on shareholder information compared to services retailers that focused on more general company specific information. Thus we can conclude that relatively strong intra-industry norms do exist. Our study provides retailers with an understanding of how industry affiliation related to web site marketing strategies. Whether or not an individual retailer can be effective by simply following such intra-industry norms remains to be seen. However, in order to develop appropriate competitive strategies it is important that retailers recognize that these norms do exist for their particular industry sector. Retailers can more effectively direct their resources to differentiating their web sites if they know which unique components are being emphasized within their respective industry.