E-mail e-Commerce and Marketing

Modern Informational Technologies introduce direct-response marketing into the new electronic field. The term ’E-Commerce’ consolidates a wide range of business activities carried out with the help of electronic devices (including things such as taking customers’ orders over the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system; using the Internet for conducting financial transactions; sending information by telefax and e-mail; accelerating and facilitating transactions with the help of cash dispensers and smart-cards, etc.). All these new ways of business activity transform ’market as a physical place’ into ’market as a global world-wide space’.

A new approach to the process of trade has resulted in the emergence of the new business techniques and schemes, which imply a new set of business instruments. Today many Internet traders are a success with using direct-response marketing instruments in their business. It is an interactive system for the market. To get a measurable respond from customers or to encourage them to buy from the certain e-shop it uses one or (usually) more advertising media. The direct-response marketing instruments are popular both in the consumers’ market and in the market of business-related services. They also prove to be useful for charity fund raising activities. It has come into usual practice at many companies to use integrated marketing media (integrated direct-response marketing). They apply a wide variety of different media for promotional campaigns. Such approach seems to be more effective than using just one single medium.

The customers data base has become one the most important direct-response marketing instruments. Actually, it is a huge well-organized system containing all the confidential information about the customers and prospective buyers of the company. E-shops use them to outline the loyal customers and divide e-shoppers into target groups. For each group of customers the company forms special offers and develops programs to stimulate repeat purchasing.

Using direct-response marketing instruments means establishing mutually advantageous relations between the suppliers and the customers. Marketing specialists should be very careful conducting direct marketing promotional campaigns in order not to awaken suspicion of fraud and deceit; the advertisement should not irritate prospective customers or intrude upon their privacy.

The direct-response marketing applies a wide range of different channels to grip customers’ attention. For instance, the trading staff can contact the buyers directly or use direct mailing (that is sending offers, announcements, reminders, etc. to the particular person on his e-mail). Other ways include selling through the catalogues, television marketing, announcements on the radio, advertisement in the magazines, newspapers and TV-shops, immediate response commercials on TV, information on the street trade booths, and on-line marketing channels.

E-mail is the most targeted instrument of direct-response marketing. Through this channel the on-line trader might communicate prospective (as well as actual) customers directly. The company can suggest that the customers ask their questions about goods and services, complain about something or make an offer by e-mail. Answering these letters does not take much time and is usually very easy for the customer service department managers. Many companies form a special list of on-line correspondents basing on the e-mails received from buyers and send various marketing information, special offers, reminders of all kinds and certain event announcements to their e-mails.

However, to select and reach the target audience among the Internet users e-marketing specialists know exactly who their average target customer is, and what are the peculiarities of his decision-making process. Direct mailing as an instrument of the E-Commerce marketing must be used with great caution. Otherwise the E-Trader may get branded as a spammer (The word ’spam’ usually refers to practically useless commercial information. The receivers get it on their e-mail boxes without their wish or permission. Most people have already got used to the fact that their boxes are simply crammed with advertisement and delete it without even skimming it, while others get outraged when they receive something of the kind. That is why some states of the USA are seriously thinking of restricting or even totally banning such kind of advertisement.

But even despite the risk to branded as a spammer, some on-line companies are still willing to use the advantages of the e-mail marketing. One of the safest and most effective ways to conduct it is customer approved marketing. This term was introduced by Set Godin. It describes the marketing model based on e-mail. The sales department managers ask each customer whether he would like to receive certain information and various offers on his e-mail box. Here Amazon.com can be a good example. The company offers its customers to subscribe for five free e-catalogues (or just some of them, as they choose). Each of those contains the editor’s recommendations for special categories of books: from business to cooking.

Targeted direct mail marketing has proved to be an important part of on-line marketing strategy. It generates up to 18’25 per cent level of response; that is a lot, especially in comparison with banner advertisement response, which does not exceed 1 per cent.

Thus if the Internet trader chooses to use direct mailing for its promotional campaign it should obtain the customers’ approval to use their e-mails in order not to be considered a spammer. On-line marketing instruments lead to a certain rearrangement of business activities even in case if the new on-line mediators are represented by live journals.

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