The Influence of the Internet on Online Retailers

The evolution of the internet and digital technology has revolutionised the world throughout the last few decades and have changed many aspects of the marketing industry. The fashion industry has changed drastically and continues to grow. Modern day technology allows brands to exist solely online. How have these changes impacted the marketing mix of this industry? 

The 7 elements of the marketing mix are: 

Product 

The online fashion industry is quite extensive and tends to offer consumers a wide range of products from clothing to shoes to accessories. There are many online brands that offer a wide range of products for different prices. Brands such as Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo.com offer clothes to customers at a heavily discounted rate in comparison to other online retailers such as Showpo, Meshki or Tiger Mist. Boutiques that have a higher price tag will offer products of a higher quality and have items that are of high demand. High end brands will generally offer returns or exchanges to unsatisfied customers whereas budget brands will implement a no return policy. 

Promotion 

The ongoing development of the internet and digital technology has allowed the online fashion industry to grow dramatically within the last few years. It enables brands to cater to people who live a busy lifestyle such as allowing consumers to order new items through the click of a button and having the products delivered directly to their front door. Retailers can promote their brand name through multiple social media platforms through the brands account, sponsored posts and by collaborating with celebrities and influencers. Social media marketing is an effective and inexpensive form of advertising. Retailers are able to actively engage with their audience. Actively engaging with consumers gives brands an advantage when using digital mediums. If a campaign is negatively received, marketers can easily retract the campaign, redesign it and relaunch it. 

Price

An advantage online retailers can provide their consumers is various payment methods. Brands have introduced payment plans known as Afterpay and ZipPay which allow customers to pay for products in 4 fortnightly installments. Online boutiques provide customers with student discounts, multiple discount codes [collaborations with influencers] and free shipping [provided a minimum amount has been spent].

Place 

Fashion outlets are becoming highly dependent on the internet and digital mediums to cater to their target audience as effectively and efficiently as possible. Collaborating with influencers and celebrities and creating an online presence allows a brand to maximise their market reach. Outsourcing to third-party websites enables retailers to reach potential customers and widen their market. 

People 

The perception of a brand relies heavily on customer interactment. Consumers will perceive a brand through the experience they’ve had. Business to consumer engagement can occur at anytime online [pre, during or post service]. Pre-service interaction can be a customer enquiring about various products or responding to an advertisement. During serving generally involves problems encountered with the order [shipping delays] and post service consists of a review [after the products are received]. The response a company gives to a customer can massively impact the brand both positively and negatively. Customer interaction can make or break a brand name. 

Process

Fashion retailers are constantly improving the online experience for consumers. First time shoppers encounter a lengthy checkout process [filling out details]. To prevent losing customers, businesses have introduced memberships, guest/express checkout and add a ‘save details’ button. This small update provides shoppers with a quick and easy checkout which ultimately gives them a positive experience. By monitoring consumer behaviour and finding patterns, organisations can maximise performance and continue to provide a positive experience and expand the brand. 

Physical evidence

Marketing goals and consumer perception of a brand can be monitored through the 7P’s of the marketing mix. Analysing the elements allows the business to assess how the brand is being perceived by potential and current consumers. An easy to use website is essential for success. Consumers of all ages need to be able to easily navigate their way around the website. 

Social Media Marketing 

Social media platforms are quickly becoming the main advertising medium for marketers. One of the most popular types of social media marketing is influencer marketing [similar to celebrity endorsement]. Influencer marketing is when a brand collaborates with a social media influencer. Brands pay well-known influencers to advertise their products [including brand name] to their followers (Johnson, 2019). Brands can collaborate with influencers in various ways such as:

  • Providing influencers with a personalised discount code for their followers to use
  • Sponsoring influencer posts [via Instagram]
  • Sponsoring YouTube videos [having the influencer use the product throughout the video]
  • Featuring the influencer in a cameo [i.e YouTuber Alex Wassabi in the movie ‘The Duff’]
  • Sending a box full of different products from your company to an influencer [unboxing video]

Although influencers agree to collaborate with brands, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be paid or make big money from it. Influencers are paid depending on how many customers use their discount code or per click. Sponsored social media posts are different to collaborations and influencers charge a fee per post [Instagram: $1,000 per 100,000 followers, Snapchat Influencers: Starts at $500 per campaign in 24 hours and YouTube Influencers: Roughly $2,000 per 100,000 followers] (Johnson, 2019). 

A sporting goods company allow themselves to have a wider target audience by selling both sporting gear and activewear. Not only can they target athletes but selling activewear enables them to cater to both gym junkies and influencers. By having a wider target audience, the brand can target beauty influencers, fitness influencers and young athletes. 

References

Chaffey, D & Ellis-Chadwick, F 2019, Digital Marketing Strategy, Implementation and Practise, 7th edn, Pearson Education, Harlow, United Kingdom.

Johnson, T. (2019) How Much Do Influencers Charge? | Paying Influencers 2019 Guide, Available at: https://cpcstrategy.com/blog/2019/05/how-much-do-influencers-charge/ (Accessed: 13th September 2019).

Tracy, B. (2004) The 7 Ps of Marketing, Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/70824 (Accessed: 13th September 2019).

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