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Ecommerce - the World's Consumers Have Their Say

This is to provide those involved in marketing and advertising with a better understanding of the world consumer, and to offer insight into the potential for optimising brands, products and communication globally.

There is a two-way relationship between consumers and ecommerce providers.

There is a fascinating diversity of reaction to the ecommerce revolution.

Technology allows access to a seamless global community. The reality illustrates that, although the technology allows global access, local and cultural influences remain strong and must be addressed if ecommerce is to really become an integral part of our lives.

Cultural and historical influences:

» Attitude to technology
» Retail heritage
» Credit card usage 
» The importance of personal information
» Fulfilment infrastructure
» Clear pricing policies
» Buying online is different: the need for control
» The varying expectations of ecommerce

Some of the key drivers identified by consumers for the taking an online purchasing route:

» Convenience and Speed
» Cheaper Price
» Product Availability
» Fun/Entertainment
» Safety

Strategies for Success

In the eyes of the ecommerce supplier, true success is achieved when a customer is an active and loyal user of your site.

In traditional media, companies have looked to the power of branding to generate that loyalty and in the world of ecommerce they have taken a similar approach.

Once the site is up and running, they have put vast amounts of resources into 'building the brand'.
 

Whilst promoting brand is an important influence in getting a consumer to a site, the real customer experience of the site effectively determines the perception and feeling towards that brand.

Consumers were quite negative about the current ecommerce offerings, feeling that many sites do not respect their individual needs or expectations.

Sites that show a lack of understanding or respect for consumer needs in design can damage even those brands that previously have been held in the highest of esteem.

The message to ecommerce providers is clear. Whilst a strong brand is important, do not put the cart before the horse. A closer understanding of the consumer is required. 

» Recognise that not all consumers are the same and reflect
   that in site design and promotion. 

» Recognise the hard cultural differences between consumer   
   types and markets

» Recognise the 'soft' underlying needs and feelings of a
   consumer in what is essentially a shopping experience

Understanding the Consumer

Essentially four basic consumer typologies identified that understand the willingness to adopt ecommerce at the individual level.

Whilst these are not revolutionary, in that they appear to follow the nature of the classic 'adoption curve', they do provide a useful framework for targeting and promoting ecommerce solutions.

» Experimentalists

» Achievers

» Reluctant Followers

» Contemporary Followers

Across the four consumer segments - issues of control and trust are of increased importance to the less technically literate of our segments and are real barriers to ecommerce uptake amongst the 'mainstream consumers'.

Clearly these issues have to be addressed by ecommerce suppliers both in site design and in branding strategies.

 
 
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