With the fast development of various e-business solutions companies seek for new opportunities to get in touch with customers and build new type relationships. If in planning everything looks pretty simple and straightforward, in reality there are a lot of issues that shall be considered prior to launching full scale implementation. E-tailing is exactly this kind of beast. It brings a lot of operational and financial benefits, but it needs to be tamed (Papers4you.com, 2006).
The essence of e-tailing
Retailing is frequently viewed as the integral part of the marketing mix strategy (Leny & Weitz, 1998), where “place” plays the role of the transactional environment (Underhill, 2000). With the development of e-commerce the companies from different goods and service industries decided to become closer to customers by opening e-stores and managing e-tailing. Various traditional players like Gap, Tesco, Asda, HP, Cisco and new ones like Amazon, E-Bay, Lastminute.com opened electronic stored to satisfy instantly the customer needs. Of course, there are numerous examples of the successful e-tailing operations. However, it is important to remember that not all of the entrants in e-commerce were that successful (see Mahajan et al., 2002 ). The point is that e-tailing is not the scheme which is easy to implement. There are a number of aspects that shall be considered. For instance the importance of product physicality and the influence of other buyers on the purchase decision (see Underhill, 2000). The great number of fashion related items or products that are connected with self-image concept require the possibility of trying the product and see the reaction of others. Without it the whole process of purchase lack important chemistry which makes it so addictive.
The suitability of certain product line-up with e-tailing depends on the degree of the involvement which is necessary for the successful purchase decision. Certain products can be treated as trivial as they required little involvement and does not incur significant costs in case of wrong purchase. While other products are very individual specific and require the high level of involvement prior to purchasing.
The other important element of “place” is atmospherics. For instance, potential customers might omit certain goods and not even recognize the want for them unless they are influenced by a certain stimuli like the combination of odour, lighting, colour effects, music and other elements of atmospherics. In case of e-tailing there shall be something that would compensate the absence of these elements. There may be great number of alternatives like door-to-door delivery, reduced prices, the recommendations of experts , price and quality comparative tables to name a few. What e-tailing concept shall definitely have is the bunch of value-added benefits which a customer would never get in a traditional retailing environment (Papers4you.com, 2006).
To conclude this overview it is important to remember that e-tailing is not the extension of traditional retailing. It is new environment with its specific rules of engagement where customers perceive a lot of things differently from the way they would do in brick-and-mortar environment.
Levy, M. & Weitz D.A. (1998), Retailing Management, 3rd edition, Irwin McGraw-Hill, ston, MA.
Mahajan V.., Srinivasan R. & Wind Y. (2002), “The Dot-com Retail Failures of 2000: Were There Any Winners?” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,
Papers For You (2006) “P/EI/63. Sources of price dispersion in e-tailing”, Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtecom7.htm [22/06/2006]
Papers For You (2006) “C/EI/19. E-retailing of Tesco and Sainsburys”, Available from Papers4you.com [21/06/2006]
Underhill P. (2000), Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, Touchstone Books: New York, NY.