The Disadvantages of Internet Marketing
Many marketers will fall foul of the internet marketing (IM) boom simply because it is so easy to use and has such wide reach. The fact that you can do IM from home means that everybody else can, too. This makes it very hard to stand out from the crowd and create something unique. This leads directly into the next trap of over complicating your message. It can be very tempting to make your site’s advertising campaign as glitzy as can be. The trouble here is that not every user has broadband and many users will browse sites on there mobiles. The latter miscalculation is most likely to occur to the larger/richer internet marketers who have a tendency to use exceptionally large and complicated sites to promote their goods and services.
Of the more prosaic complaints against IM is the virtual existence of the product. Customers parting with cash often like to handle a product personally before purchase; this is obviously impossible with Internet purchases. This can even hold true with services; a customer will often desire to speak to a sales person of employee of a company organisation before deciding. The “human touch” is still proving elusive to the IMers so that companies are forced into far more liberal returns policies.
There is also the age barrier. A product aimed at selling cutting edge games’ software to teenagers will be far more likely to use IM to promote itself than, say, an insurance policy company for pensioners. This is also a two way street. Not only can the customers be technophobic, so too can the company managers and directors. A good IM campaign can be relatively cheap to set up, but it is not cheap to employ the specialists to make it worthwhile. A Chief Executive with their eye on the bottom line can be reticent to part with cash for a virtual market.
Another perceived drawback is that of security. For both companies and consumers that participate in online business, this concern is very important. Many consumers are hesitant to buy items over the Internet because they do not trust that their personal information will remain private. Recent revelations of British Government’s incompetence have done nothing to ensure the confidence of the consumer. Furthermore, some companies have been caught giving away or selling information about their customers or being guilty of not properly disposing or storing of customer records. Some companies that buy customer information offer the option for individuals to have their information removed from the database but many customers are unaware that their information is being shared and are unable to stop the transfer of their information between companies.
To combat security concerns there has been a concerted effort by reputed companies to solve this large area of doubt for the consumer. Encryption is one of the main methods for dealing with privacy and security concerns on the Internet. Encryption is defined as the conversion of data into a form called a cipher. This cipher cannot be easily intercepted unless an individual is authorized by the program or company that completed the encryption. In general, the stronger the cipher, the better protected the data is. The problem with this is in the complexity: as the cipher becomes harder to break so, the costs rise dramatically. At the other side of the bargain is the customers own choice of security in the form of a password/PIN. If these fall into the wrong hands, it could be very costly for the legitimate holder and very hard to prove the crime. Another corollary of this is that many customers will just use the same password/PIN for everything; such is the number required. This obviously increases the chance of it being publicised.
Assuming the customer has got past these doubts and made a purchase there is the problem with exactly satisfying requirements. I have often got back from a shop with the wrong item and had to return it; it is that much harder when you are dealing in a virtual market. Mistakes can be made at both ends; customers are also particularly susceptible to products whose description is inaccurate. Some companies have built part, if not all of their reputation, on the efficacy of their complaint rectification and ability to supply exactly what was purchased. Amazon, for example, is one of the best-known brands for online sales and has highly developed customer satisfaction procedures. (Feedback ratings for sellers and customer reviews of films etc).
Another strand of this thinking has been to cement the payment methods, too. Paypal and credit card usage (where products are guaranteed) has blossomed on the web but will not quell the doubts of many who just do not trust the Internet. This written the example of companies such as Amazon and Ebay prove that with careful consideration outstanding reputations can be built solely through IM and the World Wide Web.
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