Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in the online world - an explosion that is also a harbinger of how business will operate in the future. Supply chains are being rethought, products and services reconfigured, and business models revamped. As such, the Internet is having a profound impact on the way business is being conducted in ways that are often disruptive to traditional methods. This is creating new challenges and opportunities. The Internet provides the opportunity for companies to reach a wider audience and create compelling value propositions never before possible (e.g. Amazon.com's range of 4.5 million book titles), while providing new tools for promotion, interaction and relationship building. It is empowering customers with more options and more information to make informed decisions. The Internet also represents a fundamental shift in how buyers and sellers interact, as they face each other through an electronic connection, and its interactivity provides the opportunity for brands to establish a dialogue with customers in a one-on-one setting. As such, the Internet is changing fundamentals about customers, relationships, service and brands, and is triggering the need for new brand-building strategies and tools.
In the midst of this, aggressive Internet start-ups have emerged, creating strong brands that are putting established brands at risk. Internet companies such as Yahoo!, Amazon.com, America Online (AOL) and eBay have been able to build powerful brands in a few years, whereas it has taken decades for traditional companies to achieve the client base, customer affiliation and level of sales, that these Internet start-ups have achieved.
[...] In maximizing the customer experience, companies have to find innovative ways of leveraging the information and relationship building characteristics of the Internet THE IMPORTANCE OF ONLINE CUSTOMER LOYALTY According to a recent study of senior executives believe the success of an e-business initiative depends entirely on its ability to build customer loyalty. In fact, it could be argued that customer loyalty is even more critical online. This view is reinforced by in-depth studies carried out by Bain & Co. (2000) which identified the following factors: - Companies will not break-even on one-time shoppers - often, customer acquisition costs are high, and to recover their investment, companies need to retain customers so that they return to the site repeatedly. [...]
[...] The essence of Yahoo!'s brand- building strategy is highlighted in a simple statement made by Karen Edwards, VPBrand Marketing of Yahoo!, really focused our marketing efforts on attracting new users and providing an experience that makes them stay2” CASE STUDY: AMAZON.COM COMPANY OVERVIEW Amazon.com has become synonymous with e-commerce, and is one of the few Internet brands that is recognized all over the world. It is the 57th most valuable brand in the world, and the most widely recognized e-commerce brand name in the US (with 60% awareness). [...]
[...] This raises a critical issue, as the true value of a brand lies in its sustainability CASE STUDY: BOO.COM COMPANY OVERVIEW Founded in 1999, Boo.com launched with the goal of being the world's “first truly online retailer of sportswear and fashion”, and was billed as one of Europe's hottest e-commerce ventures. Boo.com had set the record as Europe's best-funded European Internet Start-up, receiving $125 million of funding, arranged through J. P. Morgan, and included high profile investors such as Bernard Arnault, Chairman of LVMH (owns Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior) and 21 Investimenti (Benetton Group), among others. [...]
[...] As such, the next section concludes the dissertation with a discussion of the key factors that contribute to building a successful online brand CONCLUSION & DISCUSSION OF KEY FINDINGS Key factors that contribute to building a successful online brand There is no one-size-fits-all solution for building a successful brand on the Internet, however, the extensive research and in-depth case studies provided in this dissertation indicate certain common underlying characteristics which can be summarized as follows: A Compelling Value Proposition Successful online brands are exploiting every capability offered by the Internet to deliver compelling value propositions that appeal to customers, by offering more value than attainable through traditional “bricks-and- mortar” establishments. [...]
[...] Customers share security and privacy concerns, and a recent survey by MarketWatch revealed that 62% of surfers feel that giving out personal information on the Internet is unsafe. Therefore, customer support at all stages of the interaction is important, and can be provided through e-mail, online chat, toll-free telephone numbers, and FAQ pages (Frequently Asked Questions) to solve problems. In addition, customer care activities can involve providing a variety of payment, delivery and return options, as well as features such as gift-wrapping. [...]
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