Ecommerce Marketing Plan

Concept of Service

The current work deals with marketing offer of e-commerce service. It highlights the essential steps of marketing of a brand-new firm offering services of website construction, design, programming, development, and promotion. The service should be provided exclusively online via the site of the company. Online business operations include ordering, agreement on requirements, elaboration of design, and providing constant customer support.

The service implementation process should include the following stages:

– Defining goals of the site. This may include either physical meeting or discussion of the product in question via Internet.

– Developing the website structure. This stage is aimed at flashing out technical aspects of the site. It should include definition of necessary technology, type and specifications of site navigation.

– Website design and built. Developing layout and graphics of the site. This may include elaborating the company’s genuine creative approach in developing the graphic looks of the order, or complying with the requirements presented by the customer as to general look of the project.

– Website programming and built. This stage depends on details of each specific project and definite requirements posed as to the quality and level of the site. Also, this process varies according to the kind of customer and destination of the site contemplated. All features of the site are subject to examination and test by both company’s specialist and customer.

– Technical release of the site. Once technical aspects of the project finished, the customer should be provided with free consultation along with further site marketing and promotion services, techniques, and practical advice.

– Ongoing site maintenance. This is the stage when the job of creating the customer’s site is finished. But the company guarantees keeping all its sites current in terms of graphics, technology, navigation and usability. After release of the site, the company continues working with the customer as to establishing a schedule for the website regular review and maintenance to meet clients’ requests, accommodate users’ feedbacks, incorporating new system updates and new technologies.

It is a fact that the idea of the internet-commerce of this type is not brand-new, and for a new company to enter the market and receive profit out of its business, it is necessary to invent some novel elements in the service offered. The innovative elements that this project contains compared to large variety of competitors functioning on IT e-commerce market are based on combination of cost leadership and differentiation generic strategies (according to M. Porter, [1]). Therefore, the project is launched in B2C format, though there can be differentiation of customers and hence differentiation of the level and variety of services offered to each individual customer, and the project is for-profit, small business case.

This new business is intended to compete with both large business providers of site development services and small business representatives dealing with this issue.

Another unique feature of the project is wide variety of services included in one business offer. This includes: web-design, redesign of existing site, possibility of working with many programming languages, site management, allocation in search engines, animation, free hosting offer, email registration, web mail and POP3 access, ftp access, tools for web statistics, domain name registration, other services like full life website consulting, flash animation creation, elaboration of graphic and logo design, e-commerce and shopping carts, site management, administering and maintenance, banner ads, marketing, engine position enhancing and promotions, search engine optimization, software testing and even online training.

Industry Overview

The industry of e-commerce is one of the fastest and most dynamically developing industries worldwide. Today it is quite difficult to accurately define the impact of the Internet on commerce in exact figures, but according to the estimates by 2000 there were about 260 million Internet users worldwide and by mid 2003 their number has grown more than twice and reached 580 millions. By 2005, their number is estimated to reach more than 770 million.

These figures show that the Internet has become very important and significant business medium through which buyers and sellers not only conduct transactions that were earlier conducted live, but carry out online-specific business buy-and-sell operations. Only three years ago, in the first three quarters of 2002, according to the figures of Department of Commerce [3], e-commerce transactions amounted to more than 20 billion dollars. It should be taken into account that those numbers are significantly lower than the amount of actual real transactions.

Today, e-commerce is booming. Market size of e-commerce has reached immense volumes. Moreover, this growth tends to accelerate. While in 2002 total volume of retail American e-commerce sales was fixed at $44 billion, one year later it increased to 56 billion. Then, in 2003, online sales made only 1.6 of total sales, providing the ground to suggest that there is very large growth potential. Online sales are predicted to rise to 2.9% by the year of 2007. Thus, Internet economy force became more integral part of the entire US economy than it has ever been. Research conducted by the Cisco Systems (available at [2]) shows that the Web is transforming the way people work and the revenue from Internet transactions annually grows by more than 50 percent.

Jupiter Research [4] reports that American B2B Internet commerce rates increased noticeably over the past 5 years and amount from $336 billion in 2000 to $ 6.3 trillion in 2005. Jupiter mentions five industries that have more than half of all buying and selling operations online. These are: aerospace and defense, chemicals, electronics, motor vehicle and parts, and computer and communications equipment and software. Among these industries, computer and communications equipment and software is leading with estimated number of online sales in this 2005 year reaching to $1 trillion.

That is very important for the current study since the project in question is to be launched in computer and communications industry. Therefore, proceeding from the trends mentioned in the industry of electronic commerce, one can assume that the direction of one’s business connected to online service and e-commerce, notwithstanding powerful competition, has all the chances to further develop and gain success since this market sector is subject to enhancement, development and transformation.

Since the number of Internet users is growing and the number of companies willing to be represented on the Web is increasing along with the number of companies launching online business, there is very high and further increasing demand in providing programming, design, site development and marketing services. Therefore, a new firm in the industry theoretically has solid opportunities to enter the market, whatever saturated it may be, and successfully develop. On the basis of abovementioned, the outline of relevant business target market gets clearly seen.

Target Market

The target market of the project is very vast one. It varies from individuals with the minimum requirements as to functionality, appearance and program possibilities of the site, to large companies with more solid and expensive orders. Since there are very different kinds of customers with various interests and needs, each requiring different approach and professional level of performance, they should be segmented into distinct groups. By segmenting the customers, the company increases its chances on success.

The customers were divided according to the level of the desired product complexity. After such criterion, three levels can be distinguished: those requiring basic site development; intermediate level, and sophisticated one. Basic level implies comparatively low cost of services and is fine for individual customers, non-professional companies specializing, for example, in online selling of a small range of products. According to its name, this solution anticipates limited functionality, simple design, and quick implementation of the order.

Second group of customers comprises those with intermediate level orders. Such sites should include…

Full version of Ecommerce International Marketing Plan is available here [http://www.personal-writer.com/ecommerce-marketing-plan]

What Is Digital Marketing and What Does It Mean to My Business?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is the use of digital technology to deliver your marketing messages and to allow your customers to interact with your business.

Traditionally marketing has been about pushing your messages to your customer. With technology, now you can enter into a dialogue with your customers and deliver what they actually want and not want you think they want. Often there is quite a gap and digital marketing is what allows you to communicate one to one with your customers and on a mass scale.

So what areas does digital marketing cover?

For me Digital Marketing includes:

  • Web Sites which includes:
    • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Getting found on Google etc
    • Pay Per Click (PPC) – Paying for somebody to find you on Google etc
    • Banner Adverts – Paying for banners to get visitors to your site
    • Ecommerce – The ability to buy and sell products, services and information over the Internet.
  • Consumer Reviews – Consumer reviews are a powerful way to get consumers on to your eCommerce site as they make the purchasing decision easier as the reviews are by consumers who have purchased the product. Whole businesses are built around this concept such as TripAdvisor.
  • Blogs. Personal web sites with stories, expert opinion etc that you believe will help your readers, customers and stakeholders.
  • Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+, Ushi, Xing etc. These are web based systems that allow you to connect and share information such as ideas, links, photos, videos with like minded people. They can also generate income for your business and so can be routes to market for your business. They can be great ways to connect with people who you may not be able to get to by any other means. Twitter can be a great source of publicly available real time information and has reported major global events ahead of the world’s press.
  • Social Media News. Mashable is by far the biggest social media news site.
  • Online PR. There are specific web sites for making press releases available to the press. Prlog.org and helpareporter.com are examples.
  • Webinars/Events – Webinars are one to many seminars distributed across the Internet. This allows you to present to a large number of people independent of location. Events are traditional meetings or workshops but are marketed through Social networks such as Linkedin.
  • Email Marketing – The sending out of bulk emails which you believe are relevant to the people you are sending the message to.
  • Lead Nuturing – This is where a prospect gives you their email address in exchange for something free. This is usually an eBook (in pdf format), video, course of emails on how to do something.
  • Viral Marketing – The sending out of a message which is so compelling that people forward it on to other people unknown to you. A great way to send out a message if you get it right.
  • Video – Increasingly popular method of sharing ideas, passing on information and selling on the web. Great for selling more complex products or services. YouTube is the most popular at the present but video is becoming embedded into more digital media.
  • Music/Podcasts. Spotify is becoming the most popular legal file sharing system as it gives you access to a large range of music. Podcasts are voice recordings about a particular subject. They can be download for listening to on computer or MP3 players at a later date. Great for relaxation or for learning about a new subject whilst travelling.
  • Chat/Instant Messaging/Skype. Chat and Instant Messaging are systems for conversations using a keyboard which are done in real time. I.e. one person types something and the other responds. Both need to be present and online for this to work. Users of Facebook, Bebo etc use this, especially the younger generation. Skype is an internet based video and phone system that allows Skype users to call each other for free or at lot low cost and is becoming increasingly popular for business use and will grow now that the video version is available on Facebook.
  • Smartphone or Mobile Apps. Smartphone or mobile apps (or software applications which is where the term is derived from) are small pieces of computer software that run on your phone that allow you to do things that you would normally do on a computer. The need to work anywhere, anytime means that these will become increasing popular with business systems starting to appear on them. Great for anybody who works away from the office including executives, technical and sales people. Also watch for a growing number of consumers using their mobiles for online purchases as they fill their time waiting for something.
  • Cloud based storage/File Sharing. The Cloud is for most purposes another name for the Internet. So Cloud based storage is the ability to store information on the internet including backups and sending large files to customers and suppliers. DropBox and Yousendit are examples of systems for sharing large files between unrelated users. There are a wide range of suppliers of remote backup systems now with most corporates including them in their backup strategies. Personal File sharing is also available for two or more computers to be linked together to share information including music and videos. Personal File Sharing is generally not a business tool for larger corporates.
  • Cloud based systems. These are systems that allow you to work anywhere. Google has Google Docs, Microsoft has Office 365. A lot of third party software providers are moving their systems onto the Cloud so that customers can access them from anywhere and don’t have to worry about their own IT infrastructure. Companies are moving their IT infrastructure on to the Cloud in order to reduce costs as all the infrastructure is managed by a third party.
  • Extranets/Web based Systems. Companies are now looking to give customers and suppliers access to their information (through Extranets) and their systems (through Web based systems). This allows customers and suppliers to access to information relevant to them and enables them to do any processing on a DIY basis saving you both time and money such as the entering and progressing of orders and checking stock levels.
  • Remote Access. The ability to work anywhere means that you sometimes need access to your computer at home or work. Remote access through web sites such as Teamview and Logmein are a great way to get at critical documents away from the computer. Some of these systems allow you to do on line demonstrations of your product and service. This saves you and your customer time and money.
  • Online Games/Gaming. More gaming companies are moving their operations on to the web so that their services can be accessed anywhere anytime. Also notice that more consumer applications have games technology or ideas built in to them in order to make it more fun to buy. The term is called gamification. This could be a challenge for parents as the line becomes blurred between buying something and playing a game.

In an age where systems are everywhere businesses need to understand how to exploit Digital Marketing as it is a means to improving the service to your customers, driving down costs and making your organization more agile.

All organizations large and small need to understand Digital Marketing and have a strategy of how they are going to exploit the opportunities that Digital Marketing has to offer.

How To Make Your Marketing Strategy Work

1). Make the purpose clear
37Signals has made the art of simple in software, simple in pricing, simple in use, simple in hiring and the clear purpose the business exists. Take this extract from their stated values “Useful is forever – Bells and whistles wear off, but usefulness never does. We build useful software that does just what you need and nothing you don’t.”

2). Define the Marketing strategy, Work with it and don’t just state it
The first step in bringing your strategy to work is to figure out what it really means to you. Many people would look at 37Signals software maker and discover that their marketing strategy is to develop functional software with low cost and deliver in several versions with a 30-day free trial. A quicker check would show their actual marketing strategy is simplicity in everything.

3). Turn it into a mantra question
So, if you’ve developed a marketing strategy and now realize you can bring it to life by way of a defining characteristic, you might be wondering how to drive it deeper into the organization.

The only way for your real business strategy to flourish is to make it an integral aspect of everything you do. The simplest way to do this is to use it as the leading question for every service, product, staff, customer, marketing decision and process. The questions you must ask are: Does this product inspire? Does this decision keep fun alive? Is this process simple? Does this new hire value community? Is this pricing convenient?

4). Produce strategy scorecards
In addition to creating the key word question, teaching how to think with strategy and using strategy filters for decision making, you have to find ways to keep real strategy working in day to day activities of your business.

One of the best ways to do this is to turn strategy thinking into a game. Create scorecards that reward people for thinking, employing and acting with marketing strategy. If, in the case of a company where entertainment and surprise are the major characteristics of market strategy, bonus points could be awarded for taking action that exceeded a customer’s expectations, or for chairing a meeting that was both fun and productive.

5). Build strategy filters
In order for your marketing strategy to reach full potential, it must be the filter your entire staff uses for their work with each other, advisers, suppliers and clients. It is good to build a process that staff members can use when planning a project or even action step. This simple process lets them to view anything they choose in the light of strategy impact and either change course or know for certain that they are taking real strategy action.

Lots of start-up tries to decide the perfect business strategy to use to market only to discover that the market does not require the model they are about to use. Any business plan for that matter, is little more than a guess and I believe that your best chance for getting that guess right is to build your business model.

This assumes the role a fully developed market actually should play in determining the direction of an organization. The fact is, most people, if they consider marketing strategy at all, stop at a core message, identity elements and perhaps a sales proposition and call it a strategy.

A marketing strategy is how you plan to use the resources available to you to build an ongoing case that your business, products and services are the obvious choice for a narrowly defined ideal customer. If you accept this expanded view of marketing strategy, then I would suggest you answer the following questions in an attempt to measure where your strategy stands today, and where it could go if you understood and integrated it fully as your business model.