Management Information Systems
E-commerce has transformed the way businesses operate and get their products sold to customers. Customers no longer have to make visits to physical stores to buy what they need. Purchasing of goods and getting services to your doorstep is now one click away, and the size of a business no longer matters to consumers so long as they get quality products from the seller; they will keep buying every time. Large corporations no longer have the foothold on consumers as they used to before since e-commerce has created a level playing field for large, medium, and small businesses to compete with one another (Leitner & Grechenig).
Gone are the days when television commercials, newspaper adverts, magazines, billboards, and radio adverts used to be the primary marketing strategy for most businesses. With the new age of e-commerce, companies have had to rethink their marketing strategies. It has become a basic necessity for big or small companies to have a credible website that customers can view. Sites give an overview of the business to potential customers giving them a feel of what products or services are being offered. The beauty of this is that the size of a company no longer influences the customers buying decision, but the excellent customer experience is what does (Leitner & Grechenig). Businesses now have directed their marketing funds to invest in Search Engine Optimization, paid ad search, email marketing, and social advertising.
Content marketing has become the best strategy for getting customers to purchase products. With a vast array of products available in the market providing the same usability, customers now have taken to themselves to research on products they want before they purchase them. With this in mind, changing the way a business presents a product to its potential customers has changed significantly. This factor has been dramatically influenced by the concept of the wisdom of crowds as promulgated by James Surowiecki.
Surowiecki claims that large groups of people are collectively smarter than individual experts in innovating, problem-solving, predicting, and decision making. This factor has been facilitated by product reviewing and vendor rating capabilities on some of these e-commerce platforms. Getting great product reviews from customers boosts the influence they have on new and larger targets of potential customers. In contrast, vendor reviews drive more sales to particular businesses that have been identified by the ‘crowd’ to offer better quality products and services (Leitner & Grechenig). Being able to interact with customers on a personal level has allowed businesses to build trust and learn factors that will keep it competitive.
On the other hand, social networking brings likeminded individuals to be in touch with one another using web-based applications (Hajli et al.). This way, a business can build relationships and brand awareness with its customers. During these interactions, a business learns new ideas on how to best give clients an unforgettable shopping experience and generate new leads. It has made the world seem small with speedy communications among us all. Additionally, social networking continues to evolve each day, with the most popular applications currently being Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
With Instagram and Facebook, they provide paid ads which link consumers on a larger scale with businesses that offer products they may be interested in. In doing so, they help businesses increase their brand visibility as well as boost their sales volumes. However, YouTube provides different modes of e-commerce marketing where a company can choose to use paid ads to achieve visibility towards potential customers. They also have the option of enlisting platform influencers to reach out to their followers and advertise the company to drive sales; much like Facebook and Instagram. Social networking has thereby improved on the wisdom of crowds to grow the e-commerce world and enhance shopping experiences and convenience for millions of people.
Hajli, Nick, et al. “A social commerce investigation of the role of trust in a social networking site on purchase intentions.” Journal of Business Research 71 (2017): 133-141.
Leitner, Peter, and Thomas Grechenig. “Collaborative shopping networks: Sharing the wisdom of crowds in E-commerce environments.” BLED 2008 Proceedings (2008): 21.
Surowiecki, J. “The wisdom of crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few/James Surowiecki.” (2005).