Friday, March 19, 2010

The Changing Online Marketplace

The expansion of the online marketplace in the past 15 years has revolutionized not only the Internet in general, but also how people conduct business. Advancements in e-commerce have led to changes in everything from product pricing to shopper behavior. While many were once skeptical of its reliability and level of convenience years ago, several computer-savvy individuals now cherish and rely on e-commerce for various purposes.

There once was a time in business when a customer could only buy products that were in stock at nearby stores (and that were at that price). Nowadays, a typical person can easily perform a search on the Web for a product and find detailed information regarding the product as well as a price comparison from multiple online sellers. International businesses are now recognizing all the resources that typical consumers have at their disposal to become more knowledgeable on the products or services they intend to purchase. Generally speaking, today’s shoppers are “smarter” and more selective than ever before. It will be interesting to see how companies adapt their business models to appeal to a better informed and more segmented consumer base.

Chris Anderson’s articles reveal how target audiences today are becoming increasingly diverse in their product tastes and more challenging to reach using traditional marketing methods. While the business models of online sellers will continue to evolve gradually in the next decade, I believe that more considerable change will bring new opportunities to the field of communications and public relations. More online businesses may consider employing integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategies to better connect with their current and prospective clientele.

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