By Carl Da-Costa-Greaves
Three key perspectives have emerged indicating the real potential for the Internet as part of market strategy:
• Multi-channelling – The Internet provides a direct marketing and sales channel which sits alongside conventional channels. The issue here is managing the mix of channels so they’re effective from a business point of view and value-enhancing from the customer‘s point of view. Increasingly we see the role of the salespeople to direct some customers towards Web sites; saving the customer time and money and freeing up the sales force time to focus on new customers and large accounts.
• Bricks and Clicks - The combination of the Internet with existing physical resources is incredibly powerful. Tesco Direct has created the most successful Internet grocery business in the world. Not only is Tesco clear that their Internet business is an additional channel that supplements conventional retailing, but the Tesco Web site mirrors the consumer‘s local store experience, and it’s the local store that picks the products from the shelves and delivers them.
• Knowledge Sharing – The Internet itself provides an unprecedented capability for sharing information and knowledge. On the one hand, reviews of online exchanges provides customers with the ability to compare products and prices across all sources of supply, not just locally but throughout the world. On the other hand, the Web supports knowledge sharing globally too – the technician trying to fix a part to a machine in a factory in Brazil can have instant access to the supplier‘s personnel in China who have solved the same problem (it usually involves a hammer).
This piece is based on Nigel Piercy‘s book: Market-Led Strategic Change: A Guide to Transforming the Process of Going To Market (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002).