Online Marketing

Trust deficit challenges in online marketing – Times of India

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When online marketing and sales came into being in early 1990s; the biggest challenge for online marketers and sellers was to overcome the trust deficit of buyers. After all, people have doubts whether the ordered goods online will actually arrive and the delivered product is indeed what they had ordered.

Usually customers go to a shop and find out what they are looking for to buy. They may see the product and find out details and also inspect the product for defects etc. If it is for buying a dress then they will try it to see how they look in the dress. So before customers buy any product; they check a lot of things.

In case of online shopping; customers can not feel and inspect a product. This definitely is a big challenge for online sellers to convince about a product to customers. Customers only see photos of the product and some product description. Even when a customer is convinced about a product then the next challenge is security. People are extremely concerned about providing their personal details to anybody. Due to these challenges; online marketing and selling is still a challenge today.

To tackle this trust deficit, online marketers and sellers have come up with many solutions.

  •  Some online sellers have come up with seller rank (the better customer reviews provide a better seller rank. A better sales rank means a better buying experience.)
  •  Purchase guarantee. Once a payment is made for a product on an online store then the customer will be guaranteed to receive the product.
  •  Secure connection to ensure no hacking of customer personal data (including credit card number etc.)
  •  Complete product description (color, size, photos from many angles, packaging information)

Recently some online sellers have also started “pay on delivery” service. The customer is not required to pay for the product bought online. The customer can pay for it only after the product is delivered to the customer.

Many online sellers have also started providing product comparison services on their online stores. This feature enables buyers to compare various competing products and choose the product as per their liking.

Amazon is one of the best online selling companies today. They are pioneers of online selling. They introduced the concepts of verified customer reviews, book selling rank, purchase protection etc. They started selling books online. First; they catered only to the USA market. Later they entered into markets of many countries including UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Australia, India, China etc. Over time; they have also diversified to sell anything to everything including electronics products, computers, mobiles, clothes and now even grocery and vegetables. Many offline companies like Wal-Mart also started selling online. They are not as successful as Amazon but the future definitely lies in online selling and so most retailers have come with their own online stores.

Winning customer trust is the most important aspect of selling. For online sellers, winning customer trust has always been challenging due to the nature of online business. But in the last 30 years, online sellers have learned as to how to overcome this challenge well. Today, the online markets comprise anything from 30% to 60% of a “business to customer” (B to C) segment in most countries.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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