1.1 Purpose and Scope
The Internet has evolved as a dynamic new medium of information, entertainment, and commerce. (Hanson, 2000)Penetration levels have increased dramatically and new business opportunities have been created online. In this paper we analyze various factors affecting the strategy of online marketing. Special focus is given on online marketing for men's wear in Australia. Also the theoretical models used for designing a market strategy are also discussed here. Our aim in this paper is to present a detailed picture of Australian online retail marketing.
2. MEN'S FASHION INDUSTRY IN AUSTRALIA
Men's fashion has become a serious big business in Australia. Market supplies only for men's jeans have increased from 15 million in 1984 to almost 24.5 million in 2005. (Gogoi, 2006). A recent cultural revolution has evolved where men, have become highly attuned to fashion, becoming more conscious of what they wear.
(Tungate,Mark, 2008) The metro sexual has become far more acceptable. Metro Sexual applies to the segment of men who care about their appearance including fashion, grooming, and accessories and maintaining a youthful appearance. Melbourne is known as the fashion and cultural centre of Australia setting fashion trends across Australia in response to international influences. Men have abandoned the casual khakis and polo shirts and now opt for smart jeans, suits, blazers, and dress shirts. 74% of men now do their own personal shopping. (Gogoi, 2006).
Forrester Research and AC Nielsen discovered that 62% to 78% of Australian internet users are online shoppers. Early online players, who rationalized their online business model, are enjoying a dominant position in Australian market. For example Deals Direct reported a $50 Million dollars turnover in 2007 exclusively online and was elected number 1 department store in Australia. With reference to stock market also data revealed the Internet Retailer Online Retail Index of 25 e-commerce stocks gained 26% in the third quarter of 2009, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor's 500 Index, each gained 15%. As of Sept. 30, the e-commerce index was ahead 73% for the year, compared with gains of 10% for the Dow and 16% for the S&P 500.
3. MERITS AND DEMERITS OF ONLINE SHOPPING
There are various pros and cons of online shopping which are discussed as follows:
- First and foremost, online shopping is very simple and convenient. A person can do shopping at any time and any day of the week. Online stores are open 24/7 so shopping can be done at any convenient time.
- Another thing is items purchase will be delivered at the preferred address that too at preferred time
- A person need not spend transportation or parking anymore because you do not have to travel just to be able to shop.
- As there is no physical restriction for the items that are for sale, online shops also have a wider selection of items as compared to their retail counterparts, giving the customer more options to choose from.
- Aside from these, online shopping also allows a better comparison-shopping very easily. One simply have to go from one online shop to another to compare their products, prices, discounts and freebie so as to avail best bargains for money.
- Finally, online shops give bigger discounts as compared to traditional retail stores because they do not have the burden of overhead expenses.
- It is one of the remarkable demerits of online shopping when one is to buy a trifle items or rare used items. On the other hand online shopping can be done in those places where malls, stores provide such facilities.
- This is the most disadvantage of online shopping. One has to buy the items with prices and rebates carries by it. So the enjoyment of retail shopping with friends or family members is lost.
- As for clothes consumer cannot touch, check the fabric and try them which becomes a demerit of online shopping.
- Also online shopping cannot be done by paying cash and there can be distrust while providing details of debit and credit cards.
Another demerit is that online transactions often lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication between the customer and the online firm. Sometimes, wrong items are delivered to the home of the customer.
3. PORTER'S FIVE FORCE MODEL OF INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
Porters fives forces model is an excellent model to use to analyze a particular environment of an industry. Following five factors are studied in this approach:
- Competitive Rivalry
- Power of suppliers
- 3) Powers of buyers
- 4) Threats of substitutes
- Threats of new entrants.
A starting point to analyzing the industry is to look at competitive rivalry. If entry to an industry is easy then competitive rivalry will likely to be high. In case of online men's fashion industry there is no barrier of entry in online, marketing field and thus there will be high level of competition.
(http://www.seosydneyblog.com/2008/02/online-retail-industry-in-australia.html) Paul Greenberg, managing director of Deals Direct recently elected Australian number 1 online department store, said in an interview that he almost felt embarrassed to be the first online department store as they are a privately own company with no real competition.
But in Australian there is lack of initiative on the part of retailers to go online. This is because of the lack of confidence in online retail from traditional retailers. Big retailers are often afraid of the cost associated with starting an online division. Moreover most of the major retailers are afraid of competing on prices and are unable to consider the benefits of online retail.
Power of suppliers
Raw materials are needed to complete the finish product of the organization and here comes the role of suppliers. This power to suppliers comes from:
- If they are one of few suppliers or a single supplier who supply that particular raw material.
- If it's costly for the organization to switch from one supplier to another
- Finally if there is no other substitute for their product then also supplier is in a commanding position.
Suppliers to online retail industry include clothing manufacturers, material manufacturers, designers, internet service providers, software developers, graphic designers and website developers, etc. All these suppliers have a number of service providers. As Australia Post has a significant portion of the parcel distribution, they have a significant level of power. This is an unattractive factor for online operators due to the risk attached with relying on a single company.
Power of buyers
Buyers or customers can exert influence and control over an industry in certain circumstances.
If there is little differentiation over the product and substitutes can be found easily consumer can influence the industry.
* Customers are sensitive to price so competitive pricing of rivals can affect demand.
* Switching to another product is not costly.
In case of online marketing of men's apparels consumer behavior is important to study. Many a times retailers are targeting high income group in online selling. Also due to usage of credit cards people not using credit cannot make payment through cash which again created a barrier to the popularity of such a strategy.
Threat of substitutes
Another consideration is to check whether there any alternative products that customers can purchase over one retailer's product that offer the same benefit for the same or less price. The threat of substitute is high when the price of that substitute product is falling and it is easy for consumers to switch from one product to another
Such a competition is very high in online selling. There is no barrier to entry or exit of firms. Any firm can any time decide to switch to online retailing wholly or partially. Thus this is a main consideration while making industry analysis for online retailing.
Threat of new entrant
The threat of a new organization entering the industry is high when it is easy for an organization to enter the industry i.e. entry barriers are low. This is the important feature of online retail industry. This makes easy for new companies to establish their online stores in compliment to their physical stores which brings the benefit of economies of scale for them.
Despite a number of barriers Australian men wants to shop online. There is lot of opportunity to be tapped by retailers. There is a need of help from agencies to fill the gap in knowledge and manage the transition from operating and managing a business offline to online. Various conferences and industry gatherings are required so as to educate and help the Australian retailers to move online or improve their online activities. We can conclude that the challenges are real, but the opportunities are far greater!
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