The vastly growing e-commerce realm recently sparked the curiosity of many in the professions of marketing and advertising. As technology quickly advanced over the past fifteen years in the home and workplace to accommodate the frantic lifestyle of society the need for on demand real-time transactions grew exponentially. Society watched over the last ten to fifteen years as the Internet grew from its infant state (56K dial-up) to the current broadband used today. Along with the growth of the Internet, other items such as cell phones improved drastically to keep in touch with a world hooked on viral videos and e-mail. One no longer waits for a dial tone to connect to the vast web of information and commerce. Now society has household connections that one once believed were only for the largest companies or the government. It is uncommon to wait for a Website to load. All forms of media are at our fingertips: movies, games, news, weather, etc. The term to best describe the growth of the Internet and other evolutions during this period is “doggy years”; it seems that for every year of life, technology and accessibility of that technology advances three to five years. Where is the ending point? Is it possible to stop the “created monster”? Many in the academic setting are very aware of changes going on around them over the years and thus delved into the heap of knowledge and possibilities that only a cyber world offers.
With the insertion of new techniques and proposed abilities come concerns. One of the main concerns facing marketing for an online presence is the ability of consumers to perform searches via sites such as Google and Yahoo. The ability for consumers to perform searches is a focus for online advertising and marketing firms. Consumers have the ability to use searches as a tool during the decision-making process for online and offline purchases. Studies performed in the academic realm prove that as consumers receive introductions to more mainframe click-stream data, and as searching techniques become more advanced the mere size of consumer searches change as consumers gains experience (Moe & Yang, 2009). Credit card
In a study of online search behavior Moe and Yang monitored participants on their visitations to the following stores: Amazon.com (the market leader in the study), Barnesandnoble.com, Books.com, and various others. The study proved that as new stores enter the market, Amazon.com showed a loss in visitation during the preliminary entry; however, after initial visitation the majority of participants (84%) continued to return as repeat visitors to Amazon.com over any remaining store. Further research proved that factors such as the stores design, recommendation engines (part of consumer research and search engines), customer reviews (also part of consumer research), and product assortment play the major roles in customer retention (Moe & Yang, 2009).
Online searching is a major constituent to consider when entering the online marketplace, especially in planning for advertising. First, as the online retail market grows so do search capabilities of consumers. Thus, due to the increasing chances of online identity theft and the Web-popular saying “buying blind,” it is likely for a market leader to emerge due to consumersconcerns, loyalty, and research on performance. Therefore, as consumers continue to search and evaluate the performance of online market leaders, consumers burn out on finding new places to purchase what they purchased somewhere else. This behavior forces incoming vendors to become more competitive in their efforts to gain a share of the market (Moe & Yang, 2009).
As consumers become more particular about how freely they use the Internet as a means of purchasing a good or service, companies entering the market must put forth the effort to accommodate consumers. From the aspect of consumer use (Lee, Ratchford, &Talukdar, 2007) to the focus of marketing practices on the youth (Grant, 2005), Internet marketing and advertising have variables that must be assessed to compete confidently in the online marketplace. Understanding the market one wishes to enter and targeting the consumers therein is a daunting task; however, competitive strategies like that of the credit card industry in which card issuers offer “free interest introductory rates” and the reduction or even complete removal of late fees caused enough to see growth amongst credit companies. Alternately, companies that offer high tech products such as laser printers may lure consumers by reducing the cost of the machine. Yet, the unrealistic high cost of necessary add-ons (toner) soon causes consumers to loathe these companies (Sun, 2006).
The practice of luring consumers by showing a lower than usual cost before actually listing the overall cost of accessories necessary in order for the product to function fully or in more common occurrence having consumers join a club or site that offers discounts on media and textual items only to raise prices above normal following sign-up is “hyperbolic discounting.” One example is Amazon.com. Consumers rarely switch from Amazon.com due to the skepticism of another site falsely showing prices of products they intend to increase. Companies that use credit schemes such as allowing consumers to apply for credit through a provider for products they normally could not afford only forces consumers to accumulate mounds of debt, which leaves a “bad taste” in their mouths as an ongoing reminder of false marketing (Sun, 2006).