Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

The Morphing Marketplace

Markets and customers affect website organization, design, and navigation models. The blurring of channels and complexity of choices makes it a science to match up the right sales channel with the right market for the right customer. Channels are still evolving, but niche websites make it possible to target customers with specific products.

The marketplace and channels of distribution have experienced rapid change over the past few years. Not too long ago, traditional major channels were simple and had distinct customer bases and value propositions. The following is a list and description of major traditional channels:

Retail: Retail stores are shopped primarily by home, home office, and small-business consumers. These are physical "brick and mortar" buildings with broad or specific category and product assortments. There are also variations, such as "big box" super stores, department stores, consumer electronics stores, mass merchants, convenience stores, grocery stores, "mom and pop" sole proprietorships, specialty stores, club or membership stores, and discount or outlet stores. Their value is in their proximity to the customer, convenience, entertainment value, and ability to offer immediate gratification. They have a steady product mix and seasonal product offerings, and they offer special promotions.

Business Direct: These companies provide both products and services and operate predominately on a contract basis with businesses. They often provide a printed catalog containing a broad range of products and cater to calendar-budgeted purchases.

Direct Mail: Direct mail companies provide targeted printed catalogs, letters, and brochures to home and small-office consumers. These "retail in the mail" catalogs and mailings cover a wide variety of products such as clothing and jewelry, food, furniture, home furnishings, and computers and peripherals, and they generate both planned and impulse purchases.

Wholesale/Distribution: These businesses act as a "middle man" and serve as a hub for small to large business customers. They buy products from manufacturers and resell them through printed catalogs or showrooms with true wholesale prices. They receive truckloads and pallets of products from the manufacturer but ship smaller boxes, pallets, and truckloads to retailers and other channels of distribution.

Brokers: These companies are the intermediaries to business customers and provide services and sales to grocers and other industries. Some of their primary products are perishable goods, which they move through the channels quickly.

Pure-play Internet: These companies have only one selling motion—online. They provide public websites to home and small-office consumers (B2C) and to businesses, corporations, and enterprises (B2B). In some cases, they provide non-public websites, extranets, to larger companies. Internet companies can carry all products and are "perceived" to have low cost structures and prices. They have an additional value proposition in providing a broader product offering than retail or catalogs due to their virtually unlimited shelf space. They also can economically carry hard-to-find items.

Manufacturer-Direct: Many manufacturers have branded retail outlets for home consumers. These stores offer products such as clothing and housewares. They typically carry quality products and feature a trusted brand name.

Historically, reseller transactions were based on one-to-one mapping to the customer. Mail order companies sent out catalogs to customer's homes, people shopped in retail stores for products, and business-direct companies sold to big corporations under contracts.

In the past few years, some retail businesses sought to increase their reach to customers by adding an additional selling motion to their channel mix, such as a catalog. Now, with expanded technology capabilities and public and commercial adoption of the Internet, most businesses are adding e-commerce to their mix. Current marketplace trends are for single-channel businesses to become multi-channel businesses. These new hybrid models cause traditionally distinct channel models to blur and new combinations such as "clicks and mortar," a combination of retail and online sales, to develop. These new models are shown in Figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2Figure 1–2 Traditional channels, selling motions, markets, and customer models blur.

Although the percentage of the overall business is still small, sales are shifting online from other selling motions as businesses find efficiencies and transactional cost savings over traditional selling venues. It is also now possible to have multiple web properties in the selling mix. These properties target niche or specific markets. There is also a downward trend in the number of pure-play e-tailers as they merge and form alliances with other businesses to survive.

Each customer can represent multiple customer segments. Not only do multiple selling motions complicate business models for the merchant, but the customer segment models are also complicated because many of the sales channels were created based on shopping needs for the home, home-office, micro-business, medium-sized-business, corporate, and enterprise markets. Unfortunately for stores, customers don't necessarily segment themselves the same way retailers might want them to as they work through their business plans.

As customers and their needs change, the channels and shopping experiences also change. For example, with the adoption of business purchasing via the web, home consumers are influenced—because all business customers are also home consumers. When a business customer shops online for office needs, she can also shop for personal items. Every point of contact that a customer makes with a "shelf" is an opportunity for the reseller to gain a loyal, multi-segmented, and multi-channel purchasing customer.

Managing Multiple Stores and Shelves

In the process of selling through one channel, it's important to consider all the other selling motions. At any given time, customers can have access to any one of the stores—whether they are physical, virtual, or in print. Multiple channels spawn additional stores, and the proliferation creates a variety of ways to purchase a product. To the customer, each of these is just another shelf on which a product is displayed. It doesn't matter if it is a retail shelf, a catalog shelf, an e-shelf, or a TV broadcast (shopping network) shelf.

Most consumers will shop through multiple stores to buy products and services. It is evident that online shopping directly influences offline purchases. Online activities shorten the purchase process by providing to the shopper decision-making information that may not be found on the store floor. The shopper then decides from which store to purchase.

Many businesses are moving toward balance and integration to maximize sales, product mix, and customer experience across all of the individual offerings. At the same time, many businesses are not. The value of a multi-channel shopper appears to be greater than that of single-channel shoppers. Shopping research indicates that consumers shopping multiple channels are more likely to be loyal and spend more. On the flip side, a disappointing online experience can taint the entire store brand in the customer's mind and may affect future purchases at the retail store.

Practicing "integrated shelf management" is a critical business practice for today's marketplace. This technique presents each shelf or store in the same way regardless of the channel. The benefit is to present a company as a unified entity to the consumer, regardless of the type of store in which the customer shops. Figure 1-3 shows the similarities of the different types of "stores" from a customer's viewpoint.

Figure 1-3Figure 1–3 Different kinds of "stores" have similar components.

Customers become uncomfortable when shopping experiences stray too far from the familiar—and the most familiar experience is the traditional retail store. For example, web stores have random, multiple entry points through links. Customers "get lost" by dropping into the middle of a web store via some of those links. For years, retail stores have studied and designed traffic flow patterns to help customers navigate through their stores. Not all retail stores are successful in guiding customers, yet studying these elements will give you assistance as you create familiar online traffic flow patterns—navigation models—that can help customers find products. Customer retail experiences are discussed in Chapter 4.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020