Online stores have a number of opportunities to generate revenue— some of which (advertising, in particular) also represent revenue opportunities for non e-commerce sites, such as media content providers or social networks.
Direct sales the revenue stream for e-commerce sites. The simple and straight-forward mission of an e-commerce site is to sell as many products to as many online shoppers as possible. Products can be tangible, such as shampoo, sneakers, and groceries, or intangible, such as digital music or the purchase of a reserved seat on a flight. Typically, the direct sale of products is made in numbers of units, with each unit multiplied by the advertised price (three bottles of shampoo at $5 each is a grand total of $15, plus any shipping, taxes, and other charges that may apply).
Typically, consumers who purchase products do so for one of three reasons:
–They have a need for a certain type of product. Although they may switch brands from time to time, they have decided in advance that they have a need for a specific product (for example, a new car if their old one is dying, or a tube of toothpaste once the current one is used up).
–They want a certain type of product. This want may linger for a while, depending on how expensive or frivolous the product is (such as jewelry), or may be satisfied more quickly depending on how great the want is (such as the latest video game console). In the mind of the consumer, the decision-making process in terms of where and when to buy is less urgent because there is not an absolute necessity to make the purchase.
–They are compelled to buy an item at or around the time of purchase. Some of the most valuable real estate in any traditional retailer is the space near the cash register, where consumers may make last-minute purchases of items that are within their line of vision. These items tend to be smaller, lower priced items, such as gum, chocolate bars, bottles of water or soda, batteries, and similar items that people are more likely to decide they want at the last moment.
A successful e-commerce company will consider each of these purchasing reasons in the development of its site. Because online stores do not have floor space for displays, salespeople to point the shopper in a specific direction, or signage hanging from the ceiling, e-commerce marketers have only two means of pushing their products to consumers: the page layout and a compelling presentation of their product.
In the presentation of the product, marketers generally rely on three elements:
–Copy, which can be used to describe the product, its attributes, its value, and any other important information that the marketer feels will be appropriate to boost sales. Copy also includes information such as the price of the product, size, weight, and other such vital info.
–Pictures, which are used to provide a visual reference so that shoppers can see what they are buying. In the case of products that might be less familiar, or whose appeal might be in the way they look (picture frames or decorative candle holders, for example), marketers may decide to show the product from a number of different angles. As with copy, smaller images, called thumbnails, are shown initially, and larger images are often provided upon further consumer investigation. Other times, application shots are provided to show how the product might look in its fi nal environment
or when being used by a representative consumer.
–Video of the product is sometimes used to demonstrate how the product works, market its benefi ts, or generally build excitement for the product.