Taraearl’s Weblog

The Opportunities and Challenges of Online Marketing

ARE WEB COMMUNITIES THE FUTURE OF E-COMMMERCE?

Building a web community will be the way of the future for internet sites. 

What is a web community?

Community is the relationships between users that encourages stickiness and loyalty. Community can create attractive content for free and they can make the user feel that they are valued by the firm. Community can satisfy needs not otherwise able to be satisfied individually finding people through tools are message boards, customer reviews, chat sessions, member’s areas (Class Lecture). One of the best examples of a web community today is face book.   

The Way of the Future  

Web communities are becoming increasingly popular among internet users.  Almost every user is involved with a community. Internet users belong to communities to build relationships and connect with other people. Face book is one of the fastest growing social networks today. Communities are a tool for users to discuss interests, concerns and discussions. This is a great way for e-commerce businesses to connect with their consumers. Businesses now have an opportunity to build a relationship with their customers, which was once very hard to do over the internet. Dell used the platform to create Dell IdeaStorm, launched last February to interact with customers and solicit ideas about products. According to Swensrud, the computer manufacturer was soon inundated with suggestions to return to offering the Linux operating system with its machines. As a result, Dell decided to offer machines pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux on some consumer desktop and notebook machines.

Web communities create oppourtunties for businesses and find solutions for customers. “We want to be that trusted resource for small business owners, to help them grow their business and be with them when they grow,” Mark Hogan, Bank of America’s president of small business banking told the AP. “And we want to help them anyway we can to make that process easier for them.”  By solving cutomers problems this will increase customer satisfaction.  Furthermore is will help the company identify problems before they happen. If something occurs the firm is immediatly notified through the site, rather than a few months down the road when sales have declined.

Now eBay is creating online community with their new My Neighborhoods feature. eBay wants to facilitate more interaction between buyers and sellers. There are more than 600 neighborhoods already.

This is a smart way to add more user-generated content instead of just ecommerce to the site. It also gives the community more reasons to stay on the site. If people are spending more time on the site it will increase stickiness, which will lead to more sales.

References  

Marketing Pilgram

http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/10/ebay-builds-social-networking-into-site.html 

The ClickZ Network: Dell Sales force

http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3627070 

Web Pro News: Bank of America Launches Social Network

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/10/10/bank-of-america-launches-social-network

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