Commerce entails the exchange of services and commodities between consumers and service providers or manufacturers. This process involves the exchange of money and products or services between sellers or manufacturers and consumers. Organisations have been looking for ways of enhancing effectiveness and efficiency in these processes. This challenge has now been resolved with the emergence of Web 2.0 applications such as B2B and B2C commerce platforms, which have encouraged the growth of e-tailing or e-retailing.
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Fujita, Nishiyama, and Hohgi define e-tailing as the selling of commodities and services in retail via electronic media, especially the internet (2). The technique is much similar to B2C, although it incorporates aspects such as the trust model and transactions that involve electronic processes. The strategy involves displaying and providing specifications for products and services in an online platform to create personal feel and attachments with them as consumers access the physical stores.
Due to the capacity to reach global consumers through e-tailing, the concept has experienced a significant rise in the last 15 years within the western countries. However, e-tailing is still in an infancy stage in other parts of the world. This situation is evident in the supermarket sector. The signing of a deal between Amazon and Morrison, which is among the biggest supermarkets in the UK, has evidenced one of the sporadic efforts by supermarket chains in the western nations to engage in e-tailing.
In the deal signed early 2016, Morrison stated that it was aiming to offer Amazon’s pantry clients an opportunity to purchase frozen and fresh products. The supermarket focused on taking advantage of Amazon’s supply chain and logistics management capabilities in the e-tailing market.
The strategic partnership deal provides evidence of the degree to which the e-tailing market niche has been utilised in the supermarket sectors in the western part of the world. However, this finding may not be the case in other parts of the world, which have lower infrastructural resources and capabilities for providing high reliable logistics to facilitate the delivery of products and services that are purchased through e-tailing systems. In the case of Morrison, even large supermarkets may require sophisticated supply chain systems to guarantee effectiveness and efficiency in the supply of products and services that are acquired through the systems.
E-tailing in the supermarket sector uses two types of e-business commerce: B2B and B2C. For the Business-to-Consumer trade, a supermarket organises its e-business around sellers and consumers who comprise the individual buyers. B2C brings together an immense number of purchasers who make millions of transactions on a daily basis with a number of organisations (sellers). Since such a supermarket operates as an online retailer, B2C works best.
Therefore, there is a need to guarantee cute management of the large number of transactions while maintaining security, confidentiality, and integrity of the business information being shared by the company and its consumers. This requirement has the impact of making B2C e-tailing in the supermarket sector an incredibly complex and difficult task since every item bought by a customer must be shipped and delivered at the right time with optimal security. This fact explains why western parts of the world have a well-developed e-tailing plan in the supermarket sector while the same strategy is at infancy in other parts of the world that have poor infrastructural resources.
Although e-tailing is still in the formative years in many developing nations, it is receiving a high embracement in the supermarket sector. For example, in Malaysia, e-tailing is becoming a commonplace phenomenon. Fujita, Nishiyama and Hohgi assert that in the country, big retailers, including supermarkets are now seeing the potential for selling their products through the internet (3). This opportunity has arisen following the increasing number of internet users.
The rise in number of supermarkets that offer their products for sale over the internet has also been replicated in India, China, Taiwan, and Korea. However, the degree of penetration of the e-tailing market in the supermarket sector in these nations is lower when compared to nations such as the UK and the United States. In developing nations, the internet market has not been fully utilised. Consequently, the adoption of e-tailing by the supermarket sector in these nations is still at the infancy phase.
The retailing market has stagnated in many developed nations. In some situations, the market has declined due to the increasing number of players who have provided fierce competition. Consequently, some of the players have considered seeking to expand their markets to include international new markets with the view of searching new opportunities. This move has been supported by the rise in e-commerce.
However, the number of internet retailers has been rising. This situation has the net effect of increasing the rate of market saturation to the extent of expanding competition in the retail market to international markets. This case has made the retail internationalisation approach much more than the opening of stores abroad. Indeed, successful retail internationalisation entails not only opening intercontinental stores but also ensuring the delivery of the things that consumers want, including the way they want them delivered. Hence, troubles such as underperformance or any decisions to exit a given international market are associated with poor understanding of the market dynamics.
Consumers value security, especially for their information, including that of their credit cards, which may be required to complete online transactions with an online retailer. Therefore, opening stores in the international markets is not just adequate when it comes to ensuring the success of an international retailer. The retailer needs to put in place strategies for ensuring that the specific customer concerns are met to induce trust and consumer loyalty. Indeed, electronic information can easily be copied and/or altered. This challenge makes e-tailing transactions present immense challenges during the establishment and maintenance of information authenticity (Fickes 39).
The goal of checking the authenticity of people who engage in an e-commerce is to determine whether the parties are actually the people they claim to be during the transaction process. Consumers need to be sure that when they make an order accompanied by an electronic payment, the paying company will honour the transaction and/or deliver the goods or services at the right time and the right quantity and quality. To enhance this requirement, Westfall asserts that limiting access to e-business system or information sharing between trusted parties via strategies such as the deployment of the visual private network (VPN) technology can foster the authenticity of information that is communicated in an e-business environment (45).
For any internationalising retailer, efforts to enhance the security of e-commerce systems are aimed at enhancing the reliability of e-transactions as the easiest means of embracing technology in enhancing the way people conduct business across geographically disjointed regions. For this purpose, the European Union launched a plan labelled “European Information Society” (Meier and Stormer 45). This action plan stipulates that internet resources and technologies are central when it comes to broadening the ability of organisations to function as individuals in the sense that they foster the exchange of relations and transactional contacts.
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Thus, it is vital that “opportunities and risks of electronic means of communication be weighed against each other and the protection of intellectual property and of the private sphere maintained” (Meier and Stormer 78). To this extent, the risk of proper information flow is an essential aspect of consideration in the execution of a successful internalisation retailing strategy that deploys e-business technologies.
Successful international retailers do not just open stores in foreign nations. They adjust their business model as the most fundamental beginning point for successful penetration. This strategy is driven by the fact that consumers across the globe do not make purchases in the same way or buy similar things in the same manner. However, the appropriate adjustments depend on the channel and type of retail business.
For instance, in case of grocery retailers, the internationalisation strategy entails a very risky venture. Consequently, a successful internationalisation strategy is based on market study information such as consumer eating habits, culture, and any other important determinant of the type or way of consuming specific commodities. Afterward, they consider the appropriate expansion strategy such as strategic partnerships through franchising and vertical integration.
How the Store Design and Store Merchandising can lead to Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty for Kids’ Clothing Retailers
Customer satisfaction is a critical element that helps in not only retaining the existing clients of an organisation but also attracting new ones (Yelkur 106). Customers who possess good organisational reputation share it with other people. This aspect creates the urge among potential customers to experience the service or product offered by an organisation. The term customer contentment finds a wide application in marketing discourses.
It refers to the degree to which services coupled with products offered by an organisation exceed or meet buyer anticipations. Yelkur defines it as “the number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its products, or its services (ratings) exceeds specified satisfaction goals” (106). Such contentment varies between people and with respect to the nature of products or services bought or given. Hence, people of different ages have different aspects, which they consider in products or any accompanying attributes such as merchandising or store designs for them to have optimal satisfaction levels.
Satisfaction constitutes a psychological and physical variable that has a direct link with behaviours, for instance, repeated purchase or recurring use of a service. This situation may be determined by the frequencies of visits to a given store.
For clothing retailers who deal with children brands, merchandising and store design or layouts are critical aspects that may determine traffic flow into a store. Store layouts constitute an important aspect that influences children’s consuming behaviour. Findlay and Sparks assert, “Well designed layouts are extremely important because they strongly influence in-store traffic patterns, shopping atmosphere, shopping behaviour, and operational efficiency” (376).
Where inconsistencies are experienced, consumers are likely to leave an establishment to look for another, especially the one that offers better services. This observation underlines the need for adopting an appropriate approach to store layout to boost sales and induce customer loyalty. Indeed, store merchandising and layout design, which attract or grasps the attention of the targeted customers, are important in inducing customers’ attachment with products on display. Hence, store design and layout are important for retailers when seeking to guarantee contentment and loyalty for kids’ clothing.
As Zentes, Morschett, and Schramm-klein observe, store merchandising implies the manner in which products are displayed in any retail outlet (209). Although some descriptions, for instance, the selection of fixtures and methods of presenting products, are deployed in explaining the term, merchandising relates to the general context of store design, its layout, and the store’s environmental aspects. An attempt to guarantee satisfaction and loyalty for kids’ clothing retailers should adopt merchandising and store designs that focus on several aspects that make the shopping experience a fancy activity. A retailer who deals with kids’ clothing should focus on ensuring that the store design and merchandising allow easiness of the searching process while at the same time creating positive internal atmosphere.
Facilitating easiness of search is achieved through designs and layouts that warrant internal orientation in the most simplistic manner. Positive atmosphere at the stores implies merchandising and designs that evoke positive emotions in the minds of children, including parties that accompany them (children) when visiting a clothing store. Children’s attention is caught by colourful and appealing displays. Hence, appealing store designs and merchandising form an important factor to consider when designing clothing stores that target children.
These aspects can make shoppers save time and energy when going to search stores with such designs and merchandising features. Whether a clothing retailer targets kids or other age groups, consumers are likely to shop at the store that guarantees them optimal satisfaction Findlay and Sparks add that pleasant atmosphere for conducting shopping is critical in influencing the amount of time and money spent at any given store (377). For clothing retailers who target children, issues such as the spending of more time and many visits to a given store are an indication of satisfaction and dependability of the store. For such a level to be attained, store layout designs and merchandising need to suit children’s psychological perceptions.
Fickes, Martin. “B2B security.” Access Control and Security Systems Integration 43.10(2006): 37-40. Print.
Findlay, Antony, and Lewis Sparks. “Store-switching Behaviours.” International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management 36.5(2008): 375-386. Print.
Fujita, Seiichi, Shigeru Nishiyama, and Hideo Hohgi. Analysis of Key Success Factors for E-Tailing Websites in Malaysia, 2012. Web.
Meier, Andreas, and Henrik Stormer. E-Business and E-Commerce: Managing the Digital Value Chain, New Jersey, NJ: Springer, 2008. Print.
Westfall, Joseph. Privacy: Electronic Information and the Individual, Santa Clara: Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics, 2010. Print.
Yelkur, Richard. “Customer satisfaction and service marketing mix.” Journal of Professional Services Marketing 21.1(2007): 105-115. Print.
Zentes, Joachim, Dirk Morschett, and Hanna Schramm-klein. Strategic retail management Text and International Cases, Wiesbaden: Gabler, 2007. Print.