Bazaar at a click….(ecommerce and its applications) - Understanding the Concept of Brand PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 July 2010 14:48
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Bazaar at a click….(ecommerce and its applications)
Understanding the Concept of Brand
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The term brand means different things to the different roles of buyer and seller, with buyers generally associating brand with a product or service, and merchants associating brand with identity.

For the typical buyer, a brand is basically just a product identifier -- this isn't just cereal, its Cheerios. Used this way, a brand functions as a proper name, at best flagging a specific product with a name that differentiates it from the rest of the product category. This use of brand doesn't denote any judgment of quality or performance, just the characteristic of having been named.

Brand can also identify the company behind the specific product -- that's not just a hot dog, that's an Oscar Meyer wiener. This use of brand puts a "face" behind the name, so to speak, even if the "face" is the result of advertising copy and television commercials. This use of brand also says nothing of quality, just the buyer's exposure to the brand's PR and media hype.

For the typical merchant, branding is a way of taking everything that is good about the company -- positive shopping experience, professionalism, superior service, product knowledge, whatever the company decides is important for a customer to believe about the company -- and wrapping these characteristics into a package that can be evoked by the brand as signifier. The eCommerce Trust Study from Studio Archetype/Sapient and Cheskin Research defines brand as "The Corporation’s promise to deliver specific attributes and its credibility based on reputation and the visitor's possible previous experience". For a company, success means that people see or hear the company's brand and think "you know, company XYZ is the best at service, product knowledge, and generally good experiences".

We may use branding as another word for consumer awareness which means that more people are aware of its products/services, the more market the company will capture. This makes sense with the web, since users are encountering a marketplace far larger than they have experienced offline and so may become disconnected from their familiar brands.  It is hard not associate online book shopping with, even though other good options exist, and even though users cannot have any experience of Amazon as a real-world bookstore.

From The Point-of-View of the Buyer

Three things come into the mind of a buyer….

  1. Decision to purchase something
  2. effect to make payment for the product
  3. Assume ownership of what they purchased

Anything that interferes with these three actions is going to bother the buyer. Online shoppers seem to look for some of the following general characteristics when choosing between ecommerce merchants:

The perception of the cheapest  price.

Numerous studies show that people comparison shop online for the cheapest price (see "A Note About the Article 'Why People Shop on the Web'" below). What isn't clear is if people factor in price inflators like shipping costs or handling fees, how extensive people are in their research, or how granular people are in their appraisal (for example, do people rely on a general perception that site X is usually the cheapest place for a particular category product, or if people always look for item-level comparisons). It is not clear whether buyers actually choose the lowest price.

The perception of fewer hassles.

The different commerce "engines" or applications accommodate user expectations with different degrees of success. Logically, those sites that provide the easiest user experience for finding products and purchasing products will be the most appealing to users; anything that frustrates users becomes not just a hassle but a barrier to deciding to purchase from the site.
The perception of trustworthiness.

A user must decide to trust an ecommerce site before making a purchase, and this decision is based on a perception and judgment of the site's trustworthiness. While ecommerce sites can provide explicit cues about their trustworthiness, sites also provide implicit cues that affect the user's perception of the site. Sites often say one thing -- "trust me" -- while simultaneously giving a message -- for example, "I'm unprofessional" -- that effectively undoes this first message.

The visibility of the site.

The user's awareness of a site has an obvious effect on their potential to purchase from the site. Advertising, public relations, and media play all contribute to increase consumer awareness about a site, but none of these speaks to the quality or trustworthiness of the site. Brand is valuable, though, when the brand is recognizable as standing for qualities of the company, but the translation of real world brands to the web isn't entirely understood yet.

E-commerce is “the in- thing” because it reduces the cost of doing business. Sending a few bytes of data over a network is cheaper, faster and more convenient than sending a messenger or even making a phone call. The only hang-up here is that the Internet is very public, and very much prone to encroachments, and many people hesitate to send sensitive data over the wires where it might be intercepted by nefarious third parties. But with so many organizations excited about the benefits of e-commerce, plenty of people are working on resolving the e-security issues. So make your life easier and the shopping mall is now just a click away……

Last Updated ( Friday, 26 November 2010 09:56 )

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