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Making the Brand/Consumer Connection (and sale) Online

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: July 6, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Women are making more informed purchases—perusing marketing materials on brands’ or retailers’ sites, and reading beauty product reviews to get testimonials from peers. This is great news for highly rated products that had never received mass notice before.

Kathleen McNeill: Online retail provides national exposure with very little overhead. There are no testers, shop-worn damages, fixtures or extensive trainers needed by region. It also provides a brand with a greater platform to tell their brand story in “their voice” and educate consumers on their brand.

Shawn Tavakoli: Online retail provides brands with the opportunity for much greater exposure to consumers. Consumers today want information, and they want convenience. More consumers are turning to the Internet to find products that are not widely distributed. Brands can have national and international exposure if sold online.

Lawrence Mortenson: The Internet makes geographic location irrelevant. Brands that invest in establishing themselves online have the opportunity to build exposure worldwide. There are some headaches that come with the technology, to be sure. It can be harder to control your product distribution and manage your brand image. Things such as customer complaints can get a lot of visibility fast. But all-in-all, I think it’s fair to say that the pros far outweigh the cons. The coolest thing about online retail? It’s still in its infancy—we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Laura Kenney: The Internet has the ability to exponentially increase brand awareness. Local companies or brands with limited distribution can now reach a nationwide or worldwide clientele. Brands can reach audiences beyond their normal client by marketing themselves in areas outside their usual comfort zone, and you can take your marketing to a micro level—leveraging specific products to captive online audiences on a site-by-site basis.