• AlanCh

    Hi Kim – excellent article – love the flip flop example.

    Could it be that [finally?] ‘online’ is maturing to the stage where it is a) accepted as part of marketing [whatever that is], and b) having traditional marketing experience/practice applied in a way that best uses the various elements of the ‘new’ media?

    Pre Internet there was always flip flop specialist shops who had ‘conversations’ – dare I say, developed relationships – with customers who were willing to pay full price for the service and range stocked. At the same time other shops stacked their limited range of flip flops high and sold them cheap.

    In marketing, this has been called ‘segmentation’ for some time – though the concept existed for centuries before someone gave it a name. Full marks to your flip flop supplier, they did their job well – let’s tag them as ‘relationship marketers’. But at the same time, your new friend’s supplier also did their ‘transactional marketing’ effectively too. And guess what, both can exist profitably in the virtual environment, each meeting the needs of their target market.

    However, perhaps the future challenge for your flip flop supplier is that of integrated retailing. Customers [you?] might want the online decision-making experience – but prefer to nip down to their local mall to make the purchase. If they eventually get their game together [some have, but not many] it is the established retail ‘chains’ that can offer the combination of on- and off-line realtionship experience – something niche online sellers will find difficult [but not impossible – though that is a different article].