Business-to-Consumers eCommerce: How Companies Use the Internet in Marketing Products and Services to Consumers

Business-to-Consumers eCommerce: How Companies Use the Internet in Marketing Products and Services to Consumers

Fahri Karakaya (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0077-5.ch014
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This chapter focuses on the effective use of the Internet for marketing products and services. The chapter starts by presenting statistics about Internet usage and online sales in the USA and around the world. It then examines the evolution of web sites from a static format to an interactive format with the start of Web 2.0. As a plus to small businesses, the chapter also briefly outlines the steps involved in starting an online business and the advantages and disadvantages of having one. Special emphasis is placed on developing an eMarketing strategy, drawing on the marketing mix, online marketing research, and search engine optimization, as well as social media marketing. The chapter ends by showcasing’s marketing tools as excellent examples of effective eBusiness.
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The number of Internet users and the volume of purchases on the Internet have both increased dramatically during the last decade. After several consecutive years of modest but consistent growth, broadband adoption did slow; but despite of the slowdown, there was steady increase in the use of the Internet over the past few years. The number of Internet users in the US is forecasted to reach 205 million by the end of 2010, accounting for 66% of the total population (Aarkstore Enterprise, 2010). Even during a recession, online buyers spent $29 billion during the 2009 holiday season.

The Obama Administration has devoted considerable time and effort to promote broadband adoption, expanding government efforts to bring broadband to non-user populations. Some $7.2 billion of the $787 billion federal stimulus program approved in February, 2009 was set aside for grants and mapping efforts designed to target underserved groups.

Internet World Stats (2010a) indicates that the increase is not just in the U.S., but also around the world. The Internet penetration (percentage of population using the Internet) is 77.4% in North America, compared to 58.4% in Europe, translating into an overall growth of 146% over a decade. The world average penetration rate is 28.7%, meaning Internet usage will continue to grow around the world, especially in the developing countries. In most developed countries, Internet usage is daily habit, and although the growth of the online population has slowed in the US, US Internet users spend 15.3 hours a week online.

By 2012, 217 million Americans, or 71% of the projected population, will be online ( 2010a). There is also an increase in the US use of the Mobile Web. A survey conducted by Pew Internet ( in 2010 suggests that 59% of the US population access the Internet from a laptop or cell phone. The number of Internet users around the world is shown in Table 1 ( 2010b).

Table 1.
Internet users around the world
    Asia    825 million
    Europe    475 million
    North America    266 million
    Latin America    205 million
    Africa    111 million
    Middle East    63 million
    Australia / Oceania    21 million

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