‘GE appliances’ proposes a wide range of electrical equipment including refrigerators and freezers, electric and gas cooking, washers and dryers, dishwashers, compactors and disposers, ventilation systems and water systems, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers (www.geappliances.com). Online marketing proposes great opportunities for companies but also it requires huge investments and organizational restructuring to create new channels of distribution. For ‘GE appliances’ it is more profitable to sell its products through retailers avoiding channel conflict. ‘GE appliances’ is a global company which sells its products through different distribution channels, and direct sales through the site will have a negative impact on other retailers and their sales. On the other hand, ‘GE appliances’ will not be able to deliver its products to different parts of the world and to end consumers. For this reason, diverse distribution channels and sales through retailers is the best strategy for ‘GE appliances’.
For the international marketer, internationalization with the help of Internet technology is most effective when developed as a carefully planned process for increasing penetration of international markets. Market coverage intensity will influence web-site structure and content. The company will have to change its design appealing to different customers groups. The web site should create identity advertising its services and depicting wide product coverage and unique brand image. The design of the website should be used as an analytical tool and as identity of sorts. The outlet for communicating and selling in this case is a producer's own catalogue of the products. Catalogues have to be kept exciting and they should be able to appeal to highly diversified audiences with ever changing needs. They may sometimes be added to by simply sending pages with additional products for sale to the customers who have already received the initial catalogue. Interactive TV is another way to reach wider target audience (Hanson, 2000).
The web site has excellent customer service issues including “Service and Support” and “Design Center”. Also, it can add online live chart and online support services in order to improve customers’ services and communication. These services can hasten the process of purchase. ‘Online support services’ is essentially a matching process between the needs and expectations of customers, and the organization's ability and capacity to satisfy them immediately. ‘Online support services’ will improve customer relationships management and interaction. The website will thrive if it offers its participants exchange of common interests. A good website is easy-to-use which helps customers to save time looking for a product, its modifications, characteristics, specifications and price.
If the option were available, I would purchase ‘GE appliances’ online. Like many other customers, I prefer to buy products from manufacturers or direct distributors because they propose lower price and better service than their ‘competitors’. Online sales would provide immediate access to a world-wide market, including wide range of GE products and services. Speed, low cost and high service quality are the main benefits and differences of online sales. Also, it would be easier to contact technical specialists as for specific use of a product (Hanson, 2000).
GE should be considering direct marketing efforts which influence its global image and attract wide target audiences. The company can use catalogues and statement inserts, direct mail (existing consumers) as the main direct marketing efforts. Experience has shown that companies that systematically attempt to improve customer satisfaction, through well-developed customer relationship management practices, reap the rewards of happy customers, employees and other stakeholders, and healthy profit margins. Post cards and card packs will help to measure direct response from customers and their direct participation in service improvement. Direct marketing can demonstrate it has been able to successfully sell propositions where the content owners have failed with other approaches.
Hanson, W. (2000). Principles of Internet Marketing. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing. www.geappliances.com