The Choice of Product for Online Order and e-Commerce

The Choice of Product for Online Order and e-Commerce

The Choice of Product for Mail Order

When we come to consider the type of product most suitable for mail order distribution it is obvious that the range is extremely wide. Every really successful mail order proposition, however, should endeavour to offer the client one or more of the following:

exclusivity

ease of ordering economy

value for money.

1. Exclusivity. An item of merchandise which is not readily obtainable from a local shop will obviously sell more readily through the post than one which the consumer can buy during regular shopping expeditions. Furthermore, because mail order traders generally advertise their wares in newspapers and periodicals with wide, often national, circulations, they have to compete with other firms operating in a similar manner. If one's mail order proposition is likely to be paralleled by several others which are offered in the same newspaper, it will be apparent that one can expect to enjoy only a percentage of the available demand. Many products of a similar, indeed, of an identical nature, are in fact advertised side by side in the mail order sections of the national press. Wherever possible, however, the firms concerned endeavour to offer a slightly different proposition, in terms of price or credit facilities or money-back guarantees.

2. Ease of Ordering. Lethargy on the part of the consumer is the main factor which the mail order trader has to combat. The majority of people are prone to put things off, to postpone the actual placing of their order, however interested they may be in the proposition offered to them. Much research has been conducted by mail order practitioners to overcome this problem

by providing means whereby with the minimum of personal effort the customer can place his order.

3. Economy. The proposition offered by the mail order trader should convey to the consumer an element of economy. As we have seen, many of those who purchase goods through the post are motivated by the idea that they are saving money because they are dealing directly with the manufacturer. They believe that the price they will pay will be less than they would have to pay for the same article purchased from a shop because the retailer's profit has been excluded. In many cases this is true, although the producer who distributes by mail order still incurs advertising and other costs which he must pass on in the price he charges the consumer.

4. Value for Money. There can be no doubt whatever that every product which is to be sold through the post must represent value for money. Ethical considerations apart, it is a sheer waste of advertising investment to supply inferior merchandise. All the successful mail order houses have been built upon a reputation for fair-dealing and any firm which, knowingly or not, misleads the public cannot last long in this highly competitive field. It is because people who repeatedly make postal purchases have confidence in the suppliers based on past experience that mail order trading has been so successful. Undoubtedly mistakes will occur, orders will be incorrectly executed, goods will get lost in transit. All reputable mail order firms-and these are the great majority-will immediately put things right to satisfy the client because they know how vital it is to their continuing prosperity that they should do so.

From the producer's point of view, there is one other factor which should apply to the type of product suitable for mail order distribution. Its mailing or transportation cost, generally speaking, should not be much more than 10 per cent of its selling price.

Every mail order transaction is an individual sale. Whether the product in question is a magazine which can be posted conveniently or sections of a greenhouse which have to be carried on a truck, if the cost of physical distribution bites too heavily into the profit margin the sale will result in a loss. The figure of 10 per cent has been found, through long experience, to be a useful yardstick when assessing product suitability.


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