The Market for Online Orders in 2015

The Market for Online Orders in 2015

The Market for Mail Order in 2015

The ONLINE MARKETING Manager who is contemplating the use of mail order should assess the nature of the market served by this distribution channel. To do so he must establish who are the people who buy through the post.

In a country such as Britain, where the vast majority of the population has easy access to conventional retail outlets; chain stores; multiples; co-operative stores and independent shops; the practice of buying goods by post may seem, at first sight, unnecessary and inconvenient. One would assume that the consumer would prefer to see and handle the merchandise before he decided to part with his money. The successful record of mail order trading in this country is undoubted proof that such an assumption is a fallacy. Millions of pounds are spent annually by vast numbers of people, drawn from all sectors of the community, on goods they have not examined personally until they are delivered to their door.

Let us examine this phenomenon, to establish the motives which cause people to take the trouble to buy through the post.

1. Adventure. There are many people who derive enjoyment from the action of reading an advertisement, writing a letter, enclosing a postal order or cheque, posting it and waiting, with pleasurable anticipation, for the arrival of the wished for parcel. The motivation may be likened to the sensation of a child expecting a gift for his birthday or a present from Santa Claus.

2. Prestige. There are people who suffer from a feeling of inadequacy when they enter a shop or store to make a purchase. They are but one of many hundreds of other shoppers. When they order by mail they have the satisfaction of receiving goods addressed to them by name. They believe they have acquired prestige because a large business organization has conducted a transaction with them personally.

3. Convenience. For many people, shopping can be a hazardous, if not harrowing, experience. Those who are infirm, because of age or ill-health, find the problems of travel, even over comparatively short distances from their homes to the local shopping centre, too exhausting to be undertaken with pleasure. There are other groups of consumers, with no physical disabilities, who dread the necessity of visiting retail shops. Some have a fear of large cities or large stores. There are people who are nervous of having to confront shop assistants and ask to be shown items of merchandise. Such individuals are often extremely self-conscious or timid. They are afraid they may appear foolish and dislike the prospect of buying goods they do not like as an alternative to walking out of a shop without making a purchase. There are others, still, who have extreme difficulty in making up their mind especially when faced by an unsympathetic salesman waiting with impatience for them to reach a decision! For all such people, the offer to 'decide in the comfort of your own home' is a powerful attraction.

4. Exclusiveness. There are, however, many well-adjusted people who buy via mail order simply because the article they want is apparently only available to them through the post. Certainly, there are a large number of product lines brought to the attention of consumers by means of mail order advertising in the popular press as well as in hobbyist magazines, which it would take a great deal of time to find in conventional retail outlets.

5. Economy. Perhaps the most powerful motive behind the majority of mail order purchases is the popular belief that goods bought through the post offer better value for money. A large proportion of mail order advertising stresses the factors of low price and superior product quality. It is this aspect, coupled with the belief that they are cutting out the 'middleman' and buying straight from the manufacturer, which attracts many mail order clients.

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