IV. Analysis of the data

Email/phone questionnaire (see appendix I) survey results

The above data are coming from the email/phone survey results. As explained in the methodology section the phone survey succeeded the email survey. Because the procedure and content of both surveys are common the results are combined without any variation.

The headings included in the above table describe the following: “Site name”, the actual name of the site as listed in the Yahoo business directory. “Employees”, the actual number of employees working for the site or for the internal department of the company which holds the site. “Leads”, the number of sales leads the Web sites are getting in a form of feedback from their visitors per day. “Sales”, the number of orders and sale transactions which take place everyday on this site. “Products”, how many product items are distributed through each Web site. “Hits”, how many visits the site receives everyday. “Rev. %”, the percentage of revenues coming from services and products exposed on the Web site, including advertising.

From the email/phone survey data and in combination with the information we have already cited, the following trends can be observed for these specific kind of commercial Websites.

-- Computer and car marketers show to be early adopters of Web and online advertising. The next categories of advertisers to embrace the Web are information-intensive product and service industries such as travel, pharmaceutical, beverage and retail marketers. For automobile web marketers there was no way to define the number of products or sales achieved from their web because they strongly rely on web advertising something that can be also seen from the low percentage of web commerce revenues coming from their web site. Automobile marketers have increased number of hits and impressive number of leads because of their brand reputation.

-- As ActivMedia’s 96 report indicates, future Web site growth will come from established brands, so called “traditional media brands” like The New York Times, CNN and ESPN have the financial and marketing resources necessary to make advertising a success on the Web. Startups without the advertising sales expertise or the ability to leverage existing advertisers and audiences face an uphill battle. This can be also observed through the Wall Street Journal data where the prestige of the publication helps the site to attract a high number of hits. In general, news information Web sites hold a high number of hits but low volume of online revenues. This is what is going to be translated in the future as potential online advertising resource; using also the loyalty their print customers have towards them.

-- For the option of percentage of revenues of the commercial Web sites we see from the average of the Web site that the companies examined had an average 50% mix of revenues coming from the Web over the last 2 years where most of them started, while the Web is expanding into its full capacity. This calculation was made taking into consideration the different variables according to which each Website made its revenues, commerce or advertising. In the case of web advertising the calculated mix of revenues depended on what type of service was offered by the Websites, whether Web advertising was a alternate source of revenue or a primary source for these Web sites. Specifically in the case of online shopping we see an increased percentage of revenues coming directly from the Web. In the case of established department stores which have Web sites, the things there are different since these companies do not promote so much yet the idea of online commerce. The major reason is the expected establishment of a common secure transaction system.

It is clear from the above observations that there is an active progress for the commercial Websites. The average figures show that with a minimum of 14 employees a company can finally distribute a volume of 70,000 products or services to 900 people per day. Looking at the 3,450 leads we see the potential of these sites to make their marketing effective to attract a high number of sales. The 50% of revenue also shows the potential increase of profit these sites can have straight from the Web. If we consider that the average amount of visitors is 6,800 per day the popularity of the medium in its present form becomes obvious. The mentioned numbers show the overall potential for profitability for the Web commerce. This potential as described in the marketing strategy that follows is shown as a trend for marketing development on the Web.

Next, the marketing strategies used on the commercial web are analyzed. The sample (see appendix II) is the same with the one used for the first part of the research. The Web sites which included to the previous section were divided into product categories; the same categories like the ones described in the methodology section. Then the Websites were observed as for their marketing strategies. The elements indicated from the literature review section that need to be examined are: content, graphics (layout) and interactive.

From this review several things can be observed relating to marketing aspects. As first explain in the methodology section, the 3 components which affect the marketing stimuli experience are: content, graphics and interactive. The above commentary on the sample commercial Websites proves the challenge which is taking place in the area of Web marketing. From the online shopping point of view we see a tremendous effort of enrich and variable content. The same time the web marketers of online shopping Websites, they try to offer a simplified and well designed interactive environment where visitors can have a pleasant shopping experience. On the other hand established businesses or big companies have introduced to their Websites a variety of interactive tools. The most popular tools used for this reason, as can been seen from the above table, are multimedia like Real Audio (live audio on the Web) and intelligent search engines. At the same time all these big corporations have maintained a very friendly use interface which facilitates the scope for satisfaction for the visitors browsing experience. In terms of the informational sites, we see a variety of development level. There are small size sites where they keep a low marketing profile and other bigger which offer a powerful content in combination with a dynamic interactive environment.

There are no specific standards of marketing development on the Web. There’s a tremendous amount of effort from all types of Websites to offer an enriched layout and content impression. Depending on the products and services the Websites give the appropriate attention to visitors impression. From the previous observations no specific Web marketing standards can be set. Although no specific standards can be set, what both surveys indicate is that the commercial trend of the Web grows so fast that the creation of marketing standards is inevitable. Having this kind of certainty for the future of the marketing strategy development it is more likely that the success of the Web as a marketing communications medium will also follow this promising trend.

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