The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Place

It’s that time once again to explore how the 4P’s can apply to the modern digital world and having already covered Product and Price, today we’re going to look at Place!

E-Commerce

The ‘Place’  element of the marketing mix is simple, where can I buy that product or service. And the biggest development of digital on ‘Place’ is the creation of e-commerce. This enables customers to purchase products or services online via a website, or an app if it’s M-Commerce.  

The internet’s emergence has seen customers benefit from not having to visit a store to make their purchase, instead do it wherever they are. The advantages of this are that it’s much easier, more convenient, quicker and can be cheaper. But also the problem of opening and closing times in stores is no longer an issue and you can shop till you drop 24/7 365 days a year. Also the selection of products and services on offer are much higher with greater choice.

However, with the rise of purchasing online comes the increased competitiveness on the internet with many brands purely online and not having a store. So with many brands competing online businesses have to invest more money and time in their websites. Therefore, they must ensure the design, appearance, usability and navigation of it are highly effective if they’re to compete.

But some businesses are using their online store to complement their bricks and mortar stores to create a bricks and clicks experience. Here you can buy something and then collect it in-store, a click-and-collect strategy. For instance, purchasing a new TV online and then collecting it in-store.

New Channel Structures

The rise of websites and e-commerce has seen new channel structures occurring, namely Disintermediation and Reintermediation.

Disintermediation

This is the process of cutting out intermediaries in the supply chain. For instance, cutting out retail stores and purchasing straight from a website. An example of this is purchasing your PC directly from Dell instead of going to a PC World retail outlet.

Reintermediation

This is the opposite, as here intermediaries are added into the supply chain. For instance, price comparison sites allow you to purchase the product or service via them on behalf of the retailer, and in exchange the site gets a commission on the sale. Thus it’s an affiliate marketing intermediary.

Virtual Organisations

I touched on this earlier, but the rise of e-commerce websites has seen pureplay retailer’s increase too. So as mentioned these providers only sell online and not in stores therefore they have lower overheads. Also the distribution to deliver their products is outsourced to an external provider.

The main costs incurred for a pureplay retailer are the websites design and technical aspects, staff to maintain it, and distribution and warehouse costs. But the great thing for pureplay retailers is they aren’t restricted by geography or time and can supply a greater choice of products both tangible and digital.

So there we have it. The marketing mixes traditional element of ‘Place’ has definitely got a part to play in the digital world as a result of the rise of e-commerce and websites.

Next time it’s the final part of this series of blogs, as we delve into Promotion!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. In the meantime please follow this blog and my Twitter account @DigitalStuart for more digital marketing news. 

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