Information communication technology (ICT) has altered the way of transacting business. Electronic commerce has unleashed yet another revolution which is changing the way businesses buy and sell products and services. The internet gave birth to e-commerce. Internet marketing or online marketing refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web, email, social media, and mobile apps to drive direct sales via electronic commerce. Businesses are spending more on and partaking in online marketing than ever before, the world over. Understanding the consumer behavioral factors that influence e-marketing effectiveness is crucial. While some researchers have addressed this issue, few studies draw their conclusions focusing on the customers’ angle. More also is the fact that the study of the developing countries in this regards have been lesser than expected. This paper focuses on e-marketing and its role in the growth of retail stores in Akwa Ibom State.
CHAPTER ONE –INTRODUCTION
- Background of the study
Internet marketing often called online marketing or e-marketing is essentially any marketing activity that is conducted online through the use of internet technologies. According to Chaffey (2006), internet marketing can be simply defined as achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies. It is the application of internet and related digital technologies in conjunction with traditional communications to achieve marketing objectives. It comprises not only advertising that is shown on websites, but also other kinds of online activities like email and social networking. Every aspect of internet marketing is digital, meaning that it is electronic information that is transmitted on a computer or similar device, though naturally it can tie in with traditional offline advertising and sales too. Although the relative importance of the internet marketing for a retail outlet still largely depends on the nature of its products and services and the buying behavior of its target audience, there has been a global dramatic change in media consumption over the last 10 years towards digital media which means that the internet is becoming important for all categories. Hence, the internet as a communication medium has broadened the scope of marketing communications considering the number of people who can be easily reached including the locations where they are reached, for example, from desktops to mobile smart phones. It has also increased the richness of marketing communications by combining text, video, and audio content into rich messages. Thus, the web is arguably richer as a medium than some traditional mediums such as the television because of the complexity of messages available, the enormous content accessible on a wide range of subjects and the ability of users to interactively control the experience (Laudon and Traver 2013). Furthermore, the Internet has succeeded in expanding the information intensity of the market place immensely by providing marketers and customers with well detailed real-time information about consumers as they transact in the market. Consumers are much more available to receive marketing messages due to the “always-on” environment created by mobile devices which results to an extraordinary increase in marketing opportunities for firms (Laudon and Traver 2013).
Internet marketing which is a combination of methods, approaches and tools used or put together for the promotion of goods, products and services of an organization via the internet. The advent of e-marketing has enable many retail outlets or stores in Akwa Ibom state to advertized their product or services to a wider world which under the orthodox marketing mix would have been impossible. The essence of the internet was to make the world a global village, thereby creating an avenue of trade without border (b borderless economy) and also serving as a tool of synchronizing relationships between the buyer and the seller because of adequate feedback mechanism. However without over emphasizing on the benefit of the internet to retail outlet, the maximization of all these benefit that accrue to the use of the internet has its own requirement for its to succeed because of its dynamic nature.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
E-marketing is gradually gaining prominence as a tool for competition in Nigeria. Most firms now offer e-banking transactions online to enable customers carry out transactions from the convenience of their homes or offices. The growth and acceptance of credit/debit cards and automated teller machines (ATMs) coupled with the fact that online shopping is gaining acceptance with more Nigerians, who recognize that it is no longer necessary to go in person to shops to make their purchases are testimonials to the country’s fledging e-marketing.
However, despite the benefits attached to e marketing, most businesses and firms within the Akwa Ibom unlike their counterparts in other commercial cities in the country are reluctant to utilize this medium as is evident in the queues in retail outlets within the metropolis, the time frame used in service delivery among several others. It therefore becomes pertinent to ascertain the impact of e marketing on the growth of retail outlets in Akwa Ibom state considering the gradual emergence of the state as a major tourist attraction centre.
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to ascertain the impact of e marketing on the growth of retail outlets in Akwa Ibom state. However, specific objectives include:
- To evaluate the challenges encountered by retail stores in adopting and implementing e-marketing
- To ascertain the cost of adopting and implementing e-marketing among retail outlets
- To ascertain the effectiveness of e-marketing channels to retail outlets in Akwa Ibom State.
- To ascertain the relationship between e-marketing and sales volume of retail outlets in Aks
- RESEARCH QUESTION
For the successful completion of this study, the following research questions were formulated:
- What is the cost of e-marketing to retail stores?
- What are the challenges encountered by retail stores in adopting e-marketing strategy?
- How effective is the e-marketing channel adopted by your outlet?
- Is there any relationship between e-marketing and sales volume?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypothesis were formulated to serve as a guide and to enhance the effective completion of the study
H0: There is no significant relationship between e-marketing and sales volume of the retail stores in Akwa Ibom State
The effectiveness and efficiency of any retail store in the country lies on the publicity and availability of the product required by the consumer. Most retail stores in Akwa Ibom state have the product but the challenge is the publicity. It is no doubt that the cost of advertizing on TV, radio, and print media are exorbitant or extra cost which some time yield little or no interest. In order to overcome this barrier retail stores has to embrace e-marketing because goods and services can easily be advertised on social media, e-mails, web based and mobile applications which are less costly.
As part of my requirement for the award of masters of science degree (M.SC) in business administration, this study is carried out to ascertain the impact and benefit of e-marketing in the growth of retail stores in Akwa Ibom state.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
For some times now researchers have laid emphases on e-marketing its impact in multinational organization and large and medium scale enterprise, with little or no attention given to retail outlets. It is in this backdrop that this study is embarked upon.
It is conceived that at the completion of this studies, the findings will be of great benefit to entrepreneurs and trader on how to utilized the tremendous opportunity that e-marketing offers in making their product and services available to a wider market. The findings of the study is also expected to be of great importance to retail outlet or stores in the state, in other for them to formulate strategies of curbing the queues in market and shopping centers in the state.
The study will also be of great importance to researchers, academia, student marketers and the general public.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There can be no research without limitations. As is the case with other studies, this research has a number of limitations that need to be addressed, as discussed below. One limitation of this research is the fact that the collection of empirical data depended mainly on the level of access that was granted to the researcher. Therefore, the participants could have hidden some vital information from the researcher, which could possibly have improved the research outcome, without the researcher’s knowledge. The study was limited to retail stores in Akwa Ibom state, the most cosmopolitan city in Nigeria. It is the researcher’s belief that although the research was limited to Akwa Ibom, nevertheless, some of the research findings are likely to be similar to those in other parts of Nigeria. However, the present research findings cannot be generalised without additional research. Similarly, despite the fact that issues concerning retail stores in Nigeria are homogeneous, it is still difficult to generalize Nigeria’s results to other developing countries of the world without conducting additional research. A limitation of the research methodology is concerned with the use of the multiple case study approach. Although this research made use of single case studies which assisted in providing broad and unique insights on ICT adoption issues in SMEs, nonetheless the data obtained from the individual company cannot be generalised.
- ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows ; Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, research hypothesis, justification of the study, significance or the study, limitation of the study, organization of the study, operational definition of terms and scope of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
- OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from Web sites or emails. Internet marketing and online advertising efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional types of advertising such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines.
The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and peer-to-peer networks for file sharing
Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
From a societal point of view, marketing provides the link between a society’s material requirements and its economic patterns of response. This way marketing satisfies these needs and wants through the development of exchange processes and the building of long-term relationships.
In the case of nonprofit organization marketing, the aim is to deliver a message about the organization’s services to the applicable audience. Governments often employ marketing to communicate messages with a social purpose, such as a public health or safety message, to citizens.
Retail involves the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Demand is identified and then satisfied through a supply chain. Attempts are made to increase demand through advertising. In the 2000s, an increasing amount of retailing began occurring online using electronic payment and delivery via a courier or via postal mail
Where merchandise is sold, usually a product, usually on a retail basis, and where wares are often kept.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is on e-marketing and the growth of retail store in Akwa Ibom state. The study is limited to five areas which are background of the studies, review of related literature, research methodology, data analysis and interpretation and summary, conclusion and recommendation.