- 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. With the advent of technology the Internet has covered a larger span as business tool that has transformed business activities (Rashid & Al-Qirim, 2001). Describe e-marketing as “a tidal wave that washes over all industries and drowns all those who don’t learn to swim in it” the concept of e-marketing has become the life wire of digital marketing by marketing practitioners to describe usage of the Internet as a means of marketing; giving the more reason for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to adopt its usage as a marketing avenue (Gay, Charlesworth & Esen, 2007) posit that e-marketing uses a variety of electronic instrument in the marketing of goods and services, this instrument include all electronic appliance, the internet, world wide web (www) e-mail social network and all digital marketing tools. 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. (Unpublished material by Prisca Brown). 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 e-marketing for SMEs in the fashion industry still largely depends on the nature of its products and services and the buying behavior of its target market, there has been a global dramatic change from the old media to the new media in the past decades which means that the internet is becoming important for all categories. (Prisca Brown unpublished material) Hence, the internet as a communication medium has broadened the frontier of marketing communications considering the number of people who can be easily reached including the locations where they are, 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 an appreciable image by the consumers. 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). According to Babalola O. Oladapo Babalola Gbemisola O (2015) a business whether small or big, simple or complex, private or public, etc is created to provide competitive prices. Business in Nigeria has been classified as small, medium and large. However, a small scale industry can be explained by the criteria of project costs, capital, number of employees, sales volume, annual business turnover and the financial strength. The federal and state ministries of Industry and Commerce have adopted the criterion of value of installed fixed capital to determine what a small scale industry is to Babalola O. Oladapo Babalola Gbemisola O (2015). The fixed capital had varied from as little as N60, 000 in 1972; N159, 000 in 1975; N250.000 in 1979; N500, 000 in 1986, up to the tune of N2, 000,000 in 1992 and N5, 000,000 by 2003. Due to this fact, there may be a need to classify the small scale industry into micro and super-micro business, with a view to providing adequate incentives and protection for the former. In the meantime, any business or enterprise below the upper limit of N250, 000 and whose annual turnover exceeds that of a cottage industry currently put at N5, 000 per annum is a small scale industry. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) concept of a small scale industry has been fixed to a maximum of N35, 000.
The existence of marketplaces in human society has a long history from before the Agora of Ancient Greece to the online trading places of the 21st century (McMillan 2002). The 1990s have seen an explosive growth of networks and information systems that cross organizational boundaries, these systems can bring together buyers and sellers in a market. The result is Electronic marketing or e-marketing (Bakos 1998; Malone et al 1987). Kambil and van Heck (2002) are of the view that e-marketing must offer an advantage over traditional markets if it is to succeed and encourage firms to overcome any difficulties arising from using the technology. In essence, e-marketing must be of more value, complex and complete more than traditional market and must create extra value for the firm.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
E-marketing is gradually gaining prominence as a tool for competition in Nigeria. The Internet is the fastest growing technology in the world, taking approximately seven years to reach a 25% market share from its conception, in contrast to the telephone that took 35 years, and the television which took 26 years (Singh, 2002). Despite the growing consciousness and enthusiasm for electronic marketing, only a few SMEs are exploiting its substantial benefits (Awa et al., 2010). Moreover, there is insufficient evidence of long-term strategic development of e-marketing technologies within SMEs in the fashion industry in developing countries that are already employing the system especially in Lagos. In Nigeria, e-marketing diffusion is rather slow but steady (Awa et al., 2010); Cloth and dress have been described as a mirror of the culture of the people in any society (Perani and Wolff, 1999: 25). The fashion tides changes from time to time, one is never exactly sure but when it does it makes itself obvious. In Nigeria the fashion tide probably changed for the best about seven years ago and we are in love with the change although fashion really boomed all over the world in 2014, this year there was just too many great styles and of lately things became much more pronounced.
The Nigerian fashion industry just like every other country was affected by this tidal change. Today in 2017, the reflections of this boom plus the recession has affected our style and fashion SENSE drastically. This drastic effect isn’t a terrible but a good thing and it’s only perfect that we’ve actually welcomed and are taking keen interest in our own fashion universe which is filled with talented individuals who use the Ankara fabric to create elegant and chic styles. We were on the brink of a break through at one point in our history and now that we’ve finally pulled through we’ve only realized how important it is to support our own. Female and male native wears used to be worn on Friday only but that was ages ago, now it’s an everyday thing as you can wear the Ankara style anytime you like, and not just that you can wear it to work too or any other function you can think of you only have to have a good style and of cause a good tailor/fashion designer. This is the current trend despite enormous evidence to suggest that e-marketing can facilitate improved business practices particularly within the SME frontiers in the fashion industry (Modimogale & Kroeze, 2011; Mora-Monge, Azadegan and Gonzalez 2010; Whiteley, 2000). The advent of e-marketing offers SMEs a new frontier of opportunities and challenges. An understanding of the drivers that influence the adoption of e-marketing can allow small and medium firms to create solutions and plans to attract consumers to their products and services, thus enabling them to gain a greater representation in the global industry market (Ghobakhloo et al., 2011). Nigerians, probably more than any other African people, like to wear clothes in their traditional fashion and style. If they do not wear the complete traditional look, there will be at least one cultural element in their outfit. These looks are not just for parties and events. They are also great as casual wears. To date, limited research has been conducted on the drivers of e-marketing adoption by SMEs. Currently, there is no international database that provides information on the use of ICTs in small and medium enterprises in developing countries (United Nations, 2014). This study contributes to our understanding of the reasons behind e-marketing drivers among SMEs in the fashion industry. It therefore becomes pertinent to ascertain the factors influencing the adoption of e marketing by SMEs in the fashion industry in Lagos state considering the gradual emergence of the state as a major tourist and first proposed digital city in the continent.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The main objective of this study is to examine the factors influencing the adoption of e marketing by small and medium scale enterprise in the fashion industry in Lagos state. However, specific objectives include:
- To critically examine the role of E-marketing in SMEs
- To critically evaluate the challenges encountered by SMEs in the fashion industry in adoption and implementation of e-marketing
- To profile ethnic fashion by SMEs in Lagos state
1.4 STRUCTURAL PLAN OF THE STUDY
This research work on; factors influencing adoption of e-marketing by small and medium enterprise (SMEs) in the fashion industry in Lagos state. The structural plan for the study is split into sections or chapters, which shall be encapsulated under the following sub-category; research problem, research objective clearly stated, the state of the phenomena under study, theoretical review, research hypotheses, research onions which comprise of: research philosophy, research approach, research strategy, choice of research, time frame, research technique and research instrument, source of data, research sampling, reliability of instrument of data collection and reliability and validity of the instrument, time frame for the completion of the study and conclusion.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
To aid the completion of the study, the following research question was formulated by the researcher;
- What are the factors influencing the adoption of e-marketing by SMEs in fashion industry in Lagos state
- What role does e-marketing play in small and medium scale enterprise in Lagos state
- What are the challenges encountered by SMEs in the fashion industry in adoption and implementation of e-marketing in Lagos state
1.6 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 small scale enterprise in the fashion industry. 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 management of SMEs in the fashion industry 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 the players in the fashion sector in the state, in other for them to formulate strategies of that will better help them showcase the indigenous fabric beyond the state.
The study will also be of great importance to researchers, academia, student marketers and the general public.