Primary objective of the thesis, as stated in the official description, is “to analyze the Internet marketing strategies of international retailer companies and to investigate modern trends of Internet marketing”. Initially there was a risk of international companies’ unwillingness of revealing the information about their performance online which actually became true.
According to the methods stated in the description, I have created a questionnaire to collect the statistical information needed for the analysis. But having no possibility to use it for the initial purpose, I have modified it in a way, that it targeted not the success of the companies’ marketing strategy, but the users’ perception of the website as the core item of the marketing strategy. This information is less accurate but, a sufficient sample of participants assumed, still a qualified indicator.
Also, poor availability of information about the given sample of websites, forced me to mainly focus and statistical analysis of the blog as a medium of the modern internet and its formulation and creation of an overall image of the international retailor companies in the minds of potential clients.
In this case, alongside with the general investigation of the publically available information about the websites of the international retailor companies, a research about the popularity, availability and range of influence of a particular blog was conducted. I consider it to be a reviewing of the small item under a magnifier to understand the trend and be able to model the overall tendency.
Profiling of the international retailor companies’ sample is due to the just mentioned limitations restricted to the publically available and obtainable information1. Nevertheless, it gives an opportunity to have an insight on the general characteristics of the websites.
Websites of eight top personal computers producers were taken as a sample for the investigation. Market, separated between Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba is being watched closely, as the competition is tight. The figure2 below illustrates the market share held by vendors in personal computer shipment. The data is ranged from first quarter of 2010 to first quarter of 2013.
Figure : "Global market share held by leading PC vendors"
As it is seen on the graphic, Hewlett-Packard is leading in the amount of personal computer shipment if the first quarter of 2013, closely followed by Lenovo. The middle place in the amount of shipment is taken by Dell and Acer, both facing slight decline in the shipments. And the last place is shared by Toshiba and Asus, slowly increasing their sales.
For the purpose of this thesis, an overview of major personal computer vendors’ websites was conducted. For easier comprehension and comparison, all the obtained information was merged in the table below. The first glance assessment was done in five steps; each of the characteristics was assigned a numerical meaning composing 20% at most.
To assess the appearance of the given websites, attention has been paid to the conformity of the colors used in the design (distracting or annoying); to the clarity of the text, presence and variability of illustrative graphics and simplicity of the page overload.
The main indicators of good content are clarity, simplicity and up-to-datedness. As it has been already stated in the previous chapters, content should not be overloaded with keywords, links or anything else distracting from the perception of the relevant information. The shorter, more organized, more updated and more user-friendly content, the more points were granted.
Maximum points for the functionality were given to fast and error-free websites, across hyperlinks, contact forms and website internal search.
High scores for usability were assigned in case a website is simple, consistent and prominent. Meaning not much time is required for getting to the desired information – fast scrolling, descriptive links, and sufficient local navigation. It is also important that the website is consistent in all the modern browsers and has a mobile or pad light version.
Website gained search engine optimization high scores if it had plenty of content written in HTML format, used descriptive links and successfully passed a markup validation test provided by W3C1.
The table above illustrates the assessment conducted by myself, based on the 5 major criteria. As it was concluded in the theoretical part, one of the major focuses of the marketing is customers’ satisfaction. This is quite difficult to measure online. In order to be able to do so, I have conducted a sample survey with sufficient amount of respondents. The questionnaire can be found in the Appendix. I think it is essential to state, that the questionnaire is not aimed to receive and capture a reaction on the interface, making the poll just a measure of the usability, as for measuring that, one also needs assessment of the users’ ability to fulfill their tasks on the website.