Less than a dozen years after first entering the commercial sphere, it’s fair to say that the World Wide Web has revolutionized the consumer electronics industry. For manufacturers, it has provided a way to finally present the compelling value propositions to consumers that many felt weren’t adequately provided by the retailer. For retailers, it has changed business models, with increased reliance on customer self service and much-reduced reliance on commissioned sales personnel. For consumers, it has been both a research assistant and shopping aid, and in many cases, substitutes completely for the in-store retail experience.
As a result, virtually every consumer electronics company now has a consumer-facing Web site, and in some cases, several. However, this simple fact is where most of the commonality ends. The particulars of a CE site—its goals, execution and success metrics—are often wildly different between competing companies. With so much riding on this vital communication avenue, manufacturers and retailers each pursue their own individual philosophies regarding what the company site should be and do. But beyond the philosophy, there are also the nuts and bolts issues of management and administration. Sites must be kept current, and provide the right information to the right recipients at all times—so what’s the best way? As in most questions pertaining to CE, the “best” is an individual decision.
Selling vs. Helping People Buy