Lahore School of Economics

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E-Commerce and Online Advertising

Mr. Zohaib Ali Jamal, Head of Marketing and Operations of TheSouq.com and alumnus of the Lahore School delivered a session to the MBA participants on 12 June 2015 on Online Advertising. The session was part of the Brand and Advertising Management course.


At the outset Zohaib explained that direct marketing was the use of consumer-direct channels to reach and deliver goods and services to customers without using market middlemen. E-commerce, one branch of direct marketing, had reached 13 billion dollars in GCC countries in 2014 from 9 billion in 2012.

To take the e-commerce example of TheSouq, based in UAE, the consumer placed an order through the computer for a product (say iPaD). This order was processed at and through the e-commerce platform hosted by TheSouq. It was then passed on to the Vendor Inventory (it is to be noted that TheSouq does not have any inventory) from where a Delivery Channel (Aramex UAE – third party logistics) will deliver the product at the home of the buyer.

Of course now in Pakistan e-commerce websites had started working and some were flourishing – e.g. daraz.pk; kaymu.pk; iShopping.pk; Shophive; and recently umall. This was happening because e-commerce and online shopping allowed convenience of buying from home for the consumer and reduced the costs for the seller (and thus for the buyer) by eliminating many middlemen. No physical retailer was required and promotion was more efficient and less costly. The buyers had access to a wide range of products and could compare them easily.

Then Zohaib showed many slides on the “Back End” which by definition was invisible from the consumer’s eyes – it had icons such as Web Pages, Page Contents, PopUp; Categories; Brands; Attributes; Product Types; Products; Inventory; Reviews; Delivery Options; Coupons; Promotions; Customers; Reports; Cancelled Carts etc. These provided considerable power to the web-based seller to know the customer well and to provide service in a more efficient way.

The e-seller had access to Google Analytics, perhaps the most powerful source of information on the e-buyers. Google Analytics informed sellers how much time the buyer spent on the website, the bounce rate; view page. Bounce Rate meant if the buyer came to the website, spent a few minutes and went away without any activity.

Online Advertising included Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization; Paid Search; Video Marketing; Viral Marketing and Social Media Marketing. The cost of online advertising was low, the reach was high and engagement with customers was intensive. The duration of online ads was short and marketing content could be easily modified.

There was a question and answer session and the MBA participants asked him about Facebook reach, online fraud, return policy and inventory ownership.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 6/15/2015 09:30:00 AM,

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