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The world is currently experiencing massive technological innovations on daily basis. Technology has been based on the latest discoveries concerning the nature and used to fulfill a purpose for the society. It is self creating; though, it requires human intervention to build up and reproduce it. New technologies arise from a combination of existing ones. Technology is transforming the world into a village.
Marketing is a management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumer requirements. It is a venue through which a firm creates value for itself. Marketing strategies play a significant part in ensuring that a business succeeds. It includes activities such as direct selling, sales promotion, advertising campaigns, distribution, and new market research. It encompasses understanding consumer needs, scanning the environment and market opportunity analysis, developing competitive marketing plan and strategies that assist a company to achieve its objectives and the consumer needs, implementing the marketing plan, and developing tactical plans to overcome emerging problems in the market place. It also involves developing control mechanisms. Different business organizations have different marketing strategies; though, the ultimate goal of all marketing strategies is to ensure satisfying exchanges between parties involved (Abdel, Katsh & Rainey 2012, p. 18). Every business organization has marketing management composed of the people responsible for contribution towards marketing of its products.
Technology affects all sectors of the economy both positively and negatively: this includes marketing. Marketing strategies are, however, changing to take advantage of the new technology. In the UK, the effects are clearly evident in various business organizations. Supermarkets are embracing technology so as to thrive in the market. Technological techniques such as tele-seminars, emails marketing, websites promotions, and electronic news letters can be used to communicate with actual and prospects customers regularly. Marketers can announce new products, special promotions, and new hi-res in addition to discussing business issues through these techniques (Solove 2004, p. 42). Supermarkets make use of the evolving technology, especially during the festive season, to announce special offers and promotions. It has facilitated the marketer’s efforts in reaching the new markets and also testing the alternative marketing approaches.
Current technology ranges from hardware and software to telecommunications. Information technology includes computers, the internet, video texts, mobile phones, digital communications, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA). It encompasses a range of technology to capture, store, process and transmit information. With the internet, most people have email accounts now. Marketers use these emails as a channel for marketing their products and services by sending promotional messages. The emails are a fast, flexible and effective way of delivering the messages. Email accounts also enable consumers to respond to the promotional messages and are confidential. Most business organizations have email accounts, which they use for marketing. According to Sheth and Parvatiya, (2000, p.135), modern technology advances in information technology, electronic and computerized communication systems which simplify the maintenance of relationships. It provides a greater networking and communication, and this enhances contacts in relationship marketing.
E-commerce is also a technology that has a great impact on marketing. It establishes a sustainable and competitive position for a firm in the market. It enables consumers to locate products and services through intelligent agents (Schot 2001, p. 33). They bid for various market offerings, bypass distribution outlets, and intermediaries. They can also shop around the globe at any time at their comfort. This pressurizes marketers to be competitive in the prices of products and also their options. For supermarkets, they have to ensure that they stand competition; otherwise, other businesses will wipe them out. Through the use of e-marketing, companies can personalize customer relationship to a nearly one-to-one basis. Products and services can be designed to meet customer specifications (Lichtenthal 2004, p. 67). In the UK, supermarkets that use the e-commerce offer their customers a delivery time window where there are three delivery concepts: attended, unattended, and self pick up.
Digital technology makes marketing easy. It helps in computing and data storage. It also enables transmission of signals through telecommunication networks. Firms are, therefore, able to interact with their customers. This interactive marketing combines the product features, product development, pricing, and information regarding consumers.
Digital technologies have seen the invention of mobile phones. Some have an in-built General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) system, and marketers use them to deliver the promotional messages. Consumers can also use the mobile phones to purchase products at their comfort even when at their homes. Supermarkets use scanners, which are a part of digital technology, to keep track of purchases and provide personalized coupons at the checkout. This helps the marketing management in keeping track on the movement of stocks. Digital technologies allow customization of products, services, and promotional messages. They enable marketers to collect and analyze complex data on consumers buying patterns and personal characteristics (Reid 2011, p. 52). They later use this to target small and increasingly focused groups of consumers. Consumers are able to get more information about products and services, their prices at their comfort and at home more easily and efficiently. Through the digital technologies, consumers can find the latest reviews of the products they are considering to buy and compare the features of different products models at the sites of online retailers. This, therefore, requires marketers to be keen on the limits of their promotional messages.
Digital technologies make the exchange between consumers and marketers interactive. Consumers can react to marketer’s messages instantly, and, thus, marketers are able to assess the effectiveness of their marketing strategies, products, and services. Supermarkets use this technology to assess their preference compared to other supermarkets and distributors. In televisions, marketers place advertisements that help them in meeting their objectives, increasing sales. Here, they are able to advertise many people at the same time. Digital business enables personalization where online supermarkets amplify their exploitation of customers’ web in strategic innovation. Supermarkets in the UK also use the technology of geo-demographic software models. These offer reports, mapping and analysis of customers. A supermarket like Tesco has been retaining a strong focus on the technology advancements since 1994. It has gone to an extent of acquiring an IT support firm since 2008 that deals with technical issues on the range of the electronic products the company sells. This has benefited the firm with the reduced dissonance feeling on the bought products among its customer.
Technology has brought about the close circuit televisions. Supermarkets make use of the closed circuit supermarkets to supervise the shopping of their customers and also the workers to enhance security. This is efficient and very accurate, and it cuts the cost by reducing the number of supervisors employed. The closed circuit televisions are fixed high unlike human supervisors who will have to move around in the supermarkets; therefore, they save on the ground space. Also with the new technology, there are methods of numbering stocks such that different products have different serial numbers. Supermarkets attendants can locate the stock easily. Cashiers use bar code readers to get the serial number of products, and their prices are reflected on the screen. This has helped improve a customer service through the reduced turnaround time.
According to Lamb et al (2002, p. 637), technology enhances flexibility of firms to respond to the consumer demands. Interactive technologies have enabled marketers to track the consumption behavior, brand preferences, and the purchasing behavior of consumers. This assists the marketing management to strategize on different marketing methods for different products and services and also to plan their supply. Technology assists marketers to adapt their products so as to satisfy consumers’ needs. It also assists them to redesign their distribution strategies. For instance, they use satellite mapping of various markets, web and extranet to cover intermediaries in order to optimize their supply chains. The web is a cluster of companies, which collaborates around, architectures to deliver elements of the value proposition. This cluster continues to gain strength as many companies join. Online supermarkets have their basis on customer webs, which are organized, around behavior and spending patterns of a market. Web designers aim at maximizing the size of the web. They achieve this through giving other companies value capture opportunities. In the web, customers can access shopping baskets and specify the products and services which they are interested in. A personalized login system is required to access the web. This login gives an option to modify customer details, such as delivery.
Online supermarkets have adopted models of virtue pure play, baby e-supermarkets, and hybrid brick and click. Technology enables online supermarkets to have subsidiary supermarkets. These subsidiaries are called baby e-supermarkets. They use the web of the parent supermarket’ though, they have their brand e-name; while the parent supermarket still uses the web. Virtual plays are non-supermarkets that come to the online supermarket arena to partner with online supermarkets or invest in warehouses. This enhances an exploitation of opportunities (Hoxie 2011, p. 31). Hybrid models involve existing players extending their offline operations to include online operations but under the same name.
Technology has made shopping easier and more efficient for both consumers and marketers. The invention of credit cards and visa cards has ensured that consumers do not have to carry cash as they go shopping (Ciulla, Martin & Solomon 2007, p. 25). They use these, and the total amount due is credited from the consumers bank account. Supermarkets are rapidly embracing this, to increase sales and enhance security. Also, there are membership cards where those who possess them enjoy discounts. Technology has also seen the invention of a machine that detects paper money that is not genuine. Supermarkets use it to reduce the chances of receiving money that is not genuine since they handle a lot of money.
In the early days, supermarkets operated using catalogue and call centers. Their operations were slow, tiring, and prone to mistakes. New technology has outdone the catalogues and call centers with the fast and efficient means. The internet has replaced the catalogues; while the web has replaced the call centers. The internet offers a cheaper alternative for home shopping. This has inspired many UK supermarkets to embrace online marketing. The internet is a technology that is gaining popularity at a very high speed in the current world. It provides access to a wide range of information, and more and more people are getting access to it daily (Fox 2004, p. 27). It also enables customers to do their shopping in supermarkets while at the comfort at their homes. Marketers place their advertisements in the internet, and this helps them to sell more to their existing clients, find new clients, increase the size of their average sale, and decrease their expenses.
The internet provides a cheap and efficient channel for marketers to advertise their products due to reduced costs on such things as transportation. The internet enables a change in terms of the channel development and coordination, product and service offering, value proposition model, and operations. In the internet, there are interactive kiosks, which provide information on beauty products. Consumers are able to know how they will look after using the products. These kiosks guide consumers in making decisions. For instance, the Unilever, which is an international marketer, uses these kiosks. Several supermarkets in the U.K have embraced this technology to market their products such as Tesco, Waitrose, and Asda. In the UK supermarkets, which are online, they are able to create new bundles of products and services to offer lifestyle solutions. In food and drink related services, some supermarkets offer party organizing, online diet recipes, health centers, wine travel, and others. They also offer grocery services. Online supermarkets in the UK have embraced grocerification which enables them to cross-sell different products. For this reason, customers can access limitless opportunities which help lead to their loyalty.
Online supermarkets also have the ability to control an electronic channel. This is called a customer magnet or a category destination. These sites provide customers with a wide variety of information. In essence, online supermarkets act as doors for their customers to the outside world. The introduction of online shopping in the UK has resulted in significant changes, in most supermarkets (Mcdonald 1998, p. 65). This is exhibited in channel development and coordination, redefining business scope, development of a fulfillment center model, core processes, new ways of customer value creation, and online partnership.
Technology enhances partnership among business organizations that share a web. A customer database is built to enable customers identify their needs; though, it is outside the business scope of the definition. Web partners serve these needs that are outside the scope of a web partner. Customer database can be extended to attract many web partners to join. Members of a web are, however, independent only that they portray a similar web-like behavior.
Technological changes affect the economic environment which, in turn, affects all the marketers. It affects the growth rate, the inflation rate, and the general state of the economy. Marketing management has to be aware of these economic changes and their impact on consumers spending. Inflation causes phantom profits, while making inroads on capital. Marketing management has to be aware of the money supply, interest rates, and the position of a country’s monetary unit relative to other countries. It also has to be aware of the fiscal policies prevailing. Technology facilitates this by providing a wide range of information to the organization on events taking place in the country and international fronts.
Though technology has made marketing easier and more efficient, it has also negatively impacted the strategic marketing management. Technology improves with time, and; therefore, there is a tendency of being rendered obsolete. New inventions and innovations will overtake the technology in use today, rendering useless with time. This, therefore, requires companies to be on the lookout for new technologies. New technology may require new skills to enable it to be incorporated in the organization. Therefore, staff requires continuous and periodic training on the new technologies. Such training may have the effect of raising the operation costs for the firms at a time when they are looking for all means to hold the costs low. Installing new technology may jeopardize the pricing promotion techniques that have been embraced by most of the supermarkets in the U.K. For example, SuperValu appeals to the consumers through its slogan: ”SuperValu Price Promise”; while Asda uses: “Why Pay More.” Such strategies may be rendered abstract if there are constant changes in technology that needs to be implemented. For instance, installing the closed circuit television is very expensive and may require employment of experts to manage and maintain the systems, and this increases a company’s expenditure.
The use of technology results in the high unemployment levels. For instance, the use of the closed circuit television replaces several employees whose work would be supervisory. Also, using computers in accounting eases accounting work, and, therefore, the several accountants are substituted. Using the internet, as a marketing media, results in marketing staff number being reduced, and some of them are left jobless. The new technology has given consumers access to a wide range of information easily. This keeps marketers at their toes as they have to consider the pricing of their competitors since consumers have perfect knowledge concerning the prevailing market conditions. This may thwart the opportunities of the firm to influence such strategies as price discriminations.
Advertising, using the new technology, is expensive and may, sometimes, not be effective. Advertising on the television, especially at the prime hours, is very expensive. Consumers can control what they watch on the television, when they watch it and whether or not to view advertisements using digital recorders, despite marketers having invested heavily in the advertisements. This may make the advertisement ineffective. Piracy, which comes hand in hand with new technology, poses a great threat to commercial entities that market online.
Online supermarkets in the UK have to address some issues which are related to technology. They have to train their customers how to use the online shopping effectively, guide them on profitable shopping baskets, and try to change the mindset of people to have trust the online shopping. They also have to map the role of different channels online to ensure they are efficient to avoid unnecessary investment in digital technology. They have to improve their delivery services so as to reduce customer complaints. Online shopping is also posing a threat to supermarkets to expand physically. The use of these technologies also calls for enhanced security. Online supermarkets in the UK cannot fully exploit the web technology unless they embrace certain roles for their customers. Online channel managers have to coordinate these roles. Most supermarkets also find it hard to exploit the low cost provision of the internet. This is due to the nature of products that they offer. However, they compensate for these costs through some charges. These charges differentiate pricing strategy between different online supermarkets.
The infrastructure, the process design, and the customer uptake are critical factors that online supermarkets have to consider. They affect profitability and viability of online shopping. Online supermarkets also have to integrate the online shopping with the back end system.
Technology is rapidly growing today. Old technologies are being overtaken by new ones daily. Technology improves living standards as consumers change their life patterns. With the technology growth, marketers face the stiff competition and the urge to update their technology. Technology has made work easy for marketers and they are, therefore, able to market their products and services efficiently. Marketers have to decide which technology to adopt and which one to leave depending on the nature of their operation. Technology is becoming available to people easily, and consumers are mixing the internet and offline shopping with increasing confidence. Supermarkets are using different channels to market their offering.
Technology has both advantages and shortcomings. It is clear that its advantages outweigh the shortcomings. It is, therefore, necessary for marketers to be aware of new technology and consider it. Supermarkets, for instance, greatly benefit from technology through increased sales and hence profitability. It is evident that the online supermarkets in the UK are able to attract many customers and expand their sales volume. They are able to maintain these customers by offering quality and a wide range of services to them. They are able to modify their products slightly to appeal to their customers. The supermarkets enhance their customers’ sovereignty by offering an opportunity to give details of products which they are interested in. These supermarkets are also able to expand their market reach through technology.
Customers, on the other hand, also benefit from technology. They can get a wide variety of products and shop at the comfort of their homes. Success of business organization can be boosted by technology, and, therefore, marketing managements of business organizations should embrace marketing technology that is profitable. Technology is spreading fast, and people are becoming tuned to the changing wind. This calls for marketers to be aware of the late technological inventions. Technology has also made a competition among marketers stiff, and; therefore, marketers have to embrace technology in order to remain in operation. Marketers should ensure they do not embrace technology that will become quickly obsolete.