本文是工商管理专业的留学生Essay范例，题目是“Retail Marketing Theories in E-Commerce（电子商务零售营销理论）”，David Gilbert(2002)指出:“在零售业中唯一不变的就是变化，而且零售业的发展速度确实在加快。”零售业中“纯粹参与者”的增长证明了这一点。互联网“推动了零售格局的剧变，其范围是革命性的，本质上也是前所未有的”(Sorescu等人，2011年)。
David Gilbert (2002) stated that “the only thing that is constant in retailing is change and it is certainly true that the pace of development within retailing is accelerating.” The growth of ‘pure-players’ within retailing is testament to this. The internet has “powered upheavals in the retail landscape that are revolutionary in scope, and unprecedented in nature” (Sorescu et al., 2011).
The chosen article: “ASOS ‘upweights’ digital spend as it puts focus on acquisition” published in Marketing Week (appendix 1) provides the opportunity to explore a range of retail marketing theories through practical application. The article focuses on how the online apparel giant envisages overcoming a “slow down in customer acquisition and customer traffic” within the dynamic fast fashion sector. The aim of this essay is to explore the application of retail marketing theories, discussed in academic literature, to a solely online environment, as interestingly, Ashworth et al. (2006) noted “a meagre seven percent of published internet-marketing research papers cover retail”. The focus is to identify how well these theories, translate to e-commerce, as the emergence of the online retail channel has significantly changed the industry over the last decade (Gartner Industry Research 2012; Verhoef et al. 2015). The article details Nick Beighton’s (ASOS CEO) plans to ‘upweight’ digital marketing and double investment in influencer activity to improve customer acquisition, increase their US footprint and to meet consumer expectations through increased focus on sustainability within the business.
在《营销周刊》(附录1)上发表的文章《ASOS’upweights’digital spend as it puts focus on acquisition》(附录1)提供了通过实际应用探索一系列零售营销理论的机会。这篇文章的重点是这家在线服装巨头如何在充满活力的快时尚行业中克服“客户获取和客户流量放缓”的问题。这篇文章的目的是探索在学术文献中讨论的零售营销理论的应用，以一个纯粹的在线环境，正如有趣的，Ashworth等人(2006)指出“只有百分之七的已发表的网络营销研究论文涵盖零售”。重点是确定这些理论如何转化为电子商务，因为在线零售渠道的出现在过去十年中显著改变了行业(Gartner industry Research 2012;Verhoef等，2015)。这篇文章详细介绍了Nick Beighton (ASOS首席执行官)的计划:“加大”数字营销力度，加倍投资于影响者活动，以改善客户获取，增加他们在美国的足迹，并通过增加业务内对可持续性的关注来满足消费者的期望。
Development in technology and the internet has “opened up new opportunities to influence shopper attitudes and behaviour” (Shankar and Balasubramanian, 2009). ASOS aim to increase the “velocity of conversations with consumers” by focusing on digital marketing and influencer activity. The emergence of online retailing has in fact allowed for marketing communications and retail activity to be in one place, thus facilitating ‘conversations’ between the retailer and consumer (Varley and Rafiq, 2004). The investment in digital marketing will increase the amount of ASOS related content online, with which their target consumers can engage. However, the content being uploaded on to social media and created by influencers must be optimised for search engines to ensure it reaches new audiences. Shankar et al. (2011) explain the importance of retailers using social media to engage in dialogue with consumers. Beighton explained that Instagram is a key player in the bid to increase conversation with their customers. With ASOS’s target segment comprising 63% percent of Instagram users worldwide (Statista, 2019), this would appear to be an appropriate strategy.
Influencer marketing originates from a 1940s study which concluded that consumers are influenced by “secondhand information and opinion leaders” (Davies, 2019). In the past brands have used experts or celebrities. However, the rise of social media has created a world where everyone can be a potential influencer (Brown and Fiorella, 2013). Kadekova and Holiencinova (2018) state that “influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing tools in terms of getting new customers online”, going on to explain that the correct use of this tool facilitates cost-effective marketing to promote goods through the use of creative content that is produced for the company and can reach the relevant consumers in a natural way (Kadekova & Holiencinova, 2018). Doubling the investment in influencer activity should therefore enable ASOS to meet their target of “growing new customers”. ASOS’ plan to double their investment in this marketing strategy “year on year” which is in line with their competitors. Another leading fashion e-retailer Boohoo.com relies heavily on influencers as part of their marketing strategy and in 2017 it was reported that it had increased influencer marketing budgets by 59% (Gilliand, 2017). Influencer marketing is a valuable tool for ‘pure-players’ as is compensates for the lack of “tangible indications about the quality of a product” (Emad Y, 2013) which is inherent in online retailing. If the consumer is able to see the clothes on a ‘real person’ not only does it draw them to the website but increases the likelihood of them purchasing online.
技术和互联网的发展“为影响购物者的态度和行为开辟了新的机会”(Shankar和Balasubramanian, 2009)。ASOS的目标是通过关注数字营销和影响者活动，提高“与消费者对话的速度”。网络零售的出现实际上使得营销沟通和零售活动在一个地方，从而促进了零售商和消费者之间的“对话”(Varley和Rafiq, 2004)。在数字营销方面的投资将增加ASOS在线相关内容的数量，他们的目标消费者可以参与其中。然而，网红上传到社交媒体上的内容和他们创作的内容必须经过搜索引擎的优化，以确保能够接触到新的受众。Shankar等人(2011)解释了零售商使用社交媒体与消费者进行对话的重要性。比顿解释说，Instagram在增加与客户的对话方面发挥了关键作用。ASOS的目标细分市场包括全球63%的Instagram用户(Statista, 2019)，这似乎是一个合适的策略。
As part of ASOS’ bid to “double investment in influencer activity”, is the “summer of festivals programme” which involves top influencers attending a range of US music festivals and subsequently creating content to promote the brands offering. This is a key element of ASOS’ strategy to “increase its US footprint”, Akehurst and Alexander (1996) stated that for retailers internationalising is no longer merely an option but a necessity to avoid marginalisation. Evans et al. (2008) discussed the factors that drive retailers to internationalise, they concluded that profit growth was the most dominant factor, ASOS is no exception to this rule. Beighton in fact, admitted that it was a huge opportunity for ASOS to ‘tap into’ the $400 billion apparel market in the US. Academic literature highlights the that “the use of the online channel seems to reduce the traditional risk factors associated with international company development” (Pezderka & Sinkovics, 2011). E-retailers such as ASOS therefore, find it much easier to break into international markets. However, it is important that retailers remain aware of the risks inherent in internationalisation. Mir-Bernal, Guercini and Sadaba (2017) warn retailers that: “the fact the internet is available beyond national borders does not eliminate all the distances or liabilities associated with the internationalization process”. ASOS through self-admission explained that their success was limited due to their lack of due diligence in clustering their target audience adequately. Sparks and Findlay (2001) maintain that insufficient knowledge of foreign markets can hinder retailers success when internationalising.
网红营销起源于20世纪40年代的一项研究，该研究得出结论，消费者受到“二手信息和意见领袖”的影响(Davies, 2019)。在过去，品牌使用专家或名人。然而，社交媒体的兴起创造了一个每个人都可以成为潜在影响者的世界(Brown和Fiorella, 2013)。Kadekova和Holiencinova(2018)表示，“网红营销是在网上获得新客户方面增长最快的工具之一”，并继续解释，正确使用该工具有助于通过使用为公司制作的创造性内容，以一种自然的方式接触到相关消费者，从而实现具有成本效益的营销活动(Kadekova & Holiencinova, 2018)。因此，增加一倍在网红活动上的投资将使ASOS能够满足他们“增长新客户”的目标。ASOS计划在这一营销策略上的投资“年复一年”翻倍，与竞争对手保持一致。另一家领先的时尚电子零售商Boohoo.com的营销策略很大程度上依赖于网红，据报道，2017年该公司将网红营销预算增加了59% (Gilliand, 2017)。网红营销对于“纯玩家”来说是一种有价值的工具，因为它弥补了在线零售固有的“关于产品质量的有形指标”的缺乏。如果消费者能够看到“真人”身上的衣服，不仅会吸引他们访问网站，还会增加他们在网上购买的可能性。
Lockshin, Spawton and Macintosh (1997) argue that the continued fragmentation of markets is indisputable. Kalish et al. (1993) explain that a marketer’s ability to cater to diversifying market segments is a measure of success. Beighton admits that until now the brand had treated the US as “one country” disregarding the difference in cultures, interests and expectations of US consumers. Whilst they are not performing poorly, Beighton does explain that “in the US we are probably a 6 out of 10 in comparison to the UK” (Green, 2019). Thus, the article explains that ASOS is “investing in clustering tech” to segment the US audience according to “time zone, climate and region”, which will allow them to deliver relevant content to its US consumers. This relevant content will create brand awareness and preferences with consumers, that will ultimately translate into consumer spending (Tellis, 2005).
An increase in international operations necessarily results in a larger the environmental footprint for a retailer. Globalisation has increased the importance of environmental concerns which in turn has led to academics and businesses identifying ways to manage the issue of sustainability within retail. Global supply chains have led to the “exploitation of foreign workers and the environment” (Gorg, Hanley and Seric, 2018). Walker and Jones (2012) discuss sustainable supply chain management as a way of managing these issues, which involves retailers being held responsible for environmental performance of their suppliers. Thus, an appropriate form of action that ASOS can take to manage their global footprint, is to practice sustainable supply chain management. The article indicates that ASOS is already addressing some of the issues arising from a global supply chain when they speak of their “modern slavery commitment” which ensures garment workers have fair pay and good working conditions.
国际业务的增加必然导致零售商更大的环境足迹。全球化增加了环境问题的重要性，这反过来又促使学术界和商界寻找方法来管理零售领域的可持续性问题。全球供应链导致了“对外国工人和环境的剥削”(Gorg, Hanley和Seric, 2018)。Walker和Jones(2012)讨论了可持续供应链管理作为管理这些问题的一种方法，其中包括零售商对其供应商的环境绩效负责。因此，ASOS可以采取的一种适当的行动形式来管理他们的全球足迹，就是实践可持续供应链管理。文章指出，ASOS在谈到他们的“现代奴役承诺”时，已经在解决全球供应链中产生的一些问题，该承诺确保服装工人有公平的薪酬和良好的工作条件。
Sustainability has become an important topic for 21st century consumers (Bernyte, 2018). ASOS is aware of this and in the article Beighton states that “[sustainability] is an area of focus for the business”. Academic literature marks the rise of the buyer-centric revolution (Mitchell, 2004). Ravi et al. (2009) explain that “consumers are empowered by the information that technology makes available”. Something that is mirrored in Beighton’s words as he details “consumers being more connected and aware of things than before”, specifically, consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of the impact that their buying decisions have on the planet and are beginning to expect more sustainable practice from retailers. The better the retailers are able to respond to consumer expectations, the more advocacy that is created for the brand (Kozinets, Handelman, 2004). The article explains that ASOS is mindful that sustainability is an expectation of their consumers, and whilst they are conscious of the fact that it is not dominating demand, they believe that in the future it will become a “defining feature”. Thus, as outlined in the article, they are taking appropriate action within the business, such as investing in packaging, which is now “100% recyclable” and producing more environmental clothing with the launch of jeans made from “100% recycled material”.
可持续性已成为21世纪消费者的一个重要话题(Bernyte, 2018)。ASOS意识到了这一点，Beighton在文章中表示“[可持续性]是业务的一个重点领域”。学术文献标志着以买方为中心的革命的兴起(Mitchell, 2004)。Ravi等人(2009)解释说，“消费者被技术提供的信息赋予了权力”。这反映在Beighton的话语中，他详细描述了“消费者的联系和意识比以前更强”，具体来说，消费者越来越意识到他们的购买决定对地球的影响，并开始期待零售商采取更可持续的做法。零售商对消费者期望的反应越好，为品牌创造的宣传就越多(Kozinets, Handelman, 2004)。这篇文章解释说，ASOS意识到可持续性是消费者的期望，虽然他们意识到这不是主要需求，但他们相信在未来它会成为一个“定义特性”。因此，正如文章中所概述的那样，他们正在业务范围内采取适当的行动，比如投资于现在“100%可回收”的包装，并推出“100%可回收材料”的牛仔裤，生产更多的环保服装。
The e-commerce channel in retail is growing significantly, more so the number of ‘pure-players’ within the retailing environment. Thus, it is important that online retailers are able to use appropriate retail marketing theory within practice to ensure success. ASOS has drawn upon a range of theories, such as marketing communications, internationalisation of retail and segmentation of markets to help them meet the targets outlined in the article, most of which were successful in application to the online retail channel. However, it is important that online retailers remain aware of aspects such as segmentation particularly when venturing into international markets. Although this might seem bypassable due to the dynamic nature of the online environment, it can hinder performance. It is also recommended that they adopt a sustainable supply chain management process to deal with contemporary issues surrounding the environment. ASOS and online retailers must remain aware of customer centric attitudes to retailing today and ensure that they create relevant content using the appropriate digital strategies and media in order to target the correct market segments, they must also comply with changing consumer attitudes to ensure the successful acquisition of new customers and their continued engagement with brand both locally and internationally.
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