Past commentaries on the potential impact of the Internet on consumer marketing have typically failed to acknowledge that consumer markets are heterogeneous and complex and that the Internet is but one possible distribution, transaction, and communication channel in a world dominated by conventional retailing channels. This failure has led to excessively broad predictions regarding the effect of the Internet on the structure and performance of product and service markets. The objective of this article is to provide a framework for understanding possible impacts of the Internet on marketing to consumers. This is done by analyzing channel intermediary functions that can be performed on the Internet, suggesting classification schemes that clarify the potential impact of the Internet across different products and services, positioning the Internet against conventional retailing channels, and identifying similarities and differences that exist between them. The article concludes with a series of questions designed to stimulate the development of theory and strategy in the context of Internet-based marketing.
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 14, 2008
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