Carina’s Bridal Outlet and Consignment Company has been in existence for the last 20 years. The company’s main activity is the sale of bridal gowns. An analysis of the company’s website shows the advertisement of several designer gowns from different brands.The listed brands are; Allure, laposa,Blue by Enzoani, Watters & Watters, Maggie Sottero, Pronovias and San Patrick. The products are viable on an online marketing platform as customers can select an item and pay for it online and, thereafter, wait for the delivery of the gown. In addition to the bridal gowns, Carina’s also offers salon service. The service is also viable in the sense that any interested customer can make a reservation and pay online for the service. This method of offering services brings about convenience to both the client and the company as a client would only visit the premises of the service provider at a particular given time. Consequently, it would ease congestion as well as prevent time wastage on the part of the customer, who would otherwise be waiting on a queue for other customers being offered the salon service. However, the website has not yet been developed to become interactive so as to allow online transactions.
Some of the advantages of online marketing are; first, there is a large market for bridal gowns online owing to the numerous number of internet users, who are potential customers for the bridal gowns. Secondly, the business has a chance of remaining open over a 24 hour basis, throughout the year. Carina’ Bridal is an offline business that is only accessible from Thursdays to Saturdays (10am to 5pm). However, interested customers have to makes an appointment in order to access the companys services. Thirdly, online marketing is more cost effective as compared to offline marketing. Promoting gowns online is efficient and cheaper than using other print and broadcast advertising methods. Moreover, online marketing is result oriented thus, way far effective. The options of offline marketing are more general and passive. This is, however, not the case with online marketing where the Carina’s Bridal Outlet and Consignment Company can easily modify the products with respect to the dynamics of the target market.
Despite the advantages that online marketing offers, there are challenges that face it. One of the major challenges is that many customers have not yet gained confidence in purchasing products online. This is attributed to cases of fraud that have discouraged customers who have tried to purchase items through online means. Another challenge of online marketing is the lack of physical contact between the customers and sellers, making it less appealing and thus hindering customers from making purchases.
Current Online Competitors
The top three online competitors of Carinas Bridal outlet are; Bridal Warehouse, Mary’s Inc. and Bridal Mart. The websites of the three competitors have been developed better than that of Carinas Bridal to allow customers make online transactions. Bridal Warehouse’s website contains most of the features that a substantial online website needs to have. To start with, the website has a lot of content regarding the wedding apparel. This increases the chances of the visitor in getting a gown that would meet the standards they require. A second feature that is found on the company’s website is a shopping cart. This is a software that allows customers to complete the purchasing transactions online. With this feature, the company is able to make sales to any interested customers without geographical hindrance. Another prominent feature on this website is the dynamism of photos and the headings of the content. This makes the website to have an appealing look, thus playing a crucial role in attracting the numerous internet users to have an interest of being associated with the company and its products.
However, the use of a website to sell the products of the company has been faced with several disadvantages. The website also has some weaknesses. For example, the website lacks a live chat support team to chat with potential clients. The existence of a live chat support feature would have enabled the company’s employees to communicate in realtime with potential clients who visit the website.. This hinders the company from access the valuable immediate feedback.
The Bridal Marts’ website has sufficient information that relates to wedding gowns, a feature that allows customers to find it valuable to visit website as they would be of the opinion that will a wedding gown of their interest. Another unique feature on the website is the presence of a size chart and descriptions on how to use it. This feature allows customers to determine the sizes of the gowns, adequately thus improving their experience in online shopping. For customers who wish to make online purchases, the website has some electronic order forms which only require to be filled and, thereafter, the item of their interest is delivered to them at a certain fee. However, the website fails in two aspects. First, the home page contains just one static photo of the wedding gowns. This might give a customer the notion that the company deals with only one line of bridal clothes. Secondly, the website lacks a feature that would allow customers to give their immediate feedback. There is neither live chat support nor comment form to be filled by the visitors.
Mary’s Bridal website has certain features that help it attain a competitive edge in the online sale of wedding apparels. It supports account creation and login for those visitors who would like to have personal accounts with the company. This is one of the major ways that successful websites use to ensure that the visitors make more visits to the website. This strategy helps Mary’s Bridal Company to continually persuade internet users to buy their products. The website also contains a Facebook link, where the visitors can click to login to their Facebook account and share the Mary’s Bridal website link with their friends. However, the website content has not been well organized. There are no vertical partitioning on the website making it to lack an appealing look.
Online Marketing Strategies
In order to inform visitors and customers of the changes in the website, the following strategies will be employed;
- Paying for the incorporation of content and keywords into the major search engines such as Google and Bing. This is the most effective way of ensuring that the website shows up first when a visitor looking for wedding gowns makes a search.This strategy will help draw sufficient attention from the online market, and hence, increasing the chances of acquiring more clients. A majority of the online visitors tend to look up the result searches that pop up first. Having the website’s link poping up first will certainly increase the knowledge of the new website among the target online customers.
- Distributing links of the website to other websites that deal with wedding products. This strategy ensures that, regardless of the website that a client initially visits, they can always find a link to the Carina’s Bridal website. Carina’s Bridal should seek the inclusion of their new website link in other websites that adveritise items that relate closely to those neede during weddings. The link of the website should also be included in the section of related searches, which online visitors click with the intent of comparing the products from different companies.
- Advertising the website in some of the social networking platforms, such as Facebook, for a period of one year. This strategy will be vital in netting in the parties interested in purchasing gowns among the 1.15 billion Facebook users . The higher the number of people who get to know about Carina’s Bridal company, the higher the chances of increasing the market coverage.
- Incorporating a search bar that will be backed with autosuggestions. The search bar will help the customers to find a particular product easily without having to necessarily read through all the content. This will prevent the notion that the customer is wasting their time on the website. Suggestions as the visitor types on the search bar will facilitate them to quickly access their item of interest or relative suggested information.
Social Media Integration
The social networking platform has grown tremendously in the current period. Ths is because it is viwed as a to connect millions of people who live in diverse parts of the world. For instance, Facebook has over 1.15 Billion active users monthly. This is a potential market that can be utilized by Carina’s to increase sales. In order to exploit this potential, Carina Bridal should sign up for a Facebook account and use the Page for advertising purposes. When a visitor gets impressed with the page, they can suggest the page to other Facebook members. The company will have been able to make their brand known to Facebook users, who may act as potential customers.
Carina bridal’s Company website should have a link to Facebook through which the visitor can comment on the product and share some of the product’s photos on their Facebook page. This way, the company will have the opportunity of reinforcing the brand image of the products. It will enable all the visitor’s friends to view the link and most probably they will visit the site. Additionally, the company should place advertisements on Facebook regularly. This will enable the company to net in additional visitors and increase chances of making additional sales.
Bridal Mart. (2013, September 16). Dresses and Gowns. Retrieved from Bridal Mart Inc. US: http://www.bridalmart.us/
Choudhary, A. K. (2013, July 25). Advantages of Online Marketing. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from Super articles: http://www.sooperarticles.com/business-articles/advertising-articles/advantages-online-marketing-small-business-1228320.html
Facebook. (2013, September 16). Facebook Home page. Retrieved from Facebook Inc.: http://www.Facebook.com/home.php