How has the proliferation of information communication technology impacted retailers relative to consumers?

Introduction

The advent of information communications technology has had tremendous impacts on the manner in which interactions between different players in business transactions are undertaken and conducted (Hacon, 2014). Electronic commerce is today the order of the day; and marketers and consumers alike are have been ushered into a new phase in commerce, where doing business is much more dependent on how well one can use the various electronic media available. In essence, this is the age of electronic commerce. It is an age where doing business is never the same again (Internet Retailer, 2014).

As with all changes in life, the changes that have been brought by the advent of electronic commerce (e-commerce) have been both far-reaching and enduring. These changes have affected every player in commerce; and regardless of the nature of enterprise one engages in, e-commerce is proving inevitable. Consumers and retailers have especially been affected by the advent of e-commerce in general and ICT in particular. This is mainly because they are at the lowest end of the entire commerce cycle (Hacon, 2014).

ICT has changed the way information about goods and services (products) offered or provided by retailers flows from one point to another (Hacon, 2014). Unlike in the past when such communication relied heavily and almost entirely on traditional marketing techniques and methods such as radio, print media, and word of mouth, marketing has moved to the internet and other electronic media.

Today, platforms such as social media, company websites, and even blogs are leading sources of information about products available for sale. While traditional sources of information have not totally been abandoned, they are quickly losing out even as these quicker, comprehensive, and versatile marketing platforms continue to expand. The result of this proliferation of ICT has been that there have resulted both positive and negative implications for not just the marketers (who are mainly retailers) but also for consumers (Internet Retailer, 2014)

Analysis

The whole subject of the growing use of the internet for marketing has attracted a lot of attention. This is undoubtedly owing to the fact that the internet and general ICT has greatly transformed the manner in which business is conducted. Retailers who rely a lot on effective marketing to get their products sold have evidently found the internet a cheaper yet effective medium for disseminating information. On their part, consumers can almost certainly get whatever product they wish by simply going online and placing an order. This is according to E-Retailing Laws and Regulations in India (2014).

Yet this is arguably the only aspect of ICT on which there is consensus. In essence, there is clear consensus among commentators that the internet and ICT in general has revolutionized commerce (Rediff Business, 2014). From this point, however, there are innumerable disagreements on many other issues regarding ICT and especially as it affects commerce. A notable one is with reward to how it affects retailers relative to consumers.

The available discourses about ICT in general and online marketing in particular have tended to overemphasize the benefits of both from the point of view of the consumer. Basically, discussions have featured the many advantages that the internet has created for the consumer, including the increased ability to choose from a wide variety of sellers, ability to compare prices from different retailers, and the freedom and flexibility of making purchases from the comfort of one’s room without having to travel to where the product is in order to get it (Rediff Business, 2014) …………………………….

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