E-Retail Mix- Sale The 7Cs

E-retail mix is defined as the different techniques and tools e-retailers use to provide values for customers. The e-tailing mix is the combination of 7Cs and first four Cs are similar to the 4Ps proposed by E. Jerome McCarthy’s (1960) i.e. Place, Product, Price and Promotion. In 1990 Lauterborn proposed 4 Cs namely Convenience for the customer; Customer value and benefits; Cost to the customer; and Communication. 

However, with paradigm shift, more Cs added in the list i.e., Customer relationships; Computing and category management issues; Customer franchise and Customer care and service. Customer relationship is emphasis on long-term relationship with consumers and follows continuous interaction with them. Therefore, customer relationship merged with communication and finally there are 7 Cs. 

           C1 Convenience for the customer (‘Place’ from the 4Ps)

           C2 Customer value and benefits (‘Product’)

           C3 Cost to the customer (‘Price’)

           C4 Communication and customer relationships (‘Promotion’)

           C5 Computing and Category Management Issues

           C6 Customer franchise

           C7 Customer care and service

The following table briefly describes the 7Cs – the (E-) Retail Mix.

C1: Convenience for the customer (‘Place’ from the 4Ps)

        Physical location

        Multi-channel options: browse the web, buy in store or vice versa – or buy on the web, return to the store for a refund

        Virtual location and ease of finding the website: registration with search engines, location in e-malls and links from associates

        Website design: connectivity; navigation; ‘shelf’ space allocation and ease of purchase.

        Layout: ‘free-flow’; ‘grid’; or ‘free-grid 


C2: Customer value and benefits (‘Product’)

        Satisfactions wanted by customers

        Solutions to problems or good feelings

        Specify (sometimes design) products reflecting closeness to the customer and benefits that customers want

        Selecting the range of products offered for sale – assembled for target markets from diverse sources

        Wide and/or deep range – where the ‘clicks’ e-retailer can score relative to the ‘bricks’ retailer

        Content: describing a compelling offer of products clearly in customer value and benefits terms

        Customisation of products to match the wants of customer segments as closely as possible


C3: Cost to the customer (‘Price’)

        The real cost that customers will pay including transport, carriage and taxes

        Costs of Internet telephone access

        Customers’ perceptions that prices should be cheaper online than in store


C4: Communication and customer relationships (‘Promotion’)

Communication is a two-way process also involving feedback from

customers to suppliers, including:

        Marketing research surveys

        Public relations (PR)

        Direct mail



        Offline advertising such as magazines and ‘click here’ sections of newspapers

        Online methods include banner ads and pop-ups (often incentivised); paid-for listings in search engines and directories; and affiliate programmes

         Atmospherics and Web atmospherics: visual (d├ęcor, colour management, video clips, 3D), oil factory (perfume and samples), touch (smooth and cool or soft and cuddly – communicated by visuals or samples) and oral (music). (But need to avoid long download times – ‘click here for broadband’).

         Customer relationships

In store sales representatives use verbal and non-verbal (body language) communication

Marketing database and loyalty schemes

The e-retailer can enhance product value using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and data mining to tailor products specifically to individual customers.


C5: Computing and Category Management Issues

         Supplying the products that customers want, in the right sizes and quantities, at the right time and in the right place

         Efficient supply chains with computer network links between suppliers and retailers Minimising stocks and speed of response: QR or ECR

         Co-operation between suppliers and (e-) retailers aiming to improve the efficiency of satisfying customers whilst minimising stocks and costs. On the larger scale, this is ‘Category management’ (CM), the retailer/supplier process of managing categories as strategic business units

         Efficient logistics systems are an important component of Customer care and service


C6: Customer franchise

         Image, trust and branding – long-term investment in quality, corporate communications and Customer care and service

         Safeguards including fraud protection and dispute resolution

         Safe shopping icons, e.g. Web trader


C7: Customer care and service

         Creating assortments at competitive prices in an accessible format

         Fast and reliable deliveries at times convenient to the shopper

         Availability of help; return and refund facilities

         For the ‘bricks’ retailer store personnel are crucial

         For the e-retailer click-through telephone help, bulletin boards and chat rooms make the experience more interactive and add community.

        Addressing customer concerns, particularly for credit card security, e.g., displaying the ‘padlock’ secure site logo.

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