Four Disadvantages of Online Marketing
To some people, online marketing is the only way to promote your business and your products. It’s true that online marketing has plenty of advantages. It’s relatively cheap, it can reach a targeted audience more quickly and it can provide better analytics to track your return on investment. These all seem like great reasons to implement online marketing into your tactics. And they are. But online marketing isn’t perfect, and while it has some great benefits, it also has some serious disadvantages.
1. Customers can’t test out or try on products before purchasing.
While traveling to the store may be a nuisance, it allows customers to physically see a product before they purchase it. They can hold it in their hands, feel its texture and get a sense for its quality and style. When customers shop online, they are relying only on a picture and a written description to tell them everything they want to know about a product. If a customer is shopping for clothing, they have to wait until it arrives to try it on. If a customer is buying a product, they also have to wait for it arrives to see if its the right style or color or size they need.
While this may not seem like a big deal to companies, it can create one. If customers continue to purchase items from you online and are dissatisfied when they arrive, they will need to send it back. This creates a lot of extra work for your staff. Not only are they filling orders, but they’re also processing more returns. Having a large number of returns can impact the quality of your inventory records. Plus, if the same customers continues to be dissatisfied with the items you’re providing, it may incline them to shop elsewhere.
2. Your online marketing tactics have to work on multiple platforms.
Even though technology today is so advanced, creating effective online marketing tactics can take a great amount of time. Not all ads, emails or websites will look the same across all platforms. For example, a website that looks fantastic in Internet Explorer on a PC may not look as good in Safari on a Mac. For this reason, many companies are having to spend a lengthy amount of time on the development and creation of their websites or digital advertisements to ensure they work on all platforms. Not every customer is going to view your website on the same type of computer it was created on, so it’s important to ensure it looks good and functions properly on multiple platforms.
The onslaught of mobile devices is also making online marketing a challenge for some companies. Products such as the iPhone and iPad don’t run Adobe Flash, but there are plenty of websites on the Internet that use it. These sites are then not viewable on these devices. If a customer can’t access your website on their smartphone or tablet, they’ll simply turn to a website that can be viewed. Companies are now having to recreate their websites so that they can be seen on tablets and smartphones, which is taking more time and more money to develop.
3. The Internet comes with security issues.
When a customer makes an online purchase, they are required to share personal information over the Internet. While most websites do use secure servers, there is always the possibility that hackers will locate a customer’s information and use it to steal their identity. Plus, not every website can be trusted, and some sell information to other companies in order to increase their profits.
4. Online marketing can be intrusive.
When customers are slammed with advertisements when they open a website or when their email becomes full of promotional email messages, it can feel very intrusive. When customers are bombarded with these advertisements, it may turn them off from your products or services. It’s important not to send email messages to customers who haven’t signed up to receive your offers. It’s also important to ensure that your digital advertisements are tasteful and don’t bombard customers with every click of their mouse.
While online marketing does have plenty of advantages over traditional tactics, it does have its disadvantages. As a company, it’s important to weight the good against the bad to determine which tactics are the right fit for your company.
Johnny Caldwell is a marketing professional who plies his trade for Primecoat. He often writes about various marketing strategies and gives advice to businesses online.
Photo Credit: chrysanthemum-mom