What The 4 Ps of Marketing is and how to use it in e-commerce?
Effectively selling your products or services is one of the biggest challenges for any business. Fortunately, nowadays you can use many tools and communication channels that facilitate sales. But don’t forget that in today’s competitive environment, haphazard actions will not bring the expected results. So you need a well-thought-out marketing strategy, which can be created on the basis of a popular marketing startegy – marketing 4P (marketing mix).
What is the marketing mix?
The term marketing mix covers all activities and decisions which are important for the successful positioning of a brand and its products and/or services on the market. In the classic marketing mix model (the so-called 4P marketing) there are four central areas (instruments) influencing sales. These four marketing mix instruments are: product, price, place and promotion. Successful implementation of each of them in many cases a necessary condition for running a successful company.
The 4P marketing formula was created by American marketing professor Edmund Jerome McCarthy. The main idea behind the creation of the system was the desire to separate key elements for the development of the brand and distribute responsibilities among more components in the company.
The use of such division will allow you to conduct a more thorough analysis in the structure of your company and products and create a more well-thought-out strategy. In larger companies the division of marketing activities into several stages also facilitates the delegation of tasks to individual teams of specialists who specialize in a particular area included in the marketing mix.
4P marketing – the most important elements
In order to achieve your goals, you need to constantly look for ways to improve the marketing efforts used in your business, which is why you should definitely give marketing mix a chance. It is a popular and widely used marketing tool that was introduced by Jerome McCarthy in the 1960s. In classical theory, the marketing mix consists of the so-called 4Ps (product, price, place and promotions), which we will discuss in more detail in the next part of this article.
The basic logic of the marketing mix definition is simple: the right product must be introduced and offered to the market at the right time at the right price through the right distribution channel with the most effective communication. So if you adopt the marketing mix as the basis of your marketing efforts, you should ensure that your strategy includes what product and price you offer to customers, what channels sales are made through, and how you intend to reach potential customers to get them interested in your offering.
Product – how to present products in the e-commerce industry?
The product (or service) is the most important part of the 4Ps of marketing, as it is where the entire process of creating an effective marketing strategy begins. The product itself is the basic core of the company and should be designed to meet the needs of buyers and consumers.
Product policy requires detailed planning. First of all, you should think about which target group you want to reach and what their specific requirements are for the product and what customer problems the product you are offering is supposed to solve. Within the scope of product policy, it is determined what quality the product should have and what characteristics it should have in order to stand out from the competition on the market.
The way the product is presented is also very important – make sure that the store website contains interesting (and original!) product descriptions. You can increase the attractiveness of the product page by adding detailed photos and product videos. Customers often have doubts before making a purchase, so it’s worth adding a FAQ section with popular product questions and answers.
Launching a product on the e-commerce market
When thinking about creating or improving a product, it is therefore worth paying attention to aspects such as emotions evoked by the product, technical features (e.g. the shape or size of the product) and the product life cycle. It is very important that when promoting a product you can provide potential customers with physical evidence that will be meaningful from a customer’s perspective. Creating an impression of elitism, for example, is also an effective way to position your product in the market.
When planning your marketing activities, you should remember that it is easier to keep a regular customer than to find a new one. Therefore, try to find a way to encourage existing customers to use your offer again and make more purchases. To do this, you can add a thank you flyer to each shipment with a discount code for future purchases. Alternatively, if it fits your products and business model, you could also emphasize that your products come in eco-friendly packaging or that a portion of the profits from sales are donated to environmental protection.
Pricing and marketing mix
When implementing a marketing strategy based on the 4 elements (4Ps), you can’t forget about thoughtful pricing of your products and services. The goal, of course, is to maximize profit, but this is not always achievable in the most obvious way – by raising prices.
Many factors influence the price, e.g. product manufacturing costs, advertising expenses, distribution costs and the affluence of the potential customers belonging to the target group. However, the tasks of a company in pricing are not limited to setting the basic price of its products.
Pricing policy in the e-commerce industry
It is also very important to assess the variability of demand for a product depending on the season and time of year, as well as to determine the discount policy, pricing policy (e.g. increase in the price of an item after a certain period of time) and payment terms when selling by installments or offering long-term services. Appropriate pricing is particularly impressive in the e-commerce industry, because with price comparison sites, customers can find the best deal quite easily.
Place – the element that is equivalent to distribution
Marketing composition consists of four elements, and place (place, distribution) is one of them. In this aspect, the choice of channels with the help of which you will reach potential customers is of the greatest importance. This includes both the location of stationary stores as well as communication channels on the Internet. In the case of the e-commerce industry, the most important decision is the choice of sales location.
A company can offer its products on its own online store or on one of the popular marketplaces such as Allegro, Amazon or eBay. An alternative solution may be to create a store on Facebook or Instagram. However, the most popular option is to set up an online store, which can be created by a professional programmer or based on a platform offering ready-made software for an online store.
Regardless of the chosen form of creating a store, it is worth using software that integrates all sales channels, such as BaseLinker, as it facilitates the management of all processes that take place in an e-commerce company. While planning the promotion of your products, you should also take care of the distribution channels of orders, logistic solutions (e.g. maximum acceleration of delivery in case of e-commerce business), as well as a few elements characteristic for online sales, i.e. providing various payment options and efficient organization of returns.
Distribution in online sales
When selling in the e-commerce industry, the store’s website acts as the “physical” store location and customers expect the same level of service online as they do in the store. The site’s easy navigation and clear design are the equivalent of properly spacing products on store shelves.
You can also use the big advantage of online stores over stationary stores, i.e. provide potential customers with contact with the store 24/7 e.g. by means of chatbots.
Promotion, or how to sell a product in e-commerce
Market activities in the field of promotion are primarily concerned with stimulating product sales and building a positive brand image (public relations). You can achieve the expected results through online advertising activities such as website positioning, maintaining a profile in social media and advertising campaigns (e.g. Google Ads or Facebook Ads).
What allows you to stand out in the e-commerce industry is to maintain an online blog and positioning of the website, because still many stores focus primarily on carrying out advertising campaigns. Articles on a company blog need to be unique and valuable to the audience – ideally, they should provide answers to important questions in a specific area or solutions to common problems in the industry.
To get even more out of blogging on your store page, try creating posts that include descriptions, rankings, and comparisons of the products you offer, which will provide much more accurate information than descriptions on product pages. You can also use communication channels and sales media such as email marketing, push notifications, and YouTube advertising to increase sales.
If your business strategy is direct sales, then your promotional activities must be planned in such a way that they reach potential customers and at the same time are positively received. The purpose of promotion is to showcase your products or services in the best way possible and to make your target audience understand that your company is the one that can best solve your potential customers’ problems.
4P marketing in e-commerce industry
Although the 4Ps principle is the oldest concept in the marketing mix, there are still many companies that base their successful marketing efforts on it. The 4P concept works especially well in the e-commerce industry. You can start developing a marketing strategy by choosing (or creating) a product that will solve your customers’ problems and come up with ways to prove its effectiveness and usefulness. In online sales, price is often critical because customers can quickly find the best deal.
So, according to the 4P concept, you should take care not only to price your product correctly, but also to plan your pricing and discount policy for the long term. A successful e-commerce business is not possible without fast delivery and clear return policy, so you also need to take care of the third element of the marketing mix, namely distribution. When it comes to the last element, promotion, in the case of e-commerce, all promotional activities should take place online – for example, through social media advertising and Google.
Marketing mix in e-commerce – summary
Using the marketing mix as the foundation of your marketing strategy should be a priority for most e-commerce businesses. If you want potential customers to choose your brand’s offerings in the internet age, you should make sure to implement the 4Ps from the very beginning and use digital marketing effectively to increase sales. You should also not overlook the aspects of launching new products, which always need to be attractive from the consumer’s point of view and satisfy the customer’s needs.