Online Privacy and Your Information

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Online privacy is a topic not many people consider during their online activities.  After reading Is “Online Privacy” the Ultimate Oxymoron? , I wonder how many people actually take the time to read privacy statements.

Most of us just use these sites and hope for the best.  Do people actually sit and read how their information can be collected and shared.   People should aware of the data trail they leave online.  There are a few groups who are continuing with their efforts in legislation to protect privacy, but it is a long process.  

I know my information is being collected simply because I can see it in action.  For example, I went to several department store’s website in search of a watch and my Facebook was open in one of the tabs.  After hours of searching I went to check my Facebook and to my surprise I find that Facebook had incorporated the specific watches and department stores I was viewing in my ads.   

In the new documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply the disappearance of online privacy and what users actually give up when they agree to use some sites can be astonishing.   Yet with the amount of users the Internet has worldwide why isn’t it t a bigger topic of discussion?  

Like many of the issues there is a two-sided coin.  Users/shoppers want retailers to be more efficient and have what they need when they need it.   People want specialized E-marketing but they may not realize the cost of it.   In order for companies to curtail their products/services to you they must obtain the information.   With all this being said however, how far do some of these companies go to obtain their information and is it legal?

Consumers need to increase their awareness of online policies and how their information is used and evaluate if the cost outweighs the benefits.

 

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WalmartyAmazonia

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Having recently read Will Amazon be the Next Walmart, it got me thinking about my Amazon experiences.   I can go there with a product in mind and fine tune my search with the various options they provide. Overall, it has been very pleasant, however Walmart is another story.    The two retailers share similarities though.

Amazon is already the Wal-Mart of the cyberspace, boosting lower prices than their competitors.  They lure you with lower prices, but if you aren’t careful some items are overpriced.  For example, I want a case for my laptop, which generally runs about $50 in most stores, but on Amazon I can get it for $20.  However, for people who just run to Amazon whenever they need something may end up over paying for things.  Another example is a Sugarpill Cosmetics palette is $32 not including shipping on the manufacturers website, while some Amazon sellers are reselling them for upwards of $50.   Now I must point out that it may not be Amazon selling them directly but third party ‘sellers’, however many consumers have developed a mentally that they will always get the lowest price on Amazon.

Walmart however is the direct seller and has admitted part of their strategy is to lure consumers with ridiculous low price item and place them in the vicinity of similar or substitute that have been marked up tremendously.  Walmart creates a consumer mentality where they see that one item is priced lower in their stores than anywhere else, so everything else must be too.  There are some similarities and differences and the comparisons of Walmart and Amazon will continue since Amazon Plans to Expand Grocery Line.

The Shopper’s Sidekick

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I read Where is E-Marketing in the Buying Decision Project and it brought up an interesting topic.  E-marketing has definitely affected the need/desire development process.   A strategically placed Ad can increase the desire of and individual and make them think they need an item or service even more.  For example, someone browsing on Facebook who already think she needs a new bag would see the ad suggestion for discount authentic Louis Vuitton bags.  This could prompt immediate online shopping and maybe spending more than initially intended. 

E-marketing has also impacted my need/desire development.  I know I need a new phone, and sooner than later.  I mean buttons are failing, its not really holding a charge so the time has come to upgrade.   Well deep down I know I need something to make call, a data plan for GPS and email purposes, and a game or two to keep me occupied so in this day and age the basics.   I don’t need it for music because I have my iPod and that goes with me wherever I go.  But everyday when I’m on the computer I see Ads for the latest smartphones and I get intrigued. Then I go to YouTube videos to see the features to my awe and amazement.  I get to see what changes the manufacturers have made and how much easier life will be.  Even though I know I probably won’t use features.  For me this kind of E-marketing development just stems from natural curiosity but then I start believing all these qualities are wonderful and I must have it.  It is the latest gadget and I must have it.  So now I’m left to search which phone has the best and read articles like Why Apple isn’t making a big iPhone .  

E-marketing is a catalyst, the enabling best friend of an impulsive shopper.   It never says no, don’t, or walk away but yes, definitely, you need this, your live is incomplete without this, etc.  It is the open bar to an alcoholic, the dealer to the user and pretty soon we’ll all need impulsive shopping rehab.

MMM… Interactive Marketing

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Ideally this seems to be a mutual beneficial relationship for firms and consumers.  Firms get empirical information from end users and consumers get a unique marketing experience.  Well, like most ideas it seems perfect until its time to execute them.  The major issue is the cost and benefit outcome.   It uses a lot of time and money and in return may even devalue the brand.  Maybe Interactive Marketing is only beneficial to a certain point then losses its value.  According to Dr. Miyazaki firms need to find out How Much Interactivity Does Online Marketing Need?  Firms should find this out before over spending on activities they may in the end hurt the firm. 

Some Brands are not giving up on Interactive Marketing, instead they chose to evolve the process as explained in the article More Brands Want You to Model Their Clothes.  Companies want consumers take pictures in the clothing and posting them on social media on the actual website.  I understand the rational behind this potential users may be more convinced if they see ordinary people associated with the product instead of models and more people are so willing to share.  However this makes me question the reasoning behind “sharing”.  Is it simple altruistic or the social self- concept motive?