Online marketing, which is also referred to as internet marketing, involves the utilization of intelligent, interactive, and virtual components for the advancement and promotion of business goods and business ventures on the internet. Recently, web-based communication companies have contributed to the advancement and restructuration of major economic divisions including marketing. Being financially-effective, flexible, adaptable and fast and enjoying an extraordinary global reach, internet marketing has achieved various unimaginable incredible gains for businesses. However, this effective, new technique additionally involves building an online marketing system.
In order to develop an online marketing system, a number of programming technologies must be studied and understood. These include multi-tiered architecture, server and client side scripting techniques, implementation technologies such as HTML, CSS and a Server side programming language (such as PHP) and relational databases. This is a project with the objective to develop a basic online marketing system where business goods and ventures can advertise their goods and business ventures and sell seamlessly.
The Internet has its origins in cold war and technological rivalry between USSR and US. In fact "while the World Wide Web was created in 1991, its origin dates back to 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik I satellite" (Dickey and Lewis, 2011: 2). US reacted with establishment a department of Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) which launched in 1960s ARPANET, an experimental project of computer networks from which what we now know as internet developed. Since then internet contributed to science incredibly and "by the late 1980s the internet was being used by many government and business institutions" (Ferguson, 2008: 69).
So internet was considered an inclusive communicative tool of scientific and research centers for several years and its academic function was its dominant prior to discovering its commercial capabilities which led to its commercialization. As Oksana (2007) puts it: "until the mid-nineties, the research and academic communities accounted for most of the internet population but the commercialization of internet soon gained enormous momentum and the business community quickly became aware of the potential it has to offer". With increasing the number of internet users during the 1990s, entrepreneurs started to appreciate commercial prospects of this new medium. Although there is no complete consensus on when did internet marketing exactly start, but the majority of commentators refer to 1994. So it is widely held that "significant commercial use of the Internet began with the first ‗banner ads‘ on web pages in 1994, and the appearance of Internet-based ‗malls‘ (the electronic equivalent of a storefront) such as Amazon.com in 1995".
Statistics make it clear that this young marketplace, online marketing, has had an astonishing rate of growth. So amazing is the growth rate of this new paradigm of marketing that it is hard to believe how young it is. In fact "in 1994, spending for internet marketing totaled nearly nothing, but increased to over $300 million in 1995. After a decade later, marketing spending and internet marketing business has exploded to nearly $500 billion (according to Forrester Research). Today, it‘s hard to believe in having an organization which doesn‘t have some kind of online presence." (Shirvastav and Alam, 2014: 25) This brief historic background is concluded by pointing to the fact that step by step online marketing has become a much more sophisticated practice. So early methods of internet marketing such as online advertising and email marketing has been followed by more younger, developed methods such as search engine optimization or social media marketing.
What is online marketing?
Chaffey et al. (2000) simply define internet marketing as "the application of the internet and related digital technologies to achieve marketing objectives"(12). This definition is a simple definition which, unlike the following ones, does not touch the important aspect of customer relationship. According to (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012: 508; Kotler et al., 2010: 493) Online marketing consists of measures and activities to promote products and services and build relationships with customers over the Internet. Burrett (2008) understands online marketing as ―carefully targeting users and getting them to interact with you while they‘re engaged with the most personal, intimate medium ever invented‖ (44). The most comprehensive definition has been articulated by Chaffey (2007), he defines online marketing as ―Applying Digital technologies which form online channels (Web, e-mail, databases, plus mobile/wireless & digital TV) to contribute to marketing activities aimed at achieving profitable acquisition and retention of customers (within a multi-channel buying process and customer lifecycle) through improving our customer knowledge (of their profiles, behavior, value and loyalty drivers), then delivering integrated targeted communications and online services that match their individual needs". As this relationship concept definitions show online marketing revolve around interaction and building relationship with customers, a point which discriminates it from traditional, offline marketing.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
One of the major problems Business Marketing face in their campaigns is still the use of primitive promotions channels such as press, brochure, catalogue, TV, cell phone, etc, and several offline channels which lacks a comprehensive, harmonizing marketing framework. In this project work, we present a new solution for businesses to promote their business online to reach a wider audience.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The principle aim of this project is to develop and implement an online marketing system that will be useful to business owners, with the following objectives:
- To create a platform for businesses to reach a wider audience and increase sales and profits.
- To develop a general purpose store where consumers can find products and services from the comfort of home through the Internet.
- To implement an online virtual store on the Internet where customers can browse the catalog and select products of interest.
1.4 LIMITATION OF THE PROJECT
The limitation encountered during the course of project were:
- High cost of Internet data, to get relevant materials and journals for the research.
- Learning various programming languages for the development of the project in a short time.
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Internet: The Internet is a global wide area network that connects computer systems across the world.
- Business: A business is defined as an organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities.
- Virtual Store: The virtual store is an online store that displays merchandise and an order form.
- Marketing: Marketing is the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over those of your competitors, and is a form of persuasive communication.
- Promotion Channels: In marketing, promotion refers to any type of marketing communication used to inform or persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or issue.
- Customer Relation: Customer relations describes the ways that a company will engage with its customers to improve the customer experience.