E-MARKETING PLAN 1
Date of submission:
SECTION I: Description 3
The business 3
Potential revenue source 3
SECTION TWO: Overview 5
SWOT analysis 5
Strategic marketing plan 6
Positioning or value proposition 7
Consumer behavior 7
Contact points 8
Communication objectives and measures 8
Measures of communication objectives 9
Alternatives for monetization and costs 9
SECTION III: E-Marketing plan 10
Search engine optimization 12
Permission marketing 12
Content marketing 13
Facebook and Instagram advertising strategy 14
SMS and location marketing 14
Extra E-marketing tool 15
SECTION I: DescriptionThe business
In the UAE, there are many furniture firms that serve theever-growing number of customers. While a big number of thesecustomers buy furniture for their home use, a good number purchasethem for business and commercial purposes. The UAE economy is one ofthe fastest growing in the world, as the people’s spending powerhas been steadily growing (Prayag, Rezwan & Hosany, 2013). Thisbuying power means that the number of furniture firms in the countryis set to increase significantly over the next years. As such, thereis need to optimize the manner in which these firms conduct theirbusiness, that is, through linking the customers and sellers. Themost effective way for doing this is through online marketing. Thisbusiness plan is for “Furn-Buy”, a pure-play online e-businessthat specializes in furniture small spaces in the UAE.
The market for furniture products in the UAE is divided into twodifferent consumer segments. These are:-
Commercial industrial consumption: This is where the furniture is designed for offices, hotels, schools and universities, among other formal and informal institutions.
Individual/domestic consumption: This is where the furniture businesses specialize in home furniture. These includes homes and other residential settings.
In this kind of business, there are three major potential revenuesources. The first one is text and advertising. The revenue channelsfor these are earnings-per-click, inventory served and advertisementunits per page. The second one is affiliate commissions. Theseinclude the average cost-per-click and click-throughs. Finally, thereis the fixed run-of –site sponsorship. The business can earnrevenue by running the online business websites of the furniturecompanies.
SECTION TWO: OverviewSWOT analysis Strengths:
Low employment cost since the business does not require a big sales force. All operations can be done online.
There is low to no involvement levels for third party consumers. Direct linkage through IT makes business smooth to conduct.
The business has a rich media, both audio and video, which attracts customers and keeps them informed about the business.
There is a definite and clear tracking of ROI.
There is no knowledge of the actual needs of the customers since it is a B2B business, which limits the knowledge and perception of the end-users’ needs.
Many customers are reluctant to purchase online, hence limiting the revenue collectible from them.
Given a “start-up” reputation of the business, it faces stiff competition from well-established businesses.
The market for furniture e-marketing is highly competitive.
The business has a high-quality content for the businesses and clients.
The growing online shopping in the UAE is advantageous for the business.
Increased services and a product portfolio that attracts the customers.
Further inclination towards online purchase in the future.
Online security issues.
Regional preference for physical shopping.
Increased competition from well-established businesses like Amazon and eBay.
Dependence on the dollar rate, which is quite unstable.
The influence of the market’s instability on demand
Dynamic and rapid environment of digital advertising might require the business to shift strategies at a higher speed than expected
The marketing segments will be divided into two. The first one willbe businesses that deal with commercial and institutional furniture.Their products and services will be directed towards hotels,universities, colleges, offices and other commercial places. Thesebusinesses often deal with heavy furnitures such as office desks andhigh-tables. Similarly, their merchandise goes in bulk. There arealso small furniture sellers, who mainly target homes and residentialplaces. They deal in light furniture, such as seats and tables, aswell as décor furniture.
Theguideline for targeting will be diversified consumer preference. TheUAE consumers like going for well-established, high-end furniture anddesigner products as well. At the same time, they are influenced bythe prices, despite the fact that the general purchasing power ishigh. As such, Furn-Buy will target both commercial and homefurniture companies, however, with space saving furniture. These areHafele, Hiddenbed, Space Saving, Dubai Furniture and Gold WayInternational Trading FZCO.
Positioning orvalue proposition
Two positioning strategies will be used. They are competitivepositioning and demographic-based positioning. Comparativeadvertisement will be relied upon, especially billboards and printmedia. Similarly, Furn-Buy will advertise in décor magazines, aswell as home fashion events. At the same time, demographic-basedpositioning will be strategized. The business will provide a platformfor young buyers, as well as the elderly. This is besidegender-related positioning, given that men and women have differentfurniture purchasing trends.
Furn-Buy will conduct business with the tagline “Have FurnBuying Furniture”. The word “furn” has been modifiedto refer to both furniture and fun. Shoppers are most likely to buyin a place they will experience fun. There will also be freeshipping, as well as flexible payment options. The buyers will beable to pay through Paypal and mobile money transfer methods that areprovided for by banks. By doing this, the shoppers will realize morevalue for their money as they shop furniture through Furn-Buy.
Diversity, modernity and technology characterize the UAE highstandards of living. In furniture business, diversity defines thekind of products that the customers will go for. A majority of theUAE population is Arabic, meaning that they are likely to go forArabic-themed furniture. This information guides the targeting andsourcing of furniture sellers. Technology as well has greatlyinfluenced the end-user trends (Cowan et al., 2012). It guides theshopping channels and products that the clients will source.Recently, there has been growth in online-shopping trends in the UAE. While the UAE shoppers have a high purchasing power, they go forvalue for their money. Furn-Buy will therefore provide price rangesfor various products, which besides fulfilling the pricing strategy,will guide the clients in selecting their products and services.
Furn-Buy will use three major contact points. These are telephone,internet, and in-person. For telephone, the business representativewill seek telephone communication with marketing officers of thefurniture businesses in the UAE. The second contact–point will bein-person. The business representative will make discussions withcompany salespeople by visiting their businesses and presentingFurn-Buy’s business proposals. The third contact-point will be theinternet. The internet is the fastest growing contact-point acrossthe world (Diehl & Karmasin, 2013) through it, the partners willhave an idea of how Furn-Buy works, and be able to contact thecustomers directly.
Communicationobjectives and measures
Thecommunication objectives are:-
Drive traffic to clients’ online platforms, such as websites, social media and blogs.
Increases sales online
Improved communication between the furniture sellers and buyers.
Provide the furniture buyers with online presence through user profiles.
Measures ofcommunication objectives
Visibility through social media platforms. This will be achieved by tracking of website traffic statistics and Google statistics.
Measuring volumes and sales. This will be measured by observing the volume of new and repeat sales of the clients.
Tracking of the number of referrals every quarterly.
Alternativesfor monetization and costs
Besidesthe identified revenue sources, the business will seek the followingalternative monetization strategies to help increase revenue andcater for costs.
Selling ad-space – Besides the affiliated firms, Furn-Buy will sell advertising space to other businesses. These will be charged on a monthly basis.
Generation of leads for other companies – Furn-Buy will set up links to different clients who engage in online shopping.
Monetization widgets – these are provided by Google. They will enable the business to make extra revenue.
SECTION III: E-Marketing planFacebook
Facebook provides a significant prospect for the growth of business.According to Rosen, Carrier & Cheever (2013), people spendapproximately 12 billion hours per month in the site. As such,Furn-Buy will emphasize its marketing plan on Facebook. Through theplatform, the furniture customers will be connected to the sellersthrough a plethora of information regarding the types of products andservices that are available for them. The main objective of usingFacebook is to boost the furniture sellers’ visibility in thetarget market, and to create a deep engagement between the buyers andthe sellers.
Figure1: Screenshot of the Furn-Buy Facebook page
In creating the website, Furn-Buy will seek the services of Azinity,a social media marketing designer (azinity.com, 2015). One of the keyfeatures of Azinity is that it locates and posts content regardlessof the media they are based on, such as videos, events, polls andothers relevant to furniture e-marketing. Additionally, it tracks thepost by the customers and increases appearance in the newsfeed. Thesefeatures will help Furn-Buy’s Facebook page to reach moreaudiences. Besides the like page to increase the fan base, the userswill also have the option of contacting Furn-Buy through instantmessaging
Besidesthe normal posts, Furn-Buy’s Facebook page will contain additionale-marketing tools to increase the level of activity and business. Thepage will use polls, where customers will be rating the products andservices they get from various sellers. This information will helpperforming clients to increase their activity. There will also beinteractive contact forms and surveys, all focused on improving thequality of experience while using the page. As a security andprecautionary measures, Furn-Buy’s Facebook page will filter outspam and offensive wordings. However, the buyers and sellers willretain the freedom of posting, which is key for positive interaction.
TheFacebook page will also connect with the client’s business pages.The developers will ensure that they have made the page a primarypiece of the overall online presence, which will have connections tothe clients’ websites, blogs and other social media channels.Furthermore, Facebook widgets will be used to help the clients andbuyers to connect more through other online platforms. For instance,the posts will be directed to the Twitter pages of the clients, andthey will appear in the clients’ websites as additional buyercomments and feedbacks.
Thefan page will be used to increase interactivity. For instance, thefurniture sellers will be able to post videos of their products andservices for the buyers to see. The fans will also have the freedomof posting their videos, for instance, to show how well the furniturethey bought from a particular vendor fits well in their space. Bydoing this, the level of interaction between the customers and thefurniture sellers will be increased, which is prospective forprofitable business.
Instagramwill be the second social media marketing tool that Furn-Buy willuse. The site is owned by Facebook, and has over 1 billion users(Rosen et al., 2013). The Instagram marketing strategy will have fourmain objectives. The first one will be to increase Furn-Buy’s brandawareness. Secondly, it will be used to sell the affiliatebusinesses’ organizational culture thirdly, through Instagramposts, the clients will showcase their products and services.Finally, Furn-buy’s Instagram pages will be used for enhancing andcomplementing shopping experiences. the page will be used as a B-2-Cplatform with the aim of making the products and services centers ofattraction. On the page, the clients will be posting their productsand services, and engage the buyers through a pictorial platform. Thestyle, publishing, and workflow will be designed to promote UAEfurniture dealers and their products. Additionally, there will beallowance for video posts to serve the purpose of graphicalinteraction between the clients and buyers.
Figure2: Furn-buy Instagram page screenshot.
Theforemost strategy for search engine optimization is getting reviews.Many online shopping sites have the problem of frustrating algorithms(Berman & Katona, 2013). To bypass this problem, the customers’reviews will be used to place products with high credibility up highon the online search page. Furn-Buy will regularly request the buyersto post their reviews, which the online platform management will usedto place the clients’ products and services on the listings. Strongand relevant keywords will also be used for optimization. Theseinclude sofa sets, beds, chairs, stools, stands and so on. Othercategories of key-word search will be brand, manufacturer and price.
The business will use its online platform to engage visitors with alimited offer, alongside the option of joining as members. The buyerscan be members through Instagram and Facebook. The first step will bepromoting existing customers through email. The major ideas behindthis is to have the subscribers to like Furn-buy’s Facebook andInstagram pages. Both these have viral effects. The permissionmarketing form will ask the buyers to share their memorable shoppingexperiences, with a chance of winning a piece of furniture for thesame. In the opening line of the offer, the shoppers will be welcomedwith a message “Welcome, dear shopper”. The body will contain ashort description of the price they stand to win, and how they canobtain it. In the last line, there will be a message reading “Hurryand submit your story today”, which will have a direct link toliking and sharing on both Facebook and Instagram platforms.
To compile the prospects database, Furn-Buy will use four majorsteps, the first one will be appended data. In e-marketing, mostresponses come with only the name and address (Leefland et al.,2015). To get additional demographic information, the company willseek assistance of service bureaus, specifically Acxiom. Thisinformation obtained will be appended to the rented names. There willalso be the use of the Facebook Data Management Technologies (DBMS)model to arrange the list of visitors and actual buyers. Thisinformation will help Furn-Buy and the furniture businesses topredict the behavior and trend of the buyers. The third strategy willbe using and algorithm to score a database. This will help the datamanagement team to decile each name into a category, hence manage thecustomer and online shoppers’ data constructively.
The Facebook and Instagram pages will be platforms for the furnituresellers to post pictures and video of their products. Besides havingthe pictures and videos, Furn-Buy will have a teams of contentdesigners to add value to the pictures and the videos. Moreover,there will be interactive graphics of the furniture, which willcontain extensive information about the products offered. The linksfor the Facebook and Instagram pages are in the following section.
Facebook andInstagram advertising strategy
As earlier mentioned, the main advertising and marketing platformwill be Facebook. The advertisement page will be having twoadministrators, who will have the privileges of controlling thecontent on the page. The administrators will determine the type ofadvertisements that the furniture sellers will put on the page, andthe feedback that the customers will give. The administrators willalso be tasked with segmentation, advertisement optimization,scheduling of the campaigns, managing the budget and tracking thetraffic. Besides, they will advise the furniture sellers on how torepresent their products and how the buyers can contact the sellers.The link to the Furn-Buy Facebook page link is
TheInstagram page will also be used for the similar purpose. However, itwill be a picture and video advertisement tool for the products andservices that the businesses will use. The link to the Instagram pageis furn_buy @ https://www.instagram.com/furn_buy/
SMS and locationmarketing
To market the clients’ products and services, Furn-Buy will use SMSand location marketing strategy. This was, the buyers will bereceiving phone SMS at specific times, and when they are within acertain distance from the location of a certain vendor. During thesubscription stage, the shoppers will be asked to register by textinga keyword to Furn-Buy’s SMS code. The Keywords include sofa sets,furniture, stools, exotic chairs, and so on. Examples of the SMSsent to the clients will be “Do you need an Arabic themed sofa foryour new space? Space Saving furniture is just around the corner, atHafele XX meters away. Message brought to you by Furn-Buy, ‘HaveFurn Buying Furniture’”. There will be an additional part ofthe message prompting the buyers of the steps they need to take ifthey wish to stop using the geo-texting services from Furn-Buy. Allthe SMS charges will be settled by Furn-Buy.
Besides Facebook and Instagram, Furn-Buy will use Mail Chimp. Thistool is useful for collecting statistics, sending emails andimproving the performance of online sites (Mail Chimp, 2015). Usingthis, Furn-Buy’s IT technical team will import lists from buyersand sellers, and use them to create audience to target new clients.On the background, the developers will build contact subsets toenhance communication and to keep the clients up-to-dated. Mail Chimpwill also be used to integrate the Facebook and Instagram socialchannels, and to keep them regularly updated. Below is a screenshotsample of Mail. Chimp.
Figure3: Mail Chimp platform.
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