E-commerce marketers risk alienating consumers and undermining their brands unless they take a local approach to their online strategies, according to a new survey by Research International.
The RIO 2000 study, which includes a global summary and 38 individual country reports, suggests the image of the global consumer is a myth and that e-commerce marketers cannot assume all consumers will embrace the US model of e-business.
'Outside the US, the consumer still needs to be convinced that e-commerce is for the mainstream and not just those who seek novelty or have a high acceptance of risk,' says the report.
The study says that trust is the key to establishing e-commerce relationships and that consumers require a greater degree of control during on-line transactions than offline.
It adds that local cultural factors have a great influence on consumer perceptions of e-commerce. Norwegians, for example, have relatively little confidence in fulfilment systems, while southern and eastern Europeans are less enthusiastic about e-commerce than northern Europeans.
'Product choice, competitive pricing and speed of transaction are expectations consumers have of online brands,' says the survey. 'The customer's time and anxieties must be respected.'