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The internet offers valuable ways through which a firm can keep in contact with its customers. The internet makes a customer aware of the activities a firm undertakes, which stimulates interest in the mind of a prospective customer. Berndt and Brink (2004, p.106) reveal that the internet enables a firm to communicate with its customers regarding the products and services it offers within a specific market. The internet helps a client to explore the product categories that are offered by a firm and their unique attributes. The customer chooses to purchase a product based on the needs and expectations he seeks to satisfy.

The internet enables a firm to create strong mutual relationships with its customers. A firm can benefit from brand loyalty from its clients because of the value they attach to the products offered to them by the firm. Such customers can buy their preferred brands without being restricted by the high prices of some of the commodities owing to the loyalty and value they attach to them. Online communities for customers that are attached to strong brands ensure that a company sustains the relationships it has with its clients (Sharmah 2002, pp. 78-79). Every firm that wants to be successful should come up with ways to make the relationship with its clients more meaningful. For example, I-phone customers have a strong attachment to the Apple gadget. This has generated strong brand loyalty for the smart-phone in the market giving it a competitive edge over other devices produced by Apple’s competitors. Apple has consistently delivered on its promises enabling it to earn the trust of its customers.

The internet does not guarantee the personal touch that is vital for sustaining strong and mutual customer relationships. The customer does not have face to face interaction with the sales workers of a firm and this makes it difficult to sustain a long-term mutual relationship between the two parties. The level of satisfaction the customer gets is diminished when he or she transacts online. The high level of insecurity on the internet makes it difficult to verify if a business transaction is genuine or fake (Wilson & Abel 2002, p. 86). There has been a surge in the level of fraud targeted at online payment systems; this has made some customers afraid of transacting online. The procedure that is followed before a product is delivered to a customer is also lengthy. This has a negative consequence on the online relationship a customer establishes with a particular firm.

The internet rarely offers customers the chance to experience a demonstration of how a product works. Clients who want a firsthand experience on how a product functions are likely to lose interest in the brand and this weakens customer-company relationships. Wilson and Abel (2002, p. 88) reveal that it is difficult to evaluate the relationship a company has with its clients through the internet. Some clients may explore a product online but may not be motivated enough to take an extra step to understand how it can be of benefit to their needs. Some people with a strong attachment to some brands spend less time online and a firm loses out if it does not sustain strong connections with them through other alternative channels. The internet has grown but still has a lot of defects that make it unsuitable for sustaining long-term customer relationships. The high increase in the incidents of credit card fraud in many parts of the world has significantly discouraged the growth of electronic commerce.