Web marketing means better business, says ACRAL

More businesses selling traditional Algarvean products are boosting their trade by advertising on the internet, through social networking sites, in an initiative called “web marketing.”

The owner of a shoe shop opened six months ago in Faro reports that she has been sending orders made through the internet to various parts of Portugal, France and Switzerland, “all thanks to social networking sites”, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Márcia Paulino told Lusa news agency that she is convinced that promoting her shop on an internet page has brought additional success to her business.

She said: “It’s a way of finding loyal customers and providing them with information on prices and future promotions, but a shop selling online doesn’t serve as a substitute for a physical shop. Online and offline works together.”

Much depends on the nature of the goods on offer as general stores do not appear to be enjoying the same boom in sales.

João Rosado, of the Associação de Comércio e Serviços do Algarve (ACRAL), stressed the importance of commercial enterprises having a “shop window” online which is “open” long after their normal shop closing hours.

ACRAL is considering a plan to create a virtual Algarve commercial centre web-page to promote traditional Algarvean merchandise.

The project also has the capacity to reinforce social networking, including the elaboration of marketing studies throughout the seven towns within the Faro district, said ACRAL.

Gabriel Augusto, director of a company that aims to promote web marketing, said the idea is “indispensable” within the context of a dynamic economy to determine consumer needs and marketing strategies.

He has created a course of study in which students can learn to define objectives of participation of a business enterprise in social networking analysis, reactions and suggestions of the consumer, and give a clear view of the market.

Also important is to learn how to adapt the offer of the products or services to clients’ needs and create a close relationship between provider and customer.