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Digital Presence Types

Discover the various types of digital presence.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Chaffey (2019) classifies companies’ online presence based on their objectives and functionality. So, online presence does not only refer to different digital channels but also the key functionality of digital presence.

Transactional E-commerce Sites

These enable the online purchase of products. As well as product sales, these sites also provide information for customers who prefer to buy products offline. An example of a transactional e-commerce site is Amazon.

Services-Oriented Relationship-Building Sites

These provide information to build relationships with customers, with products not typically available for online purchase. Through the website, the company seeks to provide information to inform purchase decisions and encourage offline sales. Such sites can generate enquiries or leads from potential customers. Examples include Ernst & Young Global Limited (B2B) and most car manufacturer sites.

Brand-Building Sites

These sites support the development of a brand, often through developing an online experience. With the exception of merchandise, products are not typically available on the websites. These sites are usually used for low value, high volume, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Examples include Coca-Cola and Redbull.

Portal or Media Sites

These provide information or news about a range of topics. ‘Portal’ means gateway, in this case, to information – both on the site and through links to other sites. Such sites can generate revenue through varied sources, including advertising, commission-based sales, and sale of customer data (lists). Examples include Yahoo and MSN.

Social Networking Sites

These sites focus on enabling community interactions between different customers. They allow individuals to create a public profile, create a list of users with whom to share connections, and view and cross the connections within the system. Examples include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Your Task

Pick three brands from different industry sectors (for example, Coca-Cola, BMW, ASOS). Visit their website and social media presence. Evaluate their online presence using the five classifications above.
Share and discuss your findings with each other.


Chaffey, D., & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2019). Digital marketing. Locate link (available to fee-paying students)

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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