The main purpose of this project is to examine whether virtual communities represent an effective way to increase customer loyalty. For the purpose of this paper, the analysis was based on both secondary and primary research, evident in literature review and the conducted survey, questionnaires and interviews. The findings of the research showed that virtual communities are used as a successful marketing tool by companies in their internet marketing strategies. On-line communities represent an increasing and real opportunities for online companies and brands to help in the development of communities with the potential for benefits for all stakeholders. These communities will develop networks of associations, contacts and conversations. This is how relationship marketing can move forward and in so doing, provide a favorable and powerful way for increasing customer loyalty and regular purchases.
This study concludes that online communities will be useful sources of information and interaction for customers, users and the online organizers alike. The major opportunity is to create, run and develop communities in an appropriate and useful way for the mutual benefit of participants. It is recommended for further primary research to be employed in the area of virtual communities, its importance for knowledge management; and investigate the role of on-line marketing and its impact on virtual communities for companies� success.