It should come as no surprise that eCommerce has grown into one of the most important business models in existence over the past several decades. After all, the majority of the world's population is plugged into the Internet — and now, in the "Year of COVID," more and more consumers are turning to eCommerce as a safe and cost-effective alternative to shopping in physical stores.
eCommerce has been defined as a business model that involves transactions taking place on the Internet. Of course, this is a very broad term that encompasses a variety of industries, marketing strategies, selling tactics, and tools.
How big will it become in the future? Some experts project that 95% of all purchases will be conducted online by the year 2040. Whether or not that prediction comes true, it is undeniable that eCommerce is an invaluable marketing/sales channel for hundreds of thousands of businesses. Here’s what you need to know to incorporate virtual shopping strategy into your business model.
Why is eCommerce So Important?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, eCommerce was extremely lucrative as a sales medium. Of course, the Coronavirus only served to accelerate the growth of the industry. For instance, one study estimates that COVID-19 and its effects advanced eCommerce growth by "4 to 6 years." Total online spending in May of this year serves as an example of this trend: consumers purchased up to $82.5 billion, a 77% increase over last year's figure.
Understandably, most consumers want to keep themselves and their families safe and avoid public spaces like retail stores to the greatest extent possible. Thus, more and more Internet users are shopping online and eschewing the traditional "brick and mortar" experience. Retailers that have not heavily invested in eCommerce marketing or platforms are finding themselves at a serious disadvantage during the present crisis.
Of course, it is sure to continue its upward trend even after the pandemic subsides. For example, in the United States alone the eCommerce marketing jumped from approximately $450 billion to just under $515 billion in one year (2017 to 2018). Expect to see a continuance of this forward momentum.
Marketing Your Business & eCommerce
eCommerce marketing involves the act of driving awareness and action toward a business that sells its product/service via digital channels. Of course, it is often closely related to digital marketing, which includes the process of driving sales for a brick-and-mortar business by means of online advertising.
Many companies have found significant success in positioning their business alongside virtual shopping. This could mean developing and promoting your own digital purchasing platform, using it as an alternative fulfillment channel, or leveraging eCommerce marketing techniques to drive online and/or offline sales. In most situations, you would need the assistance of an experienced media partner for best results — one that has the technical expertise and marketing acumen to put your business in a position to succeed.
Since 87% of today's shoppers begin their product searches on a digital channel, it's easy to see how implementing eCommerce strategies can yield an exceptional ROI.
eCommerce Marketing Best Practices
There are some key considerations you should make when deciding when, where, and how to implement your marketing initiatives. Here are just a few eCommerce best practices and advertising tips that can make a world of difference:
Investigate what type of content works best with your target audience. Do your target consumers enjoy reading blog posts, or would they rather watch a short video? How long is their attention span? What type of verbiage and tone would resonate with them? Consider these and similar questions when developing your content strategy.
Determine where to display your content and how to optimize it. There are several marketing channels that you could consider, such as social media, programmatic ad networks, or your company's official website. The point is, you want to reach your target audience at places (read: websites) that they frequently visit.
Decide on KPIs for your marketing content. You need to measure your advertising efforts to determine their effectiveness and make improvements as needed. Decide on which key performance indicators (KPIs) work best for your business objectives. For example, do you simply want to drive more traffic to your website? Do you want to generate more leads? Or are you aiming at the big target: more sales?
Develop processes for each potential action that a consumer may take. As an example, think about the notorious "abandoned shopping cart." What will you do if a prospect leaves in the middle of that process? Will you send a polite follow-up email? Will you deploy retargeted ads to win back his or her business? When it comes to potential customers, you don't want to leave anything to chance.
In conclusion, it's apparent that eCommerce is here to stay, and will only become more important in the years to come. Progressive companies will take part in the virtual shopping option if at all possible, and invest in advertising alongside it. As a result, they will enjoy increased sales, sustainable growth, and enhanced profitability.