In the current digital era of today, almost every business that was hardcore brick and mortar got transformed into click and mortar. And, there’s a reason for it. Imagine you have your friend’s birthday or marriage anniversary coming up within the next few days and you aren’t prepared for it. You were damn busy with your professional activities and you didn’t have a chance to go shopping to be able to buy a gift for your friend. And, now that worries you. What if you don’t get something that you like at one shopping outlet? What if your purchase doesn’t reach the receiver in time? In essence, the right product must reach the customer in time without any hassle and it is for this reason that businesses have begun to step into the E-commerce industry.
You will notice that it’s not without pain that businesses to have entered into the E-commerce platform. They need to stay ahead of the competition and deliver products and services of value to their customers, hence the pain. But, this pain is compensated when they start making revenues up by four-fold from what they made earlier. Just last year, the online retail sales of physical goods within the United States approximated $50bn and is expected to cross $740bn by 2023. So, if there’s pain, there’s a lot to gain.
The industries that have shown maximum growth in the area of E-commerce are apparel and accessories in the retail sector. These sectors alone are expected to generate $145.8bn by 2023. But the question now is — Why other sectors are lagging behind? Well, the answer in one sentence is — digital marketing. Whether it’s a product-oriented firm or any firm engaged in the delivery of services, digital marketing must become an important component of E-commerce in order to survive or thrive as the buying and selling transactions take place all online.
Now that we know why digital marketing should have its place in E-commerce, let’s understand how digital marketing can pave the way to success for E-commerce businesses.
Social Media Marketing
There might be a minuscule amount of people who aren’t today on social media. And, if they aren’t on it, they aren’t entrepreneurs. Ask those who are beheading large-medium sized businesses about their penetration in the social media and you won’t come across anyone who wouldn’t talk about posting regular content and/or images related to their core products on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. And, there are several companies who have utilized social media platforms to their benefit. Some of those to mention are Cisco, Pampers, Staples, and Zappos. And, who doesn’t know of pure E-commerce companies such as Amazon, eBay Etsy, Flipkart, and Snapdeal who made a fortune out of social media by making millions and billions?
The main reason why most businesses are active on social media isn’t just to generate leads but to drive customer engagement as a long-drawn outcome.
There are three ways Ecommerce companies can take to digital marketing is through email marketing techniques such as transaction emails, optional emails, and opt-in email advertising. As an entrepreneur, you may not have thought to what extent emails can benefit you. With almost every person who can read and write, not having an email account is next to impossible. As a marketer, you can reach not less than 5 billion people with that many number of email accounts created. Also, through email, you can reach the customers directly. Ecommerce companies like Amazon or Flipkart have reached their customers by utilizing not just social media but also email marketing techniques.
And, again, it may not always be to drive sales but to inform and educate the customers about any order-processing or about new products being launched in the market. An exception to such a kind of rule is Gary Thuerek who made his mark the first stage itself when he sent bulk emails to his 400 potential clients and helped his company generate around $13 million in sales and this was because email at that time was almost an innovative idea.
Search Engine marketing
Search engine marketing refers to the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) techniques to increase the visibility of websites on major search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. SEO can be On-page, Off-page or technical SEO, all three of which must be executed in an appropriate manner to push the website in the higher search rankings of search engines. The SEO and PPC both have shown a tremendous response in terms of sales. This is because when you undertake SEO activities, you make significant changes in not just your website, but associate yourself with the leading guest sites.
While PPC — paid advertising campaign — may deliver immediate results, SEO, if undertaken in an organic way, provides for long-term results in terms of revenues.
Besides the above and a few other digital marketing techniques, IM is one technique where text-based communication takes place between two or more participants in a group. Despite the criticisms, the IM tools receive from many users because of very heavy use and sometimes also misuse, these have earned their own share of accolades. One of the biggest benefits is — the communication happens in real-time and so you really don’t need to wait for too long a response. Other benefits include video sharing and file-sharing features. So, when you create a business group, you take the customers into confidence by providing them the right information about your products or services.
Of course, the other benefits you derive from IM tools such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype, etc. are significant savings in cost and reduction in spam messages.
With all that said, there are industries such as law firms, real estate, auto dealerships, entertainment, etc. that haven’t exploited the digital marketing to its full potential while the future of digital marketing seems to be bright and positive.