It’s getting harder to remember a time when the internet didn’t dominate the business landscape. In retail, entertainment, and many other industries, ecommerce and digital services have long surpassed their high-street counterparts.
So, how exactly has ecommerce changed the way we do business? And, in turn, how has that changed the way we market? First, let’s look at how ecommerce affected the balance of the economy. Then we can start to understand why marketing has had to adapt to new digital techniques.
What is eCommerce and How Has it Impacted the Economy?
Since the early 2000s, the ecommerce market size has been growing rapidly. It only keeps accelerating, too. According to Insider Intelligence, US ecommerce sales are predicted to pass $1 trillion in 2022. Worldwide, they expect to see $5 trillion in ecommerce sales.
Image sourced from McKinsey
As more businesses had success selling their goods and services online, others naturally followed. We have also seen a change in consumer attitudes as the convenience of online purchases proved popular.
The fact that the global market size of ecommerce continues to grow reflects these changes. At the same time, advancements in logistics, distribution, and business technology continue to develop to support new ecommerce demands.
Moving Retail Online
When we think of ecommerce, the first thing that comes to mind is online retail. Consumer giants like Amazon have made online shopping fast, safe, and convenient. But small businesses have also found greater success by moving to ecommerce models.
That’s in part due to the greater reach of online channels. Social media and other sources have offered an inexpensive way for SMEs to reach a much wider audience.
The Rise of On-Demand Entertainment
Growth in mobile device use has grown alongside ecommerce and digital services. Instant access to entertainment on the go is something that modern consumers have come to expect.
This has led to the success of online subscription services in TV, gaming, and other entertainment. It also developed social marketing through sponsored, promoted, or monetized content on social video apps like TikTok or YouTube.
Small Business Opportunities
E-commerce gives small businesses a chance to compete with the marketing reach of much larger businesses. Through smart social media campaigns, SEO optimization, and other digital marketing techniques, small businesses can cut through the noise in competitive markets.
There are four distinct types of ecommerce businesses. Each has its own style of marketing.
Image sourced from Digital Skill Blog
Businesses that sell directly to other businesses. These include SaaS companies like these providers of small business VoIP in Canada.
Businesses sell directly to the customer. This could include online retailers or subscription services like Netflix.
Customers selling to other customers. This includes the second-hand goods market and resellers operating through auction sites like eBay.
Customers selling to businesses. This one sounds counter-intuitive, but what we’re talking about here is contract service provision. This can include freelancers, product testers, and so on.
What is the Impact of Ecommerce on Marketing?
Marketing is nothing if not adaptive. As ecommerce has emerged and evolved, marketing has gone through many changes. Starting from simple banner ads and email campaigns, digital marketing has come to mean so much more.
The Decline of Traditional Marketing
As digital e-commerce marketing has grown, traditional marketing methods have fallen out of favor. They haven’t gone away entirely, though, and some businesses still make good use of TV, direct mail, SMS & sales calls, and even the good old billboard.
New Marketing Channels
The decline in traditional methods was driven mainly by the growth of new online channels. These offer much higher reach at a relatively low cost. Social media sites, in particular, have allowed marketers to interact with their audience in new, more direct ways.
Customer Data & Efficient Targetting
The most significant advancement in marketing from the rise of online culture is the use of customer data. This part of digital marketing is still advancing as new technologies like data analytics drive marketing insights.
Of course, customer feedback existed before the digital age. Yet, traditional marketing surveys had limited reach, and they could only tell you the customer’s direct opinion. Digital data is not only more accessible, but it also demonstrates customer behaviors.
In analyzing these behaviors, marketers have found the greatest advantages in demographic targeting and customer engagement.
Free to use image sourced from Unsplash
10 Advantages of Ecommerce in Marketing
Why did ecommerce manage to overtake traditional retail and other markets? Well, there are some distinct advantages that ecommerce provides.
Availability of data
Less physical restrictions
24/7 sales & support availability
Digitization of products & media
Social & influencer marketing
AI and advanced BI (Business Intelligence) technology
Marketing on the go
Whether it’s customer data at your fingertips, a global audience, or the ability to advertise straight to a customer’s mobile, ecommerce extends the reach of a business. That extends the reach of your marketing efforts, too. As your reach expands, your ability to target specific users or user groups increases as well.
Ecommerce Areas & Their Digital Marketing Techniques
Digital marketing and ecommerce are related, but they’re not the same. It’s more accurate to say that digital marketing evolved alongside ecommerce. Any business can use digital marketing, even if they only have a minimal online presence.
Website-Based Ecommerce Marketing
Services like Shopify UAE have made it simple for even small businesses to establish an ecommerce presence. These and larger online retailers tend towards SEO optimization as their main driver of traffic.
SEO optimization is the process of making your site more visible in search engine rankings. It’s a cost-effective way to get your services in front of customers who are making either general or specific searches in your business area.
On-site marketing is still a popular digital marketing tactic. It works on two levels as well. You can source inbound traffic to your website’s landing page through ads and backlinks on other websites and provide the same service to others to generate additional revenue.
E-commerce businesses that are focused primarily on their website will also make on-site optimization a priority. Slow-loading websites are a major reason for high bounce rates in ecommerce. Your bounce rate increases by 32% as your page load time increases from 1 second to 3 seconds. That means it’s vital your marketing is backed up by good site performance.
Mobile Ecommerce & Mobile Marketing
Mobile apps and mobile browsing are other areas where digital marketing has had to adapt. Standalone mobile apps have led to the growth of personalized marketing via push notifications and in-app advertising.
Personalization is based on analyzing a user’s habits and tailoring ads and offers to their preferences. This is a powerful tool for increasing ecommerce sales. Studies have found that up to 76% of customers are more likely to purchase from brands that personalize.
Image sourced from McKinsey
More customers, especially in younger demographics, now choose to browse on mobile devices. That means that web-based e-commerce management has had to react to the shift as well. Mobile optimization is now as important to ecommerce software and sites as their desktop performance.
Digital marketing for these sites can also take advantage of the benefits that come with personalization. On-site ads and offers, email campaigns, and more can be personalized by leveraging your customer data.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is now used across all consumer-facing industries. Many B2B businesses maintain client links in part through social media networks like LinkedIn, too. There’s more to social media marketing than setting up a brand account and posting ads, though.
Social listening (or social monitoring) is a popular way for marketers to gauge how their business is perceived. This indirect form of collecting customer feedback can lead to insights into your brand awareness and drivers of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) in customers.
Influencer marketing, where brands work with online personalities, is also part of social media marketing. In most cases, brands target influencers with a highly relevant audience demographic or those with a wide reach (i.e., large follower counts).
Social media has proven popular as a channel for customer communication, too. Many customers now prefer to reach out to brands with queries over channels like Twitter and Facebook.
Customers expect quick responses, usually within 24 hours, when they reach out on social media. This means social media managers have become an important asset both for customer service and digital marketing purposes.
Free to use image sourced from Pixabay
Email Campaigns & Digital Marketing for Physical Businesses
Some businesses will never be able to do without a physical location. Even if this is you, you can still benefit from the advancements in digital marketing that have come with ecommerce.
As we mentioned above, more traditional digital avenues like email marketing can benefit from personalization. Digital services have also integrated older methods of communication that remain popular, like VoIP with SMS functions.
Final Thoughts: Ecommerce Has Changed Marketing For Good
Ecommerce and the rise of technology in everyday life have changed marketing forever. That doesn’t mean that marketing’s role has diminished, though. If anything, marketing, and especially digital marketing, are more relevant than ever.