E-commerce is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy, increasing nearly 14 percent in 2013. While Internet giants like Amazon control a large percentage of the e-commerce pie, many smaller retailers are doing brisk business by harnessing the power of e-commerce, too. Today, businesses that want to remain competitive and increase profitability need a firm command of the fundamentals of reaching the e-commerce market. Here are five things you should know about e-commerce marketing.
It’s All About Content
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Consumers are bombarded with hundreds of options for purchasing online; to succeed in e-commerce, it’s not enough to have an attractive website and a search engine strategy. Successful e-commerce businesses use a content marketing strategy to help differentiate them from their competitors and build loyal relationships with their customers.
Focus on Mobile Commerce Increases
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While e-commerce in general has seen incredible growth, growth in mobile commerce has exploded, accounting for over 50 percent of all e-commerce transactions in 2014. Developing e-commerce websites with responsive design that enables them to be be viewed on mobile devices is just the first step; mobile apps are essential for capturing the mobile commerce market. E-commerce marketing is more technology-focused than print marketing, which is why many marketing degree programs include IT coursework.
E-Commerce Marketing Engages Across Multiple Channels
Successful e-commerce marketing usually includes a multi-channel approach and is integrated with, and supported by, a supply chain management system. Typically, the channels in an e-commerce multi-channel marketing approach include website, email, text messaging, GPS integration with a mobile app and alerts, paid search, comparison shopping sites, and social media. Supply chain management is important to ensure optimal performance.
Marketers Have Rapid Access to Performance Metrics
A wealth of data is available for e-commerce marketing professionals. From statistics about website visitors, including bounce rates, conversion rates, referrals, and exits, to performance metrics from email marketing campaigns, e-commerce marketers can pinpoint high-performing campaigns, make adjustments, and retest in a very short time frame. This gives e-commerce marketers more control and flexibility in designing marketing campaigns and elements of the website.
This access to data and statistics also helps marketers in e-commerce develop accurate buyer personas and identify key behaviors common to their customers. In turn, it is easier to develop segmented customer lists in order to create highly specific marketing campaigns directed toward each different customer group.
Digital Marketing Produces High Impact on a Low Budget
Digital marketing is more cost-efficient than other marketing media. Search and display strategies and email campaigns require a much smaller initial investment and deliver measurable results rapidly. Changing the content or format of digital campaigns is much simpler and less expensive than changing a print or TV campaign. Traditional marketing budgets may only allow three or four major campaigns per year; that same budget would pay for 15 or 20 e-commerce campaigns, allowing more creativity and flexibility for the marketing department.
If you’re considering a career in marketing, don’t overlook the unique opportunities and challenges in e-commerce. Choose a marketing degree with coursework in HTML and IT so you’re prepared for the digital world.