The world of e-commerce is an exciting one. As technology continues to advance and make the e-commerce experience a more convenient and smoother one for consumers, market forces are also working to change how e-commerce businesses can most effectively reach potential customers.
Below are three key insights into e-commerce that are currently shaping the landscape and will have significant effects on the future of e-commerce as a whole.
Content Marketing is the New Advertising
Creating awareness for any new product, brand or service can be expensive, and a large part of that budget is usually eaten up by advertising and PR. The problem with advertising in today’s digital marketing landscape is that ads don’t stick in the minds of people who are not already existing customers or purveyors of your website.
They might see them, but they don’t recall them or click on them. And the issue with PR is that you often pay for a service or spend internal time delivering ‘free awareness’ via ‘news’ that often does not get much coverage. When there is coverage, the news gets clicked more than the ad, but being newsworthy and breaking an article through to a large audience is extraordinarily challenging.
The in-between zone that has appeared, where businesses pay for placement of content that offers readers knowledge and insight, is called Native Advertising. It’s content, much like news, but bought, much like advertising, and can be bought at scale. If done well, native advertising offers the audience something valuable to them, and we have seen the performance on a cost-per-click basis that is several times that of banner advertising.
Paid Search Is No. 1 for New Audiences and First Click Conversions
Despite all of the recent advertising technology developments, organic search is still the number one way that users find your site. That said, Paid Search is the most effective form of advertising delivering new audiences to your website via first click conversions.
Though ranking high in organic search is the goal, if your e-commerce site can’t rank highly for critical non-branded keywords, Paid Search is the place to funnel your advertising dollars. Paid Search delivers not only new traffic but also directly-attributed conversions from said traffic.
When audiences know what they want and search for it, the likelihood for conversion is up to 20 times higher than an audience that fits your core user profile but hasn’t shown any intention to purchase your product or service at that particular moment in time.
Social and native are very cost effective in creating awareness with new audiences, but they don’t convert as well as paid search. Non-branded paid search for most e-commerce sites delivers the most attributable conversion for new audiences.
Omnichannel is the Future
E-commerce is a disruptive form of retail when compared with traditional brick and mortar retail. It may have taken some time for the world to understand just how powerful online retailing could be, but it’s now an indisputable fact of the modern business landscape.
Faced with the bankruptcies of many retail chains, traditional retailers have had to re-evaluate brick and mortar locations against the benefits of e-commerce. Companies such as Walmart have wisely viewed their retail stores as pick-up and return locations for merchandise, which makes the purchase experience more convenient than either a brick and mortar or online store alone.
At StickerYou, we have built proprietary technology to help make the making and ordering of custom products, particularly die-cut products such as stickers, labels, decals, etc., easy and efficient.
However, our product is tangible, and what we can show people online is not as powerful as a real offline experience, which is why we will be opening a brick and mortar retail space by the end of the 2018 calendar year. We are joining many retailers who are looking at omnichannel merchandising as the way forward.
Omnichannel merchandising allows the physical store to facilitate convenience and speed for delivery and returns while allowing the online store to enable product knowledge and potential ease of ordering. Meanwhile, smaller retail stores are viewing the brick and mortar store as not just a place for shipping and returns or traditional merchandise purchases, but as a broader marketing initiative, an interactive and unique trial experience.
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