Long before lockdown, ecommerce marketing was rapidly evolving. With the economic impact of COVID-19 still being felt across the world, ecommerce has taken many giant leaps forward. The digital world in itself has been forced to evolve rapidly over the last eight months, as the demand for remote products and services grew.

Lockdown levels have slowly begun to ease across the globe. Businesses are tentatively re-opening, activities are slowly resuming and local and global economies are beginning to try and recover from the loss caused by the pandemic. Although we may start to see this recovery continue, there is no doubt that things will never be the same again.

What We Can Expect From Ecommerce Marketing

The ‘new normal’ is an incredibly challenging concept for many businesses. Because we still have no idea how economies will adapt, it is impossible to know what the future holds. For B2C industries such as retail, the uncertainty is even more difficult. Today, we want to talk about where ecommerce marketing is heading and what it means for businesses who have turned to ecommerce during the lockdown.

What can we expect from ecommerce marketing in the months to come. And, more importantly, what does this mean for those who are either considering or already taking advantage of all that ecommerce has to offer? Here are some possible ideas to consider.

Long-term strategies

One of the most important things that etailers and traditional retailers will need to keep in mind is that ecommerce marketing is not a short-term ‘as needed’ strategy. If you have opened an online store in the hopes to tide things over until lockdown levels lowered enough to get customers back into your physical store, you are going to struggle. Ecommerce in itself has been growing rapidly, as we mentioned at the start of this article. This means that you need to be thinking ahead, with long-term strategies that will help you build your online store rather than treat it as a temporary alternative to your physical store.

Ecommerce offers a way to attract a far wider audience compared to physical stores. With the help of an integrated marketing strategy, you will be able to find and target new customer segments, using a variety of channels from social media to SEO, mobile, email, and SEM. Today’s customer expects every retail brand they shop at to be online. Thinking in the long-term will allow you to harness all of the power that ecommerce has to offer, now and in the future.

Competitive marketing

On the flip side, competition in the ecommerce space is high. Customers have more choice than ever before. More retailers are looking at online stores than ever before, too. Those that already had basic online shops in place are ramping up their marketing strategies to compete against a huge range of stores. Large multi-product stores such as Takealot have the benefit of established reputation and a large audience. Smaller stores in specific product niches are opening all the time. Assuming that you can get around to taking your store online later means that you will struggle to get a foothold in the competitive ecommerce space.

One of the most effective ecommerce marketing strategies if you are a small and medium store trying to get into the market or trying to grow a presence is to use the smaller size of your store to your advantage. Focusing on the benefits offered by smaller stores – customer service, attention to detail, more exclusive offers, and a ‘face’ put to your store can greatly help you establish your store. Trying to compete without a strategy designed for smaller stores will only make it harder for customers to find you online.

Local vs global

On a similar note, another factor that has become more relevant since lockdown is local ecommerce vs global ecommerce. Local ecommerce marketing is a highly effective strategy for smaller stores as well as those with a physical and online presence. The benefits of local ecommerce include ultra-targeted audiences, accessibility to customers, and Google My Business listings that include NAP and other crucial information. Reviews are also excellent for local stores, helping to bring in traffic and establish your reputation.

Global ecommerce, on the other hand, continues to grow. Online shopping has paved the way for shoppers to find products anywhere in the world. Shipping costs and a few other challenges in delivery make this not always a viable solution to South African stores, however. National ecommerce offers an excellent balance between local and global, helping to extend your customer base and bring in more sales from outside of your city.

Mobile retail

Google’s Mobile-First indexing has gone hand-in-hand with the evolution of how people shop. Many consumers will research products on mobile devices and complete purchases online. Others make use of apps to shop without getting up from the couch. Having a mobile marketing strategy in place for your store is something you cannot afford to do without. Mobile searches have evolved in the SERPs, too. Along with ecommerce SEO for mobile, this means that customers are looking for information quickly, using search terms that include ‘near me’.

Mobile ecommerce makes it easier for customers to quickly find what they are looking for, from any device and any location. There are a few strategies that work well for mobile. Retargeting is one such strategy that works for online stores as well as mobile. Social media also works well for mobile – especially if you have a seamless multi-channel ecommerce marketing strategy in place. SEM is also effective, considering how many searches for products are done via mobile.

Click & mortar

Click and mortar stores are not a new concept at all. They are definitely on a rapid rise since lockdown, however. Online and offline marketing can be incredibly helpful in establishing a smooth, streamlined shopping experience for customers. Concepts such as pop-up stores, click and collect, flash sales, and online/offline loyalty offer several benefits. Target audiences for physical stores are often different from those for online stores but they share many similarities. Some customers prefer to shop offline and others prefer to shop online. Many prefer to have both options available. Personalised offers that benefit both types of shopper can help you attract more people to your physical store and more to your online store.

The goal with click and mortar retail marketing is to make it easier for customers to shop. When you treat your online store as a completely separate entity to your physical store, you will not be able to achieve this goal. Instead, you can grow a loyal, engaged customer base by encouraging shoppers to visit both online and offline stores. A strategy designed specifically for this goal is the best way to drive more conversion.

Ecommerce Marketing Opportunities and Changes

While it is still too early to see how the online shopping market as a whole will adjust moving forward, one thing is for sure. It is time for etailers to embrace the many opportunities and changes that the ecommerce space has to offer. With an integrated, multi-channel ecommerce marketing strategy in place, you will be able to take your store into the future, armed with everything you need to continue to bring in more sales.

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