From the initiation, the term E-Commerce meant the process of executing commercial transactions electronically with the help of the advanced technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange and Electronic Funds Transfer which gave an opportunity for users to exchange business information and do electronic transactions. The History of e-commerce is incomplete without Amazon and eBay which were the first online companies to allow electronic transactions. It is becoming an integral part of any book or manuscript on retailing. Now, with the exponential increase in internet penetration across the world and rise in the number of smartphone users, e-commerce has slowly become one of the biggest markets with almost 21% of the world’s population ie. 1.66 billion people actively transacting in any form of e-commerce. The reason behind this is that e-commerce technology is different and more powerful than any of the other technologies which have evolved in the last decade.
Here are some stats :
- In 2018, E-Commerce Sales Accounted for 11.9% of All Retail Sales Worldwide
- 2.86 Percent of E-Commerce Website Visits Converted into Purchases
- Smartphones Accounted for 61 Percent of Retail Site Visits Worldwide
- 65% of Consumers Look Up Price Comparisons on Mobile While in a Physical Store
- The Number One Reason People Shop Online is Because They Can Shop 24/7
- 30% of Consumers Say The Would Rather Buy from a Website They’ve Bought from Previously, than a retail shop.
The reasons why e-commerce has been so successful
- A wider range of choices are available to customers.
- It is easy to search any product or services on the internet and find at least one marketplace or online vendor selling it. Multiple e-commerce companies have resulted in heavy competition leading to competitive prices, short delivery times and ultimately happy and more engaged customers.
- Payment schemes are evolving, with the advent of mobile wallets, EMI schemes the buyer has a plethora of options to choose from.
- It is now possible for e-tailers to analyze the purchase patterns of users to make customer profiles. They can use this data to promote relevant products that have a higher probability of being purchased. They can change the product placement to increase the visibility of goods that the user is more likely to purchase based on this analytical data.
- E-tailing includes some advantages to the consumer that no other form of retailing can provide. It allows for easy comparison across broad product categories and allows for more flexible and dynamic pricing mechanisms. This is giving benefit to marketers who provide products with real (perceived) value and consumers in general. It also penalizes the marketers who have thrived in marketplaces that had “information” barriers to entry, where lack of information for customers restricted their choices and led to inefficient pricing and localized monopolies.
- With the advent of highly advanced advertising algorithms and social media platforms with high user engagement, e-tailers can promote their products and services and remarket them to influence customers to a great extent, thus maximizing their marketing ROIs
- E-commerce platforms are optimizing their logistics by increasingly automating their entire warehousing and in some cases even product deliveries as well.
E-Commerce Marketing Strategies for 2019
For anyone wanting to start an E-Commerce site, might want to follow the following marketing strategies:
- Ad removal – Irrelevant ads are always annoying and disruptive even can hinder the buying process. Sidebar ads and popups sometimes appear as spam. Hence a visitor may be afraid to click through your site for the fear that they’ll be redirected to some other untrustworthy sites.
- Feature Reviews – Feedback and testimonials are ways to increase the credibility of a site. A new visitor will be able to decide based on other users past experience what, when to buy. This will make the buying experience more reliable.
- Search Bar – 30% of customers use internal search. Visitors who use search bars convert better than those who don’t so it’s important to get the internal website search correctly developed.
- Web Hosting – A premium web hosting service should be bought for a seamless and sophisticated experience.
- Creating Scarcity – Customers like exclusive and rare products. Creating scarcity or urgency of the product or service is supposed to be one of the most effective conversion optimization strategies. They are made to think that the scarce products are valuable. Few tools to enforce scarcity are Flash Sales, Last Day Offers, While Stocks Last, Limited Release, etc.
- Product Description – The SEO of product descriptions for e-commerce stores are important. So writing product descriptions that inform, create value, and also rank well on search engines is mandatory. According to Nielsen, only 18% of the time was spent on viewing photos and rest was spent on the text on an Amazon product page.
- Effective FAQs – Detailed information regarding return policies, description, usage, etc should be provided in the form of FAQs for the customers.
- Profile Creation – Customers should not be forced to create a profile but encouraged. Once items are added to a shopping cart, users can finalize their transaction through the guest checkout option.
- Checkout – For the above reasons, the check out option should be simple, easy and secured. Once a website visitor decides to buy something, they should find it easy to complete the purchase. Each additional step in the checkout process will increase the chances of them abandoning the transaction. It is seen that 28% of consumers abandoned a shopping cart during checkout because the process was too long and complicated.
- Competition’s weakness – Alike Swot analysis to determine your own strengths and weaknesses, competitor’s reviews should also be referred to. In public forums or review boards, read feedback of popular e-commerce sites which in turn will help you in improving your service and products.
- Trustworthy website – Unlike Powerful brands, small or medium-sized E-commerce sites have to provide Trust Badges, Positive Press Coverage, Reviews/Testimonials, Contact Numbers, Physical Address in order to enter the circle of trust of the customers.
- Simple Browsing – With several thousand products, it is a difficult task to create a simple sitemap of navigation. But it is highly recommended as it becomes annoying for customers if the buying becomes complicated.
- Attractive UI – The user interface should be attractive and beautiful images should be used in appropriate places to make the buying experience satisfying.
- Sale Section – It’s important to have a distinguished and eye-catching sale section on the homepage where you want the customers to be able to access it quickly and easily.
- Page Load speed – It is observed that 47% of customers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. A simple 1-second delay can result in a 7% reduction in your conversion rate which can potentially cost an e-commerce site to lose $2.5 million in sales every year. Page load speed can be improved by considering factors like minimizing HTTP requests, reducing server response time, enable compression, optimizing images, reducing the number of plugins and redirects, etc.
An e-commerce marketing strategy provides an in-depth perception into a company’s proposed actions and responses to the most prominent trends in online marketing. This includes thorough study and analysis of consumer behavior pattern, along with a series of actions that the company must perform in order to achieve a specific marketing goal.