E-Commerce in 2011: Stay Ahead of the Digital Game

Brands want to sell, shoppers want to buy. It may seem like a simple 1+1= 2 formula, but the digital shopping market is becoming more and more saturated with new forms of technology — e.g., social media, iPads, mobile phone apps. That, in turn, makes it even tougher for brands to convince shoppers to click and buy their products.

comScore reported that online retail spending reached $32.1 billion in the third quarter of 2010, a 9 percent increase vs. the same period in 2009. This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth following a year of flat or negative growth rates. Now consider that e-commerce spending reached $32.6 billion during the November/December 2010 holiday retail season, marking a 12 percent boost from the previous year (and an all-time record for the season). Here are some best practices for retailers to keep their bottom lines healthy in 2011:

Mobile Ads
Over the years, consumers have become increasingly dependent on mobile phones to talk, search, shop and everything in between. Sixty-five million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in November 2010, up 10 percent from the previous year’s similar three-month period. The number of clicks in the mobile space is growing rapidly, fueling stiffer competition among businesses to market their products via mobile ads.

Mobile Apps & SMS Marketing
No matter what city you live or work in, chances are you own a Blackberry, iPhone, Droid or other smartphone. According to comScore, Research in Motion ranked No. 1 with 33.5 percent market share of smartphones, followed by Google Android (26 percent), Apple (25 percent), Microsoft (9 percent) and Palm (3.9 percent).

What this tells us is that consumers know what they want, and they want it sooner than later. Their purchase decisions are often emotional. With mobile apps and SMS marketing, retailers can make it easier, faster and more engaging for consumers to click and buy what they want in a matter of seconds — before they have the chance to go home and reconsider their options.

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