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:
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.
Today's consumers are smart and savvy shoppers. They do their homework, know what they want and how much they’re willing to pay for it. Likewise, the economy has made shoppers more frugal and more inclined to comparison shop than ever. For businesses looking to make a simple and cost-effective dent, Google and Bing offer streamlined, efficient content and display networks that are updated on a weekly basis. The options are much stronger than in previous years and will help you get qualified traffic at a cheaper cost per click.
Let's Get Social: Twitter + Facebook + YouTube
We live in a social world. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was named Person of the Year 2010 by TIME Magazine. Then "The Social Network" debuted at No. 1, grossing $22.4 million in 2,771 theaters nationwide. Twitter changed the face of journalism as we know it, delivering breaking news via short tweets. YouTube has moved into the No. 2 position of all search engines on the web.
To stay relevant, retailers should use these social media sites to deliver rich, highly relevant content — e.g., remarketing ads showing a product upsell of what's currently displayed on your website. Don’t be afraid to integrate these platforms into multiple areas of your business and across all audience channels, including your clients, vendors, partners and customers. It could boost your web traffic, too.
Times are tough; jobs are scarce; money is tight. Offer online discounts and coupons to consumers. If you don’t, someone else will. Plus, adding discounts, coupons or even free shipping on bulk orders incentivizes customers to buy more products and come back frequently.