Editor’s Note: The Rise of E-Commerce Media
I've written about this in these pages before, but I can't help myself: I love the idea of e-commerce media and think it's the latest untapped revenue stream for e-tailers.
What's e-commerce media, you ask? It's a form of online media that allows marketers to target shoppers within and around the e-commerce environment at critical moments before the point of purchase.
At the recent eTail West 2011 conference in Palm Springs, Calif., I met with Jonathan Opdyke, CEO of HookLogic, a company that sells a solution that creates product and media placements on e-commerce sites.
Cooperative marketing between retailers and suppliers has been successful for decades offline, Opdyke said, and is an integral part of today's shopping experience.
"Make no mistake, the brands featured in endcaps in retail stores everyday aren't ran- domly selected," Opdyke added. "Marketers pay retailers a premium to ensure their products are visible at key points in the shopping process. E-commerce media simply puts that concept online."
Real e-tailers are experimenting with e- commerce media. At eTail, for example, HookLogic announced that Shoebuy.com will use its service to offer brand and product placements on its site.
"This will create new and innovative merchandising opportunities for Shoebuy's more than 1,000 brand partners to showcase their individual products throughout the website in relevant locations along the shopper's path," Opdyke said.
What's more, online retail giant Amazon.com started experimenting with e-commerce media via its Amazon Advertising Program.
Backcountry.com, a leading e-tailer of outdoor products, also launched an e-commerce program last fall that makes display media advertising inventory opportunities available to vendors, industry partners and other customer-complementary advertisers on Backcountry.com's family of stores.
The program offers advertisers exposure opportunities to "Backcountry.com's one [million] to four million unique monthly visitors who engage in 10 [million] to 35 million page views per month — depending on the month," according to a Backcountry.com press release.
Advertisers can buy inventory available on a taxonomy navigation level basis (e.g., men's clothing, women's clothing, hiking), the press release noted, as well as on all of Backcounty.com's product detail pages. Advertisers can send traffic to any destination URL they choose, such as their own site, to another smaller retailer or to a custom campaign.
"We'd much rather have our customers exit to a vendor site to learn more about the products they're researching than go anywhere else," said Dustin Robertson, Backcountry.com's chief marketing officer, in the release.
In short, Backcountry.com's e-commerce media program uses its site's niche-focused approach to retail to give advertisers the chance to target segments of customers at a powerful point in the purchase process.
"Most people still use the internet as it was originally intended: as a research medium," Robertson said. "Having customer-complementary ads on our sites can enhance the customer's shopping experience as well as provide them with more brand and product information opportunities while they're in their research phase."