What's E-Commerce Media, and Why Do I Need a Strategy?
Cooperative marketing between retailers and their suppliers has been highly successful for decades. It's an integral part of today's shopping experience. Make no mistake, the brands of toys, electronics and other gift purchases featured in endcaps every holiday season are not randomly selected. Marketers are paying retailers a premium to ensure their products are visible at key points in the shopping process.
At its best, this type of in-store promotion is so relevant, logical and helpful, particularly when the displays are offering a discount or other promotion, that it's not easily recognized as marketing. Ultimately, shoppers benefit, brands benefit and retailers earn revenue both from the sale of goods and the marketing value of their real estate.
More and more retailers are realizing that their e-commerce site also represents very valuable real estate. Tens of millions of shoppers visit online stores each day, showing interest in different types of products and creating countless opportunities for brands to interact with a highly concentrated target audience. Brands are also beginning to realize that a majority of shopping decisions are now made online, even if purchases are ultimately made in a physical store, making e-commerce sites an increasingly critical part of their marketing mix.
E-commerce media, just like in-store marketing in the offline world, allows marketers to target consumers while they're shopping, and enables retailers to unlock new profits from their valuable digital real estate.
The obvious difference with offline programs is the variety of options the digital medium makes possible. The moment a retailer begins viewing its online store as a media property, a number of questions and dilemmas arise. The web is full of online publishers and thousands of different ad networks, technologies, media formats and gimmicks that help them make money. At first glance, most of these seem incompatible with a retail business focused on creating great customer experiences that promote conversion and repeat business. The promise of high-profit media revenue is too big to be ignored. Could the wrong approach risk alienating customers and hurt your business?