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How Businesses Can Capitalize on Digital Marketing for E-Commerce in 2018

pexels-photo-374899Having an e-commerce platform is part and parcel of any successful business operation. At present, online retail growth is three times faster than the entire retail industry in general. The Business Insider estimates that e-commerce sales will amount to $436 billion by the end of this year, a number that is projected to grow by an average of 16% annually.

This relentless progress in online retail is driven largely by shoppers themselves, with over half of all Americans preferring to make purchases online. As a result, marketers are focusing on getting products on consumers’ screens and into their virtual shopping carts. If you’re looking to make the most out of the e-commerce industry, here are some ways you can capitalize on digital marketing this 2018.

Invest in rich visuals

Despite the recent decline, brick-and-mortar stores still have the advantage over e-commerce in terms of product experiences, because shoppers can observe products in person. The digital marketer’s challenge, then, is to be able to bridge this sensory experience with the convenience and practicality of online retail.

One way brands can do this is to invest in video content. To illustrate the value of video in digital marketing strategies, Venture Beat revealed the statistics related to the power of videos: it increases conversion rates by up to 80%, aids 90% of customers when making purchase decisions, and are remembered by 80% of viewers within 30 days. The most significant of all is its ability to generate 1,200% more shares than texts and images combined, which is a major reason why it is so value as a marketing tool.

If your business wants to harness the power of videos in 2018, focus on creating memorable video content that doesn’t stray away from your identity, vision-mission, and overall strategy. Your SEO, engagement metrics, and sales will thank you for it.

Personalize your content

Businesses everywhere are now realizing that the one-size-fits-all approach to marketing no longer makes the cut. Online audiences today are a mix of prospective, new, and established customers of all ages, cultures, and locations.

This is something that giants like Amazon and Netflix have been doing with their suggested products and recommended shows. Entrepreneur Magazine claim that 78% of all consumers are more likely to trust a brand with personalized content. Additionally, 61% admit that their buying decisions are heavily influenced by the custom content websites build for them. This is because personalization makes consumers feel special. It allows your business to use data on purchasing and browsing behaviors to make the online shopping experience smoother for your customers. In turn, this leads to higher conversion rates and better brand image.

Put prime in authenticity

The perfect counterpoint to personalizing your user experience is humanizing your brand. This is because when it comes to brands, consumers today are looking for authenticity.

One way to do this is to invest in native advertising and inbound marketing, which have enjoyed a huge rise in recent years. These strategies hide products and services in plain sight by focusing on giving consumers information and entertainment that they want. This is done with minimal or zero disruption of normal activities via out-of-context advertisements and pop-ups.

Furthermore, another effect of consumers’ growing distaste for traditional advertising is the rise of influencer marketing. YouTube stars are now more influential than traditional celebrities, particularly with millennials. 63% of consumers are willing to try products recommended by a YouTube content creator and only 48% willing to do the same with a movie or TV star. Today, common folk in the form of YouTube sensations, Instagram influencers, and bloggers are the ones setting the trends because of higher perceived authenticity – something that brands need to take note of coming into the new year.

Micro-moments matter

A previous article here on Flevy highlighted the importance of building brand loyalty. Customer loyalty means not just coming back for a product or service, but also recommending it to other potential clients.

One way to do this is to master the micro-moment. It’s defined as the exact moment when people reflexively reach for a device – usually a smartphone – to know, go, do, or buy. Mobile devices, which are already a huge factor in the world of online shopping, are set to be even bigger next year. In 2018, an estimated 50% of e-commerce revenue will come through mobile at $626 billion, equivalent to the total e-commerce revenue back in 2013.

To capitalize on micro-moment behavior, brands need to be useful in each and every point in the consumer’s purchase journey. Whether this means investing in geo-targeting, prolific and well-researched content, or more detailed consumer research, micro-moments can make or break your brand.

Keep moving forward

Last but not least, an important way your brand can capitalize on digital commerce this 2018 is to keep innovating. Products, consumers, and competitors never stand still, and neither should your digital marketing strategy.

Although trends can come and go, one indispensable practice your business needs to perfect in 2018 is the accurate use of internal and external data. In order to keep developing your strategies, pay close attention to consumer research and your own analytics. Assess how your brand is there for your consumer in every step of the purchase journey, and address gaps when you see them. By doing this it can help you predict demand, personalize user experiences, and even optimize your pricing to compete with other brands and increase sales.

One of the last and most crucial steps in this journey lies in conversion, or the moment when the shopper culminates the purchase journey with a checkout on your e-commerce site. Despite being one of the most important stages of the purchase funnel, many brands still continue to make mistakes in the design and user experience of their e-commerce websites. This can cost the business millions of dollars in the long run. To be able to continue website development, digital marketing specialists Ayima suggest using heat map tools or watching videos available to website visitors. The process will allow you to learn how to improve website navigation, checkout processes, and vital search functions.

In conclusion, maximizing e-commerce gains requires the right balance of innovation, personalization, and authenticity. When these factors are implemented through a meticulously prepared strategy, growing your business this 2018 will be much easier.

About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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