Ecommerce and traditional marketing: a combined approach for your business
The use of the internet and the impact that this has had on consumer habits has grown rapidly over the past decade. It has also had an effect on the marketing approaches of businesses to feature a more ecommerce style. Even with the increase in online use among consumers and marketers, there is still a case for using traditional marketing styles. By taking a unified approach, which combines traditional and ecommerce forms, you can benefit your business, raise brand awareness and boost sale conversions.
The growth of online
The proliferation of online shopping is growing significantly, with more consumers now using it on a regular basis. It enables customers to research the best prices from the comfort of their own home, so they can check out where the sales are and avoid the crowds. Online retail also means customers they can shop when and where they choose to, rather than being restricted by location and store hours.
In 2010, US ecommerce sales totaled $176 billion, and they are expected to increase to $279 billion by the end of 2015. They still only make up a small percentage of overall sales, but this figure is increasing ever year. Last year, ecommerce accounted for 8% of all sales, and the figure is expected to be between 9% and 11% this year.
This increased use of the internet means that retailers need a focused ecommerce strategy. Otherwise, they could be missing out on potential sales and be left behind by their competitors. There is still a definite place for traditional stores and marketing methods, but this needs to be unified with the use of ecommerce forms.
A multichannel approach
Even though online sales are growing year on year, there are still many retailers, both small and large, who are not making the most of the online channels that are available. The number of options that are now open to brands has increased significantly in the last decade, providing them with much more choice.
Brands need to ensure that they are choosing the right approach to reach their target customers. A unified marketing strategy is beneficial for brands, but with so much choice, it’s important not to spread yourself too thinly. This could have the opposite effect and begin to alienate customers rather than attracting and retaining them. Brands need to bring all their marketing together, from online to offline, to ensure that it is all unified under the same banner.
Successful multichannel marketing
Whatever the size of your business, you need to choose the most appropriate marketing channels for your needs. Otherwise, you could be spending money unnecessarily and not reach the right audience. Having a focused and unified approach will generate better results and have a positive effect on your customers.
There are many businesses across the US that are successfully using a multichannel marketing strategy. For instance, Target has long been seen as a traditional bricks and mortar retailer with stores in locations across the country. However, it has now decided to move a large proportion of its budget to the tech side of the business. In the long term, they believe that this will save them money and drive more sales growth. Their estimates highlight that online sales are set to increase by 4%, whereas store figures are likely to rise by only 1%.
Stores will still be central to a retailer’s success, and some brands that were originally solely focused on online sales are beginning to open their own outlets. For a traditional retailer, online offerings need to be built around the stores, as the likes of H&M, Apple, Zara and Ikea are managing to achieve successfully.
Traditional marketing such as television advertising can be used as a means of driving customers to the online domain. Television is still a popular medium for many consumers, and the technology is at the heart of family life across the world. There are sites that focus on as seen on TV products
, where consumers can browse through popular products that they’ve seen through commercials and infomercials. This shows how a unified approach can be used successfully, even in the modern retail environment.
A successful combined marketing strategy can be achieved by following a few simple steps.
Use industry experts
We can’t all be experts in every area of business, so it’s crucial to use the right people to help your company grow. There are those within an industry who can influence others, as well as social media influencers who you can use to post positive content about the business.
Track your marketing
Whether you’re using traditional or ecommerce channels, you need to know what parts of your marketing strategy are working and where you need to make improvements. By investing in tracking tools and analysis, it will benefit your business and enable you to adapt your marketing strategy to meet the needs of your customers. You can look at where on the site customers are clicking, how they buy goods, as well as which newspapers or television adverts work best. The more data that you have on your customers’ habits, the more successful your campaigns will be.
Let your customers engage differently
Consumers like to control how and when they engage with brands. Some people will always prefer traditional stores where they can touch products and interact with the staff, whereas others will favor the convenience and anonymity of the online stores, and the same will go for marketing. Brands that are present on a wide range of channels, such as Google, Facebook, television, magazines and live events, will be more successful at engaging with their customers when they’re ready.
With a unified approach to your marketing, your brand will be more successful at attracting new customers and retaining those who have shopped with you before. It’s important, even in this highly technology driven society, that we don’t forget about the tried and tested forms of marketing. They still have a major part to play in how brands and customers interact.