Friday, January 25, 2013

eCommerce Marketing Trends and Ideas for 2013

The year 2012 was a big one for smartphones, tablets, social media and infographics. It was also the year that online buying growth surpassed traditional retail. So what can we do this year to top off 2012? The following are three trends that we see making a big difference this year in eCommerce.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continues to be a powerful strategy for companies to increase the number of visitors to a site.  If you haven't already utilized this strategy, you may find yourself wondering why it is so important. For starters, your company website is one among billions, and with billions of Internet users, you may become lost in the crowd. SEO strategies enhance your credibility and keep you ahead of the competition.

An interesting article posted by Search Engine Journal laid out a few statistics on why it may be worth it to invest in an SEO strategy:

  • 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
  • Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%
  • 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

A previous post on our ReplyManager blog touched base on “3 Quick Ways to Improve Your SEO.

Customized User Experiences

Once you ensure you have a solid online presence, another important step is to focus on creating a more customized user experience. While gaining new business is important, retaining your existing customer base is crucial to success. Customers want to feel appreciated and that they are part of a premium shopping experience.

Take advantage of social media sites and anywhere else customers may voluntarily share their information. This idea of "permission marketing" has been around for quite a while. Social media sites such as Facebook allow users to "like" certain pages or brands, allowing them access to their general information. This has the potential to create a more tailored experience with a brand, as opposed to an obstruction of privacy--if done correctly. A CMSWire article states:

"Consumers should expect to see more of the general information they share online used by retailers. Everything from age, geography, life stage, incorporating social profiles (e.g., married versus single) will play a part in offering a more relevant, more valuable shopping experience."

Gaining access to this information can give companies insight to their customers' buying and search behaviors, what products they like on Facebook, etc.; helping to uncover how to connect with customers on a deeper level. Companies can use this information to create customized email marketing, special offers/loyalty programs, and relevant product features that appear based on user behavior on the site.

A Focus on mCommerce

A successful marketing strategy connects the right person with the right message at the right time. In 2013, that place will most likely be on a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, etc.).

According to eMarketer, last year, "US retail mcommerce sales shot up 81% to nearly $25 billion. This year, a further increase of 55.7% in sales is expected, and mobile sales will account for 15% of all retail ecommerce."

With this increase in sales, it is imperative that companies make sure they are present on all mobile platforms or they may miss out on a huge portion of this market.

For example, eBay has made some successful changes to its mobile strategy in the last year.  According to an article from TechCrunch, eBay has added features to its apps to boost engagement:

  • eBay just added geofencing to its Red Laser apps to allow retailers to deliver deals and information to consumers based on whether they are close to a physical store.”
  • “eBay also debuted a new iOS app called eBay Now that will let users get $5 same-day shipping on products from local stores.”

TechCrunch also reports that “Mobile commerce volume in 2012 grew more than 120 percent to $13 billion driven primarily by increased adoption of eBay’s mobile apps and increased engagement from product innovation. eBay’s suite of mobile apps attracted more than 4 million new customers in 2012.”

With all this said, 2013 should be a busy and exciting year, with plenty of new technologies to come and more to look forward to. Our resolution is to keep you updated on the most recent trends and to provide you with the necessary online seller tools to make 2013 a successful year!

by Samantha Warner
Marketing Extraordinaire