What are your customers doing online? The answer is most likely social media, according to a new survey from Experian Marketing Services, which also showed five minutes of every hour is spent on shopping. A great deal of this social networking and shopping is happening on consumers’ mobile devices, which brings up the question, how are your online marketing efforts doing? Is your business well-represented on local search sites? How does your website look on a smartphone? Are you using social media to announce new products, promote daily specials and communicate with your customer? The truth is there’s probably more you could be doing, so make it a point to find out what you don’t know about online marketing and get your business on the right track.Google+
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Posts Tagged ‘online marketing’
Spurred by the rapid adoption of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, as well as by major retailers’ investment in their websites, ecommerce sales in the U.S. are projected to rise from $231 billion last year to $262 billion this year—an increase of 13 percent–according to the latest forecasts from market research firm Forrester. Three product categories account for one-third of that total: apparel and accessories, consumer electronics and computer hardware.
Ecommerce currently accounts for some 8 percent of overall U.S. retail sales (or 11 percent, if grocery sales are excluded). Growth in online retail sales is projected to outpace the growth of traditional retail sales in the next five years. By 2017, total ecommerce sales in the U.S. should hit $370 billion.
Forrester says the increased use of smartphones and tablets is a major factor powering ecommerce growth. With over 50 percent of U.S. online users owning smartphones, many smartphone owners use any spare moment to go online. As a result, people are spending more time overall online than they would if they had to go to their PC or laptop to shop—and that means more browsing, shopping and purchasing.
Another driver behind ecommerce growth is that major retailers are rapidly making investments in their ecommerce divisions in order to better integrate their in-store and online shopping experiences. Even customers who head to a brick-and-mortar store now often end up buying merchandise online within the store, or using smartphones to find the same products elsewhere and order them online.
Surprisingly, new shoppers coming online for the first time are not a major factor in the growth of ecommerce. Just 4 million people are projected to buy online for the first time this year. Instead, growth is coming because people who are already comfortable with online shopping are now spending more money online, ordering more often, and buying a wider range of products from a variety of sites. Forrester says online shoppers typically become comfortable with ecommerce by purchasing low-risk items such as downloadable music or movies. Only then do they move up to more expensive purchases such as appliances or home furnishings.
Forrester’s report has some more good news, not just for ecommerce vendors but also for the economy as a whole: Ecommerce companies are powering employment growth. Currently, Forrester says, U.S. ecommerce businesses employ over 400,000 people, and that figure is expected to hit 500,000 by 2017.
Image by Flickr user Mosman Council (Creative Commons)Google+
By Rieva Lesonsky
Are you a brick-and-mortar retailer who also has a website to sell your products? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get more customers shopping at both your physical store and your website? You can. Just learn a lesson from what some of the nation’s most successful retailers are doing to market their products in multiple channels.
Internet Retailer recently examined the habits of some of the nation’s top retail chains and here are the most common tactics they found:
Promote in-store only discounts or deals on your website or via email marketing. For instance, you can email a coupon good only in your store (but include links to your website so customers can shop both ways).
Offer online ordering with in-store pickup. This appeals to customers who are in a rush to get the product or don’t want to pay for shipping. More retailers are offering shorter time frames for in-store pickup, such as Staples, which promises to have shoppers’ orders ready in two hours. If you make such a promise, be sure you have the manpower to fulfill it.
Offer online ordering and in-store payment. Some consumers still don’t feel comfortable using credit cards online or prefer to pay in person for other reasons. You can attract those users by enabling them to reserve a product online, then pick it up and pay in-store.
Do a subtle upsell. Apple, for instance, urges customers to shop online but then come into a store to pick up the product and get “personal assistance.” If your product, like Apple’s, is one where customers could benefit from additional assistance, this approach can get them to come in and spend more in-store than they might have online.
If you’re offering the pickup or pay-in-store option, make sure the area where customers go to pick up their products is merchandised attractively. For example, you could display items related to commonly ordered products (such as cords or accessories if you sell electronics) or impulse buys such as gift wrap or small-ticket items.
Make sure your website has multiple ways for users to find your physical store/s, such as a map and directions, address, and a phone number to contact you. Also make certain that information about days and hours you’re open is prominently displayed.
Increasingly, consumers expect a seamless experience that allows them to shop how and when they want, so make sure your website encourages shopping in any possible sales channel.
Image by Flickr user Jamison_Judd (Creative Commons)