Updated: Sep 1
In this article, we will cover the basics of commerce and dive into the details of eCommerce with its advantages and disadvantages. We will also discuss the whereabouts of ECommerce marketing and which platforms provide this facility other than Amazon and Flipkart.
ECommerce marketing is a type of digital marketing. ECommerce marketing is the use of digital channels to promote and sell products or services through an online store or website, with the goal of driving traffic and converting that traffic into sales.
It encompasses a wide range of digital marketing strategies and tactics, such as search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, and more.
ECommerce marketing often leverages the same digital channels and tactics as other forms of digital marketing, but the focus is on driving sales through an online store rather than simply raising brand awareness or driving engagement. Additionally, eCommerce marketing often involves specific strategies such as product optimization, cart abandonment recovery, and customer data analysis to improve sales performance.
What is ECommerce?
Commerce means buying and selling goods. Traditional commerce happened face-to-face and was limited to a geographical location. It was confined to certain business hours generally daytime. With the advent of the internet, there came along ECommerce. Electronic buying and selling of a product or a service was called ECommerce. This kind of business happened across the world saving time for both the buyer and seller. This type of business was not restricted to business hours instead could be carried out 24/7. While traditional commerce delivered goods instantly, eCommerce has a scheduled time for the same.
With different electronic channels emerging, ECommerce could also be carried out on mobile named mobile commerce, and on social media called social media commerce.
ECommerce can handle multiple modes of payment
Advantages of ECommerce
Provides Global Reach
No intermediaries required
More options from multiple sellers
Lower transaction cost
Disadvantages of ECommerce
Lack of personal touch
Requires an initial setup and marketing cost
Issues related to order fulfillment services and returns
Security Concerns like Identity Theft, Malware, Denial of Services
Four Types of ECommerce
B2C - Business sells their products directly to customers.
B2B - Business sells its products to intermediate buyers like Supermarket or Wholesalers
C2C - Consumer sells to customers like retail, car resale, etc.
C2B - Consumer sells products or service to businesses Eg Social media Influencers who market products for a marketing fee.
Trade Cycle of ECommerce
ECommerce trade cycle involves 4 stages
Pre-Sales - The customer searches for the product or service and then negotiates the price, timeline, and terms.
Execution - Customers place the order, here the payment could be done on delivery or upfront.
Settlement - Invoicing and payment settlement.
After Sales - Involves warranty and after-sales services.
Who can start an ECommerce Business?
ECommerce is the fastest-growing retail market. Anyone who owns a product or service can decide to sell online. The following steps must be considered to start an eCommerce business.
Selecting the right place to sell is the first step toward success. Depending on the size of the business and factors like pricing, scalability, flexibility, and ease of use one can decide between a marketplace and eCommerce platforms.
Processing Payments in a convenient way is much needed and the selection of trustworthy payment providers is a crucial step.
The platform you are using must be compatible with other services that will be integrated later. It must be available 24X7, must be catering to different currencies, easy on fees charged, must be reliable, must include reporting facilities, must be easy to use, and above all must provide customer support.
Once you have the business set up, it's time to select the right marketing strategy. This is required to attract customers to online stores. Unlike brick and mortar where customers may stumble upon your store, online stores must adapt to multiple marketing channels like social media, email, SEM, SEO, and others.
Key strengths of the marketplace
While selecting a marketplace or eCommerce platform it is essential to rate its key strengths. The higher the scores better the platform.
Presentation and Catalogue listing
Merchant Support Service
Fee, Margins, and ROI
Shipping Charges and Mechanism
System Access and Control
Returns and Refunds
Dispute Resolution Process
Must Provide Competitor Analysis
What is ECommerce Marketing?
Marketing activities performed to create awareness amongst customers on digital platforms about the product or service and lure them into buying the product are called ECommerce Marketing.
Marketing Strategies Needed for ECommerce
ECommerce content marketing is a strategy used by online retailers to engage with customers and promote their products or services through various forms of content such as blog posts, videos, social media posts, email newsletters, etc. The goal is to educate customers, build brand awareness and trust, and ultimately drive sales. Effective eCommerce content marketing requires a deep understanding of the target audience, a clear brand message, and consistent, high-quality content that provides value to the customer.
ECommerce SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing an online store's website and its content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more organic traffic to the site. The objective of ECommerce SEO is to improve visibility and increase the quantity and quality of traffic to an eCommerce website. This can be achieved through various tactics like:
Good Shopping Cart - You can either go for an eCommerce marketplace like Amazon and Flipkart or use SaaS platforms like Shopify or use PaaS platforms like Magento or build your own site with a cart facility.
SEO for product pages - Optimize your product pages with nice photographs, titles, and descriptions. It is always good to have a product video and get reviews for your products.
Schema markup on product pages - If you are going for built-in platforms then this is taken care of, but if you are planning to build your own website then you must see that products belong to categories and have overall schemas which makes it easy to query on the web.
By implementing effective eCommerce SEO strategies, eCommerce businesses can improve their search engine rankings, drive more targeted traffic to their site, and ultimately increase sales.
ECommerce PPC (Pay-Per-Click) management refers to the process of managing and optimizing paid advertising campaigns on platforms such as Google Ads and Bing Ads to drive traffic to an online store.
This involves researching and selecting appropriate keywords, creating compelling ad copy, setting bids and budgets, monitoring campaign performance, and continually making data-driven optimizations to improve results. An effective ECommerce PPC strategy requires ongoing testing, analysis, and adjustments to stay ahead of the competition and achieve the best possible return on investment (ROI). ECommerce PPC management can be an effective supplement to organic search and other digital marketing efforts to drive traffic and sales for an online store. Following are some pointers to take note of:
Google Merchant Center - By updating your product info to the merchant center you are making it available on the shopping tab and other services offered by Google which means a wider audience.
Running Google Shopping Ads - Setting aside a budget for Google Ads is always an add-on to ROI in the longer run.
Running dynamic retargeting ads through Facebook and Instagram - This is a way to reconnect with the customers who have already interacted with the product or service in some form.
Organic reach through social media is also equally important. It can be expensive to always plan for paid campaigns. Organic reach can limit the expenses of setting up campaigns while getting the required reach.
Google Merchant Center and Shopping Ads can be powerful tools for merchants looking to reach new customers and drive sales. By using Google Merchant Center to manage their product data and by running Shopping Ads, merchants can increase visibility for their products, drive targeted traffic to their website, and ultimately generate more sales.
To get started with Google Merchant Center and Shopping Ads, merchants need to create a Merchant Center account, upload their product data, and create a product feed. From there, they can create Shopping Ads and set bids and targeting options to control how their ads are displayed.
It's important to note that to run Shopping Ads, merchants must comply with Google's advertising policies, which include requirements for product data quality, relevance, and accuracy.
ECommerce email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending targeted and personalized emails to customers and potential customers to promote products or services, build customer loyalty, and drive sales. The goal of eCommerce email marketing is to establish and maintain a strong relationship with customers, provide value and relevant content, and encourage them to make a purchase.
This can be achieved through various email campaigns such as welcome emails, promotional emails, abandoned cart emails, newsletter emails, and more. Effective eCommerce email marketing requires segmenting the email list based on customer behavior, crafting compelling subject lines and email content, testing and optimizing for best performance, and incorporating personalization and automation techniques.
ECommerce email marketing can be a powerful tool for driving customer engagement, increasing brand awareness, and generating revenue for online stores. Some popular eCommerce email marketing tools are:
These tools provide features such as email template creation, automation, segmentation, A/B testing, analytics, and integrations with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, etc.
The use of Automated Email Marketing can help bring in a second sales or get feedback from your customers.
The use of SMS marketing can assist on slow sales days, clearance sales, or end-of-month sales
Using a CRM tool can help build on customer database. This is helpful when you are running your own eCommerce website and need to follow up with existing customers. People who use an eCommerce marketplace may not avail of this facility.
Good customer support can enhance overall sales and work wonders in customer retention and growth
ECommerce Marketing Funnel
An eCommerce marketing funnel is a visual representation of the journey a customer takes from awareness to purchase. It typically consists of the following stages:
Awareness: The customer becomes aware of your brand and product offerings.
Interest: The customer expresses interest in your products and starts researching more about your brand.
Consideration: The customer compares your products to those of your competitors and decides if they want to make a purchase.
Intent: The customer makes a decision to purchase and starts the process of checking out.
Evaluation: The customer evaluates their purchase experience and decides if they will make another purchase in the future.
Loyalty: The customer becomes a loyal customer and continues to make purchases from your brand.
Marketing campaigns and tactics can be tailored to each stage of the funnel to guide customers toward making a purchase.
ECommerce Platform vs Marketplace
An online marketplace is a website where you can buy and sell goods from different sources or vendors often termed a multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace. They provide you with all the necessary setup required to perform transactions, right from displaying the product list to the payment gateway to the delivery of goods except that they don't own the inventory. They usually do have a warehouse so one can store their inventory in their warehouse for a limited duration. Customer support is also made available by these site owners. All in All, you don't have to worry about the initial setup and delivery of goods and is an easy way to start an online business with a low initial investment for beginners in eCommerce.
In order to grow on these marketplaces, one has to invest some time in optimizing their product listing and set aside a budget for paid promotions like Google Shopping Ads or product search engine ads on these platforms. Check our SEM article for more info.
Top Five Ecommerce Marketplaces
On the other hand, eCommerce Platforms are the platforms that allow you to build your own eCommerce website. These platforms can be through cloud computing services or built in-house. Cloud computing services are of three types SaaS based where the software is provided as a service to run an eCommerce business, PaaS based where the hardware and software are provided to set up an eCommerce business and IaaS, where infrastructure is provided to you on the cloud, and the rest needs to be handled by you. Each has its own pros and cons with limitations in ease of use and flexibility. Generally, small businesses use SaaS platforms to set up their business online while the larger ones can choose between PaaS, IaaS, or in-house depending on the audience size and need for scalability and flexibility. Following is a list of Saas-based eCommerce platforms.
Top Five ECommerce Platforms
While there are certain Paas-based platforms out there like Magento or Adobe Commerce, the business owner may be required to take care of the hardware and software customizations. Hope this article has shed some light on different aspects of eCommerce and its marketing. For more on digital marketing check other articles.