With so many people stuck at home, it’s no surprise that the e-commerce market is going through a renaissance. More and more, operators of physical retail outlets are closing their doors and instead opting to set up online stores.
With the sheer number of new retail platforms opening up online, however, how can an e-commerce business stand out? How does a company make itself known amidst the thousands of other enterprises marketing similar or related products? Luckily, 12 professionals from Forbes Agency Council use their experience to shed some light on the trends businesses can use to boost their visibility in a crowded e-commerce market.
1. Prioritizing Purpose Over Profits
The trend will undoubtedly be to bet on a more purposeful approach before thinking about sales. Prioritize purpose over profits. Businesses will have to take a stance, speak up about what’s important, practice what they preach. It will be much more about what your business stands for rather than your products’ USPs. – Emilie Tabor, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency
2. Customer Intent Monitoring
E-commerce businesses have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding the power of data. But with increased competition in the online world, they’ll have to find new ways to use real-time data to keep a pulse on the customer journey. Intent monitoring is one trend that empowers businesses to do just that — and, ultimately, to stand out from the crowd. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
3. Growing Need For Great Marketing
The need for great marketing will be essential in a burgeoning e-commerce economy. Quality innovative products or services should be coupled with genuine, clear and descriptive content distribution campaigns. These campaigns are brought to life in the form of photo and video content through direct response marketing or influencer marketing initiatives. – Alex Quin, UADV
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4. Having An Always-On Content Strategy
An always-on content strategy is more important than ever. Brands will need to reach consumers where they are in the moment (and feeling) when they’re needed. Rather than the old way of matching one “hero” spot to a wide demographic, brands will need hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of content that will connect with people based on consumption occasions and matching consumer behavior. – Elliott Phear, Night After Night
5. Growing Importance Of SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) will be important for web visibility against your competitors. With more online purchases and searches being made, now’s a great opportunity to revise your SEO to make sure it targets the latest phrases and terms. You’ll need to think more strategically about what consumers are looking for and what’s low on their priority list. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
6. The Rise Of ‘Near Me’ Searches
One thing that’s trending right now and is going to persist for a long time is the rise of “near me” searches. People have started ordering more in recent months, due to the situation, but they’ve started to factor delivery speed even earlier. At least that’s what Google says in their consumer trend reports. So I think e-commerce businesses need to pay more attention to their local customers. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
7. More Focus On Mobile Optimization
You’re competing against Amazon — either directly or with the user experience they have created. In order to compete effectively, you need to develop fast-loading mobile-friendly sites with clear and simple checkout flows. A one-second delay in page load can lead to a 7% drop in conversions. Look at new technologies like AMP that create fast-loading pages and optimize your conversion funnels. – Toren Ajk, TAC Marketing Group
8. Social Selling Through Influencers
Embrace social selling through influencers. Since the pandemic began, social media influencers have experienced increases to their engagement rates. Influencers have the ears of your target and are creating content that drives directly to sales. In an ever-crowding digital space, influencers are helping brands stand out and sell. – Aliza Freud, SheSpeaks, Inc.
9. Increased Use Of Chatbot Technology
Customers under stay-at-home orders can’t speak to an associate at a brick-and-mortar store, so e-commerce businesses must increase chatbot technology to create this same experience online. It’s crucial that e-commerce businesses put in the effort to ensure their chatbots are more efficient than ever or else they’ll risk losing customers to competitors who have already fine-tuned this technology. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media
10. Reducing Buyer Friction
Reducing buyer friction is and will remain essential. This may sound basic, but you need to make the e-commerce experience more fluid, frictionless and option-rich than your competitors. Can you provide more payment options? Can you offer in-store pickup, mobile ordering, etc.? Brands of all kinds have been ramping up the ability to buy online. Now your brand needs to make the experience better than the competition’s. – Bernard May, National Positions
11. Increased Focus On The Human Story
The only way to stand out from the competition, whether e-commerce or brick-and-mortar, is through a compelling, human story. Gone are the days of simple, need-based transactions. Today, a company stands out from the crowd when it shares from the heart, has relatable characters, and truly cares about its audience. That’s how e-commerce businesses will distinguish themselves going forward! – Lynne Golodner, Your People LLC
12. Including User-Generated Content In Marketing
Don’t be afraid to use user-generated content (UGC) in your marketing efforts. More brands are wading into the UGC waters on social channels, and even in TV ads (i.e. Apple, Samsung) as the pandemic has put a halt to traditional ad shoots. Showcasing real people using your products in daily life can be a powerful way to set yourself apart from competitors and connect with your ideal audiences. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member