A recent article in Internet Retailer claims that brands with e-commerce functionality – aka the ability to purchase on their website – have seen a massive influx of new visitors. When surveying their Top 500 retailers, they found as much as 52% of traffic was coming from new visitors.
Why do customers choose to go to a brand’s website over a traditional retailer such as Target, Wal-Mart, or Macy’s? Because brands can offer better promotions and free shipping offers to online customers better than the retailers. Also, brands can reach out directly to customers via social media to promote products and engage on a one-to-one basis with them.
Brands need to reconcile the fact that their website is a distribution channel. Yes, the Targets and Wal-Marts are crucial for brands. However, a brand’s website is the one place they have true control over their ‘shelf-space’. Brands can create experiences unique to their brand identity on their website. They can showcase their products with more information and detail than any of the other retail websites. Nowhere else can communicate a product’s benefits. And, one of the biggest reasons to accept an e-commerce website as a primary destination point – better margin thus better return on the products. Brands can eliminate the retailer market-up and reap the benefits. Thus, brands should treat their e-commerce websites as an equal partner in the distribution strategy.
As an equal partner within their distribution channel, the e-commerce website should be able to market their wares to their customers. Enter e-commerce marketing. E-Commerce marketing is a must for anyone selling online. Why is it so important? In the retail space, brands must use the marketing and advertising resources of the retailers. Not so with e-commerce marketing. E-Commerce marketing allows brands to enter popular consumer destination sites online and proactively reach out to their consumers. They can target specific websites with content that is vertically relevant (affiliate marketing). Brands can also use couponing sites such as RetailMeNot.com, ebates.com, FatWallet.com and so on to drive traffic to their websites via coupons or promotions. Finally, e-commerce sites can use social media to not only connect with customers but also sell their products and offer a multitude of promotions, even giveaways, to entice users to buy.
If a brand does not tell its customers about the products they sell, then who will? The time is now to embrace an e-commerce website as a distribution channel and e-commerce marketing as a means to tell your customers about your products. The two combined equal greater sales and greater profit – a move any brand can get behind.