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The Big Secret About E-commerce

shopping-on-mobile.jpgeMarketer has some interesting research on the state of big-box brands and how they can compete with e-commerce giants (such as the AGFAM group of companies) that really highlights the big secret about e-commerce. Money quote:

A November 2014 report from L2 Think Tank assessed the digital performance of 64 US big-box brands and found that their saving grace lies in their real estate.

The report continues:

“Though storefronts were originally viewed as drains on brick-and-mortar retailers (for example, showrooming), new data suggests that owning these large properties across the country may be these companies’ salvation.”

The big secret: That e-commerce can help you to help your customers in whatever channel works for them. That includes retail, catalog, mobile, phone, whatever.

Consider mobile. Almost a year ago, while recapping what your customers expect from mobile and e-commerce in 2014, I highlighted a similar report and concluded:

Mobile isn’t a separate channel; it connects all channels. According to the [Foresee Results’ “Experience Index: U.S. Retail Edition”]report:
“…mobile is affecting direct sales contribution and purchases in other channels, too.”

It means you’ve got to leverage what you’ve already got. Play to your strengths. And, above all, differentiate what you’re doing. As I noted at the time,

Of course, you can’t benefit if you’re not prepared.

There are loads of ways you can gain more business from mobile and e-commerce. Companies like P&G get it and are shifting spend to mobile and social too:

The chief financial officer of one of the world’s largest “…spenders on advertising and marketing” (according to the Mobile Marketer article), is shifting its spend to mobile and social and believes so fully in those channels that it’s telling investors on Wall Street that they’ll still make more money.

As I asked at the time:

“So, here’s my next question: Where do you think you should be putting your marketing spend?”

Mobile is here to stay. So is e-commerce. But that doesn’t mean your store, restaurant, hotel, or any other physical location has to go away. It means that you provide the best experience to your customers when you knit those channels together in way that leverages the strengths and minimizes the limitations of each. All while helping your customer accomplish their goals. Because, when you do that, you’ll accomplish yours, too.

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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