I’ve been talking about the fact that “it’s all e-commerce” (and what you can do about it) for some time now. And, if anything, that reality will continue to accelerate in the coming months and years.
A number of reasons. We’re beginning to see several trends converging to make e-commerce a constant component of your customers’ lives.
For those of you new to the topic, it’s important to note that when I say “It’s all e-commerce,” I’m not just talking about online sales channels. Yes, those channels play an increasingly large role in driving your overall revenues.
But not everyone buys “online.” And despite loads of innovations helping customers buy “online” more effectively and efficiently, it’s likely customers will continue to buy “offline” too for some time to come.
So, why the quotes around “offline” and “online.” Because the growth of “Internet, Everywhere” makes the distinction between offline and online irrelevant.
As I’ve said before, your customers don’t “go online” any longer; they are online, everywhere, all day long. There simply is no longer such a thing as an “offline” customer.
Disagree? That’s OK. Consider the following headlines though:
- TechCrunch reports that inMarket has placed iBeacons in 200 Safeway and Giant Eagle Grocery stores to connect with shoppers at the point of sale.
- The LA Times says that this month’s Consumer Electronics Show to focus on the ‘Internet of things’ (i.e., continually-connected devices).
- Business Week has an in-depth report on Google partnering with GM, Honda, and Audi to connect cars to the Internet, while Chevrolet and OnStar have already announced in-car 4G LTE connectivity and a curated AppShop for their vehicles.
- Reuters has a solid look at why app developers see wearable devices as next big thing.
- And the Wall Street Journal explains how Facebook focused on mobile to become profitable.
Sure, some limits continue to exist. For one thing, the cost of data plans occasionally makes it too expensive for your customers to consume data everywhere. But that’s starting to change. AT&T has announced it’s letting companies buy out data charges for specific videos and apps to encourage use among target customers (and I’d expect the other carriers to get on-board, too).
Your customers are online, all the time. For all practical purposes, they have access to the Internet, everywhere.
As a result, thinking about your marketing in terms of “offline” or “online” misses the point. It’s more a question of how to reach your customers at specific touchpoints when they’re most ready to listen to what you have to say. And it’s about aligning your messages across channels to ensure your customers hear a consistent message at each touchpoint.
Once upon a time, we all worried about online customers and offline customers as different segments. But with the rise of Internet, Everywhere, that’s no longer the case. Your customers will continue to adapt their behavior to this new reality. And its time your marketing and e-commerce activities did the same.
If you’re interested in learning more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, 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 might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:
- The Secrets Behind “It’s All E-commerce” for 2014
- Should Marketers Really Trust Google in 2014?
- The Zen of Digital Marketing Strategy
- 7 Steps to E-Commerce Heaven
- Today and Tomorrow: Mobile and The Changing Customer Journey
- Warning: Mobile Drives Booking Costs Up and 4 Ways to Prevent It (Travel Tuesday)
- Mobile Makes E-commerce Even More “Frictionless”
- 3 Key Trends for 2013