Though e-commerce is an established, rapidly growing industry, traditional brick & mortar retail isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, sales made offline still dramatically outnumber those made through e-commerce. For this reason, brands and retailers need to find ways to target consumers online who may then purchase products in-store.
It’s no secret that e-commerce is on the rise. In fact, comScore reports that e-commerce sales grew by 17 percent in the first quarter of this year. Nevertheless, e-commerce sales comprise only a fraction of total retail sales in the United States, and as much as 93 percent of all retail activity is still conducted offline.
Most online marketing campaigns focus on enticing consumers to make their purchases in an online marketplace. The consumer is already browsing online, so why not drive her or him to an online marketplace?
However, statistics show that most sales are still carried out in traditional retail stores. Not all consumers are willing or able to make their purchases over the Internet. In some cases, consumers may simply be conducting pre-purchase research with every intention of making the final decision in-store. Therefore, focusing your marketing efforts solely on online sales is effective for getting your brand’s share of the 7 percent of possible internet-based sales, but 93 percent of potential conversions are still waiting to be engaged.
While it may be tempting to think of online marketing as a tool designed to drive e-commerce, it has the potential to influence in-store sales as well. Both brands and retailers can collaborate online to run co-branded promotions that drive foot traffic to local stores. To get the most benefit from online marketing, brands and retailers should find ways to cater toward immediate, online purchases as well as longer-term, brick & mortar business.
E-commerce may be the retail outlet of the future, but that doesn’t mean that traditional stores will cease to exist. Instead of trying to make Internet-goers choose between the two, expand your brand’s co-marketing efforts to encompass both of these effective channels. It’s how brands and retailers work together that will help consumers coming back.