May 11, 2018
We all know and understand the importance of ample promotion in business, primarily if it deals with consumer products. eCommerce is one such industry that needs quite a bit of strategic marketing to flourish, grow and ensure a sustainable future for itself. Gone are the days when businesses would just put up a billboard or print an advertisement on the front page of a popular newspaper to take care of their promotional needs, and much has changed since then. Back then, they hardly needed to do anything more to increase the profit margin considerably. That was half a century ago.
Since then, the competition in every industry has increased and intensified. What is even more important is that how people consume information and avail services has also evolved a lot, thanks to the internet. While retail businesses are still going strong, eCommerce has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Now, in this age of maddening competition and mind-boggling demand, how does an eCommerce business ensure that its marketing efforts are on the right track and are helping to bridge the gap between the brand and the target audience? That is where online marketing comes in!
Marketing in the eCommerce age
Consumer goods that eCommerce businesses deal in are best promoted through pictures. What better platform can there be for visual promotion than Instagram! Instagram, with more than 800 million monthly users, is much more popular than other social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. What YouTube has done for aspiring artists and filmmakers, Instagram has done for influencers and entrepreneurs.
A point to note here is that what makes Instagram a genuinely unique platform also makes it very difficult to monetize. A marketer will not experience much success on Instagram if the platform is approached with the sole purpose of capturing leads in bulk. While some marketers think this a shortcoming of this fantastic platform, many others opine that this is a part of its charm.
Thankfully though, change is being noticed on Instagram after few recent updates. These new features combined with the existing features of the platform can very well make it one of the strongest marketing tools for eCommerce businesses.
Take a look at some of the features of Instagram that can help significantly in marketing eCommerce businesses:
Shopping: Back in 2016, Instagram had announced that it would be adding a Shop Now button to enable brands to link their checkout carts where their products are displayed. Given that more than 80% of smartphone users research products or compare them on a web browser on their mobile phones, this was undoubtedly a smart thing to do. Since Instagram displays product pictures in high-resolution and lifestyle photography, brands investing in promotion through this platform stand to gain a lot.
Storytelling: Selling things is not easy. It takes time, explanation, and contemplation. These steps get smoother if a brand promotes in a storytelling format. It helps the brand to gain customer trust. When it comes to storytelling, context is essential, and it is unavailable on most social media platforms. Instagram Stories are different because brands can post as per context, and as a result, Stories captures the interest and attention of the audience.
Linking: Besides connecting deeply with an audience through Instagram Stories, brands are also able to share and promote content as a result of a recent update on Stories, mainly in the form of link sharing. Many brands are already doing this to showcase their products, explain why users should buy and then put a link on the checkout page so that users can buy it right then and there.
Discovering: A close watch on search trends can reveal how seriously brands take their online image. A considerable amount of money is put into this and ensuring that users can find what they are looking for. Now that Instagram has announced it will display Stories on Explore, marketers are expecting that this will eventually motivate brands to secure high spots on the Explore tab. It means that brands that have similar types of products, similar target audiences, and interests can benefit more from Instagram. According to experts, brands are going to invest as much money in this feature as they did to buy Instagram views previously.
Influencing: It is already a fact that Instagram is the best platform for influencer marketing. Now brand budgets for Instagram marketing are much higher than what they used to be even a few years ago. Previously, influencer marketing through Instagram was mostly used for generating awareness. That is all well and good, but it is the conversion rate that decides how successful a campaign is. Now influencers can tag the brands they are promoting in their Stories and even link their products to help with the promotion. It gets the brand’s followers and the influencer’s followers more interested in the products, which positively impacts the sales.
Did you know that most Instagram users are youngsters? While it undoubtedly has a universal appeal, people between fifteen to thirty-five years of age like to use it the most. What is interesting is that Instagram does not require a business to invest a huge amount to generate sales. This younger user base likes to shop. The factors discussed above can be leveraged to gain the maximum results on Instagram.
Of course, innovation and creativity are indispensable when thinking about generating eCommerce sales from Instagram. A point to note here is that a business cannot afford not to track its performance. After about a month, a brand can have an extensive report on leads and sales that can help them understand which marketing effort is working for them, and which one is not. Based on this information, the business can fine-tune its marketing strategy on Instagram.
Walter Moore is a notable management consultant and digital marketing expert. He is an experienced digital marketer and has helped e-commerce businesses in all niches gain real Stormlikes with his effective marketing strategies and guidance.