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4 Reasons Why You Must Advertise Your Brand on E-commerce

23 April 2018

With the advent of online retailing and 4G penetration in the country upon us, e-commerce is being accepted as the future and the primary source of shopping amongst the country’s pantheon of retail customers.

Many businesses have forgone traditional marketing techniques that catered mainly to an offline audience and have begun investing heavily in e-commerce advertising and marketing, and for a good reason. According to a study by the Indian Institute of e-Commerce, India’s online market is touted to touch US$100 billion by 2020. What this means is that more consumers are familiarising themselves with the e-retail marketplace at a rapid pace.

Not considering the possibility of marketing online could mean ignoring an entire market segment and would most definitely hamper the bottom line in the near future, with this paradigm shift assured to gather pace in the next decade or so.

If you’re looking to get your business online or expand on e-commerce, here are four reasons you must advertise on this channel:

1.  An array of marketing tools and strategies

A wide variety of strategic approaches and tools can be implemented to attain a significant advantage while advertising on e-commerce. E-commerce ads can allow you to experiment with messaging formats based on customer data. This form of advertising can help predict some genuinely useful parameters such as:

  • Click-through rates on e-commerce banners
  • Conversions of sales based on ad-placement
  • The time spent by users on a particular page

Based on the data fed back to you from these, you can create a content strategy that has a higher success rate. After analysing customer behaviour over time, you can zero in on a plan that gets higher sales over time.

Providing customers with data sheets that contain all the information of your products – manufacture information, warranty, customer reviews, etc. allows them to place more trust while challenging you to stand out in a highly competitive marketplace.

Success story: ​An excellent example of how a brand can improve sales using e-commerce ads can be gauged from the Skullcandy Flipkart case study.

Here, Skullcandy, which is one of Flipkart’s leading headphones brand, wanted to drive awareness, increase sales and push their special wireless segment (Ink’D series) on Flipkart’s page during their flagship Big Billion Days sale period (Sept ‘17).

They leveraged the 4-day sale period (great time window to target) by placing their ads on Flipkart’s Gold carousel and defined the target group as 15-25 years. The creatives they used were also aligned to be groovy and colourful to catch this segment’s attention.

The result? ​Click rates improved 2.5 times with improved product page views. Along with this, a CTR of 11% was achieved, which is six times the industry standard. This also cascaded into superb top-of-the-funnel performance, which led to Skullcandy running out of stock due to the surge in demand.

Skullcandy’s strategy proves that with the right mix of tools, strategy, targeting and timing, you can achieve sales which can meet (or exceed) expectations with a higher chance of success and tangible results as compared to other conventional marketing methods.

2. E-commerce ads to leverage offline stores

The omnichannel experience is another advantage that can be implemented with the help of e-commerce advertising. Even if your product is “out of stock” at your online store, the customer does not have to log off, disappointed.

With a good e-commerce advertising strategy, you can still deliver products seamlessly by incorporating offline store repositories to your product management channel. What this means is that you can still advertise to customers online while procuring the product through a physical store. With the right communication, customers can even head to these stores close to their location (by tapping into their data entered on the e-commerce page) and pick up these products.

This seamless integration of online-offline channels can help retain customers who would otherwise look elsewhere for similar options. Data has proven that companies with a strong omnichannel engagement strategy can retain up to 89% of customers. E-commerce advertising will help boost sales of your brick-and-mortar stores as well if implemented in the right manner

3. Marketing automation and machine learning

Probably the most significant advantage of advertising on an e-commerce store is the ability to automate the entire marketing process. Businesses that use automation tools for their marketing have seen an increase in their lead generation, improvement in their targeting and an assured upturn in their conversion rates.

The quality of e-commerce advertising tools like AI and machine learning is improving daily and this, coupled with trends pointing to more positive growth in automation tools, getting your company on the “bandwagon” is something you should seriously consider.

Two good examples are Flipkart’s Project “Mira” and Flipkart’s research arm, F7 Labs’ image analysis research. Mira is the AI version of a sales associate in a store, who could clear any queries you may have had regarding a purchase.

There was enough evidence to suggest that had the customer asked just one or two questions before finalising the purchase, they would not have returned the product. (Flipkart’s return rate was in the 10-11% range). With time, Mira will be able to clear all queries that blight conversions and reduce the return rate to the bare minimum.

At their ambitious F7 lab in Silicon Valley, machine learning techniques are being developed to suit Indian colloquialism and language along with a bunch of other exciting projects.

Since India has a lot of colloquial terms for specific colours (gulaabi for the rose colour as a prime example), the application will be able to recognise this and provide search results based on the query.

Also, based on whether an image of a piece of clothing is shot on a mannequin or a person, the size difference can be conveyed to help with the purchase and facilitate successful transactions with less to no scope of return.

In the United States alone, businesses that have adopted these innovative marketing automation tools have seen their sales increase by a whopping 451% (Source: Annuitas, 2014)

4. Easier curation and subscription models
Due to the repository of personalised information available, creating subscription models becomes much more manageable based on your target base. If you sell a product that needs to be replenished or re-stocked every few months or weeks, you can create a subscription channel for recurring customers with the right mix of user data and predictive analysis.

What this means is that you are offering a service online for consumers to become pseudo-permanent consumers. This way, you can get them to subscribe and gain an assured channel of revenue.

With time, improved products and services can be advertised to them to encourage further purchases and keep yourself as their first choice of brand in that particular sector.

Conclusion:

Beyond the most apparent fact that there is an increasing migration of shoppers from offline to the online medium with the proliferation of high speed internet and better delivery capability in the country, advertising on ecommerce comes with a host of benefits from user intent to sophisticated targeting techniques. E-commerce advertising is not only going to influence the way brands can target their audience, but also control purchasing behaviour. Brands looking make a breakthrough in awareness, consideration and purchase of their products need to seriously consider e-commerce advertising as a legitimate and more effective means of reaching out to their audience.