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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 04, 2009

Internet Marketing 101: Why you should think ahead for ecommerce results

Although online shopping has been around nearly as long as the Internet, it has only begun gaining real traction over the past three to four years. But, already it is changing the way consumers shop, which is why marketers must think ahead when planning an ecommerce strategy.

by Kristina Knight

First, the online store. Although most major retailing brands have an online presence already there is huge potential for smaller, niche hubs to expand and make money. Why? Because as the web evolves so does the consumer mindset. Rather than searching for a generic term such as 'wedding dress' today's consumer is searching for a specific item such as 'Vera Wang vintage wedding gown'. This is where the potential begins for niche ecommerce sites.

With the proper search engine optimization strategy, a niche marketer can not only attract this consumer base but can do potentially more business than a traditional etailer. The key is targeting.

A recent report from Nielsen Online suggests that not only is the consumer base evolving when it comes to online shopping, the ">evolution of the shopper is taking a specific track. Shoppers online are becoming as concerned, if not more, on the choice and value of online shopping as they are the convenience factor.

In 2004, online shoppers in the US spend just over $4 billion online line. In 2008, shoppers spent $9 billion online and next year they are expected to spend at least $12 billion. Those numbers are even larger when looking only at the consumer packaged goods marketplace, and that is with online shopping taking up only about 7% of total retail sales. Researchers estimate that as we move forward our children and grandchildren will do the bulk of their shopping online, giving etailers an even larger money making opportunity.

"While online shopping accounts for a modest percentage of today's sales, it is growing rapidly - Nielsen estimates that online CPG sales alone increased 25-30% between 2004 and 2008. And there are compelling reasons to believe that growth will continue, as overall online sales are projected to increase almost 200 percent between 2008 and 2012," was written on the Nielsen blog.

So, thinking ahead, what can a niche marketer do to engage the up-and-coming shoppers? They can follow the advice given to today's etailers: focus on convenience, choice and value.

Make it simple for shoppers to browse your site, make choices and complete the checkout process. Include focused, accurate and concise product descriptions, if possible online reviews are a good inclusion point as well.

Next, give them choices. Group similar products together so that the shopping experience is linear. Placing packaged good items with clothing doesn't make sense so don't do it. Create shopping 'areas' with like products so that consumers can shop and compare seamlessly.

Finally, give them value. Free shipping is becoming an industry trend, especially around the holidays but there is more that can be done. Offer rewards programs for frequent shoppers, suggest items and if those suggestions are taken, give the consumer an overall price reduction to add value.

These suggestions may seem simple but there are a number of old and new etailers who don't follow these rules and are missing out on additional sales and repeat customers. By starting out offering choice, convenience and value now etailers will be better prepared for the coming flood of online shoppers.

Tags: ecommerce, etailing, niche ecommerce, niche marketers, Nielsen Company, online shopping, search engine optimization, SEO

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  • marcel schmidt

    i really do think internet shopping is the best opportunity anyone could possibly consider getting into

  • Connecting with what the audience wants is so important it is interesting that some businesses don't know this. Memberships are a helpful way to over choices. Offer a few different options for free and many more choices for members. It works!



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