Opinion: How eCommerce platforms play an important role in digital marketing

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Rajni Daswani, Director - Digital Marketing at SoCheers shares that while digital marketing brings attention to your brand, eCommerce allows you to actually sell. 

The Indian eCommerce industry is on an upward swing and how! India’s eCommerce sector is expected to reach US$ 111.40 billion by 2025 from US$ 46.20 billion in 2020, growing at a 19.24% CAGR, anticipated to surpass its foreign counterparts. Similarly, digital marketing too saw a huge evolution in the last few years, not only in India but globally. Much of the growth for the industry has been triggered by an increase in internet and smartphone penetration. The number of internet connections in 2021 increased significantly to 830 million, driven by the ‘Digital India’ program. While the growth in all aspects of digital has been consistent and constant, there’s no denying that the trajectory was accelerated significantly by the pandemic. 

With such a huge presence, it is essential for brands and businesses to have a digital presence in order to mark their existence and growth. It is a fact that when a consumer goes to an online shopping platform, they would definitely have an intent to purchase, but whether they do or not is secondary. Take a supermarket, for example, we usually end up buying a lot more things than intended. I personally can’t go to a supermarket and not come back with a ton of stuff that wasn’t on my shopping list. It’s not that I didn’t need them in the first place, it’s just that I didn’t think to add them to my list.

Buying more things than on your list while in a supermarket is a universal phenomenon called the Gruen Effect. Interestingly, a similar concept applies to advertising your products on an eCommerce platform. 

Retrospectively, the pandemic did push the sales-drive brands, across industries, towards making eCommerce a primary platform for sales unlike earlier as a platform for awareness or recall. During the pandemic and today too, the majority of the brands register targeted sales via eCommerce, becoming a safe haven for them. As the focus towards eCommerce has witnessed a surge, both by brands and consumers, these marketplaces have also diversified their functionality towards driving sales.

There’s a strong probability that a consumer has come to the platform looking for a product type and not a product brand, but with the right ads, shown to them at the right time and place, they can be persuaded to experiment with a new brand.

If brands strategically deploy a ‘clickbait’ strategy, the chances of reaching the envisioned sales goal go higher. 

Also Read: Varun Kandhari on driving conversations around different products under the Mars Wrigley umbrella

Overall, promoting your brand or product on such platforms speeds up the process from first contact to the final sale and brings you closer to the end goal. Having a strong presence in the eCommerce space is no longer a topic of discussion, rather it takes an important position in a brand's marketing plan. Some unique easy in which eCommerce substantiates a digital marketing strategy are:

It’s all about the Data

Including eCommerce in your digital marketing strategy allows the brands to take a data-backed approach. The platform algorithm also works to back the ads, enhancing the brand’s marketing efforts. For instance, if a consumer is looking for shampoo, chances are that the platform will show them ads for a conditioner, a hair spa treatment, or perhaps a combo pack. This allows even the products that the user didn’t directly ask for to come to the forefront and increases the likelihood of the consumer clicking on the ad and purchasing the product. 

Data from these platforms also lets the brands reinforce their re-targeting efforts, be it through email marketing, push notifications, social media marketing, or any other avenue. Apps like Swiggy and Zomato are acing the game here. When they notice a pending order in someone's cart, they send an interesting notification to gain the consumer's attention while offering them additional discounts (on some occasions) and encouraging them to place the order.

Further, by gathering data about your presence and performance at a particular platform, brands also get a chance to judge their standing in comparison to their competitors as they’re all in the same space.

Visibility + Discoverability = Reach

When it comes to product inventory, eCommerce platforms act as comprehensive search engines. This makes them indispensable for any brand aiming to increase its visibility and discoverability among its target audience. Consumers might not even know that a brand or a product that perfectly fits their requirements, exists in the market until they’re able to discover it on their favorite e-shopping platform. 

The biggest example is Sonakshi Sinha owned press-on nails brand, SOEZI. Despite being a celeb-owned brand, it was launched on Amazon soon after its launch in the market. The reason? To build a bigger brand presence and gain new customers.

The same goes for Priyanka Chopra owned hair care brand, Anomaly. The actress launched the brand in India recently and chose to partner with Nykaa for the launch as opposed to launching it on its own website. eCommerce platforms like Nykaa and Amazon already have a customer base looking for similar products, so when a new choice is available, that too a celeb-owned brand, it tends to stand out in the competition. 

The Humongous Digital Footfall

Big names in the eCommerce space have established large sale ‘events’, Flipkart’s Big Billion Days and Amazon’s Great Indian Festival being the most known names. A large portion of the Indian population eagerly looks forward to these sales for their in-bulk or luxury purchases. The digital footfall is further amped up if they fall in the festive season. In fact, a recent report from the Redseer Strategy Consultants stated that in just the first 4 days of the festive sale this year (from 22nd Sept to 25th Sept), the eCommerce platforms clocked in a sale of INR 24.5k Cr or USD 3.5 Bn. Such huge traction definitely warrants brands to include a strong eCommerce presence in their digital marketing plans. 

Well, undoubtedly, gone are the days when consumers would rush to their nearest store to pick up the basics. Now, it is the time of Dunzo, Zepto, Swiggy Instamart, and of course, Amazon! While basics are also preferred to be shopped online, it is important for brands to be present where people go looking for multiple things to buy. This is especially true for newer names in the market.

I strongly believe that while digital marketing brings attention to your brand, eCommerce allows you to actually sell. 

The article is authored by Rajni Daswani, Director - Digital Marketing, SoCheers

Disclaimer: The opinions shared in the article are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publication.

Digital Marketing ecommerce platforms ecommerce