Capturing ecommerce spend with effective, targeted marketing

Our Marketing Services research has shown Aussie retailers need to be doing more to capture online spend through effective and targeted digital marketing campaigns.

Most retailers in Australia now understand the value of online commerce – indeed, it’s pretty hard to overlook – but in terms of capitalising on the endless possibilities of the web, our Marketing Services research has found there is a general reluctance to do so.

Some 57 per cent of retailers that were surveyed in our research currently spend five per cent or less of their marketing budget on their ecommerce platform. On top of that, over one third (34 per cent) fail to allocate any of their marketing budget to ecommerce.

But it isn’t only attracting consumers to online sales platforms where Aussie retailers are falling short. Some 44 per cent of retailers have no plans to introduce online transaction capabilities or shopping cart functionality to their websites in the next 12 months, and many businesses are missing out on opportunities to collect customer data online, or even integrate their current database with their website.

Digital marketing – attracting and retaining valuable customers

The task of turning retail fortunes round lies very much in the hands of the business community and our comprehensive study shows that with the right action, this is certainly achievable. Digital marketing has been proved to be the most effective way of driving consumers to online sales platforms but there still seems to be a general reticence from Australian retailers to embrace new marketing techniques.

There is certain ambivalence to SEO, paid search and online advertising, for example. But this raises the question: how do retailers expect customers to know about and visit their online stores? Retailers aren’t overly convinced by the power of email marketing and only 61 per cent of retailers collect email addresses from their online customers. Our research shows that although mass mailings may falter in their effectiveness over time, the value of targeted, segmented emails cannot be ignored.

Mobile marketing and mcommerce is also being largely overlooked by retailers with only 30 per cent of retailers regarding SMS marketing as important – and 66 per cent do not include SMS marketing in their overall engagement strategy. Social media also fits into the ‘overlooked’ category for retailers, which is worrying considering Facebook recently announced over one billion members.

Building a loyal customer base

International competition is the main threat to the success of Australian retailers online and so building a loyal customer base will prove to be a vital component. But once again home-grown retailers aren’t doing what it takes to encourage customer loyalty.

Online loyalty programs are just as important as offline rewards programs, but only 21 per cent of retailers offer online loyalty programs through their websites. The same reticence applies to online vouchers and targeted offers, with only 17 per cent of retailers currently offering online discount codes for target customer groups or reward shoppers for repeat purchases.

A shift from high street stores to online doesn’t necessarily mean an abandonment of traditional retail principals and there should be the same level of customer service on offer. Although there may not be on-floor sales advisors there are still several tricks of the ecommerce trade that can get shoppers spending, such as abandoned cart strategies, free delivery and the assurance of returns which can be implemented in order to get that all important conversion.