In a study conducted by the Pew Research in December 2016 it was estimated that eight out of every ten Americans are now shopping online.
In the year 2000, just two out of ten. That's a remarkable growth pattern and the number of people shopping online is constantly growing with the development of Digital Marketing as an effective tool directing online suppliers to consumers.
Some 96% of all Americans have access to the internet. Not just the young and young-at-heart, but seniors spend many hours each week surfing the net.
What do these numbers tell us?
Traditional shopping habits are undergoing enormous change and nowhere is this pattern more pronounced than in shopping malls where retail shopping is the main attraction to the mall. In the past, mall developers used a formula of roughly 70% of space to be allocated to retail shops and 30% for entertainment and service facilities.
It is clear, with the explosion of online shopping this pattern of space allocation will be substantially changed in the near future.
So, let's analyse why consumers are preferring to shop online rather than visit brick and mortar outlets.
Shoppers want to make sure they get the very best value for their money. With branded merchandise available at so many different outlets it means a lot of footwork is needed in making the final decision.
No such problem exists with shopping online. Shoppers can just sit at their desk and surf around the internet from countries anywhere in the world to locate their choice of product at the price they wish to pay, with goods delivered to their door.
Over the last decade or two personal service in retail stores has deteriorated. Self-service is the order of the day, even with big ticket items. Resulting from this change the level of service provided by staff members is often below par. Knowledge of the products they sell is sometimes lacking which is an aggravation to customers.
Again, no such problem exists with online shopping. Websites are replete with information, even providing a facility for customers to ask questions, also offering comments and recommendations from satisfied customers.
A vital requirement for retailers is to stock a choice of brands. Even in single brand stores a variety of labels are usually found. In fact, some stores only provide house brands, but online shopping has changed all that. The choice of brands is unlimited. Third party distributors such as Amazon and ebay can supply anything.
Today, Amazon is the largest retailer in the United States. In 2016 they recorded sales of US$136 billion. It is regarded as one of the most valuable brands worldwide.
It is clear. Benefits of online shopping are shifting consumers away from traditional shopping habits in droves. When it comes to price and product, nothing is easier and more satisfying than shopping online.
Here lies the challenge for manufacturers and service providers. With millions of competitors now selling online, to be noticed in the internet jungle is a daunting exercise. That's the role for a Digital Marketer.
Exactly, what is the function of a Digital Marketer?
The role of an online Digital Marketer is to target customers in precise markets. Information gleaned is collated using modern marketing techniques. It's not an art, rather a science. That's quite different from straight advertising which is not clearly defined and unable to reach specific target groups. The hit and miss approach of selling to mass markets is from yesterday. Digital marketing is for today!
For successful online selling it's most important for both manufacturers and suppliers to employ a professional digital marketing company such as Marketing in Motion. They are certainly geared to the market of today offering full service technology together with creative marketing.
Scott is the founder of MIM. Since 2006 he has taken the helm and helped launch several very successful marketing programs. He brings to the table over 25 years of experience and knowledge.