Ecommerce and Digital Marketing: An Ultimate Guide

Ecommerce and Digital Marketing: What, How and Why?
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The internet has become integral in our lives, with new technologies emerging at record rates. At the center of this wave is ecommerce and digital marketing which make up its backbone. Revolutionary technologies are changing how we think and run our businesses; many of us have seen these transformative changes firsthand. There is surely no slowing down now, which suggests that we become acquainted with the industry.

Unless you look at their business model, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that most tech giants operate mainly in ecommerce and digital marketing. This includes companies like Google, Meta, Amazon, and Shopify as just a few examples. Google is widely recognized as a crucial technology in society yet its existence is predicated on commercial ad spending and not its search features. The same goes for Meta, which relies heavily on its ads, not social media.

Since its inception, ecommerce has proven disruptive, fundamentally changing the way we shop and businesses operate. It has become “the” avenue for new emerging businesses, and economies of scale have made it affordable for virtually any idea to flourish. With data-driven decisions and scalable operations, there are clear reasons supporting the shift online. In short, the internet has produced countless opportunities and built bridges where they previously hadn’t existed.

The Synergy between Ecommerce and Digital Marketing

5 synergies between ecommerce and digital marketing

We know that ecommerce and digital marketing have two distinct purposes, but they’re deeply linked and far more effective when used in unisense. Whereas one represents the creation of a digital storefront and the optimization process, the other focuses on creating engaging content and scaling your reach. When creating an e-commerce store it feels almost intuitive to also utilize digital marketing.

  • Generates Leads: By using the right platforms and correctly optimizing for your direct audience, you can generate quality leads for your business. Since you can accumulate followers and loyal customers, it is also possible to build direct lines of communication. This would suggest that you can expand your reach while retaining high-interest customers, which creates a scaler effect. There is a major portion of the market that is seeking to discover new products, learn about a business, or wouldn’t have learned about your brand without digital tools.
  • Improved Lead Quality: There are several levels of audience targeting and personalization possible in online businesses. Important metrics like conversion rates and customer retention depend on how well you're able to identify your core audience. We do not necessarily want to find just any visitor, instead, we want the high potential leads. We have a broad variety of channels we can use to reach our desired audience, which we can test and reiterate. As an example, social media platforms and SEO enable us to accumulate interested followers and optimize our marketing according to search intent.
  • Branding Opportunity: Branding can be one of the more challenging aspects of managing a business. Traditional methods are often short-term and hard to predict. Digital tools are like an open canvas being both versatile and continuous. Since they are permanent functions, ecommerce and digital marketing are considered iterative tools. By utilizing these versatile tools, it's possible to create unique branding which is very important in our modern competitive environment. Still, identifying with a specific demographic is the real goal of branding.
  • Scale your Digital Platform: One of the most prominent advantages of utilizing digital methods is their scalability. Because these tools are cumulative, permanent, and expansive; they allow us to continuously scale our platform at our relative pace. With the ability to actively communicate with customers and throttle our investment, we influence our rate of growth as well.
  • Drives Business Growth: When it comes to exposure, reach, and potential audience size; ecommerce and digital marketing are in a category all on their own. When we choose the right product in the right segment, there is no end to our potential. The internet is truly global and has produced some of the most important companies of our era. The internet is in modern terms, the best tool we have for business growth. As an example, from hybrid business models (physical and digital) the average business sees a 30% growth in total earnings due to ecommerce channels. This alone is enough to fuel growth.
  • Data-Driven Insights: All things technologically driven produce data that can be analyzed and utilized for business insight. The information generated from ecommerce data is an excellent source of information on market trends, and customer behavior, to identify weaknesses or opportunities. Marketers can analyze this data and create refined campaigns for higher engagement and improved conversion rates. Ecommerce and digital marketing can help make even small businesses more informed in decision-making.
  • Fully Customizable: A business’s priorities can change over time and that can present a challenge for a physical business. To remain adaptive to changing circumstances a business must be agile. With a digital platform, businesses benefit from a deeper understanding of market trends and the ability to transform their identity with pace.

E-commerce and digital marketing are deeply synergetic and deeply ingrained in all things on the internet. They are powered by evolving technologies that work to enhance your business operations and marketing. New technology like artificial intelligence is advancing daily which seeks to improve operations in the industry further.

What is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce refers to the entire online shopping process from facilitating purchases to distribution of orders. It represents the entire customer journey from product browsing, customer service, payment processing, and delivery. E-commerce serves as a virtual storefront where businesses can showcase their catalogs and process customer purchases.

There are several models that a business can utilize for its ecommerce function. We have larger businesses with more extensive operations utilizing ecommerce as a minor virtual storefront, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, we have small businesses that use their ecommerce stores as their primary channel and outsource a bulk of their operations.

Historically, ecommerce stores have been expensive and difficult to operate since they involved sophisticated technologies. Nowadays, we utilize platforms such as Shopify to streamline their creation and management. These technologies have spurred the entrance of countless businesses, SAAS companies, and marketing agencies. Ecommerce is widely considered one of the fastest-rising industries and is important for the future of all commerce. 

Benefits of Ecommerce for Customers

5 benefits of ecommerce for customers

Customers are central to e-commerce, so let’s explore how they benefit from online stores. E-commerce in many ways is an improvement to a customer's shopping experience and there is a strong visible sentiment supporting this claim. This list describes how customers see improvements to their shopping experience and how those benefits compare to traditional shopping.

  • Broader Selection: Open access to countless stores around the world allows shoppers to explore their options from an endless variety of brands. This grants them access to stores that are typically unavailable in their cities and allows them to compare features with detail. Likewise, brands can reach customers from across the globe. Furthermore, having the ability for shoppers to follow their favorite brands enables them to get the latest news and product releases.
  • Convenience: Customers can shop anytime, without any limitations created by physical store hours and with the added benefit of privacy. These merits add a great deal of flexibility to the shopping experience and also eliminate fixed hours, travel time, and long in-store waits. The real advantage is for customers on tight schedules and those who are looking for unique products unavailable to them in their current locations.
  • Price Comparison: Bargain shoppers will especially love this awesome feature. Fair competition and the ability for a variety of businesses to enter the market, create opportunities for customers to explore. Many businesses use channels to reach their customers on their favorite platforms, bringing a combination of convenience and competition.
  • Reviews and Product Descriptions: Whenever customers go shopping online, they can expect clear product descriptions and reviews to support their decisions. They can compare features, seek product variations, and find alternative brands and qualities. Customers have all the time in the world to shop around and find the perfect store and perfect product without the unnecessary stress of making an impulse buy. Naturally, the process of improving the shopping experience demands we improve our presentation and information.
  • Complete Service: Having a complete customer service function is now standard in ecommerce. Ecommerce stores are expected to have transparent product descriptions, secure payment, clear refund policies, and shipping information. If implemented correctly, ecommerce can be just as reliable as any physical business. Finding ways to earn customer trust and brand recognition is fundamental to e-commerce and can provide some much-needed assurance for shoppers. With additional apps and services, it's possible to outsource a bulk of these roles or take on the entire operation in-house.
  • Personalized Shopping Experience: When shopping it is difficult to find the brand or items that you have in mind, and shops can’t always make your personal preferences a priority. With the deep customer profiles, it is possible to analyze and make more informed product recommendations on time. Ecommerce also allows you to find your core audience that resonates with your brand most of all, which further improves the likelihood of purchase. With additional ecommerce features, it is possible to give shoppers a personal account with history and loyalty rewards to promote longer retention.
  • Early Notification and Additional Features: Businesses can offer more comprehensive services through digital tools. They can communicate quicker, offer online-only discounts, and offer their full catalog. Customers cannot always be at a physical location to learn about special deals, nor can they browse your entire store, and each branch may have different inventory levels. It is possible to communicate more effectively and offer a unified experience across all your stores. It is common for businesses to offer special features for online customers.

Wherever you are, whatever your schedule is like, e-commerce is a practical and convenient solution for shoppers. It is also a brilliant way to open the world up to new and unique brands that may not be available near you. E-commerce connects customers to their favorite brands and provides a complete solution for them as well. Traditional businesses with standard storefronts often have limitations such as location and high overhead costs. If we attempt to expand our physical business, we can expect high investment requirements and a great deal of uncertainty to match. E-commerce, on the other hand, eliminates a lot of the capital requirement and scales without the need for additional infrastructure. Not only is an e-commerce business more economical, but it can also grow to be a major component of your business.

Benefits of E-commerce for Businesses

5 benefits of ecommerce for businesses

Likewise, e-commerce must be economical and financially advantageous for businesses to implement. E-commerce stores are in many ways real stores that service customers in a new and improved format. We know and have seen countless claims about the growth and prevalence of e-commerce in this digital age. This list will identify those core benefits and compare them to traditional commerce.

  • Improved Customer Experience: A major competitive element in ecommerce is the customer’s experience, which can be compared over physical stores and between other ecommerce stores. Ecommerce fundamentally offers an improvement in convenience and around-the-clock services, but varies greatly from business to business. There are inherent challenges with using digital platforms, but countless potential solutions are emerging every day. Ecommerce is a complete solution from your storefront to delivery and therefore requires minimal effort from the shopper. However, it’s our responsibility to seek improvements to our individual experience.
  • Global Reach: Traditional commerce is burdened by geographical location and range of availability. The ideal locations often have disproportionate rent costs and endure heavy competition in their immediate vicinity. E-commerce ultimately removes geographical barriers and allows you to service any market in the world. It is possible to build dedicated channels to bridge interactive communications with your direct audience. Localization features allow you to target specific regions which allow you to adjust according to your needs.
  • Boost Earnings: Ecommerce can be both a small part of your overall business or it can be your primary channel depending on your organizational structure. In both cases, an online store can be an effective tool as an additional revenue channel. In addition to the benefits listed above, ecommerce has the quality of being online 24/7 and services a larger audience simultaneously. Figures suggest that ecommerce contributes to 30% of total revenue on average and allows you to tap markets that were previously unreachable.
  • Scalable and Lower Cost: Physical businesses are characterized as having high operational costs with expenses such as rent, wages, and utilities. In comparison, ecommerce does not require a physical location and is highly scalable with little further investment when expanding. Modern e-commerce has services available that eliminate high server costs and expensive programming teams. E-commerce also benefits businesses by having better inventory tracking, low transaction costs, and lower marketing barriers. Regardless of your budget, it is possible to implement a full ecommerce strategy at an economical level.
  • Data Driven Insight: Because all transactions have a data trail, it makes it easier to track and evaluate customer shopping patterns. In e-commerce you can monitor purchase history and analyze that information to make strategic decisions with a measurable outcome. This can have implications on anything from your product catalogs to pricing, and marketing strategy. With these changes, you can make refined decisions and optimize your e-commerce strategy.
  • Plentiful Resources: Ecommerce is part of a major industry with tools that fit into virtually any requirements. It’s possible to deliver a deeply engaging experience using the abundant options available. Since you have full control over your channels and store design, it's possible to quickly adapt to market changes and according to your goals. Shopify as an example has a complete platform with thousands of third-party like Growave that enhance user experience.
  • Larger Catalog and Quicker Communication: In comparison to physical storefronts where space is limited, an ecommerce store enables you to list your entire catalog and merge items from all your branches. The same principle applies to warehousing and the turnover rate can accelerate because communication is more direct to customers who use ecommerce. 

E-commerce is a great opportunity for businesses to find new customers in a new and interactive way. It can be a complete solution for businesses and has real benefits for both businesses and customers. We consider e-commerce as a complete solution that brings value to businesses in multiple dimensions.

What is Digital Marketing?

8 of the most used digital marketing channels

Digital Marketing, on the other hand, refers to the strategies and channels a business would utilize to promote their product or services online. It involves leveraging various digital channels; such as social media, search engines, and websites. Digital marketing aims to drive “targeted” traffic to your e-commerce platform, increase brand awareness, and ultimately broaden your reach. These two modern methods, allow businesses of all varieties to actively communicate with their dedicated audiences. Due to the prevalence of modern technologies in society, they are closer than ever to their target audience. 

Digital Marketing is an industry focused on producing business prospects through digital tools such as social media and search engines. Marketing professionals widely consider digital marketing to be the first and best tool for building dedicated audiences for both impact and reach. Today’s standard for growing businesses includes digital marketing in one way or another, often being central to any e-commerce strategy.

There is also a great deal of diversity in content quality like website design, content depth, and digital tools. There are several angles from which each digital marketing campaign can take to bolster reach and brand strength. It is this major contrast between the highest-performing marketers and those just starting that differentiates the effectiveness of digital marketing as a selling tool.

Traditional marketing strategies encompass any offline marketing method popularized in the past such as billboards, fliers, and partnerships. Since the prolific rise of the internet and social media platforms, traditional marketing has taken a back seat to more direct and data-driven digital methods. We see this most prominently with smaller and medium-sized businesses that have been drawn towards more modern and less expensive e-marketing tools. 

Common problems with traditional marketing methods include; difficulty targeting specific audiences, difficulty actualizing sales, and high costs of implementation. Traditional concepts such as branding and persuasive language are still relevant in digital marketing but have taken a more interactive and data-driven angle.

Benefits of Digital Marketing

5 benefits of digital marketing

Digital marketing is a substantial improvement to traditional marketing, the benefits are more than we can count. When we compare modern marketing methods to more classical examples, we can see a stark difference. Digital marketing is as effective as the quality of the leads you generate and how well you can study customer behavior. While digital marketing is more technical and arguably more difficult to utilize, its merits heavily outweigh the alternatives which can often only mean instantaneous and low-value exposure.

Main benefits of Digital Marketing:

  • Global Reach: Digital marketing is globally scalable, allowing you with strong implementation to reach an expansive audience. As your needs change and your business grows, you can adapt your strategy and reach as far as required. Localization allows you to isolate specific regions if required. This would imply that we can be operating in the US while servicing a European market.
  • Flexibility: Digital marketing is a highly versatile tool that can be adjusted at a moment's notice. This is important for keeping up with changing customer behavior and market dynamics. You also have numerous platforms and channels, that have their unique properties and customers types. The combination of different content formats and platforms, enables you to create highly targetted content for each channel.
  • Targeted Audience: In addition to being highly adaptable, digital marketing also has numerous formats and channels that can be used to reach specific audiences. Being able to identify and engage relevant audiences is a crucial aspect of digital marketing. Businesses derive the most value from digital marketing by understanding exactly what customers find most engaging. It is possible to capture customer details or gain followers which results in a dedicated channel to your most engaged customers.
  • Cost-Effective: Regardless of your marketing budget, a business benefits from all of these typical benefits of digital marketing without a single dollar more. This makes digital marketing highly cost-effective. That does not mean that you cannot benefit from further investment. Digital marketing can be adapted for businesses of all sizes and remains a cost-effective tool at all levels.
  • Measurable Results: When using digital marketing, each campaign generates data that can be analyzed. By studying this data you can improve your understanding, and optimize your next approach. This practice of continuous optimization applies to all channels and your ability to understand customer behavior can become your greatest source of value.
  • Customer Engagement: Digital marketing is intended to cultivate groups of interested parties, enabling them to quickly discover new content and interact with each other. This suggests that digital marketing can be used to create engaging content for your direct audience and to retain those viewers for future communication. Since viewers or followers are cumulative, it's possible to expand your audience and speed up communication.
  • Creates Brand Value: With the help of creative videos, visuals, site architecture, and copy; you can create branding opportunities that enhance customer perception. So long as your branding is substantiated with real value, this can help you cultivate brand value. With the assistance of analytics, we can narrow down what works and refine our approach.

Digital marketing is a highly interactive tool that allows you to reach a global audience. With the ability to target and capture your core audience, you can build a dedicated channel for your most engaged viewers. You can actively produce new content, study customer behavior, and expand your platform. The versatility of digital marketing allows you to remain adaptable and continuously improve your approach.

Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy

steps to creating a digital marketing strategy

Marketing strategies generally follow a multi-channel approach for peak exposure. Each channel functions as a node in the marketing function that is scaled and utilized periodically. Each channel has unique properties and serves a specific purpose, varying in usefulness depending on your segment and goals. The content creation process for each of these channels is largely skill-based and cannot exceed your audience's level of interest. Over time, it’s necessary to refine your strategy by studying customer behavior and continuously improving competitive content.

The most challenging aspect of digital marketing is execution. Competition in digital marketing is omnipresent. Content marketing opportunities are largely dictated by quality, but the process of creating quality requires clear goals. The general rule says that the more acute your understanding of your audience's interests, the more effective your marketing strategy will be. Over time, it will become clear which channels are viable for your business and which ones serve no real tangible goal. This will allow you to focus your effort on improving implementation and allocate resources appropriately.

Optimizing your Ecommerce Funnel

ecommerce funnel optimization

The image above represents the customer flow through stages in the ecommerce process. The stages begin with initial exposure which culminates in a relationship with customers. Throughout each stage of the funnel, we can see changing dynamics and new information that can fundamentally alter our approach. When dealing with ecommerce and digital marketing we are required to go through a continuous process of adaptation and optimization. We keep a keen eye on ranking factors and key metrics to identify opportunities.

Each one of these stages has unique factors that directly influence their performance. Impressions are largely based on the channels you select and the quality of your content. Clicks depend on how well you optimize for user intent and how clearly you communicate. Conversions describe the user experience, incentives, and the amount of interest you generate. Retention and re-engagement depend on how well your brand is aligned with customer interests and how well you motivate repeat customers.

While there are a few logical indications as to what factors are relevant at each stage, there are limiting factors as well that restrict our goals. Understanding the complex system involves a great deal of skill, experience, and execution. The general rule is to seek ways to scale your platform by leveraging user engagement to expand your reach and authoritativeness. This dichotomy is best understood by comparing growth in sales influenced by paid ads and the growth of your audience through organic traffic. Whereas, organic traffic is mainly dependent on intrinsic value and paid ads on budget.

Conclusion

Ecommerce and digital marketing in our era represent the fuel to any growing business. The tools we use when working online are capable of reaching greater audiences, are data-centric, and scalable according to your level of investment. These three advantages alone make it possible for businesses to build dedicated audiences and reach heights that were previously unreachable. By now you should understand how ecommerce and digital marketing compare and why you should be building a digital footprint as soon as possible. We’ll certainly be seeing more sophisticated ecommerce and digital marketing strategies in play. You should also expect new technologies and software that will make these industries prominent features in our lives.

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