Saturday, June 04, 2011
How eCommerce Times are a Changing!
While eCommerce continues to grow its share of global retail and Brick and Mortar retailers look for ways to stem the tide causing their sales to slow. eCommerce itself is morphing into something much different from its infancy.
In the early days of the web, it was much like the old west, brave entrepreneurs ventured online to stake their claim for retail riches and with their satchels full of VC money they used TV, Magazines, Radio and other traditional media to get the word out. Companies like, Amazon, Buy.com, eBay, Drugstore.com Ebags.com are still around but many others didn't survive. At the time large retail brands like Sears, Best Buy, Staples, J.C. Penny were just testing the idea of selling online and many tech companies like Dell, HP and Compaq decided the web was their future. Unfortunately it took a lot of money to get consumers to stop by these online stores. Amazon was still mostly a book store. The lion's share of consumers went directly to the .com from their browser to find those items they wanted to purchase, if you didn't spend the Traditional Media money to brand your business nobody showed up at your store. According to the chart below, from Channel Advisor, in 2000 75% of consumers started their shopping experience directly at each companies website. Search, CSE (Comparisons Shopping Engines) and Marketplaces consisted mainly of Yahoo, AOL, eBay, and collectively they were only 25% of ecommerce in 2000. Google had just launched their AdWords program in 2000, likewise Amazon launched their Marketplace late that year.
Jump forward to 2010 and you see a much different landscape on the web. Yahoo, AOL and eBay have been dominated by Google, Facebook and Amazon. 44% of eCommerce sales now start from Search (mostly Google) and 27% start in a Marketplace (Amazon, eBay, Buy.com); only 9% start at the merchants website. All of this while the whole eCommerce pie continues to grow
CSE's as a segment have slowed considerably even though Google Product Search continues to grow. Mobile and Social are growing and may represent the future of eCommerce 5-10 years down the road.
So, in 2011 what's an online retail store have to do to sell their wares? SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) efforts are extremely important as Search still dominates but Marketplaces can no longer be left off of the table. Online brands that haven't sold in a Marketplace channel till now are going to have to start or they will missing out on a huge number of eyeballs. In fact many mainline retailers are launching their own marketplace as a way to attract new shoppers to their increased selection; Sears, NewEgg, Walmart among others to launch this year.
In 2011 most shoppers are not starting at your website or going there at all, make sure you don't miss out on those sales by avoiding 27% of those shoppers. Don't miss out on the Marketplace customer.
Just my 15%