eCommerce Marketing Challenges (and How They're Solved) by 7 Experts

Amy Brueckman    By under Ecommerce SEO.

It's Monday morning and you wake up to find not your scheduled pot of coffee, but a broken machine leaking all over your counter. It used to be you could go to a brick and mortar store, choose between maybe 2-3 items, and take it home right then and there.

Things have changed a little bit since then. Thanks millennials! (kidding...) We're now flooded with tons of product options to choose from and various time frames for them to get to us. So which one do we chose and why do we choose that specific one?

The online shopping industry has steadily been taking a larger percentage of retail sales, accounting for 12.2 percent of all retail purchases in 2017. The competition is fierce between small businesses clamoring to be heard among giants like Amazon and Walmart.

To find out just how much the game has changed (and how it might be changing in the future), we asked some marketing experts:


What are the challenges (current and upcoming) in ecommerce marketing?


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With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology in 2018, businesses will be competing to analyze data in a way that allows them to target consumer preferences and habits on an individual basis. Rather than building marketing campaigns around large subsets of data, such as consumer demographics, we are seeing companies shift their marketing efforts to target the individual consumer.

The most successful ecommerce companies will be those which can most efficiently market to potential customers on a case-by-case basis. This leaves ecommerce start-ups in a tough situation, as they will find it more difficult to compete with larger businesses who have already compiled large amounts of personally identifiable information for their target market.

Ryne Higgins, Peacock Alley

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Many ecommerce entrepreneurs are surprised to learn that--in addition to figuring out the logistics of a marketing campaign - they need to pay attention to the legal issues involved in promoting their brand.

Government agencies & customers are empowered by federal & state laws to ensure that a company's marketing messages are truthful & non-intrusive. Even competitors and social media platforms can challenge a marketing campaign that they think is problematic & get it pulled.

In this light, a significant challenge posed by ecommerce marketing is that the marketing laws don't always keep pace with the digital technologies that are revolutionizing how we connect to each other. So ecommerce entrepreneurs have to function in a changing legal & regulatory environment that creates a lot of uncertainty.

Faith U Mitton, Esq., Mitton Law Firm PLLC

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Mastering multi-channel sales & marketing. With the rise of Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVB) & microbrands through their ability to dominate 1 or 2 channels very effectively,  it will become even more critical for - not only these merchants - but all online brands to leverage tools that enable  them to know when & where to reach customers with the right message.Mitton Law Firm, PLLC

Messenger, SMS, Email, Push notifications, social & more! Which channels to use, for who and when will become the most important aspect of digital marketing for ecommerce.

Merchants will also need to learn how to balance all this with customer privacy to not overextend and damage their brand.

Franco Varriano, RareLogic

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For me, the biggest marketing challenge facing ecommerce businesses today is the consumers 'need for speed'. Specifically, I'm talking about mobile users. People using your website from their smartphone expect a smooth, convenient and above all else FAST experience when from start to finish with your site - and if your business invested in designing the website at the wrong time, you might just not be up to scratch compared to more mobile-first competitors.

A whopping 53% of users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load - so if you don't have a snappy site, you've already lost over half of your potential customers.

Izaak Crook, AppInstitute

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The rise of making purchases through devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home is a huge challenge for ecommerce marketing. It requires marketers to alter their strategies for targeting keywords and optimizing for search engines, with a focus on longtail keywords and an emphasis on local SEO and schema markup. Voice search only yields the most easily available results, making the competition for top ranking more competitive than ever.

As shopping through these devices becomes more prevalent, smaller ecommerce stores will face huge challenges from major brands and online retailers. Voice search results will default to online retailers like Amazon and brands that are synonymous with their product, such as Kleenex, requiring smaller sites to elevate their marketing in all areas to remain competitive. Brands will need to become consistent and reliable for households, so ordering the product by brand name becomes second nature.

Stuart Ridge, VitaMedica

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Speaking of the most recent ecommerce challenges, I'd like to mention the growing necessity to meet customers on every channel they choose to research their problem, look for a solution, vet the options, and finally make a purchase.

If in the past all you needed to care about in terms of ecommerce was your official website, now you need to be ready to offer your clients full support over social media and all the other channels they might prefer.

Major players already supply marketers with the variety of tools we might need. For example, Facebook shop moves shopping only one click away from browsing one's social media feed. Instagram product tags direct customers in one step from browsing to purchase. AMP for email allows to think about shopping available right in the inbox.

With great opportunities come great customer expectations. At this point marketers cannot neglect all of these experiences because something that looked like a fancy shiny toy a year ago now is a must have customers expect to see.

Natasha Kvitka, Gift Baskets Overseas

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In our digital age, consumers have a plethora of opportunities to explore online. Mobile technology has created a new way to shop, extending the borders of a traditional brick and mortar store and heightening competition. To capitalize on this, online retailers are continually expanding to new geographies.

The main challenge then is how can brands still resonate with their target consumers while operating a business on a worldwide scale? It is vital to make sure that new policies and procedures align with the company's mission so that the brand stays true to itself. This includes corporate social responsibility and creating partnerships with ethical suppliers, which are increasingly important factors that will affect consumers loyalty and trust.

Businesses that operate online have to find the right balance between globalization and localization, all while still offering the best premium services to their consumers and an authentic brand experience.

Tracy Julien, GuidedChoice