How to ride the e-commerce wave with online marketing

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Consumers are spending more time online and on social media, pushing businesses to reconsider their online marketing strategy. Here's an overview of the online marketing space and its importance in attracting export orders, backed by insights from the recent DHL Export Barometer report.

The pandemic has no doubt shifted consumer purchasing behaviour, increasing their time spent online engaging with brands, products and services. Although the internet had already made massive changes to methods of consumer transactions, the pandemic has accelerated these behaviours further. This unprecedented momentum for online purchasing is captured in the DHL Export Barometer 2021 report, which records 38% of trade businesses experiencing growth in web orders during the pandemic, compared to 21% in 2020.

The unsurprising surge in online shopping during a time of social distancing and lockdowns has shed light on the value of online digital marketing, and the importance for businesses to ride this upside. Aware that consumer interaction must go beyond traditional modes, 82% of Australian exporters have already taken advantage of the internet this year – an 8% increase from 2020.

If you are looking to make the bold move to go digital with an online business, there is one area of modern e-commerce that you’ll have to ace – online presence.

Embracing the online space

Regardless of the size of a business – SOHO, small, medium, or large business – at least 71% of exporters generated orders online in 2021. And to drive sales further, the DHL Export Barometer reports a rise in the implementation of online marketing strategies, with 36% of exporters putting more than half of their marketing budget toward online marketing channels, up from 18% in 2020. But which online channels are being tapped into to attract export orders?

What are online marketing channels?

Also known as web-based channels, online marketing channels are used to spread a message about a brand, product or service to prospective customers. An affordable customer acquisition campaign of sorts, these channels close the gap between consumers and a brand in a world where consumer journeys have become multipronged.

The different types of online marketing

From website content marketing and online advertising (display ads) to influencer marketing and social media marketing, there is a long list of online marketing channels. This year’s Barometer noted that 65% of exporters use social media channels to attract export orders, while 44% and 33% used online advertising and online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping, respectively. There are, however, other popular online growth strategies that facilitate a boost in online sales. These include improving website design and customer service, offering free delivery, and refining order fulfilment processes.

So, forget relying on promotions and discounts to attract an audience – a mixed and proactive approach that reaches a wider target audience is the way of driving online sales. Simply be aware of your consumer’s needs and determine the best online marketing channel that will work in favour of your objectives.

A social-first future

Today’s consumers are highly reliant on social media platforms – approximately 4.48 billion people use social media. Now the preferred way for consumers to seek out brands and products, 18% more exporters have begun using these platforms to attract customer orders, establishing social media as the top sales channel. Of the various social media platforms, Facebook (48%) is the revered choice amongst exporters, followed by Instagram (41%) and LinkedIn (24%). A growing aspect in any business’ marketing-driven plans, it is plausible that more businesses will move e-commerce strategies completely to social media as newer platforms like TikTok become more integrated into the buyer journey.

Navigating the online ecosystem to grow your business

The impact of social and online presence on a business’ bottom line cannot be understated. But as consumers expect a more tailored and personalised experience from brands, solely jumping onboard a popular online platform will not suffice in attracting export orders. From the type of online marketing strategy leveraged to conducting a detailed e-commerce competitor analysis, other factors play a role in generating orders too.

You can find out more by exploring our guides and articles on e-commerce.