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“eCommerce + Retail” Series: Not Your Enemy – Rethinking Other Purchase Points

Published: October 4, 2018

Author: Madeline Fitzgerald

During this 3Q Accelerate Week, we are focusing on driving growth for retail and eCommerce companies and exploring challenges/tactics unique to them in the digital world.
Finishing out the series, we’re here to re-think the approach to eCommerce vs. other purchase points. Treating brick-and-mortar or Amazon as enemies to your eCommerce progress is old-school and limits the potential effects of your campaigns.
We all know this is the omni-channel age. As eCommerce advertisers, your priority will always be pushing purchases through your own site – but fighting against user behavior is an uphill battle that won’t pay off in the end. Learning to work with consumer shopping habits is indispensable to working smarter and not harder. This involves a shift from the backward-facing viewpoint that purchases taking place on Amazon or offline are somehow opposed to, or the enemy of, your sales objectives.

We’ve heard time and again from advertisers that they don’t want to buy ad placements on Amazon because it’s “taking purchases away” from their own site. They’ll sell there, but don’t want to actively push it as a purchase point. But think about the behavior behind the purchase: if a user goes to Amazon to search for a category term (“shampoo,” or “dog food”), they’re already not going to be checking any of the sites where you do have your ads. If they’re already not going to consider those channels (and therefore your site) as part of the purchase journey, then you’ve effectively lost them. Sponsored Products or Headline Search Ads on non-brand terms are not stealing your purchasers; they’re getting you access to users who otherwise weren’t considering you in the first place. If you can beat out the incumbents on price or ratings and are available through Amazon’s Prime program (some of the top-priority attributes that Amazon shoppers care about), then you have the potential to dominate this sector of high-intent traffic.
For offline as well, trying to teach showroomers not to showroom, or users not to pick up in store after comparison shopping online, is not going to effectively pull in more customers. Working to create cohesive brand experiences across your purchase points is much more valuable to both you and your customers. For a detailed look at this, Feliks Malts, our VP of Decision Sciences, outlines tactics that popular companies have taken (or could have taken) to stay forward-facing.
Succeeding in digital for eCommerce companies is not about isolating the environment from the rest of the customer journey. The companies that will last the longest are the ones who look to the future and work with their customers’ actions (including preferred purchase points), not against them.

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