The e-commerce landscape: Thinking beyond your site

By March 5, 2019Advertising
Credit: DAC

The e-commerce landscape in 2019 demands that the consumer should be the focal point of everything. With consumers in the driver’s seat, it is incumbent on the marketer to provide them with information they need, where they’re looking for it and when they want it. Simultaneously, marketers need to provide this in a seamless manner that reinforces the brand’s value proposition at every touchpoint.

Brands that understand this principle and deliver against the intent of the consumer at every stage of their purchase journey, every time, are well-positioned to transform their relationship with their audiences and drive growth.

In delivering messaging aligned to consumer intent, it is implied that a marketer will attach a level of personalization that will resonate with that user. One often-overlooked aspect of contemporary e-commerce marketing is localization. This is especially critical for brands for whom most of the discovery journey happens online, but with most of the revenue booked offline. Every consumer in the world is attached to a physical place; where they live and where they’re currently located are two factors that should be woven into an Enterprise-to-Local strategy that delivers the brand promise to consumers both online and where they physically are.

Consider a fashion retailer that has both a dot-com site and brick-and-mortar stores that has analyzed its customer purchase behavior. An Enterprise-to-Local strategy will consider the primary differences in its audiences across the geographies it serves and deploys its marketing dollars accordingly. For example, if the retailer’s customer data indicates it sells a significantly higher proportion of shoes in its Midwest footprint than any other product category, a campaign set up to specifically target that geographic location will allow that retailer to hone its media spend on the shoe category rather than dilute its ad dollars across other categories it is less likely to sell.

Another tactic that has proven effective for e-commerce is Shopping ads (formerly known in Google as PLAs or Product Listing Ads). Consumers that have not yet fully decided what, exactly, they will buy—or from whom—will often look to Shopping ads to see their options at a glance to move one step closer to their final decision. In fact, a recent study found that Shopping ads generated 85 percent of all clicks on Google Ads and Google Shopping campaign ads. This offers a huge opportunity for e-commerce brands to capture the sale when a consumer is undecided.

Let’s use an outdoor enthusiast as our next consumer example. Frances, we’ll call her, is looking for a sleeping bag that will keep her warm on the winter hiking trip she’s about to take. She’s read enough content to understand she needs a sleeping bag specifically designed to withstand cold temperatures and now wants to research which brands provide suitable options within her price range. She’d also like to see and feel the actual sleeping bag before she commits to buying it, as she’s read that these can sometimes have a high price point. Shopping ads here are a clear option, as they provide Frances with a list of sellers and price ranges in a single view.

What Frances can quickly see from Shopping ads is that REI offers a sleeping bag priced in the mid-range—and that it’s currently available in-store for her to see in person. This use of Local Inventory feeds within REI’s Shopping ads has increased the relevance for Frances, resulting in her choosing to visit the store nearest her to see and buy her cold-weather sleeping bag.

The activation of an Enterprise-to-Local strategy, which is illustrated in Shopping ads here, requires unified and nuanced messaging at every digital touchpoint, including blog content, video, maps channels, social platforms and paid media assets.

At DAC, we’ve seen major wins for our retail clients by optimizing Shopping ads to meet the consumer at this undecided stage. For a major U.S. retailer, DAC’s Enterprise-to-Local approach to structuring and optimizing their Shopping campaigns led to a 50 percent reduction in cost per new visitor from that channel.

Of course, what we’ve reviewed in this article only skims the surface of all aspects of a full Enterprise-to-Local strategy. To learn more, download our Enterprise-to-Local Digital Marketing Playbook.

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