The US eCommerce Dynamics in the Global Mix
From a marketing and sales perspective, it is important to understand these habits and its effects on the market. Before we get on, we need to understand a few background information and common terms in electronic commerce marketing.
E-commerce marketing is a means of expanding service providers’ market reach and this includes the sellers of products of any description.
A company’s market base can expand by creating awareness about an e-store, its brands, and the products it’s offering. This can also be deepened through the exchange of goods and/or services using electronic channels.
Structure of eCommerce marketing
Contemporary e-commerce can be divided into two broad categories. The first is based on the nature of commodities sold ranging from digital content ordering for online consumption to everyday goods and/or services, to meta services. The second division is based on participant involved, and this is section into four major parts which are: consumer to business, business to business, consumer to consumer and the widely known and used form, online shopping.
- . Consumer to Business (C2B): This is also referred to as the reverse model. Here, consumers are saddled with the responsibility of creating value which is consumed by businesses
- . Business to Business (B2B): In this category, exchange of products and/or services is between Producers, wholesaler, and retailers.
- . Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Transactions in this category takes place between a consumer and another consumer such as eBay-Etsy or similar platform.
- . Online Shopping (B2C): Here, a customer can place an order for whatever product or services needed and make payment through the internet. It is otherwise referred to as business to consumers.
Two germane activities happen in e-commerce marketing, and they are user experience optimizationand generatingweb page traffic. These two events will be integral to the success of any online business, and a lag in one will prevent the other from succeeding.
When a specific product is purchased from a seller by a buyer from another country via online retail, this is referred to as cross-border electronic commerce. Take for example; if a Japanese consumer purchases an iPhone via an online retail platform in the United States, it is emblematic of cross-border e-commerce.
eCommerce Marketing Channels
These are models with which digital marketing can play out.
Such methods include :
- Google AdWords
- PPC Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization(SEO)
- Affiliate Marketing Referrals (AMR)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Advert Displaying
- Newsletters and Email marketing
- Search Engine Results Page
- Conversion funnel
- CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization).
eCommerce Marketing in the US
In the United States, electronic commerce marketing has significantly evolved over the years, and a fast-paced growth is projected in the years to come. In 2016, a whopping $322.17 billion was generated as revenue from e-commerce retail sales, and an increase in revenue up to $485 billion is projected for 2021.
The most popular online retailer in the US is Amazon. Amazon ranked high in 2016 with regards to revenue generated from e-retail sales. The company’s successes have in no small measure helped in catapulting the Founder, Jeff Bezos, to the list of the five richest men on the earth.
The company cashed in $46.66 billion through online sales of physical commodity in the US. The most popular shopping app for mobile device platforms is also credited to Amazon. A few other successful e-retailers include eBay, which is top rated by online sellers in the United States.
From a customer’s point of view, U.S e-retail service providers are highly rated. However, e-retails only represent a minute share of the totality of retail sales in the United States, with just about 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter of the previous year.
About 77 percent of people who use the internet in the U.S, which is a representation of 67 percent of the country’s entire population, bought items online in 2016. The number of Americans who patronize e-retailers prefers to buy electronics and books online.
Other customers, who would rather shop for clothing and like accessories, make use of Amazon or other e-retail services and a few times, they purchase from the website owned by their brand of interest.
The fast-paced growth of mobile shopping is the most recent development in the United States e-commerce market. About 136 million users made several purchases via mobile platforms in 2016. The number of customers harnessing the mobile platforms is expected to rise to 169 million by 2020.
The growing figure of mobile buyers has a significant effect on revenue obtainable from mobile commerce. M-commerce in the U.S is attaining a more preponderant role in the e-commerce industry as its aggregate income is projected to hit a record $336 billion in 2020 from $116 billion dollars in 2016.
Sales via mobile platforms in the U.S accounted for about 29 percent of the totality of digital commerce turnover in 2016. This figure is expected to make a leap to about 49 percent by 2020.
Customers have begun to harness the flexibility and simplicity of digital wallet and m-payment applications to make online purchases. This as well, is expected to build-up in the years to come.
Impact of Mobile Technology
At the nascent stages of e-commerce in the United States’ economy (around Q1 2006, or thereabouts), desktop (and maybe laptops) were the primary devices by which financial transactions were carried out over the internet.
The advent of the smart phone in recent years, and its ability to perform just about any task, more Americans have chosen the mobile phone as the device of choice in participating in e-commerce.
By the year 2015, the internet traffic from mobile devices just about equaled that from desktops. In Q2 2016, mobile devices accounted for 47% of all retail transactions ahead of 45% from the desktop, and right now (2017), more than half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
Most companies, organizations and retail outfits that provide online services are beginning to tailor their websites to be as compatible as possible with mobile devices for two reasons:
- The first is that they wish to take advantage of the increasing number of customers accessing services from mobile devices
- The second reason is that the myriad of mobile shoppers are quite precipitate in their decisions, and tend to switch to competing firms if they experience difficulties in accessing online services from their devices.
These companies, therefore, have to ensure that their online customers do not face any problems in making use of their internet sales platforms.
The above only goes to show the level of proliferation of mobile devices in US e-commerce environment.
Another important feature of American e-commerce is an Omni-channel presence. Companies, sales outlets, and stores are striving to develop a continuity of excellent customer experience for the consumers; there are concerted efforts to design physical shop layouts, website or internet interfaces, and mobile apps to project a converged outlook.
This will ensure that whatever aesthetic is found attractive by the user is present across service platforms, and the appeal remains the same. Also, businesses and brands can stay distinct from competitors based on their Omni-channel presence as it is easy to recognize them on any digital platform.
Major Shopping Days
Just like traditional shopping, e-commerce is also significantly affected when peak periods are around the corner. This is seen during major national holidays. Since these days are work free, most Americans would rather just stay at home, and order the commodities they need off the internet with their mobile devices.
The major shopping days for e-commerce are often towards the end of the year, and they fall between November and December, which is generally the holiday season.
A notable date is “Cyber Monday” the Monday after Thanksgiving (which was the 28th of November in 2016. On this day, $2.28billion was spent shopping online). Another huge day for e-commerce is “Black Friday” (which fell on November 25 in 2016 and grossed about $1.656 billion) where discounts are given, and people rush to make online purchases. In like manner,Thanksgiving day itself is also quite busy on the e-commerce scene.
The other main e-commerce shopping days include Green Monday, Free shipping day, and the holiday weekend just after Christmas.
Payments are made through different platforms for goods sold and services provided within the e-commerce ecosystem.
Online shoppers can choose from a variety of payments methods depending on which is integrated by the retailer into the online sale system.
These methods include credit cards (which seems to be the prevalent method), mobile payments (this is less common in the US and can be found more in countries with little banking and credit card proliferation).
A few other means of transactions are bank transfers, e-wallets, prepaid cards, direct bank deposits, and cash (which is often paid on delivery of goods).
Going into the Future
International transactions are also an important hallmark of e-commerce in the US. Customers from various countries around the world order products from American retail sites, and the international scene provides a substantial opening for many businesses to export their goods and services, and expand their reach beyond just the American markets.
However, efficient payment solutions for international transactions still remain quite a challenge due to logistic issues, fraud, and impersonation problems