Online vs Offline: Digital Marketing, A Master of Influence – MarTech Series

Digital Marketing is an ever-evolving sector filled with regular innovations, valuable insights and constantly shifting parameters around personal data and audience targeting. Incorporating digital strategies can also have a powerful influence on offline marketing, ecommerce and in-store purchases.

In 2020, global ecommerce sales rose to $26.7 trillion, with the Chinese, UK, US, Australian and Canadian markets leading the way. In fact, in less than six years the total share of global retail sales from ecommerce has nearly tripled – rising from 7.4% in 2015 to a projected 19.5% in 2021.

Online and offline shopping (in-store) can sometimes feel disconnected, with online stores often seeing endless hours of browsing with no intention of completing a checkout. Even when purchases are made, buyers regularly send back 8/10 of the items they buy. Regardless of your lifestyle, online shopping offers immense flexibility and convenience. It gives shoppers the chance to explore products in the comfort of their own homes as well as giving them more time to research the brands and businesses they want to support.

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More people are buying online than ever before, and since the pandemic began, 46% of UK consumers have purchased a product online that they had previously only ever purchased in store – with the biggest growth coming from consumers aged 45-54.

Offline shopping still has the same result, but the physical experience is also important to some audiences. To be able to feel fabrics, see dimensions in person and have human interaction in-store can be the difference between sale or no sale. And ultimately, since covid restrictions have eased and life feels freer, the high street is showing positive signs of recovery. Retail sales volumes fell by 3.7% in December 2021 but were 2.6% higher than their pre-COVID-19 February 2020 levels.

Online and offline can feel worlds apart, so it’s the brands that are embracing the connection between the two that are seeing huge success in the retail / ecommerce space. Digital marketing is now so refined and the personal data on buyers is available from the likes of Google and Facebook Pixel, who can give intelligence on buyer behaviours that have never been seen before. Brands can now map out their customers’ journey from touchpoint one through to cash in the bank and can ensure they remove any friction in that journey (both online and offline) to enhance brand awareness, increase sales, and prioritise brand loyalty.

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Ultimately when you pair the value of digital insights, targeting and audience analysis, brands can then use that to tailor in-store experiences and content that their buyers will respond positively to.

For example, larger brands have seen strong footfall from these kinds of online campaigns. By creating an ethos of offering the best products, causing no unnecessary harm, and implementing solutions to the environmental crisis, messaging like ‘buy less, demand more’ can help brands recognise the importance of being centred around purpose. With ecommerce marketing campaigns designed to amplify this, businesses can be sure that it is always speaking in a language its customers want to hear.

Ultimately, both online and offline are here to stay. And as markets awaken post-pandemic, innovations across both will only enhance the benefits for buyers. So, digital can influence much more than we could ever imagine a decade ago so it will be exciting to see what lies ahead for the retail/ecommerce sector in the next few years.

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