Consumer buying habits have significantly shifted to digital over recent months. Ecommerce giant Amazon, achieved record growth in Q1 2020, seeing its largest increase ever in revenue for its online stores, with 24.3% growth in online store revenue alone. Now is the time for brands to change their consumer approach by building digital marketplace strategies that recognize and meet consumer needs across the entire customer decision journey, not just when they visit a marketplace to make a purchase.
One need only look at the rise in online grocery shopping to understand the increasing importance of ecommerce today: online grocery penetration is expected to meet (or exceed) 10% in the US, beating previous industry forecasts. While buying a mattress online may have felt strange and novel five years ago, today’s consumers don’t bat an eye by turning to digital marketplaces to discover, research and ultimately purchase products of all types.
Digital Marketplaces Double as Important Media Channels
This shift in user behavior has elevated the role online marketplaces as media channels that are important to telling the brand story to shoppers. “By serving ads to their customers at relevant moments, digital business professionals and commerce companies deliver a superior customer experience while also cultivating a rapidly growing new revenue stream with healthy margins,” writes Forrester VP, Principal Analyst Sucharita Kodali in the Forrester report, “Retailers: You’re The Next Media Moguls.”
Customers are already in shopping mode, making the creative much more powerful.
One reason why advertising is so effective on these channels is because consumers are already in the shopping mindset when visiting a digital marketplace. “Mercado Libre has millions of users and visits each day, among different advertising formats,” says Pablo Tajer, Creative Director at MediaMonks Buenos Aires, discussing the most popular ecommerce giants in LatAm. “People that see these ads are already in shopping mode, which makes it much more powerful than seeing it on another channel where you’re not thinking about buying anything.” By connecting technology and creative, brands can lend greater value to an audience that is more receptive to learning about products and their features.
Identify Brand Opportunities Across the Full Digital Retail Ecosystem
Tajer leads our newly announced BrandLab partnership with Mercado Libre Publicidad. BrandLab serves as a team that highlights advertising opportunities for the biggest brands on the platform. Previously, Tajer fulfilled a similar role within Facebook’s Creative Shop. After receiving a brief from a brand, the BrandLab team helps build bespoke creative ideas that fit Mercado Libre’s formats and ecosystem, fulfilling a real need for brands that strive to differentiate and stand out in the user experience.
“The cool part is that we have an opportunity to create an idea that goes throughout the whole customer journey across Mercado Libre’s ecosystem,” says Tajer. “It can start with the branding on a product description page, then move to the payment step with the platform’s digital wallet (MercadoPago), and finally when you get the product itself through Mercado Libre’s shipping service.”
In this respect, to succeed in digital marketplaces brands must look beyond simply converting at a point of sale. Global ecommerce giants like Amazon in the US, Mercado Libre in LatAm or Alibaba in China are more than just marketplaces; they provide total ecosystems that include digital payment systems and delivery logistics networks. By managing each step of the customer journey—from awareness to purchase or even receiving the package itself—these ecommerce platforms offer several opportunities for brands to engage with their customers.
We have an opportunity to create an idea that goes throughout the customer decision journey.
Inject the Brand Story into Your Ecommerce Efforts
The opportunity to embrace the total brand experience on ecommerce highlights a common misstep for brands selling and advertising on online marketplaces: the brand story is often missing from the equation. “It’s a platform that people view as purely performance based,” says Tajer. “It’s not just about performance, but also branding. Between searching for products and comparing which is better than another, there’s a lot more happening on an ecommerce platform than just clicking ‘buy.’”
For many consumers, a digital marketplaces is often the first place they visit for product searches. As important spaces for product discovery, it’s important that marketers don’t assume consumers are visiting with a specific product already in mid—or are even aware of the brand before seeing its product listed. This highlights a need for brands to view ecommerce as an important space to build brand love and awareness through impactful creative storytelling. “We want to be a lighthouse that shows brands and their partners the way.” says Tajer, “Together, we can grow stronger, platform-specific campaigns that drive consumer value.”
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