Getting Started in the Ecommerce Industry: Where to Begin and How to Do It

Looking for cold-hard facts about the ecommerce industry? Dying to know if your current ecommerce business marketing efforts are keeping up with the times? Interested in obtaining classified information about the exact future behaviors and trends of the ecommerce industry as a whole so that you can capitalize and make bank? 

OK, OK … we’ll admit, we’re not Nostradamus so we can’t provide you with poetic quatrains that predict future events. However, on an equally impressive note, we CAN provide you with the latest scoop on all things ecommerce.

Throughout this blog we’ll cover everything a marketer needs to know when diving into the ecommerce industry. We’ll explore why it’s important to have an ecommerce marketing strategy, we’ll touch on trends and the future of the ecommerce industry, and we’ll wrap up with a few ultimate marketing strategies to ensure your online business is headed down the path to ecommerce success.   

Marketer’s Guide to the Ecommerce Industry 

What should marketers know about the ecommerce industry?

For starters, ecommerce is defined as commercial transactions conducted electronically over the internet. In simpler terms, ecommerce comes down to the buying or selling of anything online. From physical goods like beach towels, T-shirts, and calendars, to services such as consulting and online courses, to digital goods like software and ebooks, ecommerce encompasses every time a purchase is made on the web. 

So, what should you, as an online marketer, know about the ecommerce industry? Here are a few facts and stats:

1. Ecommerce is here to stay. An important point to note about the ecommerce industry is that it isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the industry itself has been continuously growing year after year. According to a study by, in 2016 58.3% of global internet users had purchased products online, and the total number of digital buyers worldwide reached 1.5 billion. 

In 2019, this figure is projected to grow to 63%, and by 2021, this figure is set to surpass 65% of internet users worldwide. The ecommerce industry is blooming and will continue to evolve and expand. To put things into perspective, by next year (2020), forecasters expect to see more than 2 billion online shoppers.

2. Customers are steering the industry. The online shopper of today is informed and in charge of the experience they receive. Thanks to an ever-increasing digital world, shoppers have the ability to peruse cyber shopping aisles as they please, whether it’s from their mobile phone, their desktop computer, or their tablet. Ultimately, shoppers are dictating the experience they’re looking to receive and ecommerce technology is evolving as a result.

3. Personalization is a must. Customers want to shop with businesses that offer personalized experiences. It’s estimated that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. And, on top of that stat, 83% of consumers are even willing to share their data—such as demographics, interests, etc.—with online brands to enable a personalized experience.

4. There’s money to be made. Whether you’re looking to add a few additional bucks to your bank account, or you’re gung-ho on replacing your regular 40-hour per week job at the office, there’s money to be made in the ecommerce industry. The average new ecommerce store makes roughly $39,000 during its first month of business and there are more than 110,000 online stores that bring in annual revenues beyond $1 million.

These stats are just the tip of the ecommerce iceberg. There are endless troves of data continuously being collected and analyzed about ecommerce sales, global ecommerce, how boutique shops coexist with online marketplaces, and more. The point is, though, that the industry is big, it’s growing, and it’s always evolving based on what customers need from their shopping experiences. 

Why is it important to have an ecommerce marketing strategy?

You probably wouldn’t go camping in the Amazon rainforest without a proper planning—doxycycline to prevent malaria, a rain poncho to combat the weather, a flame thrower to ward off minivan-sized tarantulas. The same idea goes for your ecommerce business—you wouldn’t want to set up shop without having a strategy in place.

Just because people build ecommerce sites doesn’t mean products are going to sell themselves. Online retailers need to drive traffic, advertise their products to some capacity, and foster customer relationships beyond their website if they want to be truly successful. 

Ultimately, your goal as an ecommerce business owner should be to sell more stuff so that you can make more money. Duh, right? However, finding out how to start can be challenging. The truth is, your ecommerce marketing will truly resonate with customers if you truly understand those customers. When you know who you’re talking to, you’ll be able to create emails, messages, postcards, and ads that mean more to everyone who sees them.

Ecommerce CRM strategies help to collect oodles of information about your customers—from what products they’re looking to purchase, to what pages they’re visiting, to what they’re clicking through—so that you can connect with them through personalized, meaningful messages to deliver the ultimate customer experience with your brand.

ECRM is a sure-fire strategy to eliminating any disparity between the experience your customers want and the experience your store provides. With successful ecommerce marketing strategies, your business wins big on both the customer-front and the revenue-front.

What should you consider before creating an ecommerce marketing strategy?

What’s the key to running a wildly successful ecommerce business? Staying organized. After all, if you can’t keep tabs on who your customers are and what they’re up to, how the heck are you supposed to sell them all of your goods?

What’s the secret to staying organized? Investing in an Ecommerce Customer Relationship Manager (ECRM), like Drip. Designed specifically for ecommerce, Drip is a sales and marketing automation platform that helps bring an online business closer to its customers. Programmed to hold millions of records, Drip keeps tabs on everything your customers are up to on a 24/7 basis. 

By storing and organizing such a large database, you’re marketing strategies are free to pick from any information you have in order to hone your message. For example, when you can parse through a customer’s entire order history, you have a front-row seat to understanding who they are and what they like. This opens up opportunities to show them more of what they like or present them with new and related products so that they have a better experience and you garner more sales.

Also, consider how far you want your marketing strategy to stretch. Are you in a stage where email marketing is as much as you need to reach people? Or are you at a stage in your ecommerce growth where your strategy could incorporate social media, paid ads, direct mail, SMS messaging, and beyond? Drip ECRM can help provide a true omnichannel experiences by connecting all of your customer data to all of your marketing channels so that your ecommerce business can drive home the sales.  

Trends in the Ecommerce Industry 

What is the projected growth of the ecommerce industry? 

We probably don’t have to repeat ourselves about the ecommerce industry not facing extinction anytime soon. To back our claim, here are a few mind-blowing stats to sink your teeth into: 

  • In 2018, an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide purchased goods online. During that same time, global ecommerce sales amounted to a whopping $2.8 trillion.

  •  By 2021, global ecommerce sales are projected to show a growth of up to $4.8 trillion (yes, trillion with a “T”).

  • In 2018, there were a total of 258.9 million digital buyers in the U.S. alone. By 2023, this figure is projected to increase to more than 307 million buyers.

Where is the growth of the ecommerce industry expected to be concentrated?

An up-close and personal look at the way customers are interacting with the ecommerce industry reveals that mobile shopping has become the new norm and that its popularity will continue to rise. In 2017, global mobile retail revenue amounted to $1.36 billion, and by 2021, it is expected to reach $3.56 billion.

As of the fourth quarter of 2018, while desktop PCs accounted for roughly the same amount of global ecommerce orders as smartphones, smartphones were the number one device in terms of retail website visits. As of the first quarter of 2019, smartphones accounted for 65% of retail site visits.

If you’re curious about exactly what it is people are purchasing in the ecommerce industry, fashion wins the popularity contest. In 2018, 57% of global internet users had purchased fashion-related products, making apparel the most popular online shopping category in the world. And, not far behind, footwear ranked in second place with a 47% online purchase reach.

Why is it important to incorporate ecommerce into your business strategy now?

The stats, trends, and forecasts make one thing clear: the ecommerce industry is here to stay. If your business strategy hasn’t yet made the jump onto the ecommerce train, there’s no better time than the present to hop aboard. Remember, ecommerce isn’t restricted to products. You can offer online classes, ebooks, consulting services, and more. 

Here are a few reasons why you should incorporate ecommerce into your business:

  1. It saves you money. These days, setting up an ecommerce business is more affordable than ever. There are dozens of low-cost platforms to choose from when getting started, and because ecommerce requires you to operate online, you’ll save money by not having to invest in a physical brick-and-mortar shop or kiosk.

  2. It brings you closer to your customers. With a platform like Drip (that’s designed specifically for ecommerce) you’ll get to know everything under the sun about your customers. From what they buy, to how they shop, to what’s likely to be their next purchases, ecommerce marketing and ECRM lets you see your customers in full color so that you can target them with a one-of-a-kind personalized experience that isn’t readily available elsewhere.

  3. It makes shoppers happy. Customers are craving personalized experiences with brands—heck, they’re even willing to dish out their own personal information in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience.

    As we mentioned above, ecommerce gives your business the opportunity to connect with customers on highly personalized levels. For example, with a platform like Drip, your online business can automatically send customer-specific dynamic discounts, product recommendations, and welcome campaigns to create the ultimate personal shopping experience. 

Future of the Ecommerce Industry 

Where is the ecommerce industry headed?

The ecommerce industry will continue to be impacted by advancing technology as well as consumer demands. Here are a few paths the industry is already rolling down:

Mobile. What could possibly be more convenient than shopping from the comfort of your own hand—admit it, you’re just as guilty of partaking in the joy as we are. One direction the ecommerce industry will continue to move down is the push toward mobile. By 2021, it’s forecasted that 53.9% of all retail ecommerce will be generated via mcommerce, otherwise known as mobile commerce. 

Even more personalized experiences. On average, 71% of consumers express some level of frustration when their shopping experience is impersonal. We’ve said it before, and we’ll happily say it again: personalization will continue to play a huge role in the ecommerce industry. 

Product visualization (AR and VR). As technology continues to advance, so will the ways in which customers interact with the products they’re looking to buy. Simply viewing an image of a product won’t hit the bar anymore. Shoppers want to know how the jeans they’re eyeing will look on them and whether the plant stand they’re waffling will match the living room drapes. Expect augmented reality and virtual reality to make a big impact on the ecommerce world.

How can you incorporate ecommerce into a traditional business (brick and mortar)?

If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar business looking to incorporate ecommerce into your business plan, you’re going to want to be sure to bridge the gap between your physical store and your digital store. The customers of today aren’t expecting only a personalized online experience when they shop with you online, they’re also expecting your brand to know what they did while shopping in your physical store.

For example, let’s say Customer Bob comes into a running shop (the physical shop) and purchases a pair of running shoes. One way to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds would be to send Customer Bob a follow-up email asking him to rank or review his new running shoes online. Or, you could send good ol’ Bob an email with a discount for other shoes or apparel by that brand. 

Marketing Strategies for Succeeding in the Ecommerce Industry 

What are the components of a successful ecommerce marketing strategy?

As an ecommerce business, we’re going to guess that your two top goals are to 1) sell more stuff on your site, and 2) make more money. The numero uno best way for your online business to achieve these goals is to create better connections with current and prospective customers. And what’s the best way to do this? Through personalization. 

Drip’s ECRM platform is loaded with tools to ensure personalization is at the very heart of your ecommerce business. Here are a few of the platform’s stellar features that lead to beyond-stellar personalization:

Segmentation. With Drip’s tag- and event-based segmentation, you can see exactly what your customers are up to. Tags add visual identifiers to subscribers so that your business can better understand their levels of engagement with your brand, and Custom Events record and describe when and how often subscribers interact with all of your rad marketing content. 

Cart abandonment emails. Did you know that 70% of online shoppers who add items to their carts don’t follow through with a purchase? With Drip’s cart abandonment emails, your business has the power to convince upward of 10% of those abandoners to revisit their forgotten items and make that final sprint toward the checkout aisle. Drip’s Workflows detect when a shopper has abandoned a cart and can automatically send a multi-channel approach—from inbox to social media and beyond—to nudge a shopper back toward the checkout.

Personalized recommendations. After a customer makes a purchase from your store, it’s essential that your online business stays engaged. Not only will you build trust with the customer, but you’ll also enhance a customer’s overall experience with your brand. With Drip’s Recommendations, Shopify stores can add personalized product recommendations inside of emails to promote revenue and growth.

Visual customer timelines. Customer timelines let you see what each and every one of your customers has been up to. View what workflows they’ve started and completed, what emails they’ve received and opened, how long it takes to get from signing up to making a purchase, what ads they’ve clicked on, and more. Timelines help you understand how and when people are engaging with your brand so that you can make according adjustments to your marketing strategies. 

How do you know what your ecommerce marketing strategy needs?

You know your ecommerce business better than anyone else. While we can’t tell you exactly which marketing strategies are best for your business, we can recommend a few tips to ensure smooth sailing.

Tip #1: Get organized. An Ecommerce CRM like Drip can collect, organize, and utilize customer data to the fullest extent. Drip utilizes B2B levels of automation and insight and puts everything into the hands of B2C businesses looking to grow and generate more revenue. The platform comes loaded with everything needed to help an ecommerce business spread its wings and fly. The more organized your ecommerce business is, the more success you’ll have.

Tip #2: Embrace automation. Designed to save you time and money, automation can be a real lifesaver—sweet and delicious, just like the candy. Automation capabilities inside of Drip’s platform are far-reaching. Create if-this-then-that rules, campaigns, and workflows that automatically move customers along unique journeys that adapt to what they do. Rules and workflows can be as flexible and detailed as your little heart desires, and Drip even lets you set goals inside of workflows so that you can control the ultimate customer experience.

Tip #3: Keep it personal. Statistics point toward customers craving more personalized shopping experiences, and Drip can help your ecommerce business create one-of-a-kind relationships with your customers. From personalized email campaigns to price-drop notifications, marketing with heart is at the very core of Drip’s platform.

Ready to Start Your Next Ecommerce Marketing Strategy?

If you’re currently in the ecommerce industry, or you’re interested in diving in, the industry forecast looks exceptionally hot. Not only is the ecommerce industry expected to intensify year after year, but conditions are more than favorable for big-time profits. 


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