6 tools used for ecommerce market research
It is no longer a surprise that customers can now buy almost anything online and delivered to their doorsteps via the well-developed e-commerce infrastructure. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made e-commerce to get more attention and traction, in this article I will mainly cover the APAC market, but many of the insights are relevant to EU and the US markets.
Looking Facebook report that 70% of consumers in Southeast Asia will go digital in 2020, and the projection from Statista that China’s revenue in the eCommerce market is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020-2025) of 7.9%, which will result in a market volume of US$1,635,804m by 2025, it becomes very vivid that e-commerce has come to give bricks and mortar the boots.
While indicators show a rosy outlook for eCommerce marketing in Asia, the global marketing space is also becoming increasingly competitive. While brick and mortar sales showed a stagnant / drop in sales over the last couple of years, COVID-19 escalated this trend. Deloitte’s recent research also predicts that retail sales recovery will be difficult as eCommerce sales continue to rise.
eCommerce platforms like Alibaba and Amazon come as useful tools for market research by eCommerce brands. You need them for your customer acquisition and brand awareness part of your overall sales strategy.
Though Amazon is not operating from China, the brand successfully launched its first website in Southeast Asia and, precisely, Singapore. While Amazon is the larger of the two companies by a significant margin, Amazon dominates the American shopping space. At the same time, Alibaba does the same in China.
From Alibaba, you can get hundreds of millions of products in over 40 different categories, including consumer electronics, machinery, and apparel. With buyers in more than 190 countries and regions, who exchange hundreds of thousands of messages with suppliers on the platform each day, it is a veritable market research source.
So if you are in the consumer product business in Asia, paying attention to Alibaba is crucial to understanding your customer. From Alibaba or even Bauzuon in China, you can determine who the big sellers are in any category.
You also have insight into the sizes consumers are looking for and what the competitive landscape looks like, and the price points for almost any product.
Email marketing still reigns as the ultimate communication tool for eCommerce merchants and marketers. It is the clear winner when you think of converting prospects into paying customers in the eCommerce business. With an average of 14.23% click-to-open rate of emails in the Asia Pacific region, you have a good measure of your emails’ relevancy and context.
Emails marketing has evolved, so data is generated in real-time with deep-dive insight into campaign metrics such as open rates, clicks, bounces, forwards, and social shares.
The tracking features that come with almost every major marketing automation platform enable you to know how customers respond to your emails. You must refrain from purchasing a mailing list; gradually build and nurture your list, even if you have to start with a few contacts that will better impact your eCommerce business.
It’s a difficult task to manage an eCommerce business. Still, you must also create time to handle an active social media presence. In Asia, you will have the opportunity of using social media platforms like Facebook and Renren. However, this largely depends on where your business is and where your target audience is found.
As of March 2020, the number of people using Facebook in Asia was 832,336,400. Even while China banned Facebook from operating in the country, there are alternatives such as Renren.
Facebook lead ads tool allows you to easily create Facebook ads, where the lead information is automatically populated into your account using marketing automation, so you can market to target customers using email.
Social ads are very popular among millennials and serve as a high purchase influencer. Whether you are using Facebook or Renren, the most important thing is the opportunity to collect business leads and target your desired audience.
One advantage you derive from using the Facebook ads platform is that it supports mobile optimization and fully integrates with every marketing automation tool. You also have the ease of submitting necessary information directly via Facebook. You don’t need to create new tabs or leave the Facebook page.
Most Chinese people use Baidu as their chosen search engine due to the ban on Google; however, the Asia-Pacific region was the fastest-growing market for Google's parent company Alphabet in 2019. Analytics tools afford you the opportunity of using data science to understand your customers’ sentiments, their reasons for visiting your website in the first place, and valuable insights into how you can convert and attract more customers.
For the growth of your eCommerce business, you need to keep an eye on these statistics.
Google Analytics is a free but very well documented informative and easily customizable tool. You can effectively use the tool to improve conversions on PPC ads; optimize your site and product descriptions, and track visitor behavior on your store in real-time.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a means of setting up your eCommerce website and content to rank better in online search results. A lot of digital marketing tactics enhance your reaching out to your target audience; however, SEO ensures you can reach potential customers who search online for the information that has to do with your brand.
With SEO, you can improve your visibility within the organic search results. This is the traffic that comes to your site naturally, and you don’t have to depend solely on paid search results.
The beautiful thing with SEO is that the popularity of smartphones and tablets is greatly impacting online searches. According to the China B2C Ecommerce Country Report 2017, around 62% of the online market is via mobile shopping.
You must endeavor to optimize your online presence with the view of more people finding your eCommerce business. Once you rank high in the search engines, you are in a better position to attract potential customers.
User-Generated Content (UGC) Platforms
User-generated content is considered the new benchmark data for eCommerce in 2020, and it will surely stay the same as we approach 2021 as 71% of users say that UGC impacts their purchasing decision.
With user-generated content like consumer reviews, customer satisfaction survey results you can collect data on your customer’s preferences, eliminate the guesswork, and fine-tune your marketing communication strategy according to your audience.
The great thing about UGC is that collecting it is quite easy, whether your eCommerce operation relies on WordPress, Shopify, or any other eCommerce platform there are numerous open-source and paid addons to choose from and all of them are integrated with marketing automation tools and ad delivery platforms.
Alon is an Israely product and marketing executive with a track record in leading customer centric product management and inbound marketing strategy. While improving user engemenemt and customer, I help Start Ups achieve product market fit and expand their online footprint. I specialize in technology, entrepreneurship, customer experience.