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E-commerce insights

The 4 P’s of marketing for new e-commerce businesses

Marketing, of all kinds, aims to connect with your audience at the right place and time. Today, digital marketing creates a means for most of this to happen online. Digital marketing is crucial for e-commerce businesses, and involves a broader range of plans and activities that seek to create brand awareness, generate revenue for the business and maintain loyal customers for your brand going forward. There are also a ton of ways to analyse your campaigns, including a number of metrics, which you can use to track your efforts and make changes as needed. Nonetheless, we’re going back to basics today to describe the 4 P’s of digital marketing with you; these are fundamentals that are sure to help you if you’re new to e-commerce and the world of digital marketing.

The market mix, also known as the 4 P ‘s of marketing, is a concept that business owners can use within their marketing strategies. These P’s are product, price, promotion and place. We’re going to explain what this means in terms of digital marketing, and how you might use these in your marketing campaign planning.

1.Product

This is the item that you are selling or your brand’s offer – regardless of if it’s a digital subscription to software or a truck full of books. This could also be a service if you’re a doctor or therapist, and includes intangible goods. You are only limited by your country’s legislation in terms of what can be sold online, However, you’ll need to be sure that there is adequate demand for your product. It’s no use investing time and energy into crafting an e-commerce store for a product that is not wanted by consumers. Ideally,your business operates to serve existing demand from customers. Regardless of offline or online selling, products don’t change much.

Now that you’ve found a great product that is in demand, the next step in your marketing plan is to spread awareness to prospective buyers. What is the unique selling point of your product and why should buyers purchase your product above a competitors’ product? When speaking about a product, we are also including the quality, design, material, packaging, brand and broader category of the product.

In your product decisions, it’s important to think about if people actually want or need your product. A wise approach would be to strategise and identify any problems that consumers have, allowing your product to act as a solution to a problem.

Here are some product questions to ask yourself:

  • Does this satisfy consumer wants or needs and what is the customer expecting from this product?
  • What is your unique selling proposition (USP) – what advantages does your product offer? What makes your product different and what features are included? 
  • How does this compare to your competitors’ products?
  • How should buyers use your product? 
  • What is the name of your product?
  • How much does this product cost to manufacture and how much can you sell for to still make a profit?

Digital Marketing Tip: Are you selling a digital product? Be careful to describe your product in as much detail as possible, as customers are more knowledgeable about their requirements than ever.  In addition, many buyers do online research before committing to a purchase, so being as detailed as possible is crucial to ensuring your product stands out to your buyers.

Consider what your online value proposition or OVP is. An OVP is linked to your brand message and should answer questions such as: who are you, what do you offer, which markets will you serve and what makes you different? Your OVP is more than just a statement. It shows your customers what kind of content, products and services you will offer, as well as online experiences when engaging with your brand. Your OVP will identify why customers should register with your website and purchase from you. The end goal is get customers sharing their positive experience with your brand, as customer reviews become more crucial to e-commerce businesses than before.

2.Price

The idea of setting a price might sound easy, but there are a lot of factors to consider before it can be set. At its core, the price refers to the monetary value that consumers are willing to pay in exchange for your products or services. 

It’s absolutely vital that your price is set properly. If you’re too expensive, your prospective customers will look elsewhere. If you’re too cheap, your profit will not amount to much.  The key to determining a price for your product is to understand your target audience and what they value most. 

It’s important to also consider that your buyers will face an opportunity cost when purchasing. This means that as they decide to buy a wallet from your brand for $100, they forfeit the chance to spend $100 at your competitors’ store. You’ll need to make sure that your brand is equipped to offer your customers reasons as to why they should purchase from you over another business.

There are many factors you should consider that will affect your prices, including:

  • Competitors’ offerings and pricing schemes
  • Market share for the product
  • The quality and branding of your product
  • Material, labour and other input costs
  • Output costs (e.g. delivery)
  • Customers’ perceived value of your product and price

Price also involves the retail price, any discounts included, payment options for customers or any credit terms that are applicable. 

Digital Marketing Tip: A take on this that includes newer e-commerce models is ‘performance’ – how are you using data to ensure that you are providing the best price for your target audience while still retaining profit? This applies to other stages of your conceptualisation processes, too.

E-commerce businesses and online stores have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar stores. Selling online could then, in turn, lower your product prices and attract more customers, creating a more competitive brand for you as a business owner. 

Websites can create unique prices for different segments of consumers. For instance, this might include value-added tax which will affect the price – as this price is different around the world. Suppliers will adjust their prices in real-time to cater to your stock needs. You can similarly update your prices in real-time to best cater to a global audience of potential buyers. 

3.Promotion

Some new e-commerce owners think that advertising their product is all that they need to do to have a successful business. However, this is merely only one element to consider, and all 4 P’s or elements should be factored in. If your marketing approach includes multiple features, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to grow your market share. 

Promotion refers to marketing communication that makes your offer known to potential customers and persuades them to investigate brand offers. Basically, it’s used to communicate and engage with your audience. It can be summarised as anything you use to get your name out there. 

Digital Marketing Tip: A modern take on ‘promotion’ might be ‘process’, or how you use what is available to you to best serve your business. An e-commerce aspect to consider is also ‘People’ or the level of personalisation that you are able to achieve for your e-commerce communications.You want to build and foster long-term relationships with customers to ensure you’ll have future revenue guaranteed.

Promotion for an e-commerce business includes Google listings, paid ads, social media marketing, SEO, email campaigns and much more. There are countless channels that you can use to communicate with your audience in the current state of the internet. This includes mobile marketing, as well as optimisation for different browsers and operating systems. You can tailor your message for every segment

Some channels that you might consider using include:

Search engines such as organic search results and paid results on Google, display ads like banners or interactive ads, social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and more, including influencer posts, and digital word-of-mouth like on forums, other partnerships and business listings. You may also consider content marketing as a way to educate your audience while still promoting your brand.

When deciding on how to best promote your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What channels are available to me for communication and distribution?
  • What are my competitors doing, in terms of channels used? Where are customers engaging?
  • Which is the most relevant and effective channel to communicate with my target audience? 
  • What kind of timing will my promotions use? Which channels can be used all the time despite seasonal products?

4. Place

Place refers to where your consumers can access your products, including online and offline locations. You’ll want to make sure that your product is in the right place – including listing your product on different online channels, as well as any traditional locations like physical stores or newspapers. The most important thing to consider when looking at a place is which point of distribution is most likely to convert a customer into a sale?

In the world of e-commerce, your products should be quickly available, and possibly even globally accessible, thanks to the swiftness of finding information from the internet.

Digital Marketing Tip: You can think of ‘place’ for e-commerce as ‘platforms’. Different online channels have changed the way that relationships work between buyers and sellers.

Businesses are now conducted in new ways, and your customers will look at:

  • Your response time on social media, such as Facebook messenger
  • Responding to negative and positive reviews
  • Content posted on online channels
  • Fast email response times

You can now interact wherever your customer focuses most of their attention. Be aware that mobile commerce is on the rise, allowing customers to purchase at all hours of the day and from any physical location. It’s therefore critical that your potential buyers can easily find you online and on the appropriate channels. 

You should also spend time planning which kind of content you’ll be posting on your platforms, as you don’t want to bore your readers with pages of text-only posts. Finding a way to make your content engaging is a critical element that should always be planned for.

Some questions to ask yourself regarding price include:

Where is your target market looking for this product – offline or online?

Which platforms can you access and do you know how they work? How can you optimise distribution across your chosen channels?

Which platforms are your competitors using and are you missing out on any platforms that are popular for your competitor?

Conclusion

When using the marketing mix, you should be able to answer questions for each of the 4 P’s as they relate to different products or services that you are offering as an e-commerce store. By covering as much ground as possible before going live, you’ll be able to plan ahead for customer queries, common product issues, and create a long-term marketing strategy that aligns with your broader business goals while still promoting brand awareness and fostering customer engagement. You can think of combining these factors as putting together puzzle pieces that form a greater picture of productivity and efficiency for your brand. No one element exists in a bubble, so it’s important that you don’t treat your strategy in an isolated way either.

Need help with integrating your e-commerce business? We at ShoppingFeeder can help you out. We’ve got multi-channel marketing experts, efficient integration measures and an active management style to help you grow your store.

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