The Digital Effect: How Online Marketing Affects eCommerce and Traditional Retail

The increasing prevalence of ecommerce and online marketing has led many brands to shift their focus and ad dollars to the digital marketing. And rightly so. Retailers are increasingly concerned about brands’ online presence and marketing efforts. But with the large majority of consumers still casting their monetary vote in brick & mortar establishments, how does this marketing shift affect traditional retail?

Three to five years ago buyers and brokers didn’t think twice about a brands online footprint. Instagram was summiting its peak of popularity, dominated by millennials and the rising ‘influencer’ market, and remained a space national brands had yet to infiltrate. Fast forward to 2019 and Instagram and social media platforms reign supreme for brands new and old. Legacy brands like Betty Crocker and Nestle Tollhouse utilize the new media platforms to reconnect with younger audiences that may have fallen of the grocery-mainstays’ wagons. New brands, popping up every day, are able to use social media as both a marketing platform and a DTC sales approach to sell their products.

Social media may be the current marketing darling, but we can’t forget the other online advertising consumers are bombarded with daily. Those pesky banner ads on the side of your home page, and the suggested websites that pop up first in your Google searches are integral parts of digital marketing strategies aimed at reaching consumers in their daily motions. Metrics derived from ad placements and  social media engagement, allows marketers the ability to track, test and optimize their efforts – all of which lead brands to successful campaigns, and appease the minds and pocketbooks of watchful CFOs.

So, what does digital have to do with brick and mortar?

While the success and strong reach of online advertising seems to make brick & mortar marketing obsolete, it all fits into a larger picture of retailers’ desires. Recent studies show that 61% of consumers still shop in-store, and 40% end up spending more money than initially planned. Retailers and buyers want to bring in brands with strong online presence which ultimately drives their in-store purchases. Burgeoning protein bar favorite, Perfect Bar, has successfully saturated the digital market with over 140K followers on Instagram and banner ads popping up everywhere. This online infiltration has led Perfect Bar to distribution in a range of quick service, grocery, and lifestyle centers (think gyms and health centers), ultimately winning consumers on all fronts.

Buyers are protective of their prized shelf space, taking into deep consideration how a brand may be reaching consumers outside of the store. Though valued and effective, in-store marketing is limited in its time, reach, and creativity. Latin-inspired Goya Foods not only reaches their multi-lingual audience through in-store cart displays and radio ads, but through television and digital ads, along with a recipe video series for their combined 600K+ Facebook and Instagram followers.

Though much of the industry continues to view digital marketing strategies separate from in-store sales, traditional retailers are keeping a watchful eye on the digital efforts. A brands ability to reach consumers in their everyday motions, drives desire to purchase and ultimately translates to increased trips to stores, purchasing, and a retailers bottom line.