E-commerce Marketing (Definition, Benefits, and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Modern businesses can benefit greatly from developing a strong online model. Good e-commerce marketing can help businesses expand into untapped markets and allows them to do so with fewer resources. By understanding some basic and more advanced e-commerce principles, you can help modernize the businesses you work with. In this article, we explain the basics of e-commerce marketing, how it can boost financial growth, what makes it different than traditional marketing, and then give tips for implementing a strong e-commerce model.

What is e-commerce marketing?

E-commerce marketing is a broad concept that covers almost all online marketing efforts. The term is short for "electronic marketing" but generally refers specifically to marketing efforts made through the internet. Common e-commerce campaign efforts include running digital advertisements, producing online videos, running social media accounts, and e-mailing potential leads. Because the internet is so expansive, online marketing holds the potential for efforts to reach many times more people than traditional efforts. Done right, this style of marketing can produce significant, cost-effective growth.

How can digital marketing boost financial growth?

Digital marketing can help boost financial growth by expanding the number of potential customers a business can access. If even a small percentage of the internet sees an advertisement, that can represent thousands or even millions of views. It's also possible to build a following on the internet, which is difficult in traditional advertising. Some company social media accounts can attract followers that intentionally watch and read their marketing material because it's fun, engaging, or informative.

Related: Types of E-Commerce Jobs (With Salaries and Job Duties)

How does this style of marketing differ from traditional marketing?

Business owners new to digital marketing benefit from understanding what makes digital marketing unique. Some of the most notable differences include:


Traditional marketing usually targets potential customers to build traffic. Less commonly, these efforts may have the goal of generating calls, where customers can then make orders over the phone. Many traditional marketing campaigns focus on a particular radius around a business's physical locations. If a person is close to the business, it's easier to convince them to come to the location.

A significant amount of e-commerce has a heavy shipping component. This combines well with the nature of the internet, where the physical location of target customers is less important than with traditional business models. A digital advertisement can appeal to individual leads living very far away. For example, Canada and the United States share a common language and similar cultures. A company can advertise to internet users from both countries with similar or identical advertisements, altering the advertisements only as local regulations require.

Related: Relationship and Effect of Customer Service in Sales


Companies can produce highly cost-effective marketing campaigns thanks to the specificity digital marketing allows. With traditional marketing, companies can target broad groups of people. For example, they can advertise in a magazine they know is popular with certain age groups or political ideologies. The nature of the internet means advertisements can now become highly targeted. An advertisement can run for particular age groups or people who register as having an interest in particular services or products and can get more niche, depending on the information gathered.

Related: What Is the Consumer Decision-Making Process? (A Guide)


The Internet has many ways for companies to advertise. Marketing campaigns can range in cost from millions of dollars to only the wages of a single employee and the cost of the Internet. For example, one common marketing technique is the use of social media. Creating these accounts is free on most major websites. Marketing experts can generate significant traffic on social media accounts at a very low cost. Spending more on marketing can produce results faster or in greater numbers, but it often isn't necessary.

Related: Developing a Sustainable Sales Process to Close Deals Faster


One potential downside of the internet is the level of competition. Businesses in similar niches compete for attention with their marketing campaigns. This is also true of traditional marketing, but now location is much less of a factor. Two companies that sell items such as toys or greeting cards may physically exist on opposite sides of a country but sell to the same customers.

The volume of internet users compared to potential customers in a physical radius can offset this disadvantage. For example, a small portion of the people around a physical location may have an interest in its niche. This can make operating in obscure niches, such as imported toys or rare books, difficult. If the company instead sells these items online, the small percentage of internet users that have an interest can represent thousands or more potential customers. Some business models can succeed on the internet even when a traditional model might struggle.

E-commerce tips

The following marketing tips can help a business improve its e-commerce model:

  • Upselling: This involves leveraging a customer's interest in your products or services and then offering them a more premium version than what they originally intended to buy. If done right, this strategy can help you increase your revenue and perhaps even sell additional products.

  • Social media integration: Social media platforms are often intuitive and can offer a variety of tools and services. On these platforms, you can actively engage with customers, incorporate your store into a social media interface and make use of their ad systems.

  • E-mail campaign: E-mail campaigns are an effective way to reach customers because most people have an e-mail address. You can optimize your e-mail e-commerce marketing tactics by sending welcome e-mails, exclusive e-mail-only promo codes, thank-you e-mails, and product ideas relevant to customers' most recent purchases.

  • Optimize website interface: Optimizing your website interface involves changing the tabs, buttons, and layout so that it's easier for customers to navigate. A successfully optimized website interface can increase your onsite conversion rates, which can often provide you with more revenue.

  • Live chats: A live chat is a high-impact marketing tool because it actively engages with customers and visitors who come to your website or online marketplace. Live chats can appear on websites as pop-ups, giving customers the option to ask questions, and communicate with representatives instantly.

  • Sales forecasting: This technique evaluates current market trends and then makes predictions about what a company's future sales numbers might be. Accurate sales forecasting allows online stores to make profitable business decisions and move resources where they might be most useful.

  • Personalization: Personalization seeks to improve online sales numbers by offering personal services to customers and visitors based on collected data pulled from their online preferences, behaviours, and actions. Location is also an aspect of personalization because your store can offer an experience and products to a customer based on where they live.

  • User-generated content: An online store can leverage user-generated content by interacting with customers who've created posts or content related to the business. For example, a clothing company may share a social media post with a picture of a satisfied customer wearing one of its T-shirts.

  • Search engine optimization: Search engine optimization, or SEO, is when you include certain keywords, as naturally as possible, into your website. This is a way to optimize your website for search engines so it appears at the top of the list when a customer types in those keywords.

  • Mobile compatibility: Many businesses have application versions of their online stores so people can download them and shop from anywhere. This flexible buying system can improve sales if the app is user-friendly, meaning it runs smoothly and is easy to navigate.

  • Search engine shopping ads: Many search engines offer shopping ads, which advertisers use to group similar items and products and present them to potential customers. This service can improve a store's online presence because it shows customers the products a store offers that relate to the generic product terms and items they initially sought.

  • Schema: Schema is the structured markup language added to the back end of a website's product pages. Properly including this detail allows search engines to index your website's contents more easily so that a search engine can easily identify the information on your website pages, boosting rankings.

  • Voice search: Voice search features and tools add a level of versatility for customers looking to buy online and allow people to use their voices to search for products. Search engines focus on those words to retrieve the most relevant content and online businesses that optimize their website with commonly voiced terms can enjoy increased organic traffic.

  • Video content: Videos can elicit strong emotional responses because they help create immediate feelings or actions from the people who watch them. A high-quality video can persuade customers to make a particular purchase or subscribe to a service because they see the video as a valuable, reliable information source.

  • Newsletters: A newsletter is a digital or electronic report that details news about a business, which the business sends to its customers or subscribers. Newsletters can be a great e-commerce marketing tool because they combine important updates and new information in an appealing, creative style.

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