Progressive Grocer Independent

DEC 2016

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22 | Progressive Grocer Independent | December 2016 The Technology Pragmatist I t's universally agreed that the internet has changed the world, and e-marketing and e-commerce have become critical technologies of the 21 st century. e internet is here; you can't ignore it, and it's not going away. All of us in any sort of business need to harness its power and use its capabilities. e net result of digital technology is still a bit ethereal. Will Facebook be the communication platform of the future, or is it already the platform of the past (Hello, Snapchat)? is topic gave me pause because the one thing I do know is that anyone who claims to really know what digital marketing will become, actually has no idea at all. If you're looking for an article that will provide an inside look at exactly what the future of digital marketing will look like, you can stop reading now. But I've been doing lots of work in this area and found what I think to be a critical dichotomy for retailers looking to use and understand digital marketing. Digital communi- cations (marketing) and digital selling (e-commerce) are two very different and almost unrelated activities. Both of them are worth exploring, testing and The internet is here to stay: Is it time to make the switch to online marketing and e-commerce? By David Diamond GOING DIGITAL understanding, but they are two dis- tinct things that need to be addressed in distinct ways. Marketing Digital communication uses the internet and related technologies to drive customers to your exist- ing brick-and-mortar stores, while e-commerce involves setting up a mechanism, most typically a website, to sell your products online. is all seems pretty obvious, but in the real world, I constantly see retailers mushing the two things together, trying to do both things at once, and measuring the success of one using criteria appropriate for the other. Digital communication is the art of using new and emerging media to drive consumers to your stores and sell them more things once they're there. is includes digital fliers and other materi- als, digital coupons, and talking about the stores and what's happening in them. Digital com- munication needs to be measured like any other media buy — based on the awareness it creates, the traffic it drives and the sales it generates. It's a marketing tool, plain and simple. e-Commerce e-Commerce, on the other hand, is the equivalent of setting up a new store. You need to decide where it's located, how big it is, how customers flow through it, what the purchasing process is, how pricing is related to all of your other stores, and how it's staffed. e-Commerce may be in the cloud, but the thought process is the same as opening a new store on the ground. e process of testing, using and developing digital communications is totally different from that for e-com- merce. Digital communication is, in a sense, easier. It's a large set of discrete options, all of which need to be con- sidered, accepted or rejected, tested, and evaluated. You can test Facebook over here while testing Instagram over there and testing a virtual roto in a third place. For each initiative, you need to identify the objectives — in- creased store visits, increased basket size, increased basket margin — and then see whether the test delivers the required goals. Testing Digital communication is a series of related, but not directly connected, tests. Some will work and others will fail. e amount of testing you should do isn't a function of the topic, but rather your own enthusi- asm to learn. How much money, how much time and how many resources do you have that you're willing to invest in digital communications? I can assure you that there are enough things to test to use up all of your resources. e key is that each test has set objectives and goals, and that the testing includes both execution and measurement. You need to know what you did, and whether it worked. An e-commerce test, alternatively, is one big bet, requiring a signifi- cant investment in time, money and resources. Unlike digital communica- tions, in which some things will work and others won't, an e-commerce Digital communications (marketing) and digital selling (e-commerce) are two very different and almost unrelated activities.

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