The purpose of e-commerce marketing is to drive sales by increasing awareness about an online store’s brand, products or services. While this type of marketing utilizes traditional marketing concepts, it takes these concepts and applies them to a multichannel environment. This is a highly effective way to advertise while saving on traditional costs.



There are numerous examples of e-commerce marketing. Some of these include pay-per-click, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, display advertising, email marketing and affiliate marketing.

With pay-per-click (or PPC) marketing, businesses bid on impressions for paid listings at the top of search engine results. Impressions are determined by user search history and analyzing which keywords are used the most. By staying at the top of the search engine’s list, businesses are able to drive quite a bit of business to their sites. For example, if a user types in “handbags” and Coach has a successful PPC campaign, the company’s site will appear first on the list and is the most likely site that the shopper will visit.

Search engine marketing (or SEM) is often used to describe Google’s AdWords platform and paid platforms on other search engines. It is also used more generally to describe a marketer’s paid and organic efforts to draw business to a site.

Search engine optimization (or SEO) uses inbound links, social media engagement, tags or keywords, excerpts and other meta data to drive traffic to a site. The website builder WordPress, for example, has a section that allows users to optimize page views for each item posted by filling in SEO data.

Display advertising refers to online banners, sidebars or other visual advertisements that users click on. Affiliate marketing essentially utilizes networking to build a customer base. Referrals from other websites that contain reviews, comparisons, and testimonials, such as Angie’s List, draw customers to businesses. Affiliates typically receive a set commission of referred sales.

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