E-commerce Leadership: Pioneering Digital Marketing Trends for Competitive Advantage

E-commerce is superior to traditional retail because it can operate completely and efficiently without spending too much on infrastructure. Even if you are not running a drop-shipping business (and have zero storage costs), you’re already running a business that is more cost-effective.

This means that you can spend more money on marketing.

Now, this is problematic for newcomers. On the one hand, they want to spend more on marketing, but at the same time, these bigger (older) e-commerce businesses have more money and an already existing presence.

So, the only way to gain a competitive advantage is to be the first one to adopt some of the most efficient digital marketing trends. Here are the top five that will secure your competitive advantage. 

  1. Start with social media

In 2024, social media will usually be the start of any sales funnel. In fact, it’s a gateway toward brand recognition for the majority of the audience. In other words, most of your audience will hear about your brand for the first time via social media.

Platforms like LinkedIn, for instance, punch way above their weight. First of all, their audience is not just doomscrolling. They’re more attentive. The demographic on this platform has a higher median income, a higher average level of education, and a higher average engagement rate. In other words, while the numbers won’t be as impressive as on other platforms (let’s say TikTok), don’t be surprised if your engagement rates go up.

The next thing you need to pay attention to is Threads, the Meta’s own version of X (formerly known as Twitter). Sure, a lot of people moan about X, but they still use it. It’s hard to break into the market (social media news outlet) that’s already dominated (almost monopolized) by a competitor. Still, Threads is on the rise

Also, it’s worth mentioning that every major platform is doing AI integrations. TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and even LinkedIn are experimenting with AI-generated stickers, content, profile writing assistance, and feed optimization. Each of these will drastically impact your approach to digital marketing. 

As far as the Metaverse goes, bigger investments may still be premature. Not enough people own a headset, and until that changes, it’s better to wait a bit and monitor the trend. Sure, being an early adopter is often a hit, but there are other venues where your investment can give you a quicker result. 

  1. Molding your marketing around regulation

The best way to ensure resilience and longevity to your brand is to actually create a marketing campaign based on the latest rules and regulations. You see, retroactively implementing rules, like the Digital Markets Act, can give varied results. 

This act was adopted in September 2022 and, since then, represents a major regulatory power over the so-called gatekeepers (search engines, app stores, messengers, etc.). The bottom line is that it manages all the platforms through which your audience accesses you, as well as platforms from which you get the most valuable information. 

The starting point of any digital marketing campaign is user data gathering, and you need to make sure that you gather this data in a privacy-compliant manner. 

Your marketing campaign is supposed to be your strongest asset and help you grow your business. The last thing you want is to have it become a hindrance by getting you into a world of legal trouble or by getting restricted from specific areas (because you don’t comply with local regulations). Protecting yourself from legal risks and liabilities needs to be a priority. 

It’s also worth spending some time to study jurisdictions and jurisdictional rules. The bottom line is that even if you’re not from a country where you would fall under that jurisdiction, some of your customers are. That’s enough to put you in this category.  

Now, since we’re living in the age of the internet and it’s e-commerce that we’re discussing currently, you need to understand that you’ll never be able to limit yourself to just market (and just one compliance). Fortunately, you don’t have to handle it manually, either. All you need is the right platform.

  1. Heavier investment in SEO

The updates to the algorithm this year are pretty heavy. According to the specialists behind arguably the best London SEO agency, this mostly has to do with the latest developments in the field of AI and NLP (natural language progression).

When ChatGPT first exploded, Google preemptively introduced the phrase “made by humans for humans.” This meant that human-written content always went first, even though the main reason behind this was mostly disputed. 

Then, last year, this was changed to “content written for humans,” clearly leaving out the “by humans” part, signaling to the world that AI content will no longer be penalized (if it ever really was).

Still, it’s important to mention that human-written content still ranks better. This is why you want veteran writers on your content. You see, even in the past, Google denied that it’s penalizing AI content because it’s made by AI. According to Google, it was penalized due to it being recycled content (often even of low quality). 

However, this is not the only change in the world of SEO due to the influence of AI. The truth is that AI is impacting virtually every aspect of SEO. First of all, it can be used to do more through better keyword research. AI-powered keyword research tools are better at figuring out the intent behind the keyword, which leads to superior long-term and localized keywords.

Other than this, these AI predictive tools are more accurate when it comes to sentiment analysis. You see, in SEO, you’re not just working on the ranking but also the court of public opinion. One of the reasons you want to rank better is so that you are perceived more favorably.

  1. User-generated content

The majority of businesses plan to start using more user-generated content, but a lot of them are still not doing so. Now, for starters, the majority struggle to figure out which forms and formats of content we’re talking about.

The most common formats are reviews and testimonials; however, it’s not uncommon for users to make video reviews, generate images and photos, start a podcast episode with a shout-out to your product, and more.

Now, theres’s one big reason why this type of content is so successful. It’s authentic, which makes it relatable. It’s easy for people to see themselves in the shoes of users making this content, which increases the immersion of the content formats in question. 

Generally speaking, there’s no way for them to know if the person in question is actually genuine. However, the content format itself has a more genuine feel to it, which is really all that matters.

Just compare a podcast with a traditional show. An episode of a podcast and an episode of a show may align completely when it comes to the talking points and the information exchanged. Still, when it comes to the general feel, the conversational tone of the podcast takes the cake.

Spontaneity is the trait that your audience will know to appreciate.

This is one more reason why analyzing user sentiment makes such a big difference in the direction of your digital marketing campaign. You need to understand how they feel in order to appeal to them more strongly. 

  1. Hyper-personalization

The only thing that was preventing an even higher level of personalization was the technical capacities. Today, AI can help with better segmentation and targeting of these audience segments. 

Second, the algorithm that deals with user behavior patterns is more sophisticated than ever before. In the past, it only tracked user preferences. Today, it has the capacity to recognize the user’s scrolling patterns, mouse movement, and even eye-tracking patterns. In other words, this is something that can serve both as a vessel for content delivery and a security measure.

Now, personalization only works if you know exactly who you’re talking to; however, you also need to make sure that your buyer personas aren’t too generic. These are a challenge to make, especially to make a right, which is why a veteran marketer on your side might turn out to be indispensable.

Also, make sure to fit this hyper-personalization effort into your broader strategy. 

Stating competitive in e-commerce is a challenge

Sure, everyone has a bigger marketing budget, but with so many new trends every year, you can almost guarantee that you’ll have a lot of opportunities to gain an edge by being an early adopter. Now, the biggest shift in this field (and in the business world, in general) is AI and all its uses. At the same time, its use for content generation may still be questionable; its analytical and predictive capabilities are not a matter of debate.

By Srdjan Gombar

Veteran content writer, published author, and amateur boxer. Srdjan has a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and is passionate about technology, pop culture, and self-improvement. In his free time, he spends time reading, watching movies, and playing Super Mario Bros. with his son.