Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce gained popularity for providing both businesses and consumers the chance to transact purely online. In 2020, when the pandemic was at its height, over 2 billion people purchased goods or services online, with retail e-commerce sales surpassing 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars.
Of course, as new business opportunities arise in the digital age, so does business competition. One thing that brands with e-commerce platforms are doing to stand out is by investing in content marketing strategies, with a focus on thought leadership. Many brands today are enhancing their thought leadership to promote their brand and shed light on different industry trends.
As e-commerce continues to flourish, so does the practice of thought leadership. Let’s dive deeper into how thought leadership can be done and how it can help brand with e-commerce platforms achieve their business goals.
The power of audiovisual media
When you hear the term “thought leadership”, what comes to mind are opinion pieces, webinars and conferences, white papers, and so on. Over time, thought leadership content on the web has become saturated and more difficult to get your content seen when there are dozens more like it.
A way to make your thought leadership efforts stand out from the rest would be to take an audiovisual approach to your content. Audiovisual media has been proven to increase engagement and retention; A survey by Venngage shows that marketers are already pivoting towards visual content as of last year. Thought leadership is already on its way to adopting a visual approach to content strategies, especially in the e-commerce field. Take for example this blog by Shopify, which uses simple graphics to make concepts and processes easy to understand.
Shopify’s graphic explaining multi-channel marketing
Another example is Davie Fogarty’s Ecom Fundamentals series, where he posts guides on how to do e-commerce through well-edited, condensed videos. Global from Asia’s E-Commerce Gladiator series also invites guests to talk about e-commerce trends, updates, and news from Amazon FBA. It may take more effort and resources to take this direction, but as similar types of media have already undergone this shift (newspapers to online articles, books into e-books and audiobooks), it might be prudent to consider the audiovisual approach as people’s sensibilities to consuming content start to and will continue to change.
Another aspect of thought leadership marketing that companies with e-commerce paltforms are starting to incorporate nowadays is interactivity. With the shortened attention span of many people today businesses find it harder and harder to attract and retain people’s attention. Research shows that tha attention span of human now last an average of eight seconds before getting distracted by something else.
Thus. e-commerce brands should make an effort to invest in interactive content to connect with their customers, making them more invested in thought leadership content.
Take the example of online shopping aggregator iPrice, which has an interactive chart that lists the top e-commerce players in the Philippines based on their rankings in the App Store, their website visits, social media following, and more. You can filter and sort the data to get an idea of the current state of e-commerce in the Philippines, providing interactive that keeps you reeled in and interested. Another examples is Shopify’s how-to guide, which offers customer persona and customer journey map templates that anyone can access and download for free. There is also the Ecommerce Virtual Tour organized by Walcon Virtual Events, a truly virtual conference where participants enter a virtual space and interact with e-commerce experts.
A peek inside Walcon Virtual Events’ Ecommerce Virtual Tour workshop
Thought leadership and social responsibility
Lastly, companies with e-commerce platforms have been focusing more and more on thought leadership marketing alongside social responsibility. The pandemic has raised people’s social awareness, encouraging them to exert efforts to improve their current conditions. Similarly, companies are now expected to participate in social responsibility as well. Consumers now seek brands that not only align with their preferences but also with their social compass. In relation to this, brands use thought leadership to dissect and relay insights about society today, as well as contribute to the well-being of society.
An example of this is mClinica, whose blogs, newsletters and case studies seek to promote the importance of pharmacies and the dissemination of health information in Southeast Asia. Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce and e-retail company, has also shed some light on diversity and inclusion and their efforts to uphold it in their company as part of their thought leadership content. Supply Compass’s thought leadership has articles dedicated to e-commerce sustainability as well, which fits well with their brand.
With these examples, it’s clear that brands with e-commerce platforms should focus their thought leadership efforts on forming bonds and breaking barriers between business and customer. Businesses can no longer be in a vacuum; Thought leadership must follow the same route.
A screenshot of mClinica’s blog page
E-commerce is still a developing field. With thought leadership, brands can orient their customers and even themselves to better places, results, and ultimately a better society. This can only be achieved if thought leadership itself adapts and innovates to keep up with the times.
- Written by Russel Sastrillo