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What: We looked at the results of the e-commerce marketing strategy of the top 15 online retail sites visited by shoppers in the U.S. in February of 2019 and how the sites scored in numbers of visitors.
Why it matters: Amazon’s relentless e-commerce marketing strategy and its increase of visits to its retail website continued in the second month of this year, topping 23-percent of all visits to the top 15 retail sites in the U.S.—nearly double that of its closest e-commerce rival Walmart at 12.2-percent of visits.

Number of visitors to the Top 15 e-commerce sites in the U.S., February 2019
Total Audience, Home and Work, PC/Laptop869,590
SiteTotal Unique Visitors*
Amazon Sites204146
Wal-Mart106453
eBay96790
Apple.com Worldwide Sites61629
Target Corporation50061
Samsung Group46969
ETSY.COM43289
WISH.COM41006
Ticketmaster39786
The Home Depot, Inc.34677
Kohl’s Corporation30904
Wayfair30721
Best Buy Sites30268
Macy’s Inc.26913
LOWES.COM25978

Source: Comscore
*Numbers reported as shown

Amazon Expansion Continues

Amazon continued to expand its online e-commerce dominance in the U.S. in February, gaining more than 2-percentage points compared to January, to reach 23.4-percent of all visits to the top 15 retail sites in the U.S. as measured by Comscore. The behemoth internet retailer expanded its online market share at the same time that brick-and-mortar retailers have closed 4,800 stores this year alone, according to the Financial Times. Analyst Deborah Weinswig told the newspaper she expects approximately 12,000 retail stores to be shuttered in the U.S. this year.

Brick-and-mortar retailer Best Buy saw its share of visits to the top 15 retail site in the U.S. slip from 4-percent in January to 3.4-percent in February. Macy’s, too, lost ground going from 4.3-percent in January to just 3-percent in February. Walmart continues to be the most successful brick-and-mortar retailer online, holding at second place in February with 12.2-percent of all visits to the top 15 ranked retail sites in the U.S.—but still well behind Amazon in online visits.

Best Buy, Home Depot slip

  • Best Buy slipped from 11th to 13th place from January to February in Comscore ranking.
  • The Home Depot, too, lost ground, going from 9th place in January to 10th place in February.
  • Apple held steady in 4th place with 7 percent of all site visits in February.
  • eBay, too, held its ground in third place with 11.1-percent of all visits, matching its share in January.
  • Macy’s saw a decline in its site visits from 4.3-percent of all visits in January to 3-percent in February.
  • The top eight most-visited sites in the Comscore ranking held their positions from January to February, with Target ranking 5th.
  • Retailer Kohl’s continued to see a downward trend in its share of visits to the top 15 sites, from 5.5-percent in December to 3.8-percent in January to 5-percent in February.

What: Digital marketing technologies and how brick-and-mortar retailers are flocking to mobile phone, SMS, geofencing, Bluetooth and GPS technology. As a result, they’re discovering new and powerful ways to communicate with consumers. Both inside and outside of their stores. Interviewee: Gatorade’s Tiago Pinto.
Why it matters: Portada follows the money to understand this gold rush into mobile phone messaging. The bottom line for retailers adds up to a lot more sales.

The ubiquitous mobile phone may prove to be a lifeline to struggling brick-and-mortar retailers. They’ve found new and powerful ways to engage in one-on-one conversations with consumers. That’s fueling an investment and marketing boom in geofencing, SMS, push notification, beacon, Bluetooth and other technologies.

In fact, if numbers reported by retailer American Eagle are any indication, failure to adopt may be unaffordable. The fashion retailer reported a three-fold increase in sales after using geofencing to drive foot traffic into stores, according to a recent report by AdWeek.

E-commerce sales may be exploding, but it’s too early to discount the local shopping mall or retail as we’ve traditionally known it. The price of shares in Target are surging as the US rides a wave of rosy economic numbers.

But there’s more going on under the hood for brick-and-mortar retail and Target knows it. According to Chain Store Age, Target is expanding the use of its own mobile phone app. Now customers can place orders on their phones and then pick up their goods at the store’s curb. They don’t even have to leave their cars.

There’s more going on under the hood for brick-and-mortar retail than you may realize.

Not your father’s digital marketing technology

Target’s use of its mobile phone app is the tip of the iceberg of a bevvy of exploding technologies that has altered the landscape of brick-and-mortar retail marketing well into the foreseeable future.

Your mobile needs global positioning system (GPS) technology to find the nearest cell tower. But it also allows retailers and apps like Facebook to pinpoint your location to within less than 100 meters.

Enter SMS, Bluetooth beacons, geofencing, push notifications and stores’ own apps and retailers now have a whole new way to lure customers into their aisles—including targeting you even when you’re shopping at a competitor’s location.

JCPenney, Whole Foods, and Best Buy are using mobile apps to send special offers and coupons to customers, according to Mobile Business InsightsPepsiCo’s Gatorade discovered three years ago that it could use Facebook and GPS to post offers on Facebook for soccer players within a certain distance of known team practice locations in Brazil.

“Sales went through the roof,” Gatorade’s Global Marketing Director Tiago Pinto tells Portada. The program was expanded to other cities in Brazil and PepsiCo now uses GPS and Facebook to send messages to consumers in Mexico City, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Santiago. Feedback has been positive from consumers. According to Pinto: “I think as long as you are providing a service and not interrupting, the consumer sees it as welcome. They want to receive content that is relevant to them.”

Geographic location is just one of the barometers you have to look into. The consumer’s profile is more important.

“Gatorade would like to expand the program to include WhatsApp. But Facebook which owns WhatsApp has yet to make that possible”, Pinto says.

Brave new world for retailers

GPS technology and cell phones have opened up a brave new world of digital marketing technologies for retail marketers. But at the end of the day, Pinto tells Portada that knowing the customers’ likes and preferences is still the key to the kingdom.

“I think geographic location is just one of the barometers you have to look into. The consumer’s profile is more important,” says Pinto.

Nevertheless, the seemingly endless growth in cell phone usage worldwide and digital marketing technologies makes the possibilities appear limitless.

According to a study by Criteo, retailers in North America with both a mobile website and a mobile phone application make 67% of their sales on their mobile apps.

Tech Crunch reports that consumers now spend fives hours per day looking at their cell phones. According to Mobile Business Insights, SMS messages are read by 98% of consumers who receive them.

Having their own mobile app allows retailers like Target to send push notifications to their app users.

Geofencing investment to hit $1.7 billion

But the cherry on the ice cream may be the combination of GPS with geofencing.

With geofencing, retailers can selectively message mobile phone users when they are within say a mile radius of the store. It also allows retailers to set up geofencing perimeters around competitors’ locations. They can then target offers to consumers considering the competition’s options.

With geofencing, retailers can selectively message mobile phone users when they are within say a mile radius of the store.

Investment in geofencing is expected to race past $1.7 billion in 2024, with the fastest growth seen in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a study by Global Market Insights.

“As more and more brick-and-mortar retail businesses are implementing proximity-based marketing campaigns, the applications of geofencing-based marketing solutions are poised to increase rapidly over the forecast period,” the study of digital marketing technologies found.

Key players in the geofencing market are Apple, Google, Thumbvista, Esri, Urban Airship, Bluedot innovation, Gimbal, Embitel, Placecast, Simplifi.fi, Swirl Networks, Radar Labs, UpSnap, GeoMoby, PlotProjects, Localytics, Pulsate, Mapcite, and DreamOrbit, the study said.

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