The ecommerce industry is a constantly growing business that has flourished during a global pandemic. And this is no surprise at all; Ecommerce, the online buying and selling of products, is really the present and future of business. Big names in the industry such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Alibaba have grown even bigger as a significant portion of retail went online during quarantine. In fact, in 2020, ecommerce’s share in all retail sales increased from 16% to 19%. And not only was it good for big businesses, it also sustained consumers and independent entrepreneurs alike due to more ecommerce companies having customer-to-customer (C2C) features, such as Craigslist, eBay, and Shopee. Ecommerce provides opportunities for everyone from top to bottom; it is an industry that continually gives hope to those trying to start up their own businesses regardless of what their circumstances are. And it’s this story that further boosted the industry’s growth, and emphasized its importance in a COVID-19 world.
But who told this story? What happened here was some textbook Public Relations. PR for ecommerce is giving consumers context and narratives behind the business, and shows how meaningful this tech and business development really is. Thanks to the natural connection the public has to journalists, people get a connection with what’s happening with ecommerce, and there’s a sense of involvement and ownership that gets people to be more interested in the company. And, this strategy is growing in business, with the PR market projected to grow by 10.2% in 2021. Along with that, over 59% of communications experts say they have a strategy for content, which includes media relations.
Public relations in marketing is a strategy that was effective before and during the pandemic, with many ecommerce companies tapping journalists to get the word out on their latest updates. Recent examples include Shopee Gamers’ Festival, an event aimed at customers who purchase gaming products on their app. In an article by the Manila Standard, they not only talk about the details of the event, but the intentions behind it. They touch on promoting the gaming and entertainment industry during quarantine, and catering to the specific needs and wants of their audience.
Another example is an article by People.com featuring a best selling product on Amazon. wherein the author described how this “best-seller on Amazon” is catering to the ongoing heat wave in the US. These may seem very straightforward, but given the reach that the media has, it is a great way to market your ecommerce business, even when considering the competition. People go to the media for their news on pretty much everything, and tapping into trusted sources will not only get people to see your product, but also see how you’re the real deal. It’s really that simple when picking and choosing who to work with: The more popular the media outlet you connect with, the more trust you build.
To maximize your journey into media relations for your ecommerce company, you will have to take note of a few things:
- Don’t hard sell
Talk about your product and your company, but take it easy on the selling. When writing a sample article or coordinating with journalists, make sure that you have the right words, and don’t underestimate your audience: You don’t want people to just see your media pick-ups as straight up advertisements. Your potential clients may just roll their eyes and click out if you’re just going to lay down a script for a commercial. Emphasize the human side of your company, tell the story of how these new products and services will benefit your community.
- Connect with your audience
In relation to emphasizing the humanity of your company, use this as an opportunity to directly communicate with your audience. Get direct quotes from the higher ups of your company, and show the public that these are the people who carefully thought through these things you are marketing. Ecommerce has helped millions of people through tough times, so capitalize on that detail by simply talking to your people.
- Use virtual press conferences
Video conferencing has dominated the world of business for the past year due to restrictions on face-to-face interactions, but it has also shown great potential for companies looking to branch out from where they are based. There is great potential here, as media press conferences no longer need to be in physical spaces that will restrict the number of media representatives you can contact. And, this is as direct as you can get in terms of communicating with journalists and your target audience as a whole, as you can answer questions and provide further details on the spot.
- Tie your PR into your social media marketing
Social media is a huge part of content marketing, and provides great potential for companies to further expand their reach, and relate to the public. And this still applies to ecommerce companies. In terms of PR specifically, sharing articles on your social media pages will not only legitimize your brand in the eyes of consumers, but also nurture your relationship with the journalists and media outlets you collaborated with. This will allow for more long-term partnerships that will make each and every further media relations effort much easier to execute than the last.
PR and media relations is excellent for an industry that has done so much for the world. This strategy allows a healthy cycle of success for all people from top to bottom, as the stories of each and every development in this industry will only allow ecommerce to grow even bigger. In turn, this will provide the public with more opportunities to start their own businesses, and create more stories and more narratives that you can tell and apply to your product, which will continue the cycle. It is important for the whole industry to invest further into PR for ecommerce, and with the competition heating up in this business, it’s important to start strategizing now, as the world slowly transitions to a post-COVID 19 setting.
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Visual by: Carlos de Guzman