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    Do customers shop directly from social media platforms?

    When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, consumers flocked online to grab hold of the products they needed to avoid going into stores. This sparked a record influx of global retail activity. Now, over a year later, our spending behaviours haven’t changed much, with many consumers still preferring to purchase their favourite products and services online. While conversion rates for your business can increase with the right digital marketing tools working to bring traffic to your website, the same thing goes for social pages. But is it worth investing more time and money into your social strategy if you don’t know if customers are shopping directly from your social media platforms? 

    How do you do your online shopping?

    Since Amazon and eBay first launched sitewide online shopping in 1995, consumers have been hooked on the convenience of front door delivery. However, with the rise of social media over this last decade, there are now more ways than ever to find and buy innovative products through the use of your social channels. Aside from targeting your ideal audience on their preferred platform of choice, there’s also a generational breakdown of purchasing patterns that influence the likelihood of your ideal customer buying directly from your social platforms. 

    • Generation Z (Born 1997 to 2012): Being the most technologically influenced generation, Gen Z’ers are strongly influenced by social media and are very comfortable purchasing from channels like Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram shopping. 
    • Millennials (Born 1981 to 1996): While this generation has also grown up with the power of the internet at their fingertips, for them to feel confident in making a purchase, social selling needs to be more persuasive. This is where investment in your digital strategy is crucial! 
    • Generation X (Born 1965 to 1980): Although this generation isn’t as digitally savvy as their predecessors, they are common online spenders. While it may take them a little longer to complete a purchase due to the desire to test out the products in person, they are on social media and can be more easily eluded through the use of email marketing. 
    • Boomers (1946 to 1964): This price-conscious and fiscally conservative generation is starting to come around to the concept of online shopping. However, they still prefer to browse for new products and aren’t as comfortable achieving purchase confidence through online means like reviews and blogs. So, while social selling might be a tougher call on these consumers, many are coming around to Facebook and will click through and log your website for a later purchase. 

    Which social media platforms are consumers most likely to shop on?

    Consumers who are comfortable with social shopping have endless choices for purchasing platforms. Needless to say, some are more popular than others.

    • Facebook: As one of the leading social media channels bridging generational gaps, Facebook is also one of the most common social shopping platforms, with opportunities for businesses to grab the attention of an audience from Gen Z to Boomers. While Facebook Marketplace has quickly become the new craigslist in terms of commerce, there is a “shop” feature available on business pages where the owner can import products and make them available for purchase directly from Facebook’s checkout page. 
    • Instagram: Even though Instagram shopping is newer than the purchasing features on Facebook, it’s a booming online marketplace for business owners to find new customers. As a visual and auditory-based social platform, Instagram shopping is an exciting new experience and once the consumer commits and orders their products, they can choose to do a shoutout to your brand as well. With the ability to tag on posts and stories, the possibility for creative content is endless with Instagram shopping. 
    • Pinterest: While this platform doesn’t allow respondents to make purchases directly from the pinned products or elaborate vision boards, its browser allows users to seamlessly switch between the website/app to make a quick purchase from the business, which doesn’t disrupt the social media experience. So, while you aren’t buying this on Pinterest’s servers, consumers can still stock up on an assortment of ideas that inspire them. 

    Where should you be selling? 

    We wish it were as easy as recommending a single tactic for all e-commerce businesses across the board. Nevertheless, there is no one-size-fits-all suggestion for a successful social shopping strategy. What we can suggest is that you start by prioritizing social media shopping tactics on the platforms you currently possess a following on and build your strategy from there. 

    To learn more about where your target social media audience might be, contact one of Trek Marketing’s Client Success Managers for a free consultation

    Do you have any questions about getting Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram shopping started? Drop a comment below to let us know. 

    What’s the difference between omnichannel and multichannel?

    Each professional digital marketing agency does its part in overlapping the world of e-commerce, social selling, and digital marketplaces, and since ever-changing technology requires constant adaptation, business owners need to understand the efforts required to keep up with the times. That being said, if you haven’t heard about multichannel or omnichannel, we’re excited to break down these buzzwords to help shape your digital strategy moving forward.

    What’s multichannel retail and how does it work?

    Multichannel retail is a business strategy that allows shoppers to purchase goods and services from e-commerce vendors in multiple different ways. Not only does it blend the customer experience by giving consumers the choice to engage on the channel they prefer, but multichannel retail is also flexible in behaving to the confines of each individual sales channel — physical stores, online stores, e-commerce platforms, third-party marketplaces, mobile apps, and social media platforms. While each professional digital marketing agency has its own way of explaining the process that makes up multichannel marketing, we compare it to a wheel with spokes — at the centre of your wheel is the product, the outer rim consists of the consumers, and each channel offers an independent opportunity to reach them, allowing them to make a purchase. Once it’s clear which channels best resonate with your target market, you can further optimize your digital strategy to maximize sales on those channels. 

    How do businesses benefit from multichannel retail?

    Since multichannel retailing allows business owners to target their audience from a variety of sales channels, there are loads of benefits that it can offer to the brand:

    • Higher revenue: Whether you’re a first-time business owner or an established company fixed on making a change, the truth is, you can invest loads of money on advertising and marketing to establish trust and brand awareness, but if your customers only have one way to purchase from you, you possess less of an opportunity to increase your conversion rate. That’s why it’s so important to spread your business strategy across multiple channels! If your brand pops up more often, it receives more attention and can attract more customers in ways that may be more appealing to their purchasing power. 
    • There are more ways to buy from you: Consumers are often hesitant to buy from a business that they’ve only seen a time or two. However, the more your brand shows up on their online feeds, the better the chance of them remembering your business. Single sales channels may prove to be a good strategy to focus on for older demographics, but younger shoppers trust your brand when it’s shown to them more conveniently, allowing them to select a purchasing method that meets their comfort level. Talk about competitive advantage!  
    • Collect valuable data: Multichannel retail collects way more data than a single channel, which translates to more information learned about your ideal consumer. The data you collect can be used by a professional digital marketing agency layer to better promote your brand by improving on business strategies to improve your ability to reach prospective shoppers. 

    What’s omnichannel retail and how does it work?

    Omnichannel retail is a business strategy that focuses on providing customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether it be from a mobile smartphone, a desktop computer, or within a brick-and-mortar store. By focusing on the entire experience from start to finish, this approach allows businesses to communicate in a way that aligns with the consumer lifecycle, instead of each individual stage of advertising the product. This type of e-commerce retail enables consumers to purchase from wherever they are, instead of relying on accounts to channel and offer a positive experience. Essentially, omnichannel retail removes the boundaries between sales and marketing channels to create a unified front for the brand. With a focus on onsite, social, mobile, email, physical, and instant messaging, the experience of commerce unfold right in front of the consumer.

    How do businesses benefit from omnichannel retail?

    Since omnichannel retail allows consumers to reach your business page at their convenience, there are loads of benefits that it can offer to the brand: 

    • More availability: While it’s important to reach your audience from a variety of channels, it’s equally as important to ensure that they can use the device that best meets their needs, which helps free up your time from dealing with consumer optimization issues. 
    • Increase in sales and traffic: There’s no point in running an online business if you aren’t interested in increasing the traffic to your website that will result in more sales. Omnichannel will help to promote a strategy that improves the customer experience from mobile, web, and even in stores, and with these multiple purchasing leads, an increase in sales and traffic will follow. 
    • Purchasing start and finish can differ: As long as the process results in a sale it doesn’t matter where the consumer clicked through to. Consumers can see your website on one channel and complete their purchase on another, creating a better retail journey and engaging relationship through the development purchasing channels that you’ve created.  

    Do you have any further information that you feel would benefit the above blog submission? Drop a comment below to let our staff writer know. 

    How data protection is changing the realm of digital marketing

    Since Data Privacy Day is just around the corner (January 28), we thought it would only be appropriate to discuss the importance of data protection and to use this submission as an opportunity to raise awareness, promote privacy and data protection, and highlight the best practices that are currently observed by almost 50 countries worldwide. 

    Data regulation in Canada 

    Canada is one of the forefathers of data protection, providing guidance for online businesses with its Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which was enacted in early 2000. Based upon ensuring that e-commerce companies maintain accountability, PIPEDA applies to the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activity. This means that all federally-regulated businesses such as banks, airlines, and telecommunications companies also fall under its scope. 

    Essentially this means that all not-for-profit organizations, political parties, and associations as well as educational institutions and hospitals (with no engagement in commercial activities), are outside of the jurisdiction of the Canadian data protection and privacy law. 

    Data regulation in the US

    While some data protection laws are only relevant within certain states or respective industries, most seek to protect the personal information of all types of consumers. For those wondering how it works, we will use the state of California as an example. 

    The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gives consumers more control of the personal information that businesses collect about them, including the right to say no to the processing of their data and the right to know what will be done with it and who it will be shared with if they agree to allow a business to use their data. Failure to comply with the CCPA can lead a business to pay up to $7500 in fines for intentional violations.

    In the state, roughly 50% of revenue comes from selling customer data, which is a huge margin of profits for online retails who are looking to increase their brand awareness and conversions to better target their future online campaigns. 

    Data regulation in The European Union 

    Similar to Canada, the European Union implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which standardizes data protection rules across all EU countries. The following act applies to all businesses, both physical and online, that offer the sale of products or services within the EU. This allows businesses to use data after the consumer confirms permissions to do so, which includes asking each customer to confirm their approval via email. 

    How do the laws around data protection affect digital marketing? 

    Data plays an essential role in the success of an e-commerce business’s ability to possess high-performing digital campaigns. With a team of professionals analyzing consumer data, you can better understand what the behaviours are of your target audience within your niche market, allowing you to tweak campaign strategies to cater to the unique preferences of each individual customer. 

    Although each country may differ in some ways, their data protection laws operate under the same principles and aim to ensure that the personal information of customers is secure, therefore giving consumers more control over their data. 

    How to ensure that your online business isn’t breaking any laws: 

    1. Ensure that you have the right permission: Data protection regulations are constantly changing, which means that you should put the appropriate measures in place to ensure that you’re only using the data that you’ve gained permission to use. We recommend that you automate this process wherever possible by creating a security page that discusses how customer’s data will be used and ensuring that each purchaser is given the chance to share their data with your company by complying with terms and conditions. 
    1. Maintain data focus: Since businesses possess the ability to collect vast amounts of data every day, it’s important to know which sets of data are imperative to your business growth and which can be discarded. A digital marketing specialist is experienced in dealing with data and will be able to take such measures to ensure that you aren’t holding on to anything that will pose a liability for your business in the future. 

    Do you live somewhere outside of the countries that we discussed in this article? Please share your data protection laws in the comments section below. 

    What type of e-commerce businesses have prospered amid the pandemic?

    While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on economies worldwide, small businesses were the ones that were hit particularly hard. Many businesses weren’t able to reopen their doors after forced closures and some of the companies that have managed to survive are now scraping by amid the second wave. While this is the tragic reality that many industries are now facing, there are some businesses with e-commerce shops that have thrived throughout 2020 and will likely continue to do well with the help of professional digital marketing.  


    While the grocery store industry has always been backed by popular demand due to necessity, the pandemic lifted their business, as restaurant closures meant that those who normally spend money eating out would instead have to make more of their own dinners. Even with stay-at-home restrictions in place, supermarkets remained open and were considered essential businesses. While you would think that cooking isn’t something new, many people decided to test out some different recipes and began flooding their social media accounts with delicious home-cooked meals. If that wasn’t enough, amateur bakers also sprang up everywhere and many typical ingredients and kitchen items became very high in demand. Oftentimes when supermarkets experience a quick depletion of items from their inventories, this can cause the prices to rise, and since people began to fear product shortages, the demand for the above items (alongside cleaning supplies and toilet paper) also went up. 

    Historically speaking, grocery store chains have always needed to compete with one another and heavily rely on coupons to get customers through their doors, but the fear of running out of food and other basic comforts have kept many flocking to the supermarket since the start of the pandemic. Plus, it’s a good excuse to get out of the house! 

    Hand-sanitizing products 

    The concept of on-the-go hand sanitization is nothing new, however, as health authorities began to suggest using this measure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, brands popped up everywhere to fulfill the global demand, with businesses such as distilleries and breweries going as far as to halt their operations and pivot to producing hand sanitizer. Even 10-months-later in today’s current environment, people are still using it everywhere they go! 

    Liquor stores

    We all remember that home alcohol consumption rose during the first few months of the pandemic due to the stress of people’s employment status and the added responsibility of home-schooling children while attempting to work-from-home. While sales likely returned to their usual levels throughout the months that had an ease on restrictions, the second wave is here, and since people are starving for socialization during the holiday season, one can expect that those sales will increase yet again. After all, aren’t you planning on having a virtual, Christmas cocktail party via zoom? 

    At-home entertainment

    Streaming sources such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ saw a huge growth in subscribers during the first quarter of 2020, as people looked for more at-home entertainment options in place of their usual activities. This is once again the case, as non-essential businesses like theatres and nightclubs remain closed to slow the spread, giving people more money in their pockets that can easily be extended onto these services. 

    Online shopping

    Everyone loves the care-free convenience of shopping online and having your items delivered right to your doorstep, and while this phenomenon is something most people have utilized for years, many have recently adopted this tradition. With everything from groceries, prescriptions, and skin care products available at the click of a button, there’s no reason to ever leave the house if you don’t have too. The best part is that while younger generations have already found comfort in the simplicity of online shopping, the gap is narrowing as older people are starting to utilize their computers and smartphones to take advantage of the digital experience.

    What does all this mean?

    What professional digital marketing and web development experts have learned in 2020 is that the entire realm of online shopping is now considered to be an essential service. Since people require a safer way to access items that can be purchased in-store (online grocery ordering) and services that have always been in-person (doctor’s appointments), an e-commerce website has the ability to satisfy this new-found demand, alongside professional digital marketing services that will allow shoppers to find the resources that they need. 

    While it’s a strange world that we have been living in these past 10 months, if you’re a part of the evolving technology sector, give yourself a pat on the back. We’re one of the groups of workers who have been shadowed by those working on the frontlines. However, your remote, work-from-home adaptability has allowed many of the essential operations to expand digitally to meet the needs of the general population and keep more people safe at home. Good work, everyone!

    Are you an e-commerce business owner who needs help with your professional digital marketing strategy moving into 2021? Drop a comment below to speak with one of our industry experts.

    Do brick and mortar businesses need a digital marketing strategy?

    brick and mortar businesses to use digital marketing

    If you’re a retailer that prefers the more traditional selling approach that brick and mortar businesses have to offer, you may still find that you need a digital marketing strategy to get your business noticed. Although you offer your customers a more personable face-to-face interaction, when it comes to doing business, it is difficult to complete with your web-based counterparts. While ecommerce businesses make it their job to become noticed on the web in order to receive any sales at all, brick and mortar businesses can also leverage the benefits of digital marketing to their advantage

    What is a brick and mortar business?

    The term brick and mortar is used to describe a company that possesses a retail store, factory or warehouse for its operation. Your local bookstore or grocery shop is a perfect example of this. Brick and mortar businesses offer their consumers the opportunity to touch, try out and discuss any concerns they may have with an item prior to making any purchase. These types of businesses also provide consumers with an immediate form of gratification because they do not need to wait for the item to be shipped before they can enjoy it.

    Needless to say, even though a business is doing well in physical form that doesn’t mean that with a proper digital marketing plan it couldn’t be doing a whole lot better.

    Why does your brick and mortar business need a digital marketing strategy?

    With the rise of ecommerce businesses snatching up internet friendly consumers, it is important for brick and mortar businesses to use digital marketing to establish a strategy in order to remain technologically with the times. Many long-time retailers — Sears, Zellers and Kmart — have shut down dozens of store locations due to slow traffic and a decrease in sales.

    Whether your company is better suited as a brick and mortar business or you’re resisting the need to embrace e-commerce, you can have the best of both worlds with the proper digital marketing strategy.

    In order for brick and mortar businesses to use digital marketing to its fullest potential they will need to:

    • Build an online community: This will increase your customer base and allow you to offer your product to a much larger demographic.
    • Find your target audience: Unless you have found a location in a local neighbourhood where everyone uses your product, a digital marketing strategy will allow you to find an online audience that has an interest in the product or service that you are selling.
    • Engage with your consumers: Although it does not offer the same face-to-face personalization as the traditional brick and mortar business, digital marketing allows you to speak to customers online, comment on their reviews and troubleshoot any problems they are facing without them even needing to step foot in your store.

    If you need help getting started with your digital marketing strategy, consult our team of professionals to learn more about what we can do for your business.

    Do you prefer to shop in retail stores or online for your products? Tell us about it in the comments section below.