Many of us have fond memories of spending afternoons at local convenience stores, known as "7-11s", while shopping with our parents. For those who grew up there, it was a daily destination where you could find all the essentials for a fun and productive day. Today, many of these stores have evolved into multibillion-dollar enterprises, and the popular 7-Eleven chain is no exception. In fact, as the economy shifted to a more digital world, the convenience store saw its business radically change. Today, seven of these stores can be found on the digital landscape, with plans to open several more by 2021.
The Rise Of The Online Market
For years, people got all the things they needed from local 7-11s, but as the world shifted to the digital age, the shopping habits of consumers changed. In the past, if you were looking for something, you would go to the store and pick it up. But nowadays, with almost everything being available online, going to the store no longer is necessary.
This especially became a problem for small businesses, such as convenience stores, that could not afford online marketing budgets. Because of this, most small businesses simply did not exist in the digital world. If you were unable to overcome these marketing challenges, you would have to close your doors. Fortunately for these businesses, digital marketing platforms, such as Google Ads, provide a platform for small businesses to thrive in the digital age.
This is where 7-Eleven comes in.
The Popularity Of Online Ads
If you’ve ever shopped at any big-box grocer, such as Walmart or Target, you’ll most likely be familiar with online ads. If not, let me introduce you to them.
These ads typically appear on websites, in email boxes, or in social media feeds. And although they can be annoying, they also provide a way for businesses to reach consumers that wouldn’t normally visit their websites or show up at their brick-and-mortar locations.
In 2020, almost all the big-box stores (approximately 94 percent) advertised online. That’s compared to 88 percent in 2019 and 83 percent in 2018. If you’re wondering, Target and Walmart were the only two big-box stores that didn’t advertise online in 2020. However, both companies plan to expand their use of digital marketing in coming years.
Why Online Ads?
As mentioned above, local convenience stores struggle with gaining attention in a world dominated by big-box stores and online shopping. To combat this, some have turned to digital marketing, which allows them to target the right audience and gain a greater presence in their community.
If you’re looking for a way to advertise your business online, you’ve probably wondered about the many different ways that you can engage with prospective customers. While there are many, let’s focus on the most popular ones, which are PPC (Pay Per Click) ads and affiliate marketing.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads
If you’ve ever researched online marketing, you’ll most likely be familiar with Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. If not, they’re basically ads that you pay for when someone clicks on them, usually through an online ad-buying platform. These ads usually appear at the top or bottom of a web page, and when a consumer clicks on them, they’re taken to the advertiser’s website. For convenience stores, this can be a costly and time-consuming method of gaining exposure. However, it’s still the most popular form of online advertising.
If you’ve ever shopped at any big-box store, you’ll most likely be familiar with affiliate marketing. If not, it’s a method of gaining revenue by selling and promoting products that the business sells. For example, if you visit Walmart online and click on a product that they sell, they’ll pay you a commission.
You can become an affiliate marketer by purchasing a small slice of the product (usually around $20) and then marketing the product to earn a commission. In 2021 alone, over a million American retail workers will earn $20,000 or more per year from affiliate marketing. And let’s not forget about Amazon, Walmart’s biggest competitor. In 2021, Amazon will pay their affiliates upwards of $50,000 per year.
To be able to generate such large commissions, you’ll need to build a team of people who are already experienced in affiliate marketing. If you’re looking to get started as an affiliate marketer with a reputable brand, consider comparing notei, which compares all the top affiliate marketing platforms.
Choosing The Right Platform
If you’re looking for a way to advertise your business online, you’ll most likely have considered various platforms, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs research, 84 percent of internet users have considered these ad platforms. If you’re wondering which one to choose, it depends on your budget, your target audience, and what you want to achieve.
There are numerous benefits to using Google Ads, other than just the fact that it’s owned by the largest company in the world. For example, you can target your ads to specific locations, demographics, and devices. In addition, you can use keywords in your ads to have them show up in Google search results for popular keywords. As a business owner, you’ll also want to consider creating a Google My Business account, which allows you to add photos, descriptions, and reviews for your physical locations, as well as blog posts, articles, and videos for your website.
The Rise Of The Mobile-First World
If you’ve ever shopped at any big-box store, you’ll most likely be familiar with online searches on mobile devices. And although the internet started as a desktop-only experience, mobile searches now make up over 50 percent of all searches. And what’s even more incredible is that mobile searches now account for nearly all growth in internet searches.
In 2020, people mostly used their phones to search the internet. In fact, searches on mobile devices now outnumber those on desktop computers. If you’re curious, here’s a list detailing the most popular searches in the US in 2020.
Searches On Mobile Devices Outnumber Those On Desktop Computers
As seen in the graph above, searches on mobile devices now outnumber those on desktop computers. In fact, searches on mobile devices now make up over 50 percent of all searches. This comes as little surprise, considering that in 2020 people mostly used their phones to search the internet.
To give you an idea of how drastically searches have shifted to mobile devices, here’s a graph comparing searches on mobile devices in 2020 to those in 2019.
As you can see, searches on mobile devices outnumber those on desktop computers by a large margin. In fact, over 71 percent of searches are now made on mobile devices. This is amazing considering that in 2019 only around 54 percent of all searches were made on mobile devices.
Desktop Searches Are On The Decline
Although people mostly used mobile devices in 2020, searches on desktop computers were still relatively high. In fact, desktop searches still made up around 40 percent of all searches. But what’s incredible is that Google searches on desktop computers declined by 12 percent compared to those in 2019. This was likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As people were forced to work remotely and spend more time at home, searching for things like ‘food delivery’ and ‘grocery shopping’ spiked, as people were looking for ways to stay connected.
This also made people more reliant on their phones, as they lack the capabilities of a desktop computer. And as people became more accustomed to using their smartphones, searching for local businesses and finding what they need became much easier. This is why notei recommends using search-based platforms, such as Google Ads, for local businesses.
The Decline Of Email Marketing
Email marketing is when a business communicates with its customers or potential customers through emails. This type of marketing can be highly effective, especially now that people are more plugged-in to their email boxes than ever before.
But like many other traditional offline marketing methods, email marketing is declining. In 2020, email marketing makes up only 4 percent of all online marketing activities. That’s compared to 12 percent in 2019, 8 percent in 2018, and 7 percent in 2017.
This is because consumers have so many different ways to get the information they need. With news articles, social media posts, and online forums all easily accessible, people no longer depend on marketing emails to get the information they need.