The web is having a greater influence on sales, and companies need seamless strategies to maintain their success and grow.

Most purchases are impacted by digital content. Whether consumers are actually buying products on ecommerce sites or not, brands’ virtual presences still have an impact on most purchases. Checking emails, accessing information in mobile apps, updating social network – these are daily activities* for the majority of Americans.

Data from Nielsen estimates around 60 percent of retail purchases will be influenced by the web in 2017, whether than means straight ecommerce transactions or information found online. By that time, companies will need to have a full-fledged web marketing strategy or forfeit more than half of their sales opportunities.

Consumer pathway has changed

The internet’s impact on consumer decisions

There are reasons why brands need entire web marketing campaigns and not just ecommerce strategies. One of those reasons is that direct sales are just a piece of the picture. Companies can plant seeds across the web to influence prospects’ choices long before they make a purchase on a website or in a store.

Brafton previously reported that around 40 percent of consumers cross channels – interacting with web content on a combination of social networks, business websites and search results – before finally making decisions. The outcome is that any brand messaging they passed along that journey will overtly or subconsciously factor into their consideration about which business provides the best solution for their specific needs.

And this process is not unique to B2C companies, as the Nielsen report would suggest. B2Bs are equally impacted because 99 percent of decision makers say online content had sway on the vendor they select. The reality is that empowered decision makers aren’t waiting for potential vendors to find them, or relying on a desktop Rolodex for contacts. They are performing their own due diligence online – and brands that are there with helpful answers across channels will be more competitive.

How to bridge the online-offline gap

The trick is that consumers aren’t just focused on the web. They still expect a lot from their in-person buying experiences, and some still aren’t ready to accept the power of the internet. Around 22 percent told Nielsen they have little trust for technology and nearly three-quarters of CPG consumers still prefer to browse and buy in stores.

Around 60 percent of retail purchases will be influenced by the web in 2017

Marketers have the difficult task of straddling both worlds with their campaigns, bringing face-to-face experiences online and weaving digital content into offline interactions.

This balance can be achieved with on-brand graphic visuals, video content that adds a personal touch and compelling narratives that bring value propositions to life. Companies that have the resources and creative strategy to seamlessly reach prospects across channels will be the ones that stand out and drive success in the future.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.