Online marketing specialist Alastair Lukies has told Internet Retailing that he believes the PPC (pay-per-click) approach to web-based advertising is not necessarily the most cost effective or efficient way for vendors and businesses to promote their products and services.
Instead he believes that PPC could be ditched in favour of a different model, but only if retailers are willing to work together to achieve this shift.
Lukies points out that when it comes to PPC advertising, businesses can end up spending quite a significant amount on paid search marketing, which leaves them with less money to spend in other areas which results in stifling innovation.
The concept floated by Lukies is effectively one based on a pay-per-purchase approach to marketing and information sharing, whereby banks, retailers and operators join forces to provide data and advertising benefits when sales are made, rather than channelling money into Google even if the interactions that it generates do not actually result in a conversion and a consumer parting with cash.
This model reflects the way that m-commerce and payments made from portable devices are able to operate, indicating the potential changes that this influential area of e-commerce could instigate over the next few years.
The m-commerce impact is illustrated well as a result of the statistic that while two billion people have bank accounts, six billion own portable handsets, which Lukies believes to be a significant factor that will shape online retail.
While mobile payments may be seen as more relevant in emerging markets where access to other services are more limited, there are still many ways in which developed nations like the UK will be adapting to these trends.
Lukies points out that most British children get a mobile phone half a decade before they open their first bank account, which means that they are being engrossed in a world of app-fuelled interactivity and mobile browsing, which is something that e-commerce sites need to harness in order to capture the next generation of consumers.
This presents an interesting conundrum, because of course there may be a shift in the effectiveness of PPC marketing as more and more people use smartphones rather than desktop computers to make online purchases.
Rather than seeing a diminishing return for advertising investment, retailers and other operators in the industry might actually be in a good position to ride the wave of m-commerce interest and ensure that conversions actually cost less to achieve.
Of course in a multichannel market there is always going to be the need for a diverse array of search marketing strategies, relying on both tried and tested solutions and newer platforms which may or may not offer the same degree of success.
The main thing that webmasters need to avoid is a lack of action altogether, since failing to do anything to help your business become more visible online can cause stagnation and make it harder to get back on form. PPC and other techniques can help to make this process manageable.