Online marketing software platform provider Hubpost has practically trademarked the use of the term “inbound marketing,” and that applies to e-commerce as well, says a blog post on the company website.

“Ecommerce companies that invest in inbound marketing will greatly increase their opportunity to grow online sales, lower COCA (cost of customer acquisition), and increase new customer retention,” states the post, and Hubspot includes an infographic (see below) to back up its claims.

Inbound marketing – getting found by prospective customers – is seen as an antidote to less effective interruptive forms of marketing such as banner ads (or advertising in general, for that matter).

Historically, much of inbound marketing’s effectiveness has centered around search marketing – SEO specifically. However, the advent of social media has ushered in an entirely new era of inbound activity based on consumer referrals, ratings and reviews. So effective is it that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend, says the post.

In its run down of e-commerce industry statistics, rating and review software platform BazaarVoice, citing a Harris Interactive poll from 2010, provides concurring data – “71% of those survey claim reviews from family members or friends exert a ‘great deal’ or ‘fair amount’ of influence.”

So much for the argument that friends don’t influence each other. Word-of-mouth…referral marketing…permission marketing…inbound marketing…or whatever term that you choose to apply does appear to influence purchase decisions – 71% of the time anyway.

Ecommerce Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing - Infographic