2020 was a devastating year for many markets, but ecommerce isn’t one of them. The year catapulted ecommerce a decade into the future, and ecommerce sales were at an all-time high going into 2021. The unforseen acceleration of eccomerce shows it’s never been more important for brands to optimize their Amazon strategies.
On a Pattern webinar about digital shelf, SEO, and advertising, CEO and co-founder Dave Wright and Chief Revenue Officer John LeBaron discussed how brands can step up their ecommerce game in 2021 by fine-tuning their SEO and advertising strategies using data-backed tools and methodologies.
Wright started the webinar by describing what he calls the executive dilemma—the gap between what small ecommerce teams can realistically do and what executives expect them to do.
It’s unrealistic, Wright said, to expect a small in-house ecommerce team to successfully handle everything it takes for a brand to thrive online. Even enormous companies place the burdens of logistics and distribution squarely on the shoulders of a team of 3 or 4 people. The same team is also expected to learn several different pieces of software to make sure everything is running smoothly online. In general, Wright said, companies use 19 different pieces of software to run Shopify alone.
As if that weren’t enough, ecommerce teams also take responsibility for driving traffic to the product and ensuring conversion—which includes creating top-notch imagery, video, and content, and running tests to make sure these messages are resonating with consumers. Executives then expect these small teams to branch out to foreign countries and languages and establish a strong presence on marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba.
“This quickly becomes a gigantic problem to solve—for three people, a near impossibility,” Wright said. “If it doesn’t come at an executive level, then somebody down in the trenches needs to help the executive team understand that what they’re asking them to do is a near impossibility.”
The misconception that even the best ecommerce team can handle every aspect of a businesses’ online presence is costing companies millions of dollars in lost sales and lost markets, Wright said. That’s why it’s critical to team up with an experienced ecommerce partner that can help you handle the nitty-gritty facets of ecommerce and successfully expand to global markets.
Pattern is an ecommerce accelerator that exists to simplify ecommerce for brands while propelling their sales and growth. Partnering with us is like pushing a “big green easy button,” as Wright called it, since we take over the tedious parts and leave you with more time, resources, and revenue.
Along with our expert teams, we have 4 products in our tech stack that help us do that: Destiny, Predict, Shelf, and Share. In this webinar, Wright focused on Destiny, which helps brands identify their competitors and win keywords on Amazon by driving more traffic to product listings.
Wright explained two key concepts that are central to Destiny, the first being a digital shelf of competitors. Just like competing products are placed together on a physical shelf in brick-and-mortar stores, the digital shelf helps brands understand their true Amazon competition based on which products appear next to theirs in searches.
“Brands often think their retail competitors are their competitive set, but when you get into the Amazon landscape, there are lots of competitors there who don’t show up anywhere else,” Wright said. “Oftentimes, they’re more true competitors. They’re people really stealing your market share, they’re people you’re really competing with.”
The second concept is the idea of Laddered Destiny, a model that helps brands select keywords they can realistically win, spend advertising money until their products become organically ranked for said keywords, and then move on to other keywords or keyword phrases.
On average, Pattern’s Predict software gives 1,500 to 2,000 keywords for any given product. In the Laddered Destiny model, we rank these keywords according to destiny—given the product’s quality, price, and reviews compared to competitors on the digital shelf, which keyword searches can it realistically win? And once we’ve won those keyword searches, how can we keep climbing our way up the ladder?
To explain Laddered Destiny, Wright used the example of a probiotic. At first, a probiotic product may only have the destiny to win a niche keyword search, like “probiotic for women over 50.” Once that product starts spending ad money and organically dominating in that niche space, however, it may then have the destiny to win “probiotics for women” and eventually even just “probiotic.” The concept is to keep climbing the ladder and win more and more keywords to increase traffic and ultimately increase conversion and revenue.
“You’ll get great traction on this if you really spend the time doing a great job at the product level,” Wright said. “This model will work tremendously well because you do have destiny. So if you’re saying to yourself, ‘Gosh, I know I’ve got an amazing product,’ and you just need to get it out there, that’s what we’re really good.”
The information we glean from Laddered Destiny is extremely valuable in forming effective SEO and advertising strategies. Running an ASIN through the software tells brands exactly which keywords are both relevant to their digital shelf of competitors and realistic for them to win. This makes it easy to make data-backed decisions on which keywords to include in product titles and listings and where to pour advertising dollars.
During the webinar, Wright ran a live Laddered Destiny demo, using a product from the sock brand Feetures as an example. First, the software determined Feetures’ digital shelf, listing the ASINs of its direct competitors.
With the digital shelf determined, Wright could then pull up the keyword and keyword phrases that the products of the digital shelf, including Feetures’ products, were winning on Amazon. Some of these keywords included “running socks women,” “women’s running socks,” and “women’s no show running socks.” Finally, with all this information, the software generated SEO and bigram recommendations specific to Feetures and its digital shelf.
Although Feetures brands its products as unisex, it’s clear they have destiny around keywords specific to women’s running socks and that the products on their digital shelf dominate in keyword searches relating to women’s socks. However, the demo revealed that the product title doesn’t even mention the word “woman.” According to Wright, these kinds of mistakes are easy to make when you don’t have the data.
“Just taking a pure data science approach to winnability at a keyword or keyword phrase level using the digital shelf is game-changing,” Wright said. “When you start running this and seeing the impact you can have on a given product, it’s enormous. And it’s really not that hard, but it’s difficult to put all these pieces together into an overall strategy, especially if you’ve got 3 people on the team.”
LeBaron added that while ad spend can initially increase while starting the Laddered Destiny model, it gradually gets less expensive as a product starts winning organic search terms. When a product listing starts organically appearing in the top 4 search results, the Laddered Destiny technology will turn off advertising for that word and only turn it back on if the product slips lower than the seventh spot.
“We don’t spend on advertising to just generate additional supplementary revenue,” LeBaron said. “We spend on advertising to build organic rank. And in turn, we end up actually spending less on advertising.”
Apart from Destiny, we use a four-part advertising strategy called CABN (Conquesting, Awareness, Branded, Non-branded.) Each main topic plays together but has a separate playbook and strategy. A brand may be focusing on different models at the same time, like by simultaneously investing in both an awareness campaign and a conquesting campaign.
Pattern’s ad tech and advanced machine learning make CABN possible. For example, once a brand has decided how much money they can spend on conquesting a particular competitor, the machine will then go after keywords related to that conquest. The conquesting learns over time, so if it successfully pursues a keyword phrase, the feedback loop leads it to double down on that keyword and start increasing the bid naturally.
“If somebody starts jacking up the price on, let’s say, probiotic, the machine will start stepping away from that because it will find better value propositions and other keywords or keyword phrases,” Wright said. “Without using some tech around this, you’ll just get destroyed.”
Once the machine starts learning and seeing where a brand can get real results, we then give our brands data-backed recommendations for keywords and advertising strategy.
Interested in learning more about how you can partner with Pattern to step up your Amazon strategy in 2021? Contact us using the form below.
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Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.
In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.
From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.
According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.
From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.
It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.
A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.
Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.
The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)
Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.
Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.
Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.
Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.