It’s no secret that Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla of eCommerce. The giant claims half of all eCommerce sales in the U.S., has over 100 million Prime members in the U.S. alone, and 54% of U.S. product searches online are now starting on Amazon.
And the list goes on and on.
So why invest precious time and resources into expanding to other domestic marketplaces? Can’t I just master Amazon and call it good?
Why go beyond Amazon?
Well, have no doubt that you should dial in your Amazon offering first—it’s the bread and butter of eCommerce. But after you do, George Hatch, Pattern’s Director of Marketplaces, says there are some other key reasons you might consider pursuing the other half of eCommerce sales that the ‘Zon hasn’t dug its massive, furry hands into just yet: brand integrity and incrementality.
“If you're not selling your product in other domestic marketplaces—if you are not representing your brand—somebody else is, and it may not be up to your standards,” he said in Pattern’s recent webinar on the subject.
Not to mention, taking control of your brand across other U.S. marketplaces can help give you the growth that only comes from meeting buyer demand across the eCommerce spectrum (not just on Amazon). Plus, expanding into other U.S. marketplaces might set you up for success in the international eCommerce arena in the future.
The bottom line here is growth, Hatch said. Having a presence on other eCommerce sites can help you access swaths of new customers and grow your brand—all under your own terms.
So which U.S. marketplaces should I break into?
Hatch and the other experts at Pattern agree that four U.S. marketplaces should be at the top of your list when considering going beyond Amazon: Walmart.com, eBay, Jet, and Google Shopping. Each marketplace has a unique offering that could help you find key growth opportunities you didn’t know you were missing out on.
The stats: Walmart.com grew its U.S. eCommerce sales by 37% in the first quarter of 2019, surpassing Apple to become the third largest online retailer in the U.S. after Amazon and eBay. Plus, it’s expected to capture more than 4% of the online retail market this year in the U.S.
Awesome, tell me more: Unlike Amazon, Walmart only supplies some 8% of its 44 million products. The remainder—a fat 92%—is coming from marketplace sellers. And there’s only 23,000 sellers on Walmart.com (compared to the over 5 billion sellers across the Amazon marketplace). Simply put, “the competition there is not to the same level that is it on Amazon," Hatch said.
Any challenges? Well, some people see Walmart as a discount retailer and brands may be hesitant to sell there so as to not tarnish their brand. But, as Hatch noted, if you aren’t there representing your brand, someone else is. Why not do it on your terms?
Fact or fiction? Many people associate eBay with used, c-to-c goods. In actuality, 79% of items sold on eBay are new. Not to mention, 70% of items on eBay ship for free across the U.S., U.K., and Germany. Oh, and 80% of their GMV last quarter came from fixed-price listings (or buy-it-now instead of auctions).
Opportunities: eBay offers brands the chance to create a custom storefront and really tell their brand message to the consumer. Additionally, they give more of the buyer’s information back so brands can actually engage with that buyer in the marketfront. That way, brands can make sure that their customer service is on par with what they want to offer buyers.
What could go wrong? Counterfeit activity remains a challenge on eBay (and other eCommerce sites, for that matter). eBay has taken some anti-counterfeit measures in the form of their Verified Rights Owner Program. However, Hatch said, the best way to avoid counterfeits is to ensure you have actual listings on a marketplace to begin with. Buyers prefer to buy from the brand rather than third-party sellers anyway, but that can’t happen unless your brand has a presence in the first place.
Worth it in the long run: It’s true that monthly visits to Jet have dropped since Walmart acquired them in 2016 (going from some 35 million to 10 million). But there are still brands that are making significant sales on Jet, Hatch says. Plus, he sees Walmart possibly relaunching the site in the future.
Be where buyers are: Though there’s not too much to say here, the bottom line, Hatch said, is that “it just makes sense to be anywhere where your buyers might want to engage with your brand.”
New blood: Since 60% of shoppers that buy on Google Shopping are new to that brand, Google Shopping offers a unique opportunity to reach customers who might not be searching on Amazon for their needs. With over a billion individual users accessing Google’s services across the board, taking advantage of the scale and reach of Google early on will pay dividends in the future.
Ease and freedom: Plus, Google Shopping offers a similar, universal checkout experience to Amazon, taking care of the customer service for the transaction to reduce the number of clicks for a buyer. Buyers can filter by brands and even search for products on Google Images and other Google services like YouTube. Google also allows you to feed them all of your brand information: brand-approved image stacks, descriptions, and titles, all “ensuring that it’s a great brand experience,” Hatch said.
But, (just as on other marketplaces) content in Google’s catalog can tend to take precedence over other content. Improving your search ranking may be a challenge, but nothing you can’t take on with some effort.
How do I get started?
The logistics of expanding to a new domestic marketplace can be daunting. It takes time—and a plan—to get there. Hatch says the marketplace experts at Pattern are a ready and willing resource to help you decide when is best to consider breaking into other U.S. marketplaces and how to do it best.
Even though other domestic marketplaces may seem to hide in Amazon’s large shadow, it’s no reason to ignore them, Hatch said.
"One of the reasons we feel that omni-channel ecommerce is so important for a brand is that—anywhere a buyer is shopping—we really want our brand partners to make sure that they have their message out there."
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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.