Tech brands are on the cutting edge of everything new and innovative but, ironically, many have a fairly mediocre online presence, particularly in the B2B space. Online is everything in 2021, and brands that are growing the fastest are leveraging every tool they have in their toolbox to make a killer impression to buyers.
If the thought of getting there with your own brand seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. Creating a powerful online presence can take work, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but there are simple steps you can take to get started.
Here are five ways B2B tech brands can improve their online presence in 2021.
Many brands treat Amazon like an afterthought. What they should be doing is making it a top priority. Amazon is the biggest ecommerce platform in the country, and it’s the fastest-growing channel for thousands of brands. In just the first quarter of 2021, Amazon made $837 thousand per minute. Their business sector is slated to bring even more success to the brand—Amazon Business has seen its gross sales grow 2.9 times faster than the total sales for Amazon, according to Digital 360.
Amazon’s growth is exciting, but it’s not the only reason brands should pay attention. The reality is that what happens on Amazon doesn’t stay on Amazon. You may not be in that space, but eventually, your product will be, and without a presence there, you’ll watch unauthorized sellers harm your brand image and your pricing across every other channel.
If you’re not doing so already, start assessing what opportunities exist on the Amazon platform for your brand right now and understanding the dynamics Amazon creates with your other channels. Think about how important Amazon was for your business two years ago, then think about how important it is now and may be in the future. It should be a central figure in your business planning.
When brands sell on multiple channels, they often end up having inconsistent brand messaging, especially if they have a wide distribution of sellers who are partially crafting the consumer-facing side of their business on marketplaces. Consistency across channels is key to excelling in the omni-channel space.
Your brand should be immediately recognizable in a lineup. That means your image quality should be the same on your Amazon listings as it is on your B2B site. Your copy should be compliant across all channels, you should have a clear, unified message about your brand, and your customer service should be solid no matter which channel or seller it comes from. This helps your brand stay memorable and trustworthy for buyers.
Good ratings and reviews are one of the most important elements of a stellar online brand presence. Over 93% of your customers will look at your reviews before making a purchase, and if your reviews stink, your growth is going to flounder.
It’s important to note that your Amazon rating is fundamentally not about your product, but about how your product meets the customer expectation. That means you either have to change the product or change the expectation.
Assessing reviews and customer Q&As can help you determine a) the quality of your customer service experience and b) what customers are expecting from you. What is the overall feedback on your brand? What frequent complaints keep popping up? How do customers feel about the customer service experience and what language do they use to describe your product? The answers to these questions can be leveraged and repurposed to create an experience or product that meets customer expectations, and met expectations will help your ratings improve.
Without proper policy in place and without control, pricing on marketplaces can fluctuate like a rollercoaster. When it does that, it harms every one of your partners and ultimately your own growth.
Brands that don’t have control online (their distribution is too wide or they aren’t monitoring marketplaces) almost always end up in a predicament we call the Profitability Death Spiral. When a VAR or other seller decides to drop their price on Amazon to beat out the competition, all of your other sellers are forced to lower their prices to compete. This can go on and on until your good-faith sellers are hurting from lost margins and your overall brand is hurting, too.
To prevent price erosion from happening, you must regain control. This is done by being picky about which VARs you sell your product through and limiting distribution. Control is also maintained by enforcing MAP policies so that sellers know you’re serious about taking them to task when they mess up.
Another way to stabilize your pricing is to maintain price parity across all channels. Consumers should be able to go to your webpage and get the same price on an item there as they’d get on your Amazon store and vice versa.
One mistake brands make in ecommerce is to work with VARs that aren’t well-equipped to protect or manage the brand on marketplaces. These partners might be able to sell your product, but they don’t have the resources to improve your brand’s online presence, your advertising, or your customer service. Once pricing and distribution are under control, your ticket to success is to find a VAR that can fill in the gaps in your strategy and be dedicated to your brand.
Pattern can be that for your business. Pattern is an exclusive ecommerce seller who works side by side with brands to help them thrive. Our in-house Predict software can help you find and eliminate the distributors who are eroding your prices, provide you with the best keywords to improve your products’ organic ranking, and view up-to-date analytics about your brand. We make sure your image stacks and copy are slick and informative, and we provide shoppers with an exceptional customer service experience reflective of the brand experience you want to offer.
If you’re interested in learning more about an Amazon-experienced VAR or how Pattern can help your B2B tech brand establish a killer presence on the marketplace, request your demo today or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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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.