Ecommerce Professionals Are Asked to Do Too Much

John LeBaron

February 18, 2021

Working in ecommerce can feel a lot like juggling five to ten objects of different shapes and sizes and hoping they don’t crash to the floor or into each other. Leading the ecommerce efforts for your brand is involved and exhausting, made more so because many brands’ ecommerce arms are woefully under-resourced.

Most brand executives only hire two to three ecommerce experts to run their business online, and it isn’t enough to keep up with everything your business needs to grow. Sound familiar? Ecommerce teams like yours are overworked and overwhelmed, and without proper support or resources you’ll never reach your true business potential. At best, you can keep your head above water and continue pushing off new initiatives and strategies, but at worst, a too thinly spread ecommerce team can turn into one big money pit for business.

Why ecommerce teams are overwhelmed

Ecommerce has evolved into a massive arm of business—ecommerce sales in Q3 of 2020 alone leaped to 37.1% year over year, showing how vital it is to the economic ecosystem. It’s the quickest way to reach consumers, wherever they are, with the biggest wins. It’s also evolved far beyond the scope most brands’ ecommerce teams are equipped to manage.

D2C Websites

Brands generally start with a D2C because it gives them greater control of the brand experience. It also makes up 3% of their overall revenue. D2Cs, however, can rapidly turn complex. You have to manage the retail platform you build your site on—i.e. Shopify, Magento, Google—or build a retail platform on your own. Then there are ancillary ecosystem modules you have to oversee and incorporate into your D2C, like your purchasing systems, your shipping logistics, your customer service infrastructure, and live chat provider. At a minimum, you’re looking at 18 different modules associated with your site that you have to build out and manage as an ecommerce team.

Once these things are built out on your D2C, you then have to drive traffic to your D2C. This requires creating and managing the digital arm supporting your brand—like Instagram and Facebook—working with SEO to drive traffic via search engine, overseeing paid advertising, and maybe even influencer marketing.

All of this is a tall order on its own for an ecommerce team, but D2Cs are only the tip of the ecommerce iceberg.

Marketplaces

Global marketplaces make up a six trillion-dollar industry—Amazon is three times the size of Shopify and Alibaba is 10 times the size of Shopify. Omni-channel marketplaces are the way for your brand to see serious and sustained growth, but they add several more obligations to the shoulders of your already overworked staff and amplify your brand’s main challenges.

With marketplace management, you’re looking at ad spend, SEO and keywords, product listings, MAP enforcement, and online control just to start. That doesn’t take into account additional responsibilities you’ll take on if you choose to sell your product on more than one marketplace. Frankly, even if you think you do, you don’t have the expertise and manpower on your own, across all of these channels, to manage all of them well.

International Sales

Going international adds an additional layer of challenges for your brand, because then you start dealing with obstacles like tariffs, export duties, different MAP laws, localization within each country, different images, and different packaging requirements. It gets spendy to have feet on the ground worldwide, but global ecommerce only continues to grow.

Combined, each of these areas of your ecommerce business are completely inundating your team. You have a higher potential of seeing disparate data across channels and marketplaces, making it harder to let the data guide your strategy. You have siloed expertise, where your team members might be well-versed in one thing like Instagram, but can’t possibly be well-versed in everything your ecommerce brand needs to grow, making it hard to scale. In almost every scenario, being under-resourced is the nail in the coffin for your ecommerce team.

The Executive Dilemma

All of these pressure points cause what we call the “executive dilemma.” This is when CEOs are forced to grapple with the question of whether or not they should invest in an ecommerce team that continues to need more resources and cost them more money. An under-resourced and overworked team gives them lower returns, even if it isn’t that team’s fault, and in order to make up for that, executives will pour additional money into agencies, temp workers, contractors, and software designed to make up for the competencies their ecommerce team is ill-equipped to provide on its own. This just eats into their profits and exacerbates the problem.

Pretty soon, CEOs are questioning if their ecommerce teams are actually any good or if they’re just a waste of their investment. When you’re doing your best to put out fires for your business, juggle everything you need to do, and still failing to meet your potential as a result, this response can be devastating.

The solution

The most important thing you should do right now to address these pressure points is to communicate them to your brand executives. Make sure they know exactly what your ecommerce team needs to help the brand grow, and let them know there’s a better way of doing business: the Pattern way.

Pattern helps ecommerce teams just like yours eliminate pressure points so they can realize their full potential and focus on the strategic direction of their ecommerce business, instead of just cleaning up messes. With Pattern’s partnership, brands become self-sufficient and achieve long-term profitable growth, while allowing ecommerce professionals to grow and flourish.

Without Pattern, your business may go through 3-5 or more agencies to cover the work your ecommerce team can’t, paying thousands of dollars in fees each month in addition to costs for personnel, your D2C, marketplaces, and lost margins due to lack of control online.

At Pattern, we pay you—literally. We purchase your inventory from you and then arm you with every tool you need to dazzle on ecommerce, including invaluable data analysis about your conversion rates and listings, marketing and advertising resources, SEO, shipping and distribution logistics, and even international sales when you’re ready. We also help you get control of your brand online, so not only are you making money, but you’re saving it.

Our brand managers are devoted to the success of your brand, not how much they can make on commission or how much of your money they can spend. We work hand in hand with your ecommerce team to give you the support you need to not only thrive, but to reclaim the space and time your team needs in order to focus on doing what you love again.

To learn more about how Pattern can help your brand, set up your demo today.

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Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves

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. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

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.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

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. 

2. Proven Results

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.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

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.

4. Network of Resources

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.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

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.

Sept 15, 2022

The 3 Tmall Metrics That Every Brand Needs to Know

If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.

At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.

What is Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR)?

Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.

Why DSR Determines Success on Tmall

DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.

Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.

DSR Score Elements

1. Service

Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.

So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.

2. Delivery

Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.

So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.

3. Content

As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.

The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).

Expand Internationally With Pattern

As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter. 

It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.

Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.