COVID-19 has radically changed business as usual, and one area where this is especially apparent is ecommerce. Brands with products in categories like health and wellness have flourished under the skyrocketing demand for their products. Others, however, have seen their profits plummet as a result of decreased demand and putting all their eggs in a single-channel basket like Amazon, which buckled under massive order volume at the onset of the pandemic and is still struggling to keep up inventory with demand.
In light of COVID-19, brand diversification has become more important than ever. Not only can it help your brand compete, but diversification can help your brand weather many of the storms that may come its way.
There are two main types of diversification that can be used to strengthen an ecommerce brand: product diversification and platform diversification.
Because markets fluctuate, brands that sell one product may be at risk if that product falls out of demand. With COVID-19 related travel restrictions and financial insecurity, for example, the demand for luggage and luxury goods has plummeted, harming brands that sell in those categories.
Through product diversification, brands can expand into complementary or related product categories, creating opportunities to cross-promote products, stand out amongst competitors, and widen their portfolio. An example of product diversification is for a computer company to start selling other electronics to their consumer base, like gaming consoles.
Leveraging more than one ecommerce channel platform (like a D2C website, Walmart Marketplace, eBay, Etsy, etc.) is another type of diversification. By diversifying the platforms you sell your product on, you can get that product to different target audiences and avoid the risks that come from being at the whim of one company.
We’ve touched on some of the reasons why diversification matters, but it’s worth a deeper dive to understand how it can strengthen your business.
Let’s say you only sell products on Amazon. You probably know that Amazon is saturated with competition. You’re competing against grey market sellers, companies with similar products, and even Amazon itself—Amazon’s private label products have created many challenges for sellers. Diversification is one way to help your brand stand out.
Selling on platforms like Walmart Marketplace or Shopify in addition to Amazon can help you access different markets where people are more likely to notice your brand while retaining traffic and sales from Amazon.
Diversifying your product on Amazon can also help you compete. If you offer a unique bundle at a great price that other brands aren’t offering, for example, customers may be more attracted to your product.
Because of COVID-19, Amazon made the choice this spring to prioritize essential and high-demand products, creating panic and massive headaches for third-party FBA sellers. Transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party processing were dramatically affected.
No new inventory was allowed to be shipped to Amazon, which opened the door for stock-outs of products that continued to sell. Brands in global marketplaces on Amazon also saw delivery estimates on their products increase to 30-days out.
The question still remains of how FBA services will operate in an anticipated second wave of the pandemic—earlier this month changes on Amazon’s Inventory Performance Index were announced that will limit distribution for sellers scoring below 500. Those changes go into effect on August 16, 2020.
By diversifying your business, you can avoid many of the risks that come from depending on a single channel like Amazon that can change the rules overnight or a single product that may not sell.
It doesn’t take a pandemic or national emergency to bring down a single-channel business, especially if that single channel is Amazon.
Amazon’s strict seller policies protect consumers from fraud, and Amazon actively suspends accounts in violation of these policies. Unfortunately, even the best of sellers can end up with their account suspended. This could be a result of poor reviews, chargebacks, A-to-Z claims, or cancellations. Suspension can also happen when vendors intentionally or unintentionally violate selling policies or restricted product rules.
If you only sell your products on Amazon and end up getting your account suspended, your business practically ceases to operate until you get that suspension appealed, and that can be devastating to your sales.
By diversifying your platforms and your products, you give your business space to breathe in case of emergency and space to thrive. To learn about how you can diversify your business and expand to growing ecommerce markets and countries, contact a Pattern representative 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.