October 2020 Ecommerce Trend Analysis: Prime Day, Holidays, & More

Newel Cobb

October 21, 2020

Crack out those pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters, and get cozy. October has been a bustling month for ecommerce, and we’re looking back at some of the biggest online shopping events and stories from the month and what they mean for the future of ecommerce. Let’s talk about it.

Omnichannel is becoming more important than ever

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: omnichannel matters, now more than ever. More and more brands are shifting their strategy to a seamless experience between their brick-and-mortar stores and their ecommerce shops, and this month we’ve seen some of the biggest players in the retail space making big moves toward full integration.

Walmart expanding advertising efforts

Last month we reported that Walmart had teamed up with Microsoft in the bidding war to acquire TikTok. Currently, the TikTok deal is in limbo, but that hasn’t stopped Walmart from cranking up the heat in other branches of their omnichannel business, namely advertising.

This month Reuters reported that the retail giant has been aggressively expanding its advertising business and “making better use of its wealth of shopper data” by linking promotions from the Walmart website and app to ads within its 4,700 U.S. stores.

Walmart took their advertising business in-house last year under the name Walmart Media Group, and they continue to bridge the gap between their offline and online data as they develop an ad platform that can rival Amazon’s. According to company insiders, Walmart’s new ad strategy is paying off—Walmart Media Group is on track to earn nearly $1 billion of advertising sales this year, which is more than double that of last year.

Walmart is also putting in the work to expand their ecommerce presence by improving sellers’ experiences on their Marketplace platform. Walmart recently launched a Pro Seller badge that highlights and rewards top-performing sellers on their Marketplace (it’s similar to a “verified” badge on Facebook and Instagram or eBay’s “Top Rated Seller” status) and appears in search results, product pages, and the shopping cart.

The Pro Seller badge is an attempt to increase conversions for sellers who earn it and incentivize other sellers to work towards it. Pro Seller badges are given to sellers with a high on-time delivery rate, low cancellation rate, high quality listings, free online and in-store returns, and consistent compliance with Marketplace policies. So far, 250 sellers out of Walmart Marketplace’s 60,000 have earned a Pro Seller badge.

Alibaba integrating omnichannel strategy

Another company making a big omnichannel play is the ecommerce platform Alibaba. Alibaba announced this month that it will invest $3.6 billion in Sun Art Retail Group, a huge hypermarket and supermarket in China that also happens to be the country’s biggest retailer. This transaction will give Alibaba a 72% controlling interest in the brick-and-mortar company and further their New Retail strategy of integrating online and offline in China.

According to Euromonitor International, Sun Art held a 14.1% share of China’s hypermarket sales last year. Compare that to Walmart’s 10.3% market share in that category.

Mondelez International investing in digital

The owners of milk’s favorite cookie are also shifting their advertising into the omnichannel space, a fairly new move for the snack company. Mondelez announced that for the first time ever, the company will be spending the majority of their advertising budget on digital channels instead of TV commercials, a move that showcases how important an omnichannel presence has become to established brands used to traditional mediums.

Prime Day is here to stay, but this year it looked a bit different

After months of postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s Amazon Prime Day finally came and went on October 13th-14th. In the five years since its inception, this ecommerce holiday has proven that it isn’t going anywhere. That said, Prime Day 2020 has been an outlier compared to previous years.

Prime Day 2020 Analysis and Forecast | Pattern

Prime Day results

Although this year’s event is said to be Amazon’s biggest Prime Day yet, the company’s post-event messaging is more focused on the results for small businesses.

Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, said in an October 15th release, "We are thrilled that Prime Day was a record-breaking event for small and medium businesses worldwide, with sales surpassing $3.5 billion—an increase of nearly 60% from last year.”

Estimates put total Amazon sales during the two-day event at $10 billion, and according to MarketplacePulse, the company’s retail sales during the event were approximately $6.5 billion.

Despite the company’s focus on small and medium-sized businesses, more Prime Day sales on the site went towards Amazon-owned products this year. The platform featured deep discounts on devices like their Amazon Echo and Fire TV, and those naturally captured the most attention and sales.

Foot traffic decline

While Prime Day was happening, some of the largest retailers in the U.S. experienced YOY foot traffic losses. Amazon’s grocery arm Whole Foods saw foot traffic fall 32.1% during the event while Walmart’s traffic was down by 19.1% and Target’s traffic was 15.1% lower than last year. Best Buy fared the best of the bunch with a fall of 11.6% YOY. It’s important to note this drop was expected, as retailers had little time to prepare for an offline sales event after Prime Day was announced.

The effects of 2020 on the event

Prime Day’s postponement followed a spring of logistical nightmares for Amazon after consumers in Covid-19 lockdown turned to ecommerce en masse for their shopping needs. While Amazon was able to iron out much of those issues before their Prime Day event, this year has presented several other obstacles that may have impacted the outcome.

One of the biggest is that shoppers are in a pandemic induced recession that’s influencing much of their buying power and habits. Covid-19 has also created a myriad of shipping limits across 1P and 3P sellers on the site. With short notice ahead of the event’s announced October dates and plenty of noise already in the online space ahead of a heated presidential election, many consumers weren’t aware the event was happening, which may have impacted overall sales.

2020 has certainly proven to be an unprecedented year, and the ecommerce space is no exception. We’d recommend brands looking for data to prepare for next year’s Prime Day event look at 2019 rather than 2020 for better comparison.

Holiday sales promos are starting early

Because of its late dates, this year’s Prime Day event kicked off an early holiday shopping period, with holiday promos starting two days after the event. Post-Prime Day sales are also higher because of a pre-holiday ramp up, and shipping companies are telling retailers and shoppers to prepare early for what could be a record-breaking holiday season.

Bonnie Voldeng, vice president of FedEx Freight Direct, encouraged everyone planning to do holiday shopping this year to “shop and ship early. The earlier the better.” FedEx, like other parcel carriers, has seen an elevated package volume due to the pandemic. Average daily volume at FedEx Ground increased by 31% last quarter and numbers are high across the board.

One thing we recommend going into the holiday season this year is that brands have a 3P drop shipper to ensure their products get where they need to when they need to and in time for the holidays. Read our holiday analysis on Amazon categories most likely to experience stockouts here to learn more.

Pattern analyzes industry trends to help brands navigate the ecommerce space with the data and strategy they need to succeed. To learn about how Pattern can help your ecommerce business thrive, contact us below.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 26, 2022

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

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.

1. Go Early

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.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 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.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

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)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

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.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

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.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace 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.