What Does Outdoor-Related Ecommerce Look Like in 2021?

Ryan Riggs

May 6, 2021

Just months before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the Outdoor Industry Association released a study showing that only half of the U.S. population participated in outdoor recreation.

Lise Aangeenbrug, the association’s executive director, told Outside Online that the study showed that America was becoming “an indoor nation.”

But COVID-19 changed everything for outdoor recreation. Public health orders essentially gave Americans two options: stay at home or get outside. One survey found that 66% of Americans said they’re doing more outdoor activities close to home in a post-COVID world and 32% are participating in more outdoor activities than ever.

This shift in outdoor recreation has been reflected in ecommerce behaviors. Outdoor products, which Amazon originally deprioritized at the beginning of the pandemic, saw a huge spike in opportunity as people spent more time outside. But brands couldn’t fully harness the increased demand because of supply issues—they either didn’t have enough product on hand or enough product allocated specifically to Amazon.

As a result, many outdoor brands have changed their ecommerce strategies for 2021 in hopes of being more prepared for what’s shaping up to be another big year for outdoor gear.

Will the demand for outdoor gear remain high in 2021?

It’s difficult to predict how mass vaccinations and a decrease in coronavirus infections will affect the ecommerce demand for outdoor gear. While people may have a newfound appreciation for nature thanks to 2020’s lockdowns, they may also decide to revert to their old ways of spending most of their time indoors. But some key indicators show that the demand for outdoor gear will remain high in 2021.

National park data, for example, shows that people are more eager than ever to visit national parks in 2021. Great Smoky Mountains National Park experienced its busiest January ever in 2021 with more than 500,000 visitors. Zion National Park reported more than 172,000 visits in January 2021, making it only the third time ever the park topped 100,000 visits in January. The Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina also experienced its busiest January on record in 2021.

The demand for hunting and fishing licenses has also dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued more fishing licenses in 2020 than it had in a single year since 2008. California hunting licenses also increased by 11% from 2019 to 2020. Oregon sold 18% more angling licenses in 2020 than it did in 2019. Idaho also saw dramatic increases in fishing license sales.

In a similar vein, boat sales have also seen record highs amid coronavirus shutdowns. The National Marine Manufacturers Association reported more powerboat purchases in 2020 than the industry has seen since before the 2008 recession.

If people continue to use their newly purchased outdoor gear, licenses, and boats, then 2021 will be another year with a heightened focus on outdoor recreation close to home. As vaccination rates rise, it’s also likely that consumers will travel and plan bigger adventures to make up for lost time.

How outdoor brands are adapting to a post-COVID world

While different outdoor brands are responding differently to the new ecommerce landscape in the industry, most are shifting their focus toward direct-to-consumer business. Some are launching new products and tools to meet the increasing demand for outdoor products.

Carie Behe, the GTM Marketing Manager for Cotopaxi, has seen outdoor recreation grow in popularity since she started working in the industry more than a decade ago. But she said COVID took that growth to the next level. Cotopaxi is preparing for another big season for close-to-home recreation with new launches in 2021 and eventually international travel and big adventure trips in late 2021 and 2022.

“The brand sees that there is this increased level of outdoor participation, that there is an increased number of people that are recreating closer to home and are looking for versatile products that can go with them on various outdoor adventures,” Behe said. “I think Cotopaxi is really doing a great job of addressing that with some of the products that we're launching this summer.”

Charlie Ninegar, the Vice President of Sales for Nixon Watches, said the pandemic shifted Nixon’s balance between wholesale business and direct-to-consumer business. While both channels saw increased demand, direct-to-consumer business especially flourished in 2020. Nixon was already heading in that direction, but the pandemic accelerated the process.

“If any business in a brand was lagging in their focus on direct selling efforts, the pandemic must have changed their point of view on that,” Ninegar said. “It’s not an option, if you were a product category like us, to not be focused on that side of the business. The pandemic doubled down on how important it is to have a direct relationship with your customers.”

Flip flop brand Havaianas has also seen a shift to digital business as a result of the pandemic. Havaianas President Jacob Uhland said that COVID-19 took Havaianas’ sales from 70% brick-and-mortar and 30% digital to 70% digital and 30% brick-and-mortar. In response, Havaianas closed 14 of its 21 storefronts and prioritized its website.

“We call it the digital revolution,” Uhland said. “We’ve pivoted all of our investments into all of our digital channels. Our stores were off significantly, but we were able to cover 100% of that loss through Havaianas.com.”

Uhland said he believes in the future of brick-and-mortar, however, and doesn’t expect ecommerce to maintain its current level of prominence as the pandemic draws to an end.

Like Havaianas, insole brand Superfeet also made up for its brick-and-mortar losses with a shift to ecommerce. Linda Balfour, the Vice President of Marketing at Superfeet, said the pandemic accelerated Superfeet’s ecommerce efforts, which will continue to remain a focus into 2021.

“We launched an online insole recommendation tool and product videos to help people easily find the right Superfeet for them,” Balfour said about Superfeet’s adaptations to a post-COVID world. “Further development and deployment of those tools will remain a high priority for us and will be core to how we operate in the future.”

The future of outdoor brands

Although no one can predict the future of ecommerce—a fact that 2020 has made abundantly clear—it’s evident that the demand for outdoor gear will remain high in 2021. It’s also evident that outdoor brands, along with brands in almost every other category, have entered a digital revolution with direct-to-consumer business at its forefront.

If your brand is looking to be better prepared for digital ecommerce and the demand of online marketplaces, Pattern can help. Talk through your concerns and brand needs with us today.

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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.