Pairing Tech + Expertise: The Secret to Ecommerce Acceleration in 2021

John LeBaron

July 6, 2021

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers across the globe have been heavily reliant on ecommerce. Building the required ecommerce capabilities will undoubtedly be one of the biggest challenges for DTC brands, but also a massive opportunity to increase scale and profitability potential.

The question is, how can businesses put the pedal to the metal to accelerate ecommerce growth?

The COVID-fueled ecommerce surge

The COVID-19 pandemic brought different kinds of uncertainty, but one trend has become clear: it has fueled the ecommerce surge.

In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online, and ecommerce sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide, according to Statista.

The outbreak has reshaped our world in every way, but it has also accelerated digital transformation. According to McKinsey, in just 90 days, the ecommerce industry experienced ten years' worth of growth.

The numbers are jaw-dropping: 75% of U.S. consumers have tried different stores, websites, or brands during COVID-19, and 60% of them expect to stick to the new brands in their post-COVID-19 lives.

Suddenly, businesses found themself in a mad dash to figure out their ecommerce strategy and make the most out of the COVID-fueled surge in online shopping.

10 challenges of the modern ecommerce DTC environment

Today’s ecommerce landscape has brought some unique challenges. DTC brands who want to survive and thrive must pivot.

1. Ever-growing customers’ expectations

Since the start of the pandemic, customers have gotten much more comfortable with online shopping. As a result, they were exposed to different shopping experiences—from lousy to top-notch. Every time customers come across a seamless experience, their expectations get higher.

Even though this puts pressure on DTC brands, it also motivates them to keep an eye on the latest trends and constantly improve the online buyer journey.

2. Complex tech stack

Today’s DTC businesses are trying to keep up with the influx of software solutions they need to implement in their ecommerce store. While it's true that tools can make your life easier, juggling all those tools can feel like a Sisyphean task.

In the end, DTC businesses find themselves torn between building a complex tech stack and simplifying processes, which can ultimately hurt their bottom line.

3. Driving relevant traffic

One of the biggest challenges of modern DTC brands is figuring out ways to drive relevant traffic to their website. No matter how successful a brand is, attracting website visitors will remain at the top of their priority list.

Getting more eyeballs on their product pages is the only way to convert visitors into customers. However, today when the battlefield has moved in the digital realm, driving traffic seems more challenging than ever before.

4. Converting visitors into customers

Once you get visitors to your ecommerce store, the next step is to pave their way to the “add to cart” button. Creating an engaging experience becomes table stakes nowadays. But as the competition gets more fierce by the day, DTC brands struggle with abandoned carts more than ever before.

According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is slightly under 70 percent. Moving forward, ecommerce businesses will have to find a solution to boost their conversion rates.

5. The rising cost of customer acquisition

In the last few years, customer acquisition costs have remained stubbornly high—even more so now that deep-pocketed retailers have entered the digital advertising arena. Contrast this to a decade ago when DTC brands had the advantage of low-cost online ads that drove customer acquisition like cheap rocket fuel.

As a result, today’s online advertising costs have skyrocketed with the surge in demand, making acquiring new customers significantly more expensive.

6. Small ecommerce teams

Unlike the online giants, in most cases, DTC brands have small ecommerce teams. What’s more, their task lists keep growing. Between sky-high customer expectations and tackling daily responsibilities, ecommerce teams can feel overwhelmed.

In the end, they don’t have the time nor the resources to focus on strategic initiatives that can move the needle.

7. Disparate data

Data is a prerequisite for ecommerce success. Without data, companies would have to make their decisions based on assumptions. However, the amount of data that ecommerce businesses have to collect, analyze, and act upon is massive.

Because of disparate data, DTC companies end up with tons of charts, grids, and spreadsheets but with no clear insight on what to do next.

8. Siloed expertise

The silo mentality is one of the biggest bottlenecks to business growth. Even though companies strive to hire the best talent for every position, with time, expertise can lead to a siloed organization.

Breaking down silos is the only way to achieve high results. Companies that foster collaboration between teams but also embrace external partnership help are the ones who learn more and sell more.

9. Marketplace dominance

Ecommerce marketplaces have grown significantly in the last couple of years. According to Digital Commerce 360, people spent $2.67 trillion globally on the top 100 online marketplaces in 2020. What’s more, marketplace sales account for 62% of the global online retail.

What does this mean for DTC brands? Incorporating marketplace presence as part of your strategy can be the key to ecommerce acceleration.

10. Going global becomes table stakes

One of the great benefits of ecommerce is that it’s a great way to test waters with international markets. Even though going global requires dealing with returns, overcoming language barriers, and handling distribution and logistics, it’s still one of the best ways to grow your business.

The road to ecommerce acceleration in 2021

A new era of ecommerce is about to unfold. To start capitalizing on the ecommerce surge, you have to set your business for growth.

Let’s take a look at five strategies that will pave your way to ecommerce acceleration.

1. Optimize your creative for ecommerce

Customers crave engaging content experiences. It’s no secret that content can be the key differentiator for your business. High-quality product visuals and persuasive product descriptions are the basic requirements for success in the digital landscape.

DTC businesses that bet on ecommerce for the long run should start by creating a product page that converts.

In other words, build an engaging shopping experience that answers every question your customers may have. From sharp product images and detail shots to product reviews, recommendations, and videos, enriching the digital merchandising of your webshop will lead to more conversions.

One important thing to remember: if you’re selling through multiple channels, make sure to unify your brand experience and optimize your creative across every touchpoint.

As one of the most popular brands for running socks, Feetures was aware of the importance of a unified brand image across channels. They were challenged by the high cost of optimizing images and content on their ecommerce channels, which led to an inconsistent brand message across sellers. After partnering with Pattern, they optimized images and content and maintained a consistent brand image across all marketplace and Amazon listings while boosting overall annual revenue by 67%.

Feetures

2. Rely on rules-based advertising and data-driven SEO

Digital marketing is an essential part of ecommerce. However, in the last couple of years, businesses have faced difficulties in reaching new customers. DTC brands have been conditioned to think that pouring dollars into digital marketing is enough and will bring them the expected results.

In reality, businesses are overspending without having a solid strategy in place. If you want to get the most of the money you invest in online marketing, you must rely on rules-based advertising and data-driven SEO.

Keeping your keywords in sync with product descriptions, alt tags, and titles ensures your product’s visibility on the keywords you’re bidding on. The first step is finding out the right keywords so you can start spending wisely and boost conversions.

3. Leverage the power of online marketplaces

Online marketplaces are booming. The fact that they account for more than half of global online retail is mind-blowing. It’s no surprise that more and more DTC brands choose marketplaces as testing grounds for their internationalization.

However, keep in mind that navigating the ins and outs of marketplaces is a full-time job. Taking care of the product listings, direct content optimization, and ensuring your customers are happy, are just some of the daily activities.

The good news is that you can partner with experts who can take care of day-to-day tasks while you focus on other growth opportunities.

Thorne is a supplements and wellness brand that wanted to expand its ecommerce presence. They wanted to grow to new marketplaces, but they needed help in uniforming the customer brand experience across channels. As a result of their Pattern partnership, Thorne was able to expand to 7 new marketplaces and countries, including Walmart.com, Tmall, MercadoLibre, Jet, and Amazon China, CA, and EU. Embracing this approach has helped them achieve 50% sales growth.

Thorne

4. Create an effective ecommerce distribution logistics strategy

Distribution and logistics for global markets can be an absolute nightmare. From packaging and labeling to warehousing and fulfillment, DTC brands need good organization and a system in place to take care of each step–from the moment customers buy a product to the moment they receive it.

Finding an ecommerce distribution partner who will streamline your distribution and help you cut down costs can fuel your business growth. Tech-savvy distribution partners are equipped with advanced solutions to help you keep track of all your activities. Pattern’s Shelf software will keep you up to date on all product movements. With distribution centers in 5 countries, Pattern ships an average of 850K units each month to 12 marketplaces and 89 countries.

5. Put data at the core of your ecommerce business

The difference between an average and a successful ecommerce business is the data. Only brands that set up goals, gather data along the way, and take action on what they learn can adapt to changes, stay buoyant, and thrive.

Better data informs better decisions. Having an all-in-one ecommerce tracking tool will give you an in-depth look into the health of your ecommerce business, keeping you in the know of what’s going on with compliance, advertising, ratings, and reviews, and more—all on one platform.

Pattern’s solution Predict pulls real-time data from over 4,000 ecommerce sites each day to give you all the insights you need to win on Amazon and other marketplaces.

The U.S. brand Pure Encapsulations produces a complete line of research-based, hypoallergenic nutritional supplements. Pure needed better insights into their ecommerce business to help them take control of their channel, and a holistic ecommerce strategy to protect, grow, and clean up their brand online. By partnering with Pattern, Pure gained access to comprehensive ecommerce reporting through the Predict software. As a result, they were able to grow revenue by 4x since 2016.

Pure

What’s next?

Once new customer habits are cemented, there’s no going back. Today’s customers have high expectations when it comes to online shopping. DTC brands that want to accelerate ecommerce growth have to adopt strategies that will future-proof their business.

If you fail to adjust to the changing ecommerce landscape, you risk going out of business. The good news is that you can rely on expert help.

If you’re looking for a world-class ecommerce partner to support your growth, Pattern is your solution. Request your demo 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.