Scaling Ecommerce Growth: Partners vs. Agencies

John LeBaron

December 16, 2020

We’re about to say something you might find surprising: working with an agency is not the most effective way to grow your ecommerce business. Sure, agencies offer the expertise and the perspective you need to excel, but gone are the days when an agent could give a brand all the resources they need to thrive.

Brands today deal with far more complexities than agencies are equipped to solve, and to win big, brand leaders need a different relationship with the body helping them manage their brand. If you’re looking to scale your growth quickly and at less cost with the expertise you need to win in every corner, you should consider working with a partner instead of an agency.

An agency vs. a partner

When we talk about a “partner,” we mean someone who prioritizes your brand’s success, has a real relationship with you, and brings a full deck of experience to the table to help you thrive in every element of your business. Agencies can partially get you there, but there are some key differences that make a partnership with a company like Pattern a better option for growth.

Partners give you a wider breadth of expertise

Agencies rely on a fairly antiquated, specialized model for success. The upside to that is you get an expert with a honed focus helping you win on platforms like Amazon. The downside is that, while an agency might have expertise on one element of your ecommerce business, let’s say marketing, they may not be great at things like SEO, content syndication, or listing optimization. They might be well-versed in one platform, but not have the depth of experience to help your brand win on another. In a market where omnichannel is king, that can create some serious blindspots.

Double Your Resources With the Benefits of an Ecommerce Partner Over an Ecommerce Agency | Pattern

What tends to happen when a brand works with an agency is they don’t just stick to one agency. They have to make contracts with other agencies to help them cover the bases of their ecommerce business left uncovered. This creates a spendy smorgasbord of a team that can be difficult for brands to manage.

A partnership with Pattern gives you centralized expertise for every channel of your business at significantly less cost to you. This includes expertise on advertising, domestic sales, international sales, SEO, customer experience, design, different marketplaces, and more. Instead of jugging five or six accounts you only have to worry about one. You’re working with fewer personnel, but even more expertise.

Partners have aligned financial incentives

Working with an agency can often undermine the very thing you’re trying to achieve because of how agencies are incentivized. Let’s say you want to grow your brand at a lower cost. While you’re incentivized to keep ad spend low, an agency might be incentivized to spend more because they get a commission of the funds that your brand is spending in a given marketplace. They might be bonused based on something like Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS) and therefore bid on branded keywords that cost less but only give you vanity metrics instead of driving incremental sales.

Pattern Partner Key Outcomes in Their First Year, Revenue Growth, Control, Expansion to New Marketplaces | Pattern

In a partnership with Pattern, your incentives are our incentives. Our brand managers are compensated for helping you hit your revenue and growth targets, not based on how much you spend. Brands working with Pattern ultimately spend less than they did on their own or with an agency because we offer more bang for their buck and put them first. We, in fact, cut you a check upfront, not the other way around.

Partners offer more flexibility

Most agencies expect their clients to commit to a contract of several months or several years. That can be draining financially and it can be difficult if your relationship with an agency sours over time.

The average contract with Pattern only requires you to commit to sixty days out, and we give you the best value for your dollar so that when the time comes, you feel incentivized to stay. 97% of our new clients do.

How Pattern helps brands grow their revenue

Unlike working with an agency, working with Pattern as your partner means you’re armed with every tool you need to tackle every problem you have across your ecommerce channels. We’ve got the tech and the data to back you up.

Pattern helps brands rapidly increase their growth at a significantly lower cost through an ecommerce equation focused strategy: **Revenue = Traffic x Conversion x Price **

Ecommerce Equation to Grow Revenue | Pattern

Once brands are able to increase their traffic and conversion and get control of price, they’re primed to watch their long-term profits and ultimately their revenue grow. Here’s how a partnership with Pattern can do that.

Increased traffic

Getting more traffic to your listing is an important way to grow your brand, whether it be paid traffic, organic traffic, referral traffic, or others. Pattern helps you expand your traffic tributary both on an organic front by optimizing things like your digital shelf and analyzing your product destiny as well as a paid front by using technology to accelerate your dominance and authority along a vector of keywords. SEO is our first language.

Another way we increase your brand’s traffic is by helping you show up on new marketplaces. If you’re on Amazon today, but you’re not on Walmart, you can safely assume you’d get a 10% lift in traffic just by showing up on Walmart (one of our brands saw a 771% increase in YoY sales). The same goes for international platforms, like Amazon.UK, Tmall, and JD.com. Having a presence on a wide variety of markets is a significant way to increase traffic to your listings. While a single agency may be ill-equipped to take your business global and won’t have access to all of the resources you need to succeed on these platforms, Pattern does.

Pattern has a network of highly trained experts with boots on the ground in every major market in the world. We help you sell your product to international audiences and get your product on international platforms so your brand can grow on a global scale as well as a domestic one.

Increased conversion

Traffic has to convert to sales for your business to grow, and in order to effectively increase your conversion, you need to have access to the data on what works and what doesn’t. If you’re in a 1P relationship with Amazon, you can’t get that data. Amazon doesn’t share it with their 1P brands. As a third-party seller, Pattern does.

We give brand leaders the data to inform their branding decisions by performing A/B testing to determine what works best and what doesn’t. We look at everything from your product photography and page content to what customers are saying they like or dislike about your product in reviews. We work to optimize your titles, your descriptions, and image stacks so they’re slick and informative to customers. The quicker your product listings answer the questions a customer has when they go searching for your product, the higher your add-to-cart rate will be.

Another way we tackle the conversion vector of your ecommerce business is through promotions, coupons, or virtual bundles that entice shoppers to buy.

Most brands may have a conversion rate of 3 to 10% on a given listing. At Pattern, we have listings that convert to 40%. Just by increasing this one lever of your ecommerce business, you can 4x your revenue.

Price control

You really can’t optimize for traffic and conversion in a meaningful way until your authorized seller has some control over the Buy Box, and that requires control over your pricing and distribution online. Without control, your margins and your profits across ecommerce and brick-and-mortar channels get sliced.

Let’s say the MAP price on your product is $50. Without control, it might show up in the Buy Box for $25. That’s 50% margin lost on every single sale, and left unchecked, the seller creating this erosion can make it bad enough that your distributors are coming to you and demanding you lower the cost of your product so they can afford to sell it.

Pattern helps you restore your margins and protect them so your profitability is protected, too. We help you see where erosion is happening, kick out bad players, and give you the teeth to enforce your policies so it doesn’t happen again.

Revenue

Once your business is optimized for traffic, conversion, and price, you’re prepared to see your revenue and your margins grow. Most brands that work with Pattern are more profitable from day one, and Pattern works to ensure that growth is sustained overtime by using premiere technology to help your brand improve its customer experience and maintain a dominant presence on ecommerce marketplaces. An agency might get you to the curb. We get you through the door with quickly and effectively scaled growth.

To learn more about how a partnership with Pattern can help you grow your ecommerce business profitably, contact us below.

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Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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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/)

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads
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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.