What Are Acceleration Gaps? How Pattern Helps CEOs Fill in the Gaps For Rapid Growth

Burke Alder

October 7, 2021

Despite having countless different approaches and priorities, most CEOs share at least one goal—growing their brands faster and with more profit across all ecommerce channels and marketplaces.

But ecommerce growth isn’t as simple as developing and listing a great product. All brands run into challenges as they expand their D2C sites and onto marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Tmall, and Mercado Libre. The common thread of these challenges? Brands lack the resources and skills to successfully expand and thrive on ecommerce.

What does this look like? It may mean that your brand wants to expand to international Amazon marketplaces, but you don’t have anyone on your ecommerce team who knows how to do that effectively. Maybe you want to make data-backed decisions, but your insights are so scattered between marketplaces that it’s difficult to form a clear picture of how your products are performing compared to competitors. You may have an amazing product, but you’re lacking a top-notch creative team to help you powerfully convey your product’s key features.

While these challenges may look slightly different for every brand, in all cases, they cause what we call “acceleration gaps.” Acceleration gaps are just that—deficiencies in a brand’s ecommerce strategy that keep them from accelerating their ecommerce growth and reaching their full ecommerce potential. What exactly are acceleration gaps? How can your brand identify them? And, most importantly, what can you do to fill these gaps and maximize profit? Below, we’ll answer each of those questions and more.

What are acceleration gaps?

At Pattern, we’ve found that brands succeed on ecommerce marketplaces when they master five core competencies—insights, traffic, content, price, and logistics. We use this framework to grow our brand partners and achieve global success.

To master insights, brands need to consolidate data to make data-backed decisions. To master traffic, brands need to increase traffic across marketplaces through SEO and advertising. To master content, brands need to optimize content to boost conversion. To master price, brands need to monitor price and sellers to maintain control and uniformity. Finally, to master logistics, brands need to sell everywhere, remain in stock, and reduce shipping costs.

Brands see acceleration gaps when they do not master any of these core competencies on any ecommerce channels. It may look something like this:

Acceleration Gaps Before Pattern - New

The example brand in the graphic above has mastered the 5 core competencies on its D2C site. But on Amazon, although the brand has a solid handle on insights and logistics, it struggles to drive traffic to its listings, convert that traffic to purchases, and maintain price parity. Although there may be significant demand for the product on other marketplaces, the brand hasn’t expanded to them yet.

These acceleration gaps—which are likely due to a lack of resources, knowledge, skills, or any combination of the three—aren’t uncommon. Small teams are often expected to run ecommerce for even massive brands, and it’s unrealistic to expect 2 or 3 people to have both the time and expertise to master every core competency on every ecommerce channel in every market. Even if your ecommerce team is highly trained and qualified, there may just not be enough hours in the day to fill these gaps.

Despite acceleration gaps being common and even understandable, they still keep brands from growing their presence and profit on ecommerce.

How can I identify my brand’s acceleration gaps?

Unfortunately, acceleration gaps aren’t typically as obvious as they seem in the graphic above. However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you identify where your brand falls short on ecommerce.

First, you can ask yourself this: “Am I currently on any marketplaces other than Amazon?” If the answer is no, your first acceleration gap is evident. Your brand needs to focus on expanding its reach across marketplaces to new audiences and greater visibility.

If the answer is yes, you can then ask yourself, “Am I on all Amazon marketplaces across the world where there’s demand for my product? Besides Amazon, are there other marketplaces I should be on that I’m not?”

If you’re on all marketplaces that could increase your profit, you can begin looking at where you fall short in specific core competencies on each channel. The graphic below may be a helpful tool in forming these questions. Do you know where you stand compared to competitors? Is your advertising strategy building your organic reach? Is your creative content consistent across channels? Are you consistently winning the Buy Box and maintaining MAP? Do you struggle to keep your product in stock? It can be overwhelming to handle all of these things at once, so focus on each competency, one at a time, to really understand how your brand performs.

Acceleration Framework 5 Core Competencies - New

As you evaluate your brand’s performance in each of the core competencies, your acceleration gaps will soon become evident. In general, you can find acceleration gaps in any area of your ecommerce strategy that could be improved with more time, resources, or expertise. Thoughts like, “If we just had the time, we could really thrive on that marketplace,” or “If I had more people with the right skills, we could do better in this area,” or “I wish we could expand to that part of the world, but it’s just not feasible” can all point to potential acceleration gaps.

While every brand will struggle with different acceleration gaps, there are a few common gaps to watch for. The first is a lack of clear data and coherent insights. Ecommerce data is often compartmentalized and difficult to analyze quickly. Brands also commonly see gaps in their content, especially when they expand to international marketplaces but don’t create customized content in the target language. Price becomes an acceleration gap when brands have unauthorized sellers, multiple ecommerce partners, and inconsistent pricing.

How can I fill my brand’s acceleration gaps?

There are two ways that brands can fill their acceleration gaps. The first is to hire more people that have experience in the areas you’d like to improve in. While potentially effective, this method gets very expensive very quickly. (And it’s also a never-ending game.)

The second option is to partner with an ecommerce accelerator like Pattern, which has the resources to help brands master all the competencies on every ecommerce marketplace. When you partner with us, you enlist the help of our state-of-the-art software and highly qualified ecommerce teams who specialize in each competency.

Let’s return to our example brand above. After becoming aware of its acceleration gaps, the brand partnered with Pattern. Where the brand fell short on its own, Pattern stepped in and filled the gaps:

Acceleration Gaps After Pattern - New

Our proprietary software provided easy-to-read data and actionable insights for every marketplace and helped easily enforce MAP policy. In fact, after working with Pattern this brand saw 98.9% MAP compliance. Our advertising and SEO teams optimized strategies to make the most of advertising money, driving increased traffic to product listing pages. Our first-class creative teams crafted powerful content to convert traffic at a much higher rate. Our global distribution network made shipping internationally easy and attainable. Additionally, we helped the brand expand to every marketplace that saw a demand for the product.

Overall, this brand saw a 1250% increase in sales rank and a 73% average monthly revenue increase during the 1st year working with Pattern. Not too shabby for simply filling a few acceleration gaps.

Ready to see these results for yourself? We can help your brand where you need it most. Learn how we can identify and fill your acceleration gaps at no cost to you: Get in touch 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.