Why Isn’t My Ecommerce Performing Better? (Hint: Your Team Isn’t the Problem)

John LeBaron

February 9, 2021

Here’s a scenario you may find all too familiar: You’re losing money on ecommerce. You’ve got a talented team of experts, but you’re pouring too many dollars into your online presence with very little results to show for it. In fact, you might be experiencing negative results—your prices are eroding or your marketing doesn’t seem to be working or your D2C doesn’t seem to be performing well enough for you.

Soon you’re having to invest not only in your team, but in ancillary platforms and software, agencies, temp workers, and contractors to do the work your ecommerce team seems unable to do. When your D2C is pulling about 3% of your overall revenue, these costs feel excessive. Why wouldn’t you just focus on retail instead? Or marketplaces? Most of the money found in ecommerce is coming through marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba, but you may find that steering your ecommerce team towards marketplaces only amplifies problems.

Your ecommerce team will start asking you for more help and more resources. When you’re not seeing that big of a return on ecommerce and are suspicious that it’s actually messing up your other channels because distributors keep coming to you complaining about online prices, you might start to wonder if your team is any good at all. If they were good at their jobs and working hard, you’d be killing the ecommerce game, not losing money over it, right?

The Executive Dilemma

This is what we call the Executive Dilemma. It’s that rock and a hard place of needing to be in the ecommerce space to capitalize on growth opportunities but finding ecommerce is turning into a money pit for your brand, and the team you’ve hired to conquer it seems to be the problem.

The good news is that your ecommerce team is probably doing much better than you think they are. They’re just woefully over-tasked and under-resourced.

Why ecommerce teams are over-tasked

In order to thrive in ecommerce, your brand needs to be dialed in on three particular areas. We call it the ecommerce equation:

Traffic x Conversion x Price = Revenue

You need to market and advertise your product so you have significant traffic flowing to your online channels, you need to have listings that turn views into clicks, and you have to be competitive on price so that consumers will give your product a second glance.

To do justice for any of these areas, you need to have more than three people on your ecommerce team. And that’s the kicker: most ecommerce teams don’t.

A D2C is one thing—that may be totally manageable for your team—but marketplaces are far different. They operate by their own set of rules, and they can get very complex to manage.

Marketplace complexity

On Amazon alone, you have to advertise on the right keywords, win the Buy Box, capitalize on promotion periods, clean up your listings and image stack so customers will be interested in your product, enforce MAP across all of your distributors so they aren’t eroding your prices, sort out shipping and packaging logistics, and pay platform fees.

To get a powerful and expansive omni-channel presence as well as control your brand online, you have to repeat a similar process with a different set of rules for marketplaces like Walmart and eBay. You have to do all these things again when you decide to move into international marketplaces like Alibaba, and those can get even more complicated with entirely different rules.

When you only have three people on ecommerce, and they’re already doing plenty of grunt work on your D2C, your social media presence, your marketing (you name it), the demands of moving into more marketplaces and areas outside of their expertise can spiral completely out of control. Without control and dedicated expertise in these areas, you open the door wide open for unauthorized sellers to erode your prices, for market share to be lost simply because of time and bandwidth, and ecommerce ultimately costs you even more on margins and revenue as you try to make up those gaps.

Your ecommerce team is good at what they do—really good, that’s why you hired them—but even a really good team can’t do everything. Without proper support, your brand will lose out on massive potential revenue growth because you’ve tasked an ecommerce team with managing a platform that is too complex to optimize with the limited resources, expertise, and data they have.

The Pattern solution

Throwing resources like agencies and more software at your team is a band-aid solution that makes sense, but only leads to more costs in the long-term. On average, brands use around 19 different software solutions to solve their ecommerce problems. Pattern offers a different approach for brands, one that lasts.

At Pattern, we remove excessive and unnecessary burdens from the shoulders of your ecommerce team by managing those extra areas they just don’t have the time, energy, resources, or expertise to manage. Unlike most agencies, which typically have narrow specialities, we offer specialized support across a wide variety of ecommerce tools and platforms: SEO, pricing control, data analysis across all channels, marketing and advertising, product innovation, shipping and packaging, D2C software, marketplace expertise for channels like Amazon and Walmart, international expertise for channels like Alibaba, and more.

With an agency, you’ll pay thousands of dollars a month and may get locked into a contract that ends up not being very beneficial to your business. At Pattern, we pay you first and offer short and flexible contract terms. Most contract terms are a maximum of only 60 days, and 97% of our clients keep working with us after the first two months based on the results they see for their brand. That’s because we put you first in every way.

What all of this means for your business is that you have support for putting out the fires that your ecommerce team would otherwise have to manage on top of all of the other invaluable things they do. That Executive Dilemma we talked about? Gone. While we take care of the housekeeping, your ecommerce team can get back to doing the things you hired them to do and the things they love, and you can get back to killing it in ecommerce.

Reach out to Pattern today to schedule a free demo of our services here.

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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.