We recently ran a webinar for senior executives in the ecommerce industry, where we discussed what brands and retailers should consider as part of their post-COVID-19 ecommerce strategies for survival, recovery, and future growth. We thought it was also worth publishing a blog on the topic, to run through how to reassess your ecommerce strategy post-lockdown.
Below we explain how lockdown has impacted consumer behaviour, plus the need to rethink and adapt your ecommerce strategy in both the short and long-term to optimise your sales during this volatile time.
Global lockdown measures as a result of the pandemic have aggressively shifted consumer behaviour, and the transition from offline to online sales is now five years ahead of expectations. Despite the fact that retail stores have reopened, according to a recent consumer survey, 42% of people now say that they will shop online more frequently post-lockdown.
Evidence from China and the Middle East - where non-essential stores have been open for over a month - suggests that once consumers are allowed out there can be a bit of a dip in online sales as people enjoy their relative freedom. However, increased friction in the offline shopper journey reduces the competitive advantage that stores have over digital channels, and online consumer behaviour is expected to stick and grow by 6% CAGR.
As more brands and retailers are shifting their focus to online sale channels, the most nimble and innovative have responded quickly to ensure that the value add derived from stores is not lost; whilst also taking advantage of the rapid growth in sales in the short-term.
Examining your new product development (NPD) strategy can help to reengineer your strategic approach to survive. While several brands are using new channels to shift excess stock – either through traditional digital channels or newer marketplace channels – others have chosen to hold back on new ranges or paused the launch of new products.
Similarly, investing in recreating offline shopping experiences online - through virtual try-on tools or by repurposing in-store capabilities with website support chat functionality and video personal shopping appointments - can be beneficial not only in the short-term, but also as part of your long-term digital strategy.
As economic figures point to a near-future recession period, there is a greater need to reassess your ecommerce strategy to cater to the long-term impacts of global digital acceleration.
While the pandemic has introduced short-term changes in consumer behaviour, some of these behavioural changes will stick - such as increased price sensitivity and the significance of convenience. Tailoring your ranging strategies to these changes is important for recovery.
We've been asked to re-evaluate the online channel strategy for a number of consumer brands as a result of COVID-19. In particular brands who may have been happy to be distributed only through third-party retailers in the past are asking whether they need to mitigate their risk and expand their addressable audiences through marketplaces or a D2C website. We recommend that brands sense-check their online channel strategy to ensure they have the optimal routes to market to reflect how customers will shop now, but also in the near future.
Likewise, fully understanding and reviewing the process of your end-to-end supply chain is essential to build a stronger and more diverse supply chain and ensure a lasting recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Brands and retailers should consider the introduction of technology to support supply chain agility and mitigate the impact of a second wave of COVID-19.
For brands and retailers who may have previously viewed digital commerce as a secondary channel, having an online presence has never been more important. For those looking to prepare themselves for the 'new normal', having the right capabilities to adapt and strengthen your existing offerings and drive channel shifts is essential.
To find out more on this topic, watch a full recording of the webinar we presented here.
If you would like support on how to reassess your ecommerce strategy - or with optimising specific online channels such as your D2C site or marketplaces - please get in touch at UK@Pattern.com
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.