Is Your Brand Ready for Marketplace Expansion?

Lara Jelowicki

November 10, 2021

For many brands, marketplace expansion can be an untapped gold mine. Selling in more places and putting your product on more marketplaces can broaden your brand’s reach, act as a defence strategy against unauthorised sellers, and ultimately drive revenue.

But growing your brand internationally is a lot easier said than done. Marketplace expansion can be massively expensive and time-consuming. If you don’t perform your due diligence and expand wisely, your untapped gold mine can quickly become a financial sinkhole.

While it would be impossible to adequately cover every aspect of navigating marketplace expansion in one blog post, below we’ll present a few introductory ideas to keep in mind as your brand considers growing internationally.

Is your brand ready for marketplace expansion?

While it may be easy to decide to sell on additional domestic marketplaces, deciding whether to sell on international marketplaces is more complicated. Here’s what to keep in mind to help make that decision.

Are you established in your home market?

It’s best to hold off on international expansion until you’ve reached peak sales in your domestic market. If you’re only selling $1 or $2 million in your home market, it’s unlikely that you’ve reached your peak. Instead of focusing on internationalisation, you should be focusing on your homegrown market and building your reputation.

Are you financially ready?

If you have reached peak in your domestic market, you can then consider if you have enough capital to fully invest in other global marketplaces. Expanding to additional global markets isn’t cheap, and brands need to be prepared to cover regulatory costs, marketing spend, and other hidden fees. If you’re not prepared to invest, your expansion won’t be successful.

What are your international goals?

It’s also wise to establish your goals for launching your brand internationally. Once you hit a new market, it’s like setting up a new company — you probably won’t be profitable for three to five years. From the start, your strategy should be focused on the long-term. Entering international marketplaces isn’t a casual commitment that you can dip into and out of.

Do you have the resources?

Finally, ask yourself if you have the right resources and team members to facilitate a smooth international launch. You need to have a plan in place for reading reviews in foreign languages, speaking to international partners, arranging logistics, and following international regulations.

How Pattern can help

We have plenty of experience helping brands to successfully launch internationally, increase sales, and exceed their goals. By partnering with Pattern, we can facilitate this process and help you mitigate many of the risks of entering international marketplaces.

We can help you to craft an effective long-term strategy while avoiding typical mistakes. We can work with your brand to help you prepare and know when to expand—or, if you’ve already started the process, we can assess your progress and help you do even better and perfect your marketplace management. We have the resources, staff, services, and infrastructure to ensure your international launch goes as smoothly as possible.

Interested in learning more? Download our Marketplace Internationalisation Checklist to determine your brand’s readiness for expansion, or contact us today to talk to us about how we can support your brand on marketplaces around the world. 

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Sept 29, 2022

How Global Soccer Scores with U.S. Shoppers

**How Soccer Leagues & FIFA World Cup Influence U.S. Consumer Demand** In this analysis, Pattern evaluates changes in U.S. consumer demand for soccer products. This report will help uncover: * When are soccer products in highest demand in the U.S.? * Major League Soccer vs. English Football League * Does the FIFA Club World Cup influence consumer demand? * Do FIFA World Cup group announcements impact consumer demand? * Which soccer player jerseys are the most popular among U.S. consumers? * North American players * South American players * European players * How ecommerce retailers can prepare for the World Cup and more The [FIFA World Cup](https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/mens/worldcup/qatar2022) is hosted every four years, and the next tournament will kick off on November 20, 2022. With soccer top-of-mind for many consumers, we thought it would be a great opportunity to evaluate how consumer demand is impacted by soccer events in the U.S., Europe, and globally. To help ecommerce retailers and social media strategists better meet their consumers’ preferences, we also analyzed which player jerseys were the most popular among U.S. Amazon shoppers. **When are Soccer Products in Highest Demand in the U.S.?** Unsurprisingly, consumer demand for soccer products appears to be highest when league-specific events are in play. What is interesting to note, however, is which leagues have the strongest influence on consumer demand. Despite what one may believe, it isn’t North American activity that drives the most demand for U.S. shoppers. **Major League Soccer vs. English Football League** In the U.S., Major League Soccer is the official league for soccer players. Similarly, the English Football League is the official league in the United Kingdom. When comparing change in U.S. consumer demand month over month from 2019 – 2022, we found some noteworthy behaviors. As can be seen in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 charts below, there are moderate increases in consumer demand for soccer balls and jerseys when the Major League Soccer season starts across all years: <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2019" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-Y5KoK" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Y5KoK/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> At the start of the Major League Soccer season in 2019, demand for soccer cleats rose by 43%, demand for soccer balls rose by 38%, and demand for soccer jerseys rose by 28% compared to the month prior. <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2020" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-byv7E" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/byv7E/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> Again, at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season in 2020, demand for soccer balls rose by 28%. During this same period, however, interest in soccer cleats and soccer jerseys fell by 46% and 38%, respectively. This is likely due to the fact that the Major League Soccer season’s 2020 start date nearly coincided with the formal announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic. <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-cBDJT" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cBDJT/4/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> In 2021, the start of the Major League Soccer season in the U.S. saw a 46% increase in demand for soccer balls and 16% increase in demand for soccer jerseys. However, demand for soccer cleats fell by 24% during this same period. While moderate changes can be observed each year at the start of the Major League Soccer season, even more significant increases can be seen when the English Football League season commences. Here’s how consumer demand was impacted across all three years at the start of the English Foot League season: * **2019:** 47% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 0% increase in demand for soccer balls; 10% decrease in demand for soccer jerseys * **2020:** 54% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 47% increase in demand for soccer balls; 19% increase in demand for soccer jerseys * **2021:** 66% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 38% increase in demand for soccer balls; 40% increase in demand for soccer jerseys Except for 2019, consumer demand for soccer products in all three categories was higher at the start of the English Football League season than at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season. This suggests consumers are more closely following the English soccer season than the American league. **Does the FIFA Club World Cup Influence Consumer Demand?** As aforementioned, the FIFA World Cup occurs once every four years. However, the [FIFA Club World Cup](https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/mens/clubworldcup) is held every year. In 2020, the FIFA Club World Cup was originally planned for December; however, this got postponed until February 2021. As we can observe in the graph below, demand across all three soccer product categories reached their peak for the year during this time: <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-cBDJT" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cBDJT/4/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> This same trend was not observed during the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup tournament. During the timeframe of the tournament from December 11 – 21, 2019, demand across all three soccer product categories was relatively low: <iframe title="Seasonal Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2019" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-d4ECO" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/d4ECO/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> Several factors could explain why consumer demand increased coinciding with the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup compared to the 2019 tournament, including: * **Pandemic Worries:** While the global pandemic was not officially announced until March 11, 2020, initial reports on the coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019. Consumers may have been less interested in recreational activities and more focused on the emerging updates coming out of Wuhan, China. * **Tournament Planning:** The 2019 FIFA Club World Cup was formally announced on September 30, 2019 (only about two months from the tournament start date). By contrast, the 2021 tournament was announced in September 2020, originally slated for December 2020, and finally postponed until February 2021. The added anticipation and game delay could have contributed to more buzz around the tournament. * **Seasonality:** Since December marks the height of the basketball season in the U.S., consumers were likely more focused on basketball-related events than on soccer. This could also explain why more consumers were interested in soccer products during the FIFA Club World Cup in 2021 than in 2019. **Do FIFA World Cup Group Announcements Impact Consumer Demand?** We were able to take a look at how U.S. consumer demand changed following the 2022 FIFA World Cup group announcement. As it turns out, U.S. consumers actually experienced decreased demand following the announcement on April 1, 2022: <iframe title="Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Soccer Products in 2022" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-lX0B6" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/lX0B6/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> Since the FIFA World Cup announcement coincided with the end of March Madness and the start of the 2022 National Basketball Association playoffs, this could explain the decreased demand in soccer products among U.S. consumers. **Which Soccer Player Jerseys are the Most Popular?** Our team wanted to see which soccer player jerseys were most popular among U.S. consumers. To find this, we compiled a list of the most searched-for players in North America, South America, and Europe. From there, we tallied up all the searches in each category for all players from 2019 – 2022. Then, we compared the total searches for each individual player to the total for all players in their category. **North American Players** When it comes to soccer player preference for North American players, U.S. consumers have a clear favorite. According to our data, 95% of all searches for North American player-specific soccer jerseys between 2019 – 2022 were for American soccer player, Christian Pulisic. <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for U.S. Soccer Team Member Jerseys 2019 – 2022" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-fBlO2" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/fBlO2/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="255"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> While Pulisic is an attacking midfielder/winger for the United States national team, he currently plays for the Premier League club Chelsea in the United Kingdom. Since U.S. consumer demand for soccer jerseys is highest at the start of the English Football League season, this could explain Pulisic’s extreme popularity among U.S. shoppers. **South American Players** Consumer preference for South American players is a little less cut-and-dry; however, there is still a clear winner in the category. It turns out that most U.S. consumers (49%) prefer to support Lionel Andrés Messi of Argentina when it comes to South American soccer jerseys. Since many of these players also play in Europe, it makes sense that U.S. shoppers would be more interested in their jerseys than in U.S.-based players: <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for South American Soccer Team Member Jerseys 2019 – 2022" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0dK9s" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0dK9s/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="255"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **European Players** When observing the top searched-for European players, we were surprised to see that no players from the English Football League appeared at the top. However, there was a clear favorite again in this category for U.S. consumers: Kylian Mbappé. With 88% of total searches for European players, Mbappé’s popularity among U.S. consumers is undeniable: <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for European Soccer Team Member Jerseys 2019 – 2022" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-cIRiH" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cIRiH/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="279"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **How Ecommerce Retailers Can Prepare for the World Cup & More** Understanding how U.S. consumers follow and respond to soccer leagues, both nationally and internationally, is essential for ecommerce retailers to anticipate and satisfy changes in demand. Using this data, online sporting retailers now understand the relationship between higher consumer demand for soccer products and gear to the start of the English Football League season. Empowered with this information, they can plan their supply chain and marketing calendars more effectively, ensuring all inventory, advertising, and customer support needs are met. Here are the top takeaways ecommerce retailers should prepare for based on our knowledge: * While demand is higher during the English Football League season start than the Major League Soccer season start, demand for soccer products is higher than the seasonal average at both times, so prepare accordingly. * The top three most popular soccer player jerseys among U.S. consumers are for Christian Pulisic, Kylian Mbappé, and Lionel Andrés Messi. * The FIFA Club World Cup may also have an impact on soccer product sales, so it’s a good idea to ensure products are well-stocked during this time each year. **If you’re interested in uncovering more data like this to empower your ecommerce strategy, [request a demo](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) from Pattern today!**
Sept 29, 2022

How Pricing Changes on Walmart.com Affect Your Brand

Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.

And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.

Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.

Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.

Walmart.com’s “Was Price” and Promotional Changes

Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.

Promotional Policy Changes

  • Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.) 

  • To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.

  • Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.

  • Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.

“Was Price” Changes

  • Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers. 

  • The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:

    • Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);

    • Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).

How to Strategize for Success

1. Plan for Promotions Well in Advance

To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging. 

Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place. 

2. Keep Pricing Consistent

It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.

Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.

3. Establish Excellent Brand Control

It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.

Find Marketplace Confidence with Pattern

By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful  selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.

Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.

Sept 27, 2022

Leslie Hensell Key Takeaways: Taking Charge of Your Amazon Strategy

Pattern’s Accelerate22 event, the global ecommerce acceleration summit, provided a way for participants to learn from each other and leading experts about building a successful ecommerce presence. During our Brand Control and Compliance track, Leslie Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting and an Amazon expert, spoke to attendees about “Bezophobia”—the fear of losing brand control on Amazon. She talked about the importance of having a clear strategy to help you perform your best on the digital marketplace and the fact that achieving that is much harder to do in a 1P Amazon relationship.

With better control, which is more achievable in a 3P relationship, brands can let go of their fears and more richly enjoy the inherent benefits of selling on Amazon. If you think you could have a case of Bezophobia, read below for three important areas every brand should have control over when selling on Amazon.

Prioritize Consistent Pricing

Pricing is a huge concern for brands selling on Amazon—in most cases, Amazon prioritizes their customers’ happiness and providing a great experience for them on the platform over brands’ best interests. So, they want to offer their customers the best price available at all times. 

This seems harmless enough until a rogue or unauthorized seller enters the ecommerce space. They’d like to capture your consumers’ interest as well, and often list your products at a lower price than you’d authorize. When Amazon notices the change, whether on its platform or on another, they drop your listing price to match. 

Many brands seriously struggle to raise their prices after events like this occur, leading to what we call the Profitability Death Spiral. As your product prices fall, it’ll be harder and harder to raise them again, especially if you’re operating with Amazon as a 1P seller.

At Pattern, we know brands can’t achieve marketplace acceleration without brand control. So, we partner with econtrol firm VORYs to allow all brand partners to better understand their distribution channels and how to address control problems that ultimately lead to pricing issues.

Gain Total Visibility into Product Selection

The next key area of control brands should be focused on is their product selection on Amazon. Leslie spoke about this being a common issue for brands—as mentioned above, Amazon doesn’t see your brand as its top priority.

Many brands provide a certain assortment of their products to Amazon to sell, then find that their expectations don’t match Amazon’s efforts. Leslie has worked with many brands that have believed that Amazon will list, market, and move product the way a brand would if they were managing their Amazon presence themselves. 

But, in a 1P relationship, it’s difficult to get true visibility into what’s really going on. If Amazon buys your products without putting the effort in to represent your product selection in the way you think, it can cause big, long-term issues that are very difficult for brands to reconcile.

Marketing and Advertising

In Leslie’s experience, this is a brand’s most important area to have control over on Amazon. Your ability to sell products is completely dependent on how you’re able to showcase those products through your content. And, in a 1P relationship, brands lose the ability to have the final say over how their products appear to consumers. 

Leslie has seen many cases of brands’ sales dropping inexplicably, only for them to discover that their vendor has made significant changes to product detail pages and other marketing materials, such that they no longer reflect the brand.

Pattern understands how important your brand representation is on digital marketplaces like Amazon. So, when we agree to partner with brands, we provide a suite of creative services to help your products look their best, including a studio team for fully-optimized pictures and videos and an expert advertising team that knows how to write descriptions and copy that really help your products stand out among the competition.

Achieve True Brand Control with Pattern

If you’re able to get ahead and get in control of your Amazon strategy, especially in your pricing, selection, and marketing efforts, you have no need to fear the digital marketplace. As an Amazon expert and ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows what it takes for brands to truly succeed, and is committed to helping all brands take charge of their strategy to achieve long-term success.

Set up a call to talk more about Amazon and ways Pattern can help you make the platform work better for you.