What’s in store for direct-to-consumer ecommerce in 2021?

Misha Pabari

February 10, 2021

Pattern’s Strategy Director for EMEA Kerry Lee recently hosted a virtual roundtable discussion alongside senior executives from leading online mattress retailer Simba Sleep and FMCG giant Kraft Heinz on the opportunities and challenges for direct-to-consumer ecommerce in 2021.

If you missed our webinar last week, here is your recap on what to expect from direct-to-consumer ecommerce this year, plus top tips on how to drive traffic to your site in 2021.

Launching a direct-to-consumer site in 6 weeks from scratch

One of last year’s biggest UK direct-to-consumer ecommerce success stories comes from Kraft Heinz. It launched its first D2C site, Heinz to Home, in just six weeks; offering locked-down customers bundles of its core range of tinned foods and sauces, plus free delivery for NHS staff and essential workers.

Head of Ecommerce for Kraft Heinz, Jean-Philippe Nier tells us how his team managed the set-up of the site and overcame what is typically considered to be a difficult and complex task for FMCG brands:

“The Heinz to Home direct-to-consumer channel wasn't set up in a bid to compete with e-retailers. Instead, it was born in the context of the pandemic to solve a consumer problem. Our goal was to launch with a simple proposition with speed and agility whilst continuously improving aspects of the site and showing eagerness to innovate with new products and marketing campaigns to drive traffic to the site."

He added: "Most important to us was that we were not compromising on the customer experience through the site. Since launching last year, we are pleased to be able to say that the channel has had a positive halo effect on the overall business.”

Understanding your customer’s needs is crucial to success

COVID-19 restrictions forced more people to turn to ecommerce in 2020 and online retail was said to have grown by 11% over the course of the year. Both our panellists witnessed significant growth across their direct-to-consumer channels, however this did not come without its challenges.

Simba saw its sales hit £100 million in 2020 despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19. When asked of his key learnings from the past year, Marketing and Ecommerce Director for Simba, Jon Moore explained how understanding the changes in your industry and adapting to meet those needs played a role in their success.

He said: “Understanding our customer’s mindset was central to our success. While initial demand for our products dropped during the start of the pandemic, consumer behaviour changed over the months and we found that being aware of search demand trends was hugely important for our business and allowed us to adapt accordingly. Likewise, taking advantage of lower channel and marketing media costs meant we could focus and invest in growing our brand awareness metrics, which are closely aligned to our revenue metrics.”

Top tips for direct-to-consumer ecommerce in 2021

There’s no denying that spending has shifted to digital channels since the onset of COVID-19, and this behaviour is set to stick as research shows that approximately 70% of consumers plan to maintain some or all of the new shopping habits they adopted during the pandemic. With that in mind, we asked our panellists for their top tips for scaling your direct-to-consumer channel in 2021.

Simba’s Jon Moore directed his advice to those selling big-ticket items, as Simba does: “Customer sentiment is very important for our business. For us, this means understanding customer pain points and trying to solve them. Secondly, I believe brands and retailers should continue to invest in awareness and brand-building to drive traffic to your sites. And finally, developing a close relationship with your suppliers will be invaluable in these uncertain times.”

Similarly, Jean-Philippe Nier from Kraft Heinz gave his top tips for success: “First and foremost, I would say brands should think of their D2C channel as a marketing and data insights channel, rather than just a sales channel. In doing so, there is more long-term gain for your business. My second tip would be to remain obsessed with improving your channel and platform using the data gleaned to scale your business. Lastly, I would encourage brands to be brave and try whatever it is they may be thinking of trying, whilst learning from any mistakes made along the way.”

Nearly a year on from the onset of the pandemic, the world is still experiencing conditions where our ability to shop physically is limited. It is now more important than ever that brands invest in their digital capabilities as direct-to-consumer ecommerce plays a bigger role moving forward into the new year.

Watch the full replay of our webinar with Simba and Kraft-Heinz here to learn more about the growth both brands experienced last year, and how they plan to scale their direct-to-consumer channels in 2021.

To discuss how Pattern can help to define your digital strategy, trade your direct-to-consumer website or support your sales on marketplaces please contact us here.

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Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

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.

Sept 19, 2022

When is Consumer Demand Highest for Non-Alcoholic Beverages?

**Observing Patterns in Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Drinks** Ahead of Sober October, Pattern evaluates when consumer demand is highest for non-alcoholic beverages. Key insights include: * Sober October vs. Dry January — when is demand highest for non-alcoholic drinks? * Non-alcoholic brands in highest demand * Types of non-alcoholic drinks in highest demand * Key takeaways for ecommerce retailers With Sober October fast approaching, our team decided to investigate when consumer demand is highest for non-alcoholic beverages throughout the year. Using search data gathered from U.S. Amazon shoppers from 2019 – 22, we discovered some interesting trends in consumer behavior as it relates to demand for non-alcoholic products. **Sober October vs. Dry January — When is Demand Highest for Non-Alcoholic Drinks?** While [Sober October](https://www.thezeroproof.com/home/what-is-sober-october-and-how-did-it-start) has been a long-held tradition in the U.S. since its introduction by Australian-founded nonprofit organization, Ocsober, in 2010, it appears most U.S. consumers prefer to do their detoxing after the holidays. According to our data, searches for non-alcoholic beverages experience an annual peak in January rather than October: <iframe title="Seasonal Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Beverages in 2019" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-fQqy0" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/fQqy0/1/" 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> <iframe title="Seasonal Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Beverages in 2020" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-qWrkJ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/qWrkJ/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> <iframe title="Seasonal Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Beverages in 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-MJ99q" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/MJ99q/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> The only year consumer demand increased during Sober October was 2020. This is likely because Sober October was celebrating its tenth year in the U.S. and had a larger than normal marketing push. Following this campaign, however, we can observe a 45% decline in demand during October year over year when comparing 2021 to 2020: <iframe title="YoY Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Beverages – 2021 vs 2020" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-Bacy6" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Bacy6/1/" 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> **Non-Alcoholic Brands in Highest Demand** When it comes to non-alcoholic brands in highest demand, consumers have a clear preference. A whopping 42% of all searches for specific non-alcoholic brands in 2021 were for Seedlip. Kin Euphorics held 24% of all search queries while Ritual Zero Proof held 20% during the same year: <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Beverage Brands in 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-9OEDj" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/9OEDj/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="399"></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> When observing the 2021 seasonal change in consumer demand for the three top non-alcoholic brands, we can further see Dry January’s influence on the marketplace. In January 2021, Seedlip saw a 95% increase in consumer demand while in October 2021, the brand saw a 34% decline: <iframe title="Seasonal Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Beverage Brands in 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-8TVwt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/8TVwt/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> **Types of Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Highest Demand** Even though non-alcoholic beer and wine brands took up the rear in consumer demand, the opposite is true when looking at searches for general types of non-alcoholic beverages. When looking at consumer demand for non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits, searches for non-alcoholic wine took up 39% while non-alcoholic beer took up 35% in 2021: <iframe title="U.S. Consumer Demand for Types of Non-Alcoholic Beverages in 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-GHIc8" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/GHIc8/1/" 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> Seasonal demand for non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits sees a sharp increase in January. Interestingly, non-alcoholic spirits see increased demand during the springtime. This could be because [Sober Spring](https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/managing-your-drinking/sober-spring/what-is-sober-spring:~:text=Sober%20Spring%20was%20launched%20in,very%20happily%20sober%20since%202013.) (a tradition started by Catherine Gray in 2018) occurs from March 20 – June 20 each year: <iframe title="Seasonal Change in U.S. Consumer Demand for Non-Alcoholic Beer, Wine &amp;amp; Spirits in 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-629mr" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/629mr/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> **Key Takeaways for Non-Alcoholic Brands on Ecommerce** Non-alcoholic drink brands can gain a competitive edge from our data analysis. First, demand for non-alcoholic drinks tends to be highest during Dry January, so it’s important for ecommerce retailers to prepare for increased demand by coordinating effectively across their marketing,fulfillment/logistics, and customer relations departments. Since most consumers prefer non-alcoholic wine and beer to spirits, it’s wise for retailers to consider these preferences when placing orders. **Satisfying consumer demand starts with data. If you’d like to learn more about how our data can help empower your ecommerce strategy, contact us to [request a demo](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) from Pattern today.**