6 of the Most Impactful COVID-19 Ecommerce Trends

Cassandra Shaffer

April 13, 2020

COVID-19 has completely changed our world for the time being, perhaps forever, and that includes the world of ecommerce. To help you navigate the impacts of coronavirus on ecommerce, here are the 6 most impactful ecommerce trends that have resulted from COVID-19.

1. Image is everything

Since most people are stuck indoors, unable to shop like they used to, customers aren’t able to physically try on things like clothes and shoes, inspect their tomatoes before buying them, feel blankets for softness, and so on. That means high-quality images are more important than ever before.

“People are expanding the items that they’re comfortable buying online, so images need to be up to par so people understand what they’re buying,” says Newel Cobb, a Senior Brand Manager at Pattern. “You’re replacing touch.”

Another important factor for brands to consider is that many of their shoppers are on a phone, or a tablet, rather than a desktop, scrolling through while binge-watching Parks and Rec.

“Because of that, a customer might have to scroll two or three times to learn about the product, so most people will just look at the images,” Cobb says. “Ninety percent of people look at all the images before they decide to purchase a product.”

So not only is it important to have high-quality images, but it’s important to have enough high-quality images that a customer wondering how something like a couch or a TV will fit in their living room can get a pretty good idea.

2. Shipping

Customers have gotten used to 2-3 day shipping with Amazon Prime. However, as items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer continue to be in high demand, customers after “non-essential” items, like shampoo and conditioner, are told to expect delays of a week or more when it comes to receiving items. According to the Cleveland Research Center, some 1P and 3P sellers of “non-essential” items are having their Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) suppressed or even removed to make way for essential items.

Because of Amazon’s struggle to keep up with shipping demands, brands may want to consider alternative shipping methods. The CRC reports brands set up for Direct Fulfillment on Amazon are better set up to navigate these challenges. Other options sellers on Amazon can consider include Fulfillment by Merchant, where they upload the amount of inventory available to Amazon and ship directly from their own warehouse. It’s important to remember, however, that shipping services like UPS and FedEx are experiencing their own delays.

Sellers who are successful in doing their own fulfillment can upgrade to Seller Fulfilled Prime, which allows them to still use Prime branding. In the past, according to Cobb, this hasn’t been too popular because it’s more cost-effective to ship with Amazon, but as Amazon has changed algorithm priorities, it’s worth it to get your items to customers quickly any way you can. If you have multiple warehouses, use them wisely—don’t ship something from Maine to California if you have a warehouse in Texas.

But above all, Cobb cautions, remember this is temporary and Amazon will eventually change their algorithm again to boost brands shipping with Amazon fulfillment. “Be agile,” he advises.

3. Search trends

Search trends have changed and are continuing to change because people are staying home. Marketplace Pulse ranked top search terms throughout the month of March, and among coronavirus-inspired items like face masks and disinfectant spray are items like puzzles for adults, board games, yoga mats, and dumbbell sets.

Now that people are staying inside to avoid the virus, they’re looking for ways to entertain themselves, learn new skills, and stay fit without going to the gym. While that’s great news for companies and brands selling these sorts of items, many brands are suffering.

Stackline rounded up the top 100 ecommerce categories experiencing growth and the top 100 experiencing a decline. Categories experiencing a decline during COVID-19 include pretty much any kind of clothing you can think of, luggage, party supplies, school and office supplies—anything a person or family might need if they were to ever leave their house (which, as we’ve established, most people are not).

Of course, we can’t go without mentioning grocery items. Groceries have seen the most notable shift when it comes to ecommerce, with Americans adopting online grocery shopping faster than ever. The Cleveland Research Company’s report on COVID-19’s consumer impact from April 7, 2020, found nearly 50% of consumers had used a grocery delivery app in the previous two weeks.

This is likely the shopping trend that will see the most staying power once the pandemic is over—the CRC reported that 90% of consumers using Amazon Fresh or Prime expect to continue using it after the pandemic ends.

4. What companies selling “non-essentials” are doing

Stores selling “non-essential” items have closed their brick-and-mortar locations, which has led companies like Nike and Macy’s to offer online deals instead. According to CNBC, many brands are even throwing in free shipping where they didn’t offer it before and expanding return windows.

It’s a bit of a gamble still, since like we mentioned before, most shoppers aren’t really looking for a new pair of kicks to rock in quarantine. There’s also the problem of people looking to save their money in a time of economic uncertainty, making people less likely to splurge on apparel and accessories.

It’s a weird time for retailers, who are offering the kinds of deals typically only seen around holidays, as they try to offload inventory and make some profit. The future of many brick-and-mortar stores is uncertain, with at least one analyst suggesting this could be a record year for permanent closures for stores.

“Every business owner is trying to capture online success right now, and they’re doing that by lowering prices or offering different deals,” Cobb says.

A word of caution for brands thinking of trying this strategy: this situation temporary, so beware of dropping prices too extravagantly—or after this is over, and you return to normal prices, you may find someone has bought 200 units of your product and is selling them to undercut your brand.

5. Trajectory of projected ecom sales

This may be the most important takeaway: Ecommerce is DEFINITELY going to outpace all previous projections and benefit in the long run. Cobb says it has to do with learning new habits.

“A lot of people are learning the process of buying groceries online, for example, because they have to—but they might find that it’s more convenient for them and stick with it. And then they’re going to tell their family and friends that’s what they’re doing,” Cobb says.

“There’s also an element of trust that has been built by brands like Walmart, which has invested in making a good, trustworthy option,” Cobb continued. “When this is over, customers may go to the store, but at the end of the day a lot of consumers have learned a new skill—how to buy online at the best price, from the best source, etc.”

There will also likely be some fallout where people prefer to avoid crowds for the next couple of years, which will only continue ecommerce popularity, and perhaps continue to see people learning how to shop online if they didn’t at first.

6. Lipstick effect

Okay, briefly—for the duration of this section—forget everything we’ve said about non-essential items and declining categories to learn about a little trend that represents the total opposite: the Lipstick Effect.

As defined by Investopedia, the Lipstick Effect is when consumers still spend money on small luxury items, or “indulgences,” during economic downturns or when they personally have little cash, for example, a premium lipstick. For this reason, Investopedia states, companies that benefit from this effect tend to be resilient, even during economic downturns.

The idea is that consumers can buy something, whether it be a luxury beauty item, a fast-casual meal, or a movie that lets them forget for a little while about the stress and struggle of the economy. There isn’t a ton of research behind this theory, but it still could be good news for brands that aren’t seeing the same kinds of sales as bread machines—there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For more information on ecommerce trends and how your brand can grow and optimize during this unprecedented time, contact Pattern through the form below.

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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 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.