July 2020 Ecommerce Trend Analysis for Decision Makers

Newel Cobb

July 1, 2020

In the world of COVID-19, the ecommerce world has become a beast that’s increasingly difficult to tame. If you’re a decision-maker working in ecommerce, how can you accurately strategize when it seems like every week there’s something new thrown your way, changing consumer behaviors and impacting your revenue growth?

Enter Pattern Trend Analysis. This new series will keep you in the know when it seems like the world is literally turning upside down.

For example, for eleven weeks straight, “facemask” has been the number one search term on Amazon. Although this illustrates a simple change in consumer habits, the effects of COVID-19 go far beyond Amazon search patterns. In a matter of months, COVID-19 has leapt ecommerce forward by a couple of years. As the industry evolves faster than it ever has before, it is important to keep up with the trends. Let’s dive in.

Brick and mortar turned upside down

Lockdown or no lockdown, a significant portion of consumers are likely to avoid public spaces until the pandemic recedes, or better treatments are developed. This has been an ecommerce wake-up call for several brands.

In under 30 days, PepsiCo internally developed and launched two D2C sites, PantryShop.com and Snacks.com. Microsoft abandoned their stores all together, closing all 83 physical locations. Even brands like Lululemon doubled down on ecommerce by purchasing Mirror, a Peloton-like service that acts as a virtual gym. If you are selling products to consumers, I recommend evaluating how you view brick and mortar vs. ecommerce.

Online grocery is the new gold rush

As the market scrambles, you may be wondering how the big players are reacting. Online grocery sales will increase 58.5% this year. In a surprising twist, Instacart outperformed Walmart in online grocery, causing Walmart’s online grocery share to drop approximately 25% while Instacart grew to 57% market share. This is likely because of Walmart’s inability to meet higher COVID demand. Personally, I waited for over an hour for Walmart grocery pickup just a couple of weeks back. Online grocery is the new gold rush.

Traditionally, Amazon has delivered on grocery through their Whole Foods fulfillment arm. Since March, Amazon has expanded the capabilities of that arm by 160%. They are also looking to expand their logistics capabilities, announcing the purchase of a self-driving car startup, Zoox. They are also testing independent shipping services across the globe.

Amazon tries to stay ahead

Amazon has been front and center of this online growth. Pattern previously reported that Amazon experienced a 24% sales increase during Q1. Amazon understands they must act to stay ahead. This last week, Amazon started experimenting with search query Prime branding (image below) for grocery products.

Pattern Senior Brand Manager Clark Kleinman often finds himself in the middle of Amazon beta Tests.

“Amazon is always A/B testing new ways to convert shoppers. This image shows one new example of this,” Kleinman said. “Customers can exclude non-Prime results directly from the search drop-down. This shows up even on accounts without paying a Prime subscription.”

Ecommerce Trends, Amazon Prime Branding in Search Query

Amazon’s Buy Box predicament

The pandemic has not been all good news for Amazon. In the beginning of ecommerce, Amazon separated themselves from sites like eBay by implementing the Buy Box. The idea is simple, to prevent out of stocks, and encourage lower prices, multiple sellers can sell on a single item page. The seller with the best customer offer gets the Buy Box. If they are out of stock, the Buy Box goes to the next best seller.

Price gouging When the brand 3M sold out of facemasks, the Buy Box went to the next lowest offer. Unfortunately for both 3M’s brand image, and the consumer, the next lowest price was 18X higher than the original list price. Clearly price gouging, the other seller sold over a hundred-thousand dollars in masks. 3M responded by suing the seller in federal court. Amazon responded by implementing their price gouging policy. If you sell an “essential product” and increase the price by more than just a few percentage points, you can expect a notification from Amazon and possible product removal.

Counterfeit goods With more people selling and shopping online, the Buy Box has also led to multiple fake products being sold on Amazon. Amazon understands that this can hurt their brand. In the last couple of weeks Amazon has set up a counterfeit crimes unit which will work with law enforcement to take on fraudsters. Many praised Amazon for finally making this move.

Corey Lord, a former law enforcement officer and current Pattern Senior Project Manager, thought this initiative was interesting but was hesitant to give praise.

“My initial thought is that this seemingly grand gesture will end up being pretty hollow,” Lord said. “Law enforcement agencies have plenty to do, these ‘cases’ will sit in limbo. It feels like the buck is being passed.”

Logistical delays and impacts for Prime Day, holidays

The increase in COVID-19 shoppers has hurt Amazon in other ways, mainly logistic capabilities. During the first few weeks of the pandemic, items being sent into Amazon experienced heavy delays. Amazon eventually stopped accepting non-essential items all together. These embargos lasted weeks and caused stockouts across the site. Essential items were less affected. Non-essential items experienced early 2000s like shipping delays (5-9 business days).

In an effort to manage COVID-19 and logistics, Amazon has pushed back Prime day from July to September to possibly October now. Plus, CNN reported that, “We're going to have to face the harsh reality in some states that we may need to shut down again.” This could mean that Amazon may experience heavy delays throughout the rest of the year. If you plan on running Prime Day promotions, we recommend you have your inventory in Amazon by mid-August. For Black Friday, the sooner the better.

Ecommerce trends to know for Facebook, TikTok

The last few weeks have greatly affected ecommerce on social media. Facebook formally launched their Facebook for Business, branding it as a storefront for closed brick and mortar across the country. If you are an Amazon brand, you likely saw targeted Facebook for Business ads on Linkedin.

Strides aside, it has not been all good news for the social media giant. Multiple companies chose to pull their ads from Facebook through the end of the year, citing the platform’s divisiveness during the current political climate. These companies include Unilever, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and others. TikTok may look prime to take those ad dollars as they’ve just launched their TikTok for marketers platform, but I predict that the spend will flow onto major ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Instacart, and Walmart. You can expect higher ad prices on Amazon and lower prices on Facebook.

As the world of ecommerce accelerates, come back here each month to stay in touch with the latest trends you need to know to grow your ecommerce business. Looking for more personalized expertise? Contact us today.

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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.