Pattern's Tony Morales Discusses COVID-19 Ecommerce Trends With Kenshoo

Emilee Valken

May 5, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the ecommerce landscape, from the way consumers shop to the way brands advertise and sell.

On Thursday, April 30, Kenshoo’s GM of ecommerce, Nich Weinheimer, sat down with Tony Morales, Director of Advertising at Pattern, during an Ask the Experts live event to discuss the latest ecommerce trends amid the coronavirus crisis and what they mean for marketplace sales.

Changes in category performance

According to Morales, brands in a few categories are doing unsurprisingly well right now. Cleaning supplies, sanitization products, and supplements, particularly immune supplements, are a few that are thriving.

“It’s very hard to keep zinc in stock,” Morales said. “We have a number of different top of the line supplement brands that we work with, and any time we have something like zinc, we’re selling out in hours.”

Another thriving category that may come as a bit of surprise is beauty products.

“We’re seeing lift in beauty products, especially high-end beauty, so anything that somebody would normally do at a salon, devices that allow somebody to do those same kind of beauty procedures at home, those are being sold very successfully now,” Morales said.

While niche products within the apparel category, like running socks and athletic footwear, are doing well, wardrobe and apparel in general is struggling. Luggage and jewelry brands are also seeing dips in sales during COVID-19.

The biggest surprise

Morales said that in looking at ecommerce trends during the pandemic, the biggest surprise has been the volume of new customers making purchases.

“There certainly are existing customers that are buying more, but what we’re seeing is that the majority of the demand is coming from new customers,” Morales said.

Weinheimer’s data confirms it—new customer numbers are twice as high as those in 2019.

“As we looked at the average of last year . . . about maybe 5 to 6 percent of our index order volume was new-to-brand. We’re seeing sustained 13-14% new-to-brand across the index,” said Weinheimer.

Toys and games is one category that’s seen a massive new-to-brand order volume month over month between February and March—over 120%.

One of the reasons for these surges is that customers who don’t typically shop online are having to do so because of brick-and-mortar closures, and customers who shop online occasionally are doing so more frequently.

“For many product categories, we’re seeing these spikes in new-to-brand customers where maybe they’re not necessarily truly new-to-brand, because they’ve purchased it elsewhere, but they’re new-to-brand via online, which is exciting,” Morales said.

COVID-19’s current and future impact on ecommerce sales

Morales said there’s been a giant upward trend in ecommerce sales over the past several years—ecommerce in the United States was just shy of $4 trillion in sales last year, he said. By 2023, studies project $6.5 trillion worth of volume will be coming through ecommerce, and this is before taking COVID-19 trends into account.

“We’re certainly seeing shopping patterns change and people doing more ecomm than they have in the past, and so my expectation is that the growth curve for ecomm that has sort of already been in place is going to accelerate because of this,” Morales said.

Pattern is seeing spikes in ecommerce sales at up to 53%, Morales said. Amazon itself has had to put restrictions on what it deems essential items for a limited time due to customer demand, which is greater now than during the holidays.

According to Weinheimer, 17% of retailers are reporting that more than half of their business has been driven by ecommerce during COVID-19. That’s 10% more than were reporting similar figures at the same time in 2019.

What this means for brick-and-mortar brands

For businesses that are already online, current ecommerce numbers are a big win. Businesses that are traditionally brick-and-mortar, however, may see a need for much heavier investment in ecommerce and significant adjustments to online and shipping infrastructure.

Shoppers will definitely make their way back into brick-and-mortar businesses, but how soon and in what capacity is anyone’s guess. Many shoppers are experiencing some online markets—with curbside pickups for their online grocery order, for example—for the first time. It will be interesting to see how many people turn those experiences into habit.

How fulfillment and customer service can help brands get ahead

While ecommerce is a busy and challenging space, it’s also one with opportunities. One way Morales said brands are succeeding in the ecommerce space right now is by fulfilling purchases directly rather than having Amazon fulfill them, cutting down shipping windows.

“It’s not the shipping that’s slow. It’s the processing in the Amazon fulfillment center,” Morales said, “So if you as a brand owner are able to handle that on your own, flipping to merchant fulfilled Prime could be a big win for you over the next month or so.”

Having fulfillment infrastructure like curbside pickup in place that makes the shopping experience more convenient and mindful of customers is also an opportunity for brands, especially with buyers already getting into the routine of seeking out those purchasing methods.

Ultimately, having a great customer service experience is a big way brands can differentiate, Morales said, especially with most brands competing in speed, quality, and pricing.

What is the forecast for ecommerce sales?

Though brands are experiencing many challenges right now, Morales said they can be optimistic.

“There are still plenty of opportunities in the marketplace,” he said. “Invest in digital. Invest in your teams. Invest in ecomm, because there is this wave coming, and the pandemic that we’re in has only accelerated that wave.”

“I think that when this is done, when the dust settles, the future is going to be bright for everyone,” Morales added.

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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

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How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand
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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.

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves
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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.