Following the temporary closure of many physical stores and operating restrictions across Europe, shoppers have headed online in far greater numbers to research and complete their purchases. Consumer brands are seeking new online routes to market to capitalise on this, and it's raised the question of whether they should focus on D2C or marketplaces in Europe.
Some retail categories have shown higher shifts to online shopping than others during lockdown, and it's increasingly clear that part of this shift will be permanent.
Below we make the case for selling through each channel, outlining the role each plays as part of your overall ecommerce strategy.
We’ve seen increased investment in direct-to-consumer (D2C) websites from consumer brands who want to be masters of their own destiny.
A D2C website gives customers confidence that they are buying authentic products, and can allow brands to offer extended warranties and other after-sale value add services to customers, such as product repairs and accessories.
One example of a brand who has prioritised D2C instead of marketplaces for this reason is Birkenstock. The footwear brand decided to end it's relationship with Amazon in Europe in a bid to maintain its brand integrity; due to concerns around counterfeits and unauthorised sellers.
Birkenstock was able to do so as it had already built a D2C presence in Europe to enable end-to-end customer relationships that were not possible with a wholesale model.
Customers can need additional support at all stages of the customer journey and D2C sites allow brands to directly engage with their customers, which has been particularly important when physical stores have been closed. Our D2C Report highlights more of the areas where brands' ecommerce sites can add value in the customer journey.
Brompton Bicycle has enabled personal shopping using video demonstrations on its D2C site, so that potential customers can view products and ask questions before completing an online purchase.
Another that has succeeded without engaging with marketplaces is UK-based Gymshark. The D2C-only gymwear brand has just taken outside investment that values the business at over $1 billion, and has chosen to sell only via its own website.
Gymshark's strong brand positioning and reliance on social influencer marketing through its team of brand ambassador "athletes" has allowed it to reach consumers across Europe without needing wholesale distribution channels.
The downside of D2C in Europe is that it requires the setting up and trading of ecommerce sites in multiple currencies and languages, if you want to maximise your audience. These complexities can be compounded by the operational requirements of delivering to end customers in multiple countries.
When debating the case for D2C or marketplaces in Europe, there’s no denying the market share that sites such as Amazon and eBay hold can appear compelling.
A recent report revealed that Amazon’s share of the UK ecommerce market rose to 35% during lockdown, with its attractive delivery proposition, high levels of product availability and low prices acting as key purchase drivers for consumers.
Such a ready-made audience and having Amazon's fulfilment capability to get product to customers across the continent can seem compelling for a brand looking to quickly increase online sales. It's why brands turn to Pattern to act as their authorised Amazon Seller in Europe.
However, to maximise marketplace sales on Amazon in Europe youself, your brand will still need to localise product content and marketing for each European instance of the site. From 2021 onwards, you'll also need to supply product to Amazon's distribution centres in both the EU and UK to get Europe-wide coverage.
Also, Amazon isn't the only marketplace that counts. Several major European countries have their own marketplaces that receive significant traffic too - Otto and Real in Germany, CDiscount in France, Bol in the Netherlands and Allegro in Poland. It may be necessary to list products on some or all of these to reach your target audience.
Although every brand’s ecommerce needs are different, brands should consider assessing the costs and resource attached to each channel to choose the approach that best fits their overall strategy. In time, a brand may decide to adopt both.
As more shoppers demonstrate an increase in channel-agnostic purchase preferences, a multichannel approach captures a larger slice of the traffic for more widely distributed products.
Toy brand LEGO has increased its spend on Amazon search advertising, acknowledging the significant proportion of European consumers who begin their product searches on the marketplace. Its Amazon store also acts as a landing page for other digital marketing channels such as Facebook.
Meanwhile, for brand fans who are much more engaged with the brand, LEGO's D2C site provides a best-in-class customer experience and value proposition.
Unlike China or the USA, marketplaces in Europe do not have a majority share of total online sales. For the right brands and products, D2C sites can drive a volume of sales, in addition to being a point of service for customers.
For support with launching or optimising specific online channels such as your D2C site or marketplaces, don’t hesitate to get in touch here.
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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.