How to Cut Down the Costs of Your Ecommerce Business—& Still Grow It

John LeBaron

February 2, 2021

Running an ecommerce brand is not like running a lemonade stand—there’s a lot less lemonade involved, for one thing. Not only do you have to manufacture your product, you have to spend time and resources to distribute it, advertise it, sell it, and ship it. All those costs can add up quickly, until pretty soon, you’re saying goodbye to a good chunk of your profits because of marketplace complexity and logistics.

The goal is to be profitable long-term, and to that end, it’s good to take a look at the areas where you’re spending the most and see where there are opportunities to save.

Where do ecommerce costs come from?

There are a few big culprits that can suck away most of your spending if you don’t have a good strategy or partner. They are:

  • Advertising
  • Agency costs
  • Distribution and logistics
  • Personnel
  • International hires
  • Distributor margins


Advertising is crucial for the growth and profitability of your brand. We don’t need to tell you this. What we also don’t need to tell you is that setting an advertising budget can be overwhelming. You have to consider your industry, your competition, your profit margins, and a myriad of other factors to determine the right amount to spend and when to spend it.

You can either attempt to do that on your own, or you can hire an outside agency or two and end up coughing up a few thousand dollars every month. Either way, without a good strategy and support, advertising can get spendy very quickly—especially when relying on outside agencies who are incentivized to have you increase ad spend.

Agency costs

Most brands, lacking the time, resources, and expertise to do everything on their own, will hire an agency to manage their brand instead (i.e. a design agency, marketing agency, ad agency). This is a very common strategy, one that makes sense for a lot of brands, but the reality is that it’s inefficient and cost prohibitive.

Paying for even just one agency can cost you several thousand dollars a month, and with most agencies, you’re looking at a contractual agreement of several months to several years. Add one or two or three more agencies into the mix, and overtime, you’re spending a generous chunk of change on somebody else’s business, who’s more incentivized to spend your money than to help you save.

Not only that, but managing one agency, let alone multiple, can quickly turn your ecommerce team of experts into a team of project managers and taskmasters without enough hours in the day to execute on their own jobs.

Distribution, logistics, & personnel

Where are you shipping your product from? Do you have the infrastructure and tools to manage everything? Do you have the means to get your products from Point A to Point B? How about staff? How many do you need to hire to handle, package, and ship your product? How many can you afford? These are all things you have to think about when assessing costs, and all of them add up.

International hires/agencies

Once you expand your business out of the domestic sphere and focus on growing internationally, you can expect—you guessed it—even greater costs. You’re having to pay for international agencies with boots on the ground, advertising, and platform fees just to start in addition to the agencies and resources you’re already paying for at home.


Without control of your brand online, your prices can and probably will be eroded by unauthorized sellers. This can damage the margins of your brick and mortar distributors as well as your online distributors so they’re unable to sell your products at a cost that’s worth it to them.

As a result, you’ll either need to take the hit and lower the wholesale cost of your products so distributors can afford to sell them, or those distributors may stop purchasing your product altogether. It’s bad for your brand and it’s bad for your wallet, and you’ll need to devote time and resources towards maintaining control of your brand in addition to everything else to avoid it.

How Pattern cuts your costs

Ultimately, doing business the same old way you always have, outsourcing your brand management to too many third-party players, and trying to do it all yourself are good ways to miss out on big growth opportunities and lose money. A solution to all of that is Pattern.

Pattern operates differently than any single agency your brand has worked with before. That’s because its model is radically different. At Pattern, we consolidate every resource you need, including data analysis, advertising and marketing, international expertise, control, and distribution, so you can cut out all those middle men, save time, and save money.

Profitability-minded, aligned incentives

Only 11% of Pattern’s revenue goes toward running our business. That means you’ll have far less costs with a Pattern partnership than you will with any one agency. Agencies and the brands they work with frequently have misaligned incentives. An agency might be incentivized to spend more because they’re being paid on commission, for example, or cut corners to spend your ad dollars on cheaper keywords that don’t drive incremental sales whatsoever.

At Pattern, your incentives are our incentives. Every brand manager you’ll work with is incentivized not to spend your money, but help you hit your goals and growth targets so you’re making money long-term. We also give you more flexibility than agencies do—most Pattern contracts only require a 60-day commitment.

Expertise at no added cost

Removing spendy middle men isn’t the only way Pattern helps you cut costs. We tackle your data analysis, marketing, SEO, brand control, packaging, and shipping, which means you don’t have to pay additional hires to cover every corner of your business, and you don’t need to worry that your profits are quietly being eaten away online. Then when you’re ready to take your brand international, we’ve got teams on the ground in every major market in the world to make the transition as seamless and cost-effective as possible.

In a Pattern partnership, we take care of the logistics. All you need to do is pay for advertising, and even then, we’ve got that boiled down to a science with rules-based software that helps you bring your ad spend down and make it as effective as possible so your conversion rates go up.

For more information on how Pattern can help you save, contact us using the form below.

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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 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]( 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]( --- 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]( 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]( --- 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]( 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]( 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](

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (20th September 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail]( THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail]( US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (13th September 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider]( --- Other Marketplace News --- is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star]( Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday]( FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel]( India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](