Pairing Tech + Expertise: The Secret to Ecommerce Acceleration in 2021

John LeBaron

July 6, 2021

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers across the globe have been heavily reliant on ecommerce. Building the required ecommerce capabilities will undoubtedly be one of the biggest challenges for DTC brands, but also a massive opportunity to increase scale and profitability potential.

The question is, how can businesses put the pedal to the metal to accelerate ecommerce growth?

The COVID-fueled ecommerce surge

The COVID-19 pandemic brought different kinds of uncertainty, but one trend has become clear: it has fueled the ecommerce surge.

In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online, and ecommerce sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide, according to Statista.

The outbreak has reshaped our world in every way, but it has also accelerated digital transformation. According to McKinsey, in just 90 days, the ecommerce industry experienced ten years' worth of growth.

The numbers are jaw-dropping: 75% of U.S. consumers have tried different stores, websites, or brands during COVID-19, and 60% of them expect to stick to the new brands in their post-COVID-19 lives.

Suddenly, businesses found themself in a mad dash to figure out their ecommerce strategy and make the most out of the COVID-fueled surge in online shopping.

10 challenges of the modern ecommerce DTC environment

Today’s ecommerce landscape has brought some unique challenges. DTC brands who want to survive and thrive must pivot.

1. Ever-growing customers’ expectations

Since the start of the pandemic, customers have gotten much more comfortable with online shopping. As a result, they were exposed to different shopping experiences—from lousy to top-notch. Every time customers come across a seamless experience, their expectations get higher.

Even though this puts pressure on DTC brands, it also motivates them to keep an eye on the latest trends and constantly improve the online buyer journey.

2. Complex tech stack

Today’s DTC businesses are trying to keep up with the influx of software solutions they need to implement in their ecommerce store. While it's true that tools can make your life easier, juggling all those tools can feel like a Sisyphean task.

In the end, DTC businesses find themselves torn between building a complex tech stack and simplifying processes, which can ultimately hurt their bottom line.

3. Driving relevant traffic

One of the biggest challenges of modern DTC brands is figuring out ways to drive relevant traffic to their website. No matter how successful a brand is, attracting website visitors will remain at the top of their priority list.

Getting more eyeballs on their product pages is the only way to convert visitors into customers. However, today when the battlefield has moved in the digital realm, driving traffic seems more challenging than ever before.

4. Converting visitors into customers

Once you get visitors to your ecommerce store, the next step is to pave their way to the “add to cart” button. Creating an engaging experience becomes table stakes nowadays. But as the competition gets more fierce by the day, DTC brands struggle with abandoned carts more than ever before.

According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is slightly under 70 percent. Moving forward, ecommerce businesses will have to find a solution to boost their conversion rates.

5. The rising cost of customer acquisition

In the last few years, customer acquisition costs have remained stubbornly high—even more so now that deep-pocketed retailers have entered the digital advertising arena. Contrast this to a decade ago when DTC brands had the advantage of low-cost online ads that drove customer acquisition like cheap rocket fuel.

As a result, today’s online advertising costs have skyrocketed with the surge in demand, making acquiring new customers significantly more expensive.

6. Small ecommerce teams

Unlike the online giants, in most cases, DTC brands have small ecommerce teams. What’s more, their task lists keep growing. Between sky-high customer expectations and tackling daily responsibilities, ecommerce teams can feel overwhelmed.

In the end, they don’t have the time nor the resources to focus on strategic initiatives that can move the needle.

7. Disparate data

Data is a prerequisite for ecommerce success. Without data, companies would have to make their decisions based on assumptions. However, the amount of data that ecommerce businesses have to collect, analyze, and act upon is massive.

Because of disparate data, DTC companies end up with tons of charts, grids, and spreadsheets but with no clear insight on what to do next.

8. Siloed expertise

The silo mentality is one of the biggest bottlenecks to business growth. Even though companies strive to hire the best talent for every position, with time, expertise can lead to a siloed organization.

Breaking down silos is the only way to achieve high results. Companies that foster collaboration between teams but also embrace external partnership help are the ones who learn more and sell more.

9. Marketplace dominance

Ecommerce marketplaces have grown significantly in the last couple of years. According to Digital Commerce 360, people spent $2.67 trillion globally on the top 100 online marketplaces in 2020. What’s more, marketplace sales account for 62% of the global online retail.

What does this mean for DTC brands? Incorporating marketplace presence as part of your strategy can be the key to ecommerce acceleration.

10. Going global becomes table stakes

One of the great benefits of ecommerce is that it’s a great way to test waters with international markets. Even though going global requires dealing with returns, overcoming language barriers, and handling distribution and logistics, it’s still one of the best ways to grow your business.

The road to ecommerce acceleration in 2021

A new era of ecommerce is about to unfold. To start capitalizing on the ecommerce surge, you have to set your business for growth.

Let’s take a look at five strategies that will pave your way to ecommerce acceleration.

1. Optimize your creative for ecommerce

Customers crave engaging content experiences. It’s no secret that content can be the key differentiator for your business. High-quality product visuals and persuasive product descriptions are the basic requirements for success in the digital landscape.

DTC businesses that bet on ecommerce for the long run should start by creating a product page that converts.

In other words, build an engaging shopping experience that answers every question your customers may have. From sharp product images and detail shots to product reviews, recommendations, and videos, enriching the digital merchandising of your webshop will lead to more conversions.

One important thing to remember: if you’re selling through multiple channels, make sure to unify your brand experience and optimize your creative across every touchpoint.

As one of the most popular brands for running socks, Feetures was aware of the importance of a unified brand image across channels. They were challenged by the high cost of optimizing images and content on their ecommerce channels, which led to an inconsistent brand message across sellers. After partnering with Pattern, they optimized images and content and maintained a consistent brand image across all marketplace and Amazon listings while boosting overall annual revenue by 67%.

Feetures

2. Rely on rules-based advertising and data-driven SEO

Digital marketing is an essential part of ecommerce. However, in the last couple of years, businesses have faced difficulties in reaching new customers. DTC brands have been conditioned to think that pouring dollars into digital marketing is enough and will bring them the expected results.

In reality, businesses are overspending without having a solid strategy in place. If you want to get the most of the money you invest in online marketing, you must rely on rules-based advertising and data-driven SEO.

Keeping your keywords in sync with product descriptions, alt tags, and titles ensures your product’s visibility on the keywords you’re bidding on. The first step is finding out the right keywords so you can start spending wisely and boost conversions.

3. Leverage the power of online marketplaces

Online marketplaces are booming. The fact that they account for more than half of global online retail is mind-blowing. It’s no surprise that more and more DTC brands choose marketplaces as testing grounds for their internationalization.

However, keep in mind that navigating the ins and outs of marketplaces is a full-time job. Taking care of the product listings, direct content optimization, and ensuring your customers are happy, are just some of the daily activities.

The good news is that you can partner with experts who can take care of day-to-day tasks while you focus on other growth opportunities.

Thorne is a supplements and wellness brand that wanted to expand its ecommerce presence. They wanted to grow to new marketplaces, but they needed help in uniforming the customer brand experience across channels. As a result of their Pattern partnership, Thorne was able to expand to 7 new marketplaces and countries, including Walmart.com, Tmall, MercadoLibre, Jet, and Amazon China, CA, and EU. Embracing this approach has helped them achieve 50% sales growth.

Thorne

4. Create an effective ecommerce distribution logistics strategy

Distribution and logistics for global markets can be an absolute nightmare. From packaging and labeling to warehousing and fulfillment, DTC brands need good organization and a system in place to take care of each step–from the moment customers buy a product to the moment they receive it.

Finding an ecommerce distribution partner who will streamline your distribution and help you cut down costs can fuel your business growth. Tech-savvy distribution partners are equipped with advanced solutions to help you keep track of all your activities. Pattern’s Shelf software will keep you up to date on all product movements. With distribution centers in 5 countries, Pattern ships an average of 850K units each month to 12 marketplaces and 89 countries.

5. Put data at the core of your ecommerce business

The difference between an average and a successful ecommerce business is the data. Only brands that set up goals, gather data along the way, and take action on what they learn can adapt to changes, stay buoyant, and thrive.

Better data informs better decisions. Having an all-in-one ecommerce tracking tool will give you an in-depth look into the health of your ecommerce business, keeping you in the know of what’s going on with compliance, advertising, ratings, and reviews, and more—all on one platform.

Pattern’s solution Predict pulls real-time data from over 4,000 ecommerce sites each day to give you all the insights you need to win on Amazon and other marketplaces.

The U.S. brand Pure Encapsulations produces a complete line of research-based, hypoallergenic nutritional supplements. Pure needed better insights into their ecommerce business to help them take control of their channel, and a holistic ecommerce strategy to protect, grow, and clean up their brand online. By partnering with Pattern, Pure gained access to comprehensive ecommerce reporting through the Predict software. As a result, they were able to grow revenue by 4x since 2016.

Pure

What’s next?

Once new customer habits are cemented, there’s no going back. Today’s customers have high expectations when it comes to online shopping. DTC brands that want to accelerate ecommerce growth have to adopt strategies that will future-proof their business.

If you fail to adjust to the changing ecommerce landscape, you risk going out of business. The good news is that you can rely on expert help.

If you’re looking for a world-class ecommerce partner to support your growth, Pattern is your solution. Request your demo 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 20, 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](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) 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](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- 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](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) 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](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- 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](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) 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](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) 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](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) 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](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 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](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com 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](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) 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](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- 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](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) 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](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) 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](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)