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%.


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, Tmall, MercadoLibre, Jet, and Amazon China, CA, and EU. Embracing this approach has helped them achieve 50% sales growth.


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.


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.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360]( Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance]( Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times]( [Read more on the Guardian]( One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC]( Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve]( Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard]( Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail]( GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian]( Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire]( H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](