How to Use Ecommerce Data to Innovate on Product Development

Dan Moss

December 17, 2020

Data analytics is the secret sauce powering almost every successful industry in the world. Everything from what you see on social media to the headlines you click on to the fact that you’re here reading this blog is determined and shaped by data, and data has become an especially important tool in ecommerce.

Ecommerce data helps your brand determine everything from ad spend to your organic search rankings, but that’s just the beginning of what it can do. Data can not only help you market your product, it can also lead to radical innovation that makes your products more attractive and functional for your customers.

The old way vs. the new way of innovating on product development

Back in the days of yesteryear, product development was a process that largely hinged on gut instinct. If developers and brand leaders felt like a tweak on a product would lead to more sales, they’d tweak it. Lacking the infrastructure and information to measure how that innovation might land, they might stumble onto a smash hit or a total lemon.

While intuition still has an important role to play in product development today, the rise of digitalized data has given brands unprecedented access to the minds of consumers—we know their buying habits, what they Google search, and what kinds of advertising gets them to click, for starters—and empirical evidence that not only mitigates innovation-associated risk but can be leveraged at every point of a product’s conception, design, and distribution to help a brand thrive.

How data can inform product development

Using data analytics, a brand can parse the landscape of a product category into understandable pieces that offer valuable product solutions for their customers. Data can tell you which products are trending and when they’re trending. It can tell you what consumers are saying about a particular product, for example, what they dislike about it, what they love about it, or what they wish it did differently. Data scraped from customer reviews can give you valuable feedback on your product’s design and functionality, and pricing and search data can show you if a certain category is too competitive for your brand to enter, or if you stand a chance there.

Ultimately, data can provide your brand with next steps to make your products work better for your customers. Brand leaders who are effectively using it to innovate their products are positioning themselves as market leaders in the ecommerce space.

Case Study: Hydro Flask and Chill

Hydro Flask is one of the hottest brands in the food and beverage industry, and it has been for several years. On its own, Hydro Flask is pretty innovative—it’s popular precisely because of the design of its products. Hydro Flask water bottles are built with TempShield insulation and double vacuum construction that keeps drinks cool for almost 24 hours, which makes them great portable products for hiking and spending time outside in warmer weather. The brand has also recently evolved its product lineup to include insulated food transport containers, like totes, food jars, and lunch boxes.

Product designers and developers across the country have paid close attention to Hydro Flask’s popularity, manufacturing their own Hydro Flask accessories—like silicone boots, stickers, and spout caps—to piggyback off the brand’s success and compete in the space. One of those developers is Pattern’s Product Development Head Dan Moss.

Moss and his team of developers wanted to know which kinds of products were trending in the water bottle category on ecommerce and how they could capitalize on it. Using data analytics, they found that Hydro Flask handles were seeing lots of chatter. In response, they conducted data analysis on the positive and negative reviews of each Hydro Flask handle on Amazon. With this data, Moss’s team could determine what problems customers had with these handles and how Pattern could offer an innovative solution. What they found was enlightening.

Customers who bought Hydro Flask water bottle handles on Amazon often felt like the pricing was too high. It was difficult for some of them to physically pull these handles off of their bottles, and they were disappointed they couldn’t interchange them. Some customers felt like their handle looked cheap and gimmicky.

Based on that feedback (as well as the analytics showing Pattern could compete on price), the Pattern product development team went to work creating a new product that wouldn’t have the same issues as its predecessors. Product engineers created multiple iterations of a handle concept. Finally, they landed on Chill, a comfortable, stylish, and reversible nylon strap with a unique push ring clip system that fits most wide-mouth water bottles and rests below the rung for easy attachment and detachment.

Chill Handle Example of Product Development for Ecommerce | Pattern

Chill handles have been on Amazon since about August, and thus far, they’re being received really well by customers, with 150 reviews and an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. The Chill handle has also been selected as an Amazon’s Choice product and is expected to continue doing well for Pattern.

Chill is just one example of how data analytics can point out existing issues with a product and help brand leaders connect the dots to find exciting solutions for their customers. Backed by data, your brand can build a product that’s more efficient, more innovative, more functional, and an overall better quality. And by improving the quality of your product, you create a domino effect that can lead to a better customer service experience for shoppers and ultimately, more sales.

Using Ecommerce Data for Product Development Example | Pattern

Using Pattern's data to inform product development

Ecommerce data can only be helpful for your brand if you have the right tools to access and leverage it. That’s where Pattern comes in. Pattern gives brands expansive access to data analytics and machine learning tools they can use to grow their business in the ecommerce space. We use data to break down what’s working for your brand and what areas need a bit more work, including your product listings, designs, and brand control.

Product development is an especially exciting area to navigate with Pattern as your partner. Pattern recently acquired Enlisted Design, a powerful branding agency that allows us to marry data analytics with design to help brands craft a powerful product and data strategy.

In an interview with Silicon Slopes Magazine, Beau Oyler, CEO of Enlisted Design, described the potential a partnership between Enlisted and Pattern has for brands.

“Throughout my career, I’ve launched numerous award-winning brands and products that can be found at MoMA, Apple stores, Target, Whole Foods, and Best Buy,” Oyler said. “But as I focus on launching new products, I know that ecommerce will be the best way to reach tomorrow’s consumers. The Pattern platform brings real-time market data to the design process, targeting exactly what consumers are looking for. This has never been done before to this degree. Enlisted interprets that data to create next-level design, and together we win for our partners, and they win at ecommerce.”

To learn more about how Pattern and Enlisted Design can help you grow your ecommerce business and innovate your product line, contact us using the form below.

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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 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce 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.

Sept 15, 2022

The 3 Tmall Metrics That Every Brand Needs to Know

If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.

At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.

What is Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR)?

Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.

Why DSR Determines Success on Tmall

DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.

Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.

DSR Score Elements

1. Service

Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.

So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.

2. Delivery

Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.

So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.

3. Content

As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.

The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).

Expand Internationally With Pattern

As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter. 

It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.

Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.