October 2020 Ecommerce Trend Analysis: Prime Day, Holidays, & More

Newel Cobb

October 21, 2020

Crack out those pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters, and get cozy. October has been a bustling month for ecommerce, and we’re looking back at some of the biggest online shopping events and stories from the month and what they mean for the future of ecommerce. Let’s talk about it.

Omnichannel is becoming more important than ever

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: omnichannel matters, now more than ever. More and more brands are shifting their strategy to a seamless experience between their brick-and-mortar stores and their ecommerce shops, and this month we’ve seen some of the biggest players in the retail space making big moves toward full integration.

Walmart expanding advertising efforts

Last month we reported that Walmart had teamed up with Microsoft in the bidding war to acquire TikTok. Currently, the TikTok deal is in limbo, but that hasn’t stopped Walmart from cranking up the heat in other branches of their omnichannel business, namely advertising.

This month Reuters reported that the retail giant has been aggressively expanding its advertising business and “making better use of its wealth of shopper data” by linking promotions from the Walmart website and app to ads within its 4,700 U.S. stores.

Walmart took their advertising business in-house last year under the name Walmart Media Group, and they continue to bridge the gap between their offline and online data as they develop an ad platform that can rival Amazon’s. According to company insiders, Walmart’s new ad strategy is paying off—Walmart Media Group is on track to earn nearly $1 billion of advertising sales this year, which is more than double that of last year.

Walmart is also putting in the work to expand their ecommerce presence by improving sellers’ experiences on their Marketplace platform. Walmart recently launched a Pro Seller badge that highlights and rewards top-performing sellers on their Marketplace (it’s similar to a “verified” badge on Facebook and Instagram or eBay’s “Top Rated Seller” status) and appears in search results, product pages, and the shopping cart.

The Pro Seller badge is an attempt to increase conversions for sellers who earn it and incentivize other sellers to work towards it. Pro Seller badges are given to sellers with a high on-time delivery rate, low cancellation rate, high quality listings, free online and in-store returns, and consistent compliance with Marketplace policies. So far, 250 sellers out of Walmart Marketplace’s 60,000 have earned a Pro Seller badge.

Alibaba integrating omnichannel strategy

Another company making a big omnichannel play is the ecommerce platform Alibaba. Alibaba announced this month that it will invest $3.6 billion in Sun Art Retail Group, a huge hypermarket and supermarket in China that also happens to be the country’s biggest retailer. This transaction will give Alibaba a 72% controlling interest in the brick-and-mortar company and further their New Retail strategy of integrating online and offline in China.

According to Euromonitor International, Sun Art held a 14.1% share of China’s hypermarket sales last year. Compare that to Walmart’s 10.3% market share in that category.

Mondelez International investing in digital

The owners of milk’s favorite cookie are also shifting their advertising into the omnichannel space, a fairly new move for the snack company. Mondelez announced that for the first time ever, the company will be spending the majority of their advertising budget on digital channels instead of TV commercials, a move that showcases how important an omnichannel presence has become to established brands used to traditional mediums.

Prime Day is here to stay, but this year it looked a bit different

After months of postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s Amazon Prime Day finally came and went on October 13th-14th. In the five years since its inception, this ecommerce holiday has proven that it isn’t going anywhere. That said, Prime Day 2020 has been an outlier compared to previous years.

Prime Day 2020 Analysis and Forecast | Pattern

Prime Day results

Although this year’s event is said to be Amazon’s biggest Prime Day yet, the company’s post-event messaging is more focused on the results for small businesses.

Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, said in an October 15th release, "We are thrilled that Prime Day was a record-breaking event for small and medium businesses worldwide, with sales surpassing $3.5 billion—an increase of nearly 60% from last year.”

Estimates put total Amazon sales during the two-day event at $10 billion, and according to MarketplacePulse, the company’s retail sales during the event were approximately $6.5 billion.

Despite the company’s focus on small and medium-sized businesses, more Prime Day sales on the site went towards Amazon-owned products this year. The platform featured deep discounts on devices like their Amazon Echo and Fire TV, and those naturally captured the most attention and sales.

Foot traffic decline

While Prime Day was happening, some of the largest retailers in the U.S. experienced YOY foot traffic losses. Amazon’s grocery arm Whole Foods saw foot traffic fall 32.1% during the event while Walmart’s traffic was down by 19.1% and Target’s traffic was 15.1% lower than last year. Best Buy fared the best of the bunch with a fall of 11.6% YOY. It’s important to note this drop was expected, as retailers had little time to prepare for an offline sales event after Prime Day was announced.

The effects of 2020 on the event

Prime Day’s postponement followed a spring of logistical nightmares for Amazon after consumers in Covid-19 lockdown turned to ecommerce en masse for their shopping needs. While Amazon was able to iron out much of those issues before their Prime Day event, this year has presented several other obstacles that may have impacted the outcome.

One of the biggest is that shoppers are in a pandemic induced recession that’s influencing much of their buying power and habits. Covid-19 has also created a myriad of shipping limits across 1P and 3P sellers on the site. With short notice ahead of the event’s announced October dates and plenty of noise already in the online space ahead of a heated presidential election, many consumers weren’t aware the event was happening, which may have impacted overall sales.

2020 has certainly proven to be an unprecedented year, and the ecommerce space is no exception. We’d recommend brands looking for data to prepare for next year’s Prime Day event look at 2019 rather than 2020 for better comparison.

Holiday sales promos are starting early

Because of its late dates, this year’s Prime Day event kicked off an early holiday shopping period, with holiday promos starting two days after the event. Post-Prime Day sales are also higher because of a pre-holiday ramp up, and shipping companies are telling retailers and shoppers to prepare early for what could be a record-breaking holiday season.

Bonnie Voldeng, vice president of FedEx Freight Direct, encouraged everyone planning to do holiday shopping this year to “shop and ship early. The earlier the better.” FedEx, like other parcel carriers, has seen an elevated package volume due to the pandemic. Average daily volume at FedEx Ground increased by 31% last quarter and numbers are high across the board.

One thing we recommend going into the holiday season this year is that brands have a 3P drop shipper to ensure their products get where they need to when they need to and in time for the holidays. Read our holiday analysis on Amazon categories most likely to experience stockouts here to learn more.

Pattern analyzes industry trends to help brands navigate the ecommerce space with the data and strategy they need to succeed. To learn about how Pattern can help your ecommerce business thrive, contact us below.

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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 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

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. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

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:

Prioritize Your Success

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.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

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.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

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.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

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.

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)