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 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.