Scaling Ecommerce Growth: Partners vs. Agencies

John LeBaron

December 16, 2020

We’re about to say something you might find surprising: working with an agency is not the most effective way to grow your ecommerce business. Sure, agencies offer the expertise and the perspective you need to excel, but gone are the days when an agent could give a brand all the resources they need to thrive.

Brands today deal with far more complexities than agencies are equipped to solve, and to win big, brand leaders need a different relationship with the body helping them manage their brand. If you’re looking to scale your growth quickly and at less cost with the expertise you need to win in every corner, you should consider working with a partner instead of an agency.

An agency vs. a partner

When we talk about a “partner,” we mean someone who prioritizes your brand’s success, has a real relationship with you, and brings a full deck of experience to the table to help you thrive in every element of your business. Agencies can partially get you there, but there are some key differences that make a partnership with a company like Pattern a better option for growth.

Partners give you a wider breadth of expertise

Agencies rely on a fairly antiquated, specialized model for success. The upside to that is you get an expert with a honed focus helping you win on platforms like Amazon. The downside is that, while an agency might have expertise on one element of your ecommerce business, let’s say marketing, they may not be great at things like SEO, content syndication, or listing optimization. They might be well-versed in one platform, but not have the depth of experience to help your brand win on another. In a market where omnichannel is king, that can create some serious blindspots.

Double Your Resources With the Benefits of an Ecommerce Partner Over an Ecommerce Agency | Pattern

What tends to happen when a brand works with an agency is they don’t just stick to one agency. They have to make contracts with other agencies to help them cover the bases of their ecommerce business left uncovered. This creates a spendy smorgasbord of a team that can be difficult for brands to manage.

A partnership with Pattern gives you centralized expertise for every channel of your business at significantly less cost to you. This includes expertise on advertising, domestic sales, international sales, SEO, customer experience, design, different marketplaces, and more. Instead of jugging five or six accounts you only have to worry about one. You’re working with fewer personnel, but even more expertise.

Partners have aligned financial incentives

Working with an agency can often undermine the very thing you’re trying to achieve because of how agencies are incentivized. Let’s say you want to grow your brand at a lower cost. While you’re incentivized to keep ad spend low, an agency might be incentivized to spend more because they get a commission of the funds that your brand is spending in a given marketplace. They might be bonused based on something like Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS) and therefore bid on branded keywords that cost less but only give you vanity metrics instead of driving incremental sales.

Pattern Partner Key Outcomes in Their First Year, Revenue Growth, Control, Expansion to New Marketplaces | Pattern

In a partnership with Pattern, your incentives are our incentives. Our brand managers are compensated for helping you hit your revenue and growth targets, not based on how much you spend. Brands working with Pattern ultimately spend less than they did on their own or with an agency because we offer more bang for their buck and put them first. We, in fact, cut you a check upfront, not the other way around.

Partners offer more flexibility

Most agencies expect their clients to commit to a contract of several months or several years. That can be draining financially and it can be difficult if your relationship with an agency sours over time.

The average contract with Pattern only requires you to commit to sixty days out, and we give you the best value for your dollar so that when the time comes, you feel incentivized to stay. 97% of our new clients do.

How Pattern helps brands grow their revenue

Unlike working with an agency, working with Pattern as your partner means you’re armed with every tool you need to tackle every problem you have across your ecommerce channels. We’ve got the tech and the data to back you up.

Pattern helps brands rapidly increase their growth at a significantly lower cost through an ecommerce equation focused strategy: **Revenue = Traffic x Conversion x Price **

Ecommerce Equation to Grow Revenue | Pattern

Once brands are able to increase their traffic and conversion and get control of price, they’re primed to watch their long-term profits and ultimately their revenue grow. Here’s how a partnership with Pattern can do that.

Increased traffic

Getting more traffic to your listing is an important way to grow your brand, whether it be paid traffic, organic traffic, referral traffic, or others. Pattern helps you expand your traffic tributary both on an organic front by optimizing things like your digital shelf and analyzing your product destiny as well as a paid front by using technology to accelerate your dominance and authority along a vector of keywords. SEO is our first language.

Another way we increase your brand’s traffic is by helping you show up on new marketplaces. If you’re on Amazon today, but you’re not on Walmart, you can safely assume you’d get a 10% lift in traffic just by showing up on Walmart (one of our brands saw a 771% increase in YoY sales). The same goes for international platforms, like Amazon.UK, Tmall, and JD.com. Having a presence on a wide variety of markets is a significant way to increase traffic to your listings. While a single agency may be ill-equipped to take your business global and won’t have access to all of the resources you need to succeed on these platforms, Pattern does.

Pattern has a network of highly trained experts with boots on the ground in every major market in the world. We help you sell your product to international audiences and get your product on international platforms so your brand can grow on a global scale as well as a domestic one.

Increased conversion

Traffic has to convert to sales for your business to grow, and in order to effectively increase your conversion, you need to have access to the data on what works and what doesn’t. If you’re in a 1P relationship with Amazon, you can’t get that data. Amazon doesn’t share it with their 1P brands. As a third-party seller, Pattern does.

We give brand leaders the data to inform their branding decisions by performing A/B testing to determine what works best and what doesn’t. We look at everything from your product photography and page content to what customers are saying they like or dislike about your product in reviews. We work to optimize your titles, your descriptions, and image stacks so they’re slick and informative to customers. The quicker your product listings answer the questions a customer has when they go searching for your product, the higher your add-to-cart rate will be.

Another way we tackle the conversion vector of your ecommerce business is through promotions, coupons, or virtual bundles that entice shoppers to buy.

Most brands may have a conversion rate of 3 to 10% on a given listing. At Pattern, we have listings that convert to 40%. Just by increasing this one lever of your ecommerce business, you can 4x your revenue.

Price control

You really can’t optimize for traffic and conversion in a meaningful way until your authorized seller has some control over the Buy Box, and that requires control over your pricing and distribution online. Without control, your margins and your profits across ecommerce and brick-and-mortar channels get sliced.

Let’s say the MAP price on your product is $50. Without control, it might show up in the Buy Box for $25. That’s 50% margin lost on every single sale, and left unchecked, the seller creating this erosion can make it bad enough that your distributors are coming to you and demanding you lower the cost of your product so they can afford to sell it.

Pattern helps you restore your margins and protect them so your profitability is protected, too. We help you see where erosion is happening, kick out bad players, and give you the teeth to enforce your policies so it doesn’t happen again.

Revenue

Once your business is optimized for traffic, conversion, and price, you’re prepared to see your revenue and your margins grow. Most brands that work with Pattern are more profitable from day one, and Pattern works to ensure that growth is sustained overtime by using premiere technology to help your brand improve its customer experience and maintain a dominant presence on ecommerce marketplaces. An agency might get you to the curb. We get you through the door with quickly and effectively scaled growth.

To learn more about how a partnership with Pattern can help you grow your ecommerce business profitably, 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 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.