Tips for Planning your 2021 Ecommerce Strategy
When the coronavirus shook America in full-force this spring, very few of us knew what kind of implications it would have on the economy and our shopping habits for months (and possibly) years to come. Running to the store for necessity items like toilet paper, paper towels, and Lysol wipes—or if we’re being honest with ourselves, comforting freezer foods like pizza and ice cream—turned into nightmare scenarios with shortages at every major grocery store and big-box retailer.
Then the statewide quarantines went into effect, and companies had to think outside-the-box on how to keep their revenues flowing with fewer people leaving their houses. Bigger stores started limiting the amount of people they allowed in their locations at one time, and encouraged their customers to participate in contactless services, such as curbside pick-up or same-day online delivery through apps like Shipt and Instacart. If you’ve taken part in some of these services, you may even know your delivery drivers by name at this point. Shout out to Darryl!
Smaller brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to close their doors temporarily, but turned their sales efforts online through Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, social media, and direct websites. According to GoDaddy, the market leader of web hosting platforms, there was a 48% increase in new paying subscribers from February to April this year, meaning more businesses realized it was time to start selling online, or at least get their brands a digital presence.
As a result of the stay-at-home mandates in each state, more people took to shopping online for their goods. In the food world, it was reported that nearly 80% of U.S. consumers turned to shopping online for groceries after the coronavirus outbreak. And, as stated by a Rakuten Intelligence report in April, e-commerce was up more than 30%, compared to the same period in 2019, and the top five leading online sales categories during coronavirus include: Books, Cleaning, Sports & Outdoors, Toys & Games, and Groceries. And, in case you were wondering, alcohol e-commerce sales have more than doubled compared to this time last year. Who doesn’t love it when a bottle of wine gets delivered to their doorstep?
All of this may be a good sign for ecommerce businesses and sellers in the entertainment sector as we prepare for an unusual holiday shopping season. Last month, Walmart announced they would be closing their stores on Thanksgiving this year in honor of their employees who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic with companies like Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kohl’s all following suit.
Many of these companies have also announced that they will start their holiday sales earlier this year, beginning with offers in October, and Amazon is rumored to have their coveted Prime Day set for the same month.
That brings us to Black Friday. No, it won’t be the same as Black Fridays past where Karen and Sandy are having a fist fight in the middle of Best Buy over a $200 plasma TV. While we can’t predict the future, we do expect that the typical “doorbuster” deals will likely only be available online, and possibly for an extended period, rather than just one day. Stores are still encouraging those safety precautions, so they aren’t going to do anything to encourage an influx of people to shop in-person this year.
Consumers should be prepared for popular shopping sites and retailers to be slow, and possibly sold out of their most-wanted items.
Brand managers should make sure their online shopping portals are user-friendly, easily searchable, and masterfully-branded. 2020 may be synonymous with coronavirus, but it’s also the Year of Ecommerce.
You may have seen this trend line from Statista. This is the share of ecommerce sales in total U.S. retail sales from 2010 to 2020. According to Statista, “In the first quarter of 2020, the share of e-commerce in total U.S. retail sales was 11.8 percent, up from 10.5 percent from the corresponding quarter in the previous year.” That is staggering. It essentially means that consumers in the US, and around the world, have taken the projections around ecommerce usage and accelerated that pace by several years.
JungleScout surveyed over 1,000 U.S. consumers and found the following:
- 48% of consumers are shopping more frequently on Amazon since the start of COVID-19
- 52% of consumers said that if they were only able to buy products from a single store, it would be Amazon
- 75% of consumers would spend up to $100 for a product on Amazon
- 52% of consumers say they have greater appreciation for Amazon now than they did prior to COVID-19
To help you get on track with accelerating your Ecommerce 2021 strategy,
we put together our top tips for preparing to ensure you’re well positioned for ecommerce.
- Own Your Marketplace.
Ensure your website is the main source for ecommerce, or for B2B brands, that you have the ability to allow your customer to purchase through a customer portal.
- Test and Learn
which marketplace channels are the best fit for you to scale. Amazon is the elephant in the room, but there are may channels that deserve recognition as well. Consider Walmart, eBay, retailer sites, niche sites like Thrive market, and more. There are several opportunities to syndicate your catalog of items to multiple channels. It’s about giving your customers selection in terms of where and how they purchase your products.
- Good Design is Good Business!
Create a well-designed and intentional brand experience. It’s not just about setting up your ecommerce ecosystems, success is also determined o how well you position your products. Create enhanced content, support your listings with brand focused and how-to videos. Your ecommerce channels, both on your website and off your site, are an extension of your brand experience. The days of uploading a simple product on a white background, and expecting people to get excited about your offerings, are long gone. Your product listings need to be expertly designed, educational and branded the same across channels. This is a huge opportunity for brands to activate an additional brand experience across all of these marketplace channels, which is truly valuable real estate.
- Advertise Your Catalog!
Setting up an ecommerce store, customer portal or putting listings on Amazon does not guarantee sales. You need to couple your strategy with a well thought out advertising and marketing plan. You can develop strategies that include media buying across channels like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and more. Add in some influencer engagement and include email marketing tactics, along with retailer marketing through third-party tools and you should be able to develop a robust plan for testing and learning which platforms and tactics generate sales. Plan, launch, test and optimize is still the best way to find your audience and generate ongoing sales and brand loyalty.
- Partner with an Expert.
We cannot enforce this enough because we know it works! Would you want to work on your own car, do your own plumbing, or cut your own hair? Most of us would not, so it’s time to let the experts plan, launch and manage your ecommerce initiatives. Ecommerce is increasingly complex. It’s a mix of marketing, merchandising, technology and logistics. There is nothing else like it and if you’re truly going to be successful, you would have to either hire all of these multi-disciplined experts, or hire an agency that specializes in ecommerce like Spaceshop.
Are you a business owner looking to ramp up your online sales for the holiday season? Spaceshop Commerce is an ecommerce agency that specializes in Amazon, Shopify, and Magento. Contact us today about our Amazon consulting, Shopify development, Magento development, Amazon advertising, ecommerce, and creative services.