Preparing Your Ecommerce Strategy for a Historic Q4
In the wake of a global pandemic, ecommerce has risen to the occasion. According to Search Engine Land, ecommerce spending grew from 11.8% of total retail in Q1 to 16.1% in Q2.1 And eMarketer reports that ecommerce hit a peak in Q2 2020 and is expected to stay elevated throughout the rest of the year.2
As brands prepare for a historic Q4, many feel the pressure to up their ecommerce game. Public health concerns have accelerated a need to diversify the sales channel mix as consumers stay behind their screens and away from malls. Before launching your latest ecommerce efforts this holiday season, consider these three key elements:
Diversify your presence across marketplaces and media platforms
With eMarketer estimating that ecommerce sales will jump from 11.0% of retail sales in 2019 to 14.5% this year,2 a thoughtful approach to reaching consumers will be essential to break through the clutter. These days, consumers cannot find your products unless they’re searchable, and it’s important to think beyond your website. To achieve your sales goals, you need to meet your consumers where they are online.
This will of course depend on your target audience, but you can most likely count on prioritizing a strong Amazon presence and leveraging ecommerce tools on social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. This is especially true if an investment in developing your own ecommerce experience is too great or if speed to market is of great concern. Ultimately, to maximize your reach, keep in mind that not all users will visit your website and make a plan to be available to them elsewhere.
Your website is your first impression
In the world of ecommerce, your website is both your showroom and a user’s first interaction with your brand. Creating a frictionless user experience has become table stakes, which means it’s essential to provide a seamless experience from internal website search to checkout to ensure users successfully complete a transaction.
Onsite content also matters a great deal. It’s not enough to simply share information about your brand, product specs, and contact information. Without the ability to physically touch and feel a product before purchase, online shoppers want to see product reviews and star ratings. Online shoppers also have a lot of questions. You want to be sure you are proactively answering their questions by building out informational content on your site. Do this and a user can truly immerse themselves in your brand when they visit your site.
Identify key performance indicators to measure success
The benchmarks you have historically used to evaluate performance can likely be thrown out the window thanks to the global pandemic. The shift in consumers’ shopping behavior coupled with increased ways to interact with your brand, from curbside pick-up to contactless delivery, means you likely need to reevaluate your key performance indictors (KPIs).
While conversion rate, sales volume, average order value, repeat purchase, purchase rate, and return on ad spend (ROAS) will continue to be primary KPIs for ecommerce brands, benchmarks are shifting. Take a moment to reflect on your goals, objectives, and the metrics you have identified to measure success, and be comfortable with staying fluid as the “goal posts” move in today’s dynamic digital landscape. Heading into what’s positioned to be a historic Q4, you’ll want to ensure you have a flexible plan to accurately measure performance.
So, what now?
In Q4, ecommerce will put a lot of pressure on marketers. Before you finalize your ecommerce plans and strategies for the holiday season, take a moment to pause. Consider your target audience, your brand, and its digital presence. Make sure you have a clear message that differentiates your offering, a plan to break through the clutter to reach your target audience, and a way to measure success. Then, buckle up and get ready for whatever Q4 2020 throws your way.