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The direction of ecommerce is changing both short-term and long-term

 

Using the latest eCommerce data from the ONS, Summit predicts that online retail spends (vs. store) will not return to the previous levels set in 2019 (20%). Instead, increase to as much as 48% throughout 2020 Q2 before declining to relatively higher levels moving into 2021 and 2022.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insights Director at IMRG supports this theory and expects to see an increased demand for eCommerce longer-term, “As the stores are shut, the demand will almost certainly have to shift online. As people get used to this new reality, you might expect their shopping habits to extend past focusing so heavily on grocery and essentials.”

Lucy Gibbs, Managing Consultant at Capgemini goes onto say “The months ahead could prove an opportunity for online to help serve customer needs, and potentially part of a larger shift to digital”, but what does this mean for consumer behaviour in the short-term?

ONS Internet

Data: ONS, Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales (ratio) (%)

Quotes: https://internetretailing.net/industry/industry/online-sales-flat-in-february–until-coronavirus-imrg-21134

Recent data from Poq suggests that retail app revenue has increased as much as 106% YOY with fashion increasing 46%.

Consumers are looking for ways to combat boredom during self-isolation, turning to retail apps for more inspirational and rich content alongside product information. Online marketing publication, Econsultancy suggests that “now could be the time for retailers to invest in app updates, as well as app-specific content in order to engage consumers”.

POQ Daily

Source: https://poqcommerce.com/app-commerce/2020/03/app-commerce-news-march-2020/

Online sales through desktops have also seen a 40% increase in recent weeks (Adobe) as more people setup to work from home. Retailers need to adjust to these small changes in consumer behaviour to take advantage of the limited acquisition opportunity.

 

Maximise your marketing spend now and plan for the demand rebound

 

Despite many businesses facing unprecedented trading challenges, there are still pockets of retail categories and sub-categories that are thriving in the current climate. Latest figures from Google suggest demand for sleep and loungewear has increased +5% YOY while apparel (particularly summer fashion) and footwear sees an overall 20-30% decline during the same period. Across home, demand for home appliances, storage and garden all continue to rise as consumers focus on home improvement projects. Likewise, within beauty, skincare and hygiene products see significant demand increases (+97%) as well as consumer electronics (+10%) as consumers focus on “needs” rather than “wants”.

However, this isn’t the time to shy away from your marketing investment. TheDrum recently provided five steps brands can take to prepare their marketing activity through this downturn:

  1. Work smart to retain your existing customer base

Focus on marketing automation to speed up your efforts but that doesn’t mean spamming your customer base. Create unique content that differentiates yourself from your competition but continue to send personalised communications. Also, get more social and engage with your customers.

  1. Get even more visible in front of your target market

Concentrate on marketing channels that drive customer acquisition higher up the purchasing funnel to increase brand awareness and exposure longer term. Take the time to update your evergreen content too such as how to, style and buying guides.

  1. Focus on driving conversions

Optimise the marketing activity that is working for you now to drive short-term revenue as well as continue to make small changes across your website to improve conversion rates. Now is the time to invest in your online customer experience.

  1. Measure, measure, measure

Take the time to focus on your tracking and analytics systems. Ensure you have your KPIs clearly defined and setup your tracking so you can report on these effectively. When budget is tight, understanding what works improves your decision making.

  1. Test, learn, test

Focus on the smaller experiments that are quick, cheap and easy to deliver. If it works, repeat. If not, move onto the next thing and quickly.

Where possible, brands should be investing for the long-term, not cutting back on marketing spend during this period. MarketingWeek highlight why it’s important to focus on brand awareness now despite 55% of brands delaying or even stopping their campaigns entirely. Later in the year, consumers will positively recall those brands that increased awareness during this period which can help increase customer acquisition.

Brands should adjust their marketing strategies in line with consumer behaviour as well as focus on awareness higher up the purchasing funnel to attract new customers so they’re ready for the rebound and surge in demand later in the year.

 

How can Productcaster CSS help?

 

As the market-leading CSS provider across Europe, we’re working closely with our clients to understand their retail challenges and help them adjust to the constant changes with coronavirus. If you’re not receiving flexible payment terms from your CSS provider, we can help you with payment deferrals, longer payment terms and even payment holidays.

Given the current climate, savings across your business and your marketing budgets are more essential than ever. At Productcaster, we want to help you make those marginal gains within your Shopping activity that will help your brand long-term.

For more information how we can help you specifically, call our Productcaster team on +44 (0)20 3948 4696 or email cssteam@productcaster.com

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