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eCommerce Archives - acronym

UK Retailers Are Optimistic About 2023 Sales Growth

By eCommerce and Marketplaces No Comments

Despite the increasing economic uncertainty, supply chain issues and changes in shopping behaviors, the majority of retail CEOs in the UK are confident of sales growth in 2023, according to a new Retail Week report.

Based on interviews with the leaders of 54 UK businesses, sustainability and ensuring diversity, inclusion and engagement among staff are also key focus areas for the industry.

Disruption is the ‘new normal’ for retailers in the UK: after Brexit came the pandemic and now a cost-of-living crisis, so retailers are focusing on the things they can control.

Some Key Takeaways

  • Two thirds (67%) of retail CEOs believe sales will be higher in 2023, versus 10% forecasting them to be flat and 14% expecting them to be lower.

  • 61% say PPC is the area where they will spend the most marketing budget, followed by 55% for Instagram; Facebook is expected to decline sharply (from 75% in 2022 to 47% in 2023). 

  • 31% expect more sustainable delivery options and click-and-collect to be the most in-demand delivery options next year.

  • Retailers expect an average 49% of sales to be online within three years, up from 46% now; in-store sales will decline from 38% to 35%.

  • 78% of retailers have a single view of their stock but only 58% have a single view of their customer.

The ideal channel mix and the right selection of marketing tactics is unique to each retailer. What is important, however, is to maintain agility and make decisions based on what resonates with the respective target audience.

At Acronym, we leverage neuromarketing triggers to ensure our campaigns connect with each target audience in the most meaningful way at every stage of the funnel. If you need assistance identifying the right omni-retail media mix, please contact us today. We are here to help.

The Five Factors That Drive eCommerce Loyalty

By eCommerce and Marketplaces, Social Commerce, Social Media No Comments

As we all know, brand loyalty was disrupted during the pandemic, and it changed nearly every part of the eCommerce playbook.

Over these past couple of years, marketers needed to find a way to attract shoppers and convert them into repeat customers. One of the best ways for brands to understand their customers’ wants and needs is through harnessing social media, which provides opportunities to create personalized marketing campaigns.

The Five Factors

The five key factors that can help online brands with digital loyalty are relevance, a seamless shopping experience, convenience, personal connection, and community endorsement.

  1. Relevance: Shoppers want the ability to discover relevant products they desire and need that they hadn’t thought about.
  2. Seamless shopping experience: Consumers prefer technology that recommends products that meet in-the-moment needs.
  3. Convenience: Shoppers expect to receive their products within a couple of days at a reasonable delivery cost (and a no-hassle return experience).
  4. Personal Connection: Consumers expect a personal customer service experience, where the brand reflects their identity and knows them enough to provide relevant offers.
  5. Community Endorsement: Shoppers want to feel part of a community and will naturally trust recommendations or reviews by other like-minded members.

This shift in the eCommerce reality has forced many businesses to rethink their approach to customer relationships. With more users online, fostering digital loyalty can yield a real and significant revenue boost.

By focusing on these five factors, marketers drive loyalty to your brand by harnessing the best social media tools and creating personalized marketing campaigns.

You can ensure a seamless experience that prioritizes usability, but also delights shoppers with new and innovative experiences. If possible, offer curbside or locker pickup, which will cut the cost of delivery and time, in turn making customers satisfied.

We also recommend employing new tools, like customer care online chat platforms or messaging apps, to improve responsiveness to consumers. These kinds of tool are highly desired. In fact, a recent Accenture study shows that 90% of U.S. consumers and 86% of businesses prefer apps and mobile chat. This can also help create a more personalized experience.

And, bear in mind a recent Yieldly report indicated that 75% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from brands offering personalized experiences. It’s also important to ask loyal customers to leave reviews and recommendations; this tactic can broaden your brand’s social reach through enlisting creators who have credibility in a particular product area.

If you’d like assistance with your integrated social media, eCommerce, marketplace or app strategy, contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

Sam’s Club Overhauls Its Ad Network with a Self-Service Platform

By eCommerce and Marketplaces No Comments

As retailers continue to invest in new ways to let advertisers reach consumers via their online properties, Sam’s Club is the latest to give its ad network a major overhaul.

In addition to giving online shoppers new search capabilities, Sam’s Club now lets advertisers buy sponsored product ads through a self-service platform called the Membership Access Platform (MAP). The platform allows clients to target shoppers based on search behavior, past purchases and membership info.

The Walmart-owned company today is rolling out a number of updates across its website, app and curbside pickup e-commerce options. Along with giving online shopping new search capabilities, Sam’s Club will now let advertisers buy sponsored product ads through a self-service platform called the Membership Access Platform (MAP) to target shoppers based on search behavior, past purchases and membership info. Marketers will also be able to retarget people off Sam’s Club’s platforms through programmatic ad partnerships with The Trade Desk, IRI and LiveRamp.

Marketers will also be able to retarget people off Sam’s Club’s platforms through programmatic ad partnerships with The Trade Desk, IRI and LiveRamp.

Acronym’s EVP, Performance Marketing, Gregg Manias offered his perspective:

“Sam’s Club is joining Target, Walmart and a few others who already share their first-party data with Trade Desk. As brands decide whether they should build their own clean room to deal with data sharing, Trade Desk provides more measurement value to their programmatic partners than they did just two years ago.

The new partnership will help brands understand the lifetime value of a customer. It also helps trace what customers are searching for both online and offline because it can all be traced back to the credit card.

Although Amazon has had the lead for years, competition is heating up. Retail media also helps marketers get better behavioral targeting data and more quickly track sales data rather than waiting for an entire quarter or longer to see how products are moving on shelves.”

Retail media continues to see significant gains. In the U.S. alone, retail media ad sales are expected to climb 39% from $29 billion in 2021 to $40 billion in 2022, according to Forrester, which predicts that could double to $85 billion by 2026.

And as third-party cookies become less effective, marketers want new ways of reaching consumers beyond traditional search and social media. If you’d like more information or want guidance on how your brand can drive conversions through programmatic ad partnerships with The Trade Desk, IRI or LiveRamp, give us a call. Our eCommerce and Marketplaces experts are here to help.

U.S. Consumer Spending Expected to Increase Heading Into the Holidays

By eCommerce and Marketplaces No Comments

According to eMarketer, US eCommerce sales are expected to be more than $1 trillion by the end of 2022, with a 9.4% increase YoY.

The pandemic shopping habits consumers over the past two years are here to stay, which is why
eCommerce is expected to continue to make up a larger share of retail sales this year. Despite high inflation, consumers are keeping up with the rising costs of essential items like food and household products. But analysts do anticipate growth to slow in discretionary categories like apparel, toys and hobbies, and furniture and home furnishing.

Amazon Continues to Lead in eCommerce.

Leveraging fast shipping and competitive pricing, Amazon continues to lead eCommerce sales in 2022, with 37.8% of total sales.

Back-To-School To See Slight Increase in Sales.

While it’s predicted back-to-school eCommerce shopping will see a slight (6.8%) increase from last year, holiday eCommerce sales are expected to see an overall 15.5% increase.

Holiday Retail Sales Expected to Increase.

We expect 2022 holiday retail sales to increase 3.3% to $1.262 trillion, with brick-and-mortar
increasing 0.9% to $1.026 trillion and ecommerce climbing 15.5% to $235.86 billion.
Consumer spending momentum and an extended holiday shopping season should contribute
to topline gains, but inflation, supply chain instability, and rising digital ad costs are likely to hit
retailers’ bottom lines

While consumer spending is increasing, the unstable supply chain, inflation, and growing ad costs, may impact retailers’ bottom lines, especially for companies with non-essential products.

Always-On Holiday Thinking.

Faced with supply chain disruptions and rising inflation, consumers will most likely turn to brands they know they can trust as they search for the best deals and prices.

In order to be successful in the eCommerce marketplace, brands must establish themselves early to stay in the top-of-mind for consumers. The shift to an “always on” holiday season allows consumers to break away from traditional holiday shopping days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Sunday, and Cyber Monday.

What Brands Should Do Today

Ensure you are promoting a strong evergreen eCommerce presence and plan to run media for large events like back-to-school and holiday shopping season early (not just Q4), because consumers are shopping earlier to avoid inventory/supply chain issues.

In other words, you want to execute a strategic media plan in place for the upcoming shopping season, which is starting right now. If you need assistance with your eCommerce, marketplaces or overall media plan, please contact us today. We are ready to help.

Navigating the Modern Retail Landscape

By Brand Engagement, eCommerce and Marketplaces, Insights & News, Paid Media No Comments

Since the pandemic began, we have seen an accelerated convergence of brand and performance media where now all brand outcomes are measured.

While millions quarantined and conducted business from their homes, we witnessed a massive expansion in the retail world as retail-built networks (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kroger) and retailer partner networks (e.g. Criteo, Ad Citrus, Promote Iq, etc.) began to monetize their first party data.

In the past, a shopper marketing strategy focused on traditional tactics such as in-store promos, circulars, and co-op tv spots. However, over the last decade these strategies evolved to include co-op digital media such as search, display videos and social media that – for the most part – was run by the retailer on behalf of the brand.

During the pandemic, this changed as retail leaders such as Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Kroger, Target, etc. allowed brands and agencies to combine their first-party data and leverage the retailer first-party rich audiences to buy media within their own media platforms, and in return receive a wealth of measurement metrics such as sales data. This ability to analyze the shopper at a more intimate level allowed both shoppers and brands to develop better marketing mixes that target the retailers’ consumer with more precision and develop more persuasive marketing strategies to target the general category consumer as well.  

This is important as we move to an uncertain world without a cookie identifier, brands are seeking ways to leverage their first-party data. Moving forward, brands are focused on spending retailer dollars with a maximum use of data that allows them to make smarter decisions with their investment choices. This can help mitigate wasteful spend and provide a self-serve space that allows retail media performance to be directly tied to brand outcomes.

Brands know about their category and retailers understand the consumers who are buying in that category. The combination of this intelligence through a omni-retail media mix can result in precision targeting with persuasive messaging in the upper funnel and creates the ability to capture demand from onsite search.

While these brands will always need a traditional national branding strategy, they now can focus less on national branding and more time, budget, and attention on supporting retailers with connections to the outcome. This can be particularly advantageous when retailer contractual commitments continue to grow, reducing brand media dollars.

What has caused brands to gravitate to retail media?

  • The ability to understand media’s correlation to SKU outcome and to access a retailers’ first-party data..
  • Using co-op dollars on self-serve media platforms for measurable outcomes
  • Retailers built their own on-site search platforms. Kroger, Amazon and WMT (O&O only) have also built their own programmatic platforms for offsite media.
  • DSPs like Tradedesk and Data Onboarding tools are fighting to help these retailers and brands partner together to build full self-serve models that allow the combination of first-party retail and brand audiences to be targeted across a funnel approach including ad exchanges and media types (OTT, Display, Remarketing, etc.).         
  • Brands can understand a shopper at an individual level and through retail media strategies, they can better understand what drives a consumer to purchase.

Why do shoppers lean into this?

  • Having a media mix that is both tied to Media Mix Models and digital measurable outcomes enables shoppers to build a better omni-channel mix using data.
  • Almost everything is measurable; they no longer need to rely just on in-store promotions and coupon clipping.
  • By combining a Performance Media and Shopper Strategy, brands are better able to understand the consumer more intimately. This allows them to drive a better omni-channel mix.
  • Omni-channel support that is targetable and trackable not only drives in-store and online sales, but media that is also married with in-store makes the insights more useful than just what we have mined from digital. This can also help inform future creative testing ideas.            
  • Understanding consumer behavior better than they can with their own first-party, brands have the precision of targeting that allows for more effective persuasive messaging.

POV By Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media

COVID-19 Turbo-Charged the eCommerce Transition

By eCommerce and Marketplaces, Insights & News No Comments

The average items per order in e-Commerce increased by 60% at the height of COVID. What can eCommerce brands do to keep this trend going as COVID restrictions are pulled back? 

Online shopping was my answer to just about everything for over a decade. The delivery guys have me on speed dial and we’re pretty much on a first name basis. In March 2020, when the UK went into lockdown, I took for granted that my ten years of online shopping experience and established vendor relationships would mean I get priority. It wasn’t long before I realized that my next day delivery slot for essentials was no longer available and my other “comfort” shopping options were facing their own challenges with supply management and logistics.  

This all happened because, without much choice, even those who were anti-online shopping had changed their tune. The pandemic has pushed us into an era of extreme convenience. Curbside pickup, eCommerce, and virtual options have become the new norm. Furthermore, for seasoned online shoppers, why settle for next day delivery when there is a same day priority option available.  

Beyond retail, the services sector also had to recalibrate.  Virtual classes and experiences emerged as the “new norm”.  From orchestras and West End musicals (Indeed, we spent Christmas with “Mary Poppins” at our doorstep thanks to Doorstep Productions) to yoga centers and 24-hour medical services, companies in the entertainment, education and wellness business scrambled to get online when lockdowns began. Overnight, Zoom became a household name.   

While delivery speed is certainly important, there are other areas of the convenience journey that retailers and service providers need to sharpen up to ensure a great customer experience.  

Convenience and ease are key reasons why consumers will continue to engage and transact online. Here’s how you can stay ahead of the game. 

Plan an eCommerce experience beyond desktop. 

Mobile dominates online sales. By the end of 2021, global mobile eCommerce sales will hit $3.56 trillion. Consumers not only use their mobile devices to research products and services, but also to make transactions. To succeed at eCommerce, having a website accessible through mobile devices isn’t enough. It is important to ensure your mobile site is developed in a commerce friendly way by including simple features such as:  

  • Image zooming by Pinching and Double-tap gestures. 
  •  Video content demonstrating product or services benefits.
  • Save feature for shopping carts. 
  • Mobile transaction security which conveys a feeling of safe & secure mobile eCommerce.  
  • Provide an auto-detect, address lookup feature on check-out forms.  
  • Smooth, easy and speedy checkout.  

Focus on navigation

Navigation is one of the most critical components of any website. Good navigation improves users experience on site and creates an environment that is conducive for transactions. Conversely, poor navigation often results in a high bounce rate as frustrated consumers exit the website due to not being able to find the items that they are looking for.  

By working with your web analytics team and studying your consumers onsite behavior you would be able to create a user experience optimal for eCommerce by putting yourself in the shoes of your consumers and building out a highly eCommerce focused, easy-to-navigate, website.  

Optimize Site Search

Investing in good site search technology provides consumers with an easy and streamlined way of locating desired products and services. In addition, displaying search suggestions on the search results page can provide consumers with more ideas on what they are searching for and offer upselling opportunities.  

This is also a ‘goldmine’ for companies as it provides valuable insights such as: 

  •  Forecasting trends in consumer behavior & increased demand for specific product categories. 
  •  Identifying inventory & content gaps. 
  •  Discovering search words / terms used by your consumers to describe your products and services. 
  •  What do your consumers find interesting? If this content already exists on your site, then how can you make this content easier to find. 
  • What is the search origin page (Where did they get lost on your site)? By combining the search origin page data with top destination page, you can add call to action triggers that can improve content delivery and guide consumers further along the conversion path.  

You can work with your marketing team to leverage these insights to develop optimized content on trending topics. 

Ideally, by combining web analytics and site search analytics, you can identify trending keywords and align your website, social, pay per click (PPC) and email content around a discrete set of terms that you already know is trending upward. Incorporate these search terms into your digital and offline marketing collateral to cultivate intent and guide your prospective customers to transact. 

Invest in great visual representation, video and augmented reality (AR) technology. 

Great visual representation will give your customers the same feeling as if they were picking something up in a store. Fashion brands have utilized real-life photography and videos to offer customers a simulated selection of views based on different body types and skin tones. 

In fact, product videos are an essential when it comes to eCommerce as it helps demonstrate how the product functions, answers frequently asked questions as well as positively influences customer experience.   

Beyond video, retailers are increasingly using AR to provide consumers with a more immersive experience and allowing them to have real time interaction with products while remaining in their own environment. Through AR, L’Oréal have been able to offer virtual makeup and hair color try-on experiences to their customers. For furniture retailers, AR has presented an opportunity for consumers to not only visualize furniture in their homes, but also make sure it fits in the space and style of their room.  

Include eCommerce recommendation algorithms to personalize the shopping experience. 

Sheer curiosity on the of variety of items available and what’s new in-store is one of the reasons why consumers shop offline. This experience can very easily be replicated in an online store environment by analyzing user browsing habits and investing in technology to sharpen eCommerce recommendation algorithms.  

When a consumer visits your site and starts browsing through your product inventory, the recommendation engine starts analyzing customer preferences based off search history, preferences, and shopping filters. Once the recommendation algorithms have established a pattern of preferences, it starts displaying a set of recommendation frames entitled “Selected for you”, “You might also like” or “Frequently bought together”.  This delivers a highly personalized experience and an opportunity to upsell and increase overall shopping cart value. 

Engage in conversational commerce through “Chatbots”. 

Many companies are using chatbots to instantly communicate with customers by providing real time customer service, addressing product related questions, and creating opportunities to upsell consumers through offering product suggestions based on requests, past orders and browsing history. In addition, chatbots are also a great way to guide consumers to complete their purchase through chat.  

Check out my earlier POV on How eCommerce is growing via Chatbots

Embrace social commerce. 

While Amazon has been the default go-to for everything throughout the pandemic, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and beyond already have cultivated a significant social commerce and alternative marketplace presence for many retailers.  

Essentially, social platforms like Facebook & Instagram Shop offer the opportunity to create an extension of your digital “Flagship Shop” and allows your customers to shop either directly from their social news feeds or from your Facebook Page, Instagram profile, Instagram Shopping ads, shoppable stories and beyond. 

It empowers you to engage with your followers (and potentially their network of friends) and create an interest based social commerce experience with the added flexibility of leveraging your social assets and user generated content available on your social environment. 

In addition, you are now in the position to shorten the buying cycle and improve your conversion rates because customers have got the option to checkout on the social app, or through messenger chat (enter chatbot and upsell opportunities) or get redirected to your website. 

Clearly, the shift to eCommerce is here to stay and presents an opportunity to exponentially expand your digital marketplace and online retail revenue. If you would like to explore how you can enhance your eCommerce experience and drive revenue growth, our subject matter experts will be happy to assist.  Please contact us today.   

POV by Farah Sadiq, EVP, GM, International

keyboard shopping button

The Key Factors Influencing Online Purchases

By eCommerce and Marketplaces, Insights & News, Social Commerce, Social Media No Comments

Facebook published a new report, using research derived from Hong Kong and Taiwan, that shows how digital media has reshaped the modern shopping process.

Among other trends, the report found that convenience continues to be the #1 purchase driver, underscoring the need for hyper-seamless checkout.

While the downside of online shopping is the lack of tangibility (which formats like live shopping and AR aim to address), the upside is the ability to compare prices and options, something that may be associated with declining brand loyalty.

The report explains that brand loyalty as we used to know it is under threat. According to Nielsen’s Global Consumer Loyalty study, only 8% of consumers consider themselves committed loyalist to their favorite brands. With the variety of choices presented in consumers’ lives today, coupled with rising spending powers relative to product costs, brand switching becomes effortless and less risky.

Why is this important? 

While the report is based on data from the APAC region, the findings have worldwide implications. Boosted by the pandemic, more consumers than ever are shopping online, and “have high expectations [that they] are not willing to lower when online shopping.”

Acronym’s EVP, International GM, Farah Sadiq explains:

“According to an Epsilon study, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized service. Personalization in a messenger environment isn’t new to Facebook (the Facebook messenger bot has been around since 2018).

The key to success is for brands to build out a conversational eCommerce strategy that places prospects in a low pressure environment where they are comfortable sharing their budget and preferences and receptive to product recommendations in a highly visual (image or video based), engaging and personalized manner. In other words, access to your very own personal shopper at your finger tips.” 

What is the impact on brands?

Acronym’s VP of Asia Operations, Pearlyn Kua takes it a step further when it comes to the opportunities this report presents for brands.

“The disruption caused by the pandemic has evolved consumers’ buying behaviour due to shops being closed as the city goes into lockdown. Consumers’ usual go to products / brands may often become unavailable. This presents opportunity for businesses to capitalise as consumers establish new brand loyalties and patterns of purchasing behaviour.

In Asia, we have seen businesses revised their business models to remain agile through removing cumbersome processes & increased communication across teams. This allows them to continue business while remaining competitive and operational under stringent measures.”

Shopping of all types, not just physical products, is subject to rising consumer expectations.

While companies that sell consumer goods need to use creative new tools to help online shoppers get a sense for how products look and feel, companies selling services also need to up their game in providing engaging shopping experiences.

A fuss-free checkout process is equally important for every brand selling online.

In fact, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 70%. But, it doesn’t have to be that high if brands pay attention to the customer’s experience and initial intent. Acronym’s Director of Paid Social Media, Gellena Lukats explains:

“We have found our dynamic product ads on Facebook drive some of the most efficient ROAS and revenue. Tapping into the audience that shows intent helps scale our campaigns and drive performance.”

In fact, the study goes on to show that continued engagement with consumers keeps them loyal. Per the study, an overwhelming majority of Hong Kong and Taiwan shoppers want brands to stay in touch with them and have indicated an interest to receive brand communications from brands.

We recommend optimizing your brand’s online shopping experience, including experimenting with new creative formats, like live-stream shopping, brand stores, or shoppable posts.

If you’d like more information, including a deep-dive competitive and customer analysis of these purchase opportunities for your brand, contact us today.