Spring has sprung at long last. With first glimpses of green outside, consumers in some areas are (cautiously) emerging from a long period of forced isolation and hibernation. And, they’re ready to shop—in person.
What’s good for the consumer is often challenging for brands, however.
Gone are the days of e-commerce duking it out with physical retail. E-commerce hit all-time highs in 2020, signaling digital transformation was here to stay. In Q4 alone, sales rose to $245.28 billion, up 32.1% from Q4 2019. Any brand picking sides is on the losing side of the consumer. Smart brands that want to build customer lifetime value and loyalty should view in-store and online as cooperative, not competitive spaces.
The following e-commerce lessons are essential for you to consider in your campaigns for 2021 (and beyond):
Physical retail has very real limits, including the flexibility to test variety or multi-pack products on the fly. This is where e-commerce can fill in essential gaps and complement your in-store presence—reducing risk while expanding awareness and your pool of potential products and customers.
The sharp growth in e-commerce last year revealed less brand loyalty than you might have thought or hoped for. Instead, price, convenience and shipping were critical to purchase decisions and consumers enjoyed a nearly on-demand world of goods. That introduces a lot of complexity for brands managing multiple channels and partners, but mining data on purchase drivers and cross-channel behavior can help you decide which products to place in-store versus online.
Our data confirms that consumers shop around and an omnichannel approach brings brands success. Selling on Amazon is a strong first step but consider building your own online store to develop closer direct relationships with consumers. Then test and refine your efforts by examining your data holistically to understand exactly where your customers shop.
Supply chain management faced significant stressors in 2020, and many brands are still seeing long production and/or shipping lead times. E-commerce data showed one of our clients that sales in Oregon and Washington performed best, but their inventory was stored in Louisiana. They were then able to optimize their inventory location and improve operational efficiencies across the supply chain.
Consumer habits and desires are evolving. When you use your e-commerce data to develop omnichannel strategies that meet consumers where they are, you’ll find campaign success.
Learn more about how data is the key to modern commerce in this Modern Retail article by Whitebox CEO Marcus Startzel.