Data and insights company Edge by Ascential has revised the online growth outlook for 2020 from +22.2% to +30.4%, prompting companies to rethink marketing as e-commerce growth intensifies. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent country lockdowns have driven a decade of e-commerce growth in an eight-week period, prompting a rethink of all the marketing fundamentals.
“Effective marketing in the age of e-commerce may mean new thinking in terms of some of the ‘basics’ – like packaging and pricing. It may mean new media choices and new internal organisations,” says Lena Roland, managing editor, WARC Knowledge – an advertising and marketing specialist. “In an age of almost limitless choice, brand recognition and trust translate into pricing power. Creative brand-building, therefore, remains key.”
As companies rethink marketing as e-commerce growth intensifies, five themes will be crucial (read here):
As e-commerce accelerates, brands that currently don’t sell direct-to-consumer can partner with a combination of traditional omnichannel retailers, major online marketplaces and pure-play operators to drive e-commerce growth.
As marketing goes back to basics, to remain effective in the e-commerce age requires a rethink of all the marketing fundamentals – including product, place and price as well as promotion. Brands are offering bigger packs and multi-buy options at different price points, as they look to boost profitability out of online retail. Delivery is a new ‘moment of truth’ for online brands, with packaging a key touchpoint.
With the shift to shoppable media, shoppable ads are now a key trend in digital advertising, with social platforms looking to extend their reach into e-commerce via shoppable formats and storefronts within their platforms. For brands, these trends bring e-commerce and media strategy much closer; many brands are rethinking the way their budgets are siloed to enable better investment.
With the rise of live streaming, discount-driven and convenience-led, live streaming is particularly suited to products that have a short decision cycle, such as food, fashion and beauty. That said, luxury brands are experimenting with live streams too, driving awareness and consumer engagement.
But there are dangers related to short-termism, with the rise of shoppable formats and e-commerce media. However, there is evidence that a strong brand is key to driving traffic, boosting the performance of direct-response ads and maintaining price premiums online. Balance is key; it’s not a question of investment in either brand or activation, but a smart blend of both. Trust is also vital in e-commerce, not just in the brand but in the entire end-to-end experience.
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