Ditch the Department Store: How DTC Brands Take Back Control

We are anticipating monumental online sales volume for brands with the approaching holiday season. To capitalize on this transition to online shopping, DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands must take back control of their sales channels. DTC brands can’t control whether big-box retailers open their storefronts or the number of consumers they allow inside. They also can’t manage the customer experience with the brand, especially given the many variables Covid-19 has thrown at brick-and-mortar retail.

The one thing brands can control is their online sales channel.

Earnings Season Teases Retail’s Next Normal

Earnings results that rolled out from retail giants over the past week further demonstrate what our next normal will look like. Specifically, Walmart and Target both hit record numbers. This is partly a function of Covid-era circumstances, but it is also due to each retailer’s active e-commerce momentum.

The earnings validate consumer acclimation to digitally infused local shopping. What’s more, other retailers and down-market businesses will look to replicate this success. This can all therefore be viewed as a leading indicator for retail’s next normal.

How Brands Meet Evolving Customer Expectations with Creative Automation

What customers want from brands is transparency, product information, and available services. Tell audiences about new curbside pickup or what you’re doing to make deliveries safer. Think of how you are removing friction and easing customers’ worry and then speak about it, because not only are they listening, but they’re also paying attention to those who haven’t gotten it right.

Aside from finding the right story angle for customers, many marketing and in-house creative teams are struggling to produce enough new assets and push them quickly out the door, especially as they adjust to remote work. Here are some of the most common challenges brand-side creative teams face during these times and how creative automation can help overcome them.

How to Start Selling on Amazon in 4 Steps: Complete Guide for Beginners

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps shoppers away from brick-and-mortar stores, those same customers are looking for shopping alternatives online. That, combined with the general increase in e-commerce popularity, makes this an opportune time to expand your online retail presence — including opening up shop on the Moby Dick of all e-commerce marketplaces, Amazon. 

How the E-Commerce Wave Is Helping SMBs Increase Revenue

For many of the small businesses that have stayed afloat so far, e-commerce has become the new focus. A quarter of brick-and-mortar retail businesses surveyed in June said they’ve already added an e-commerce channel to their operations this year. Retail SMBs either want a piece of the growing pie that is e-commerce sales in 2020, or they’ve realized they won’t survive without an online sales component.

Whatever the motivation, the uptick in e-commerce sales has set the stage for SMBs to start boosting their revenue. And to complement the current market conditions, the rise of no-code tools is making online retail success more accessible than ever to SMBs. These solutions are proving to be the surfboard that helps small businesses successfully ride that e-commerce wave.

Retail Prepares for a Covid-Inflected Holiday Season

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar commerce to digital transactions. It has also forced brick-and-mortars resisting the hybridization of their own businesses to adopt digital methods, turning restaurants and apparel stores alike into both brick-and-mortar establishments and online sellers.

Against that backdrop, retail’s biggest quarter will present novel challenges this year. Retailers will need to optimize for online transactions and contend with fragmented national and global landscapes where it may be safe to go to stores in New York but not in Los Angeles.

Can a Pandemic Inflect Local Commerce Tech? Part II

What about the tech adoption accelerants happening on the supply side? Tech giants who provide marketing and operational tools for local businesses have been in hyperdrive over the past few months to roll out new Covid-era features.

Here are three areas where we’re seeing the most activity … and where we could correspondingly see the most local business evolution.

No Longer Alternative: The Rapidly Approaching Future of Local Payment Methods

In Asia, consumers typically prefer mobile e-wallets. Various bank transfer methods are popular across Europe. And in Latin America, many consumers rely on cash to pay for online shopping. These local payment methods (or LPMs) have been previously referred to by the industry as alternative payment methods (APMs), but the reality is that they are — globally speaking — no longer the alternative. These LPMs facilitate the needs of different geographies, cultures, and domestic economies across the globe. 

Yet despite the fact that most consumers across the globe rely on LPMs, we’re still seeing a lack of adoption of these payment methods by online merchants in the US and UK. But, as we dive further into the digital age, it is a matter of when, not if, the trend will need to shift. Let’s explore the unique factors driving consumer behavior, payment preferences, and how merchants can best position themselves for the future of commerce. 

With Walmart+, Retailer Combines Digital Subscription Service and Physical Stores

Regardless of which retailer comes out on top, there’s no doubt that many will see Walmart’s decision to launch a digital-first membership program as a turning point in brick-and-mortar retail and a concession on Walmart’s part that e-commerce is the way of the future, displacing rather than complementing old-school retail.

Marcel Hollerbach contends that Walmart’s decision to launch a membership program points to just how well positioned retailers with physical locations are in the current climate, with the ability to quickly facilitate things like in-store returns and same-day deliveries of items that take much longer to ship by mail.

The David Strategy: How Small E-Commerce Stores Can Beat Big Brands

Sometimes it definitely seems like there’s just no competing with the big names in any given industry. They take up most of the advertising space. Their retail stores are massive. And their digital marketing budgets are practically unlimited, providing access to better rankings, more traffic, and a larger share of the customer base.

However, while it may seem so, the truth is that the Davids can actually outdo the Goliaths rather than just try to keep up. This is especially true in the world of e-commerce, provided that you invest in the right kinds of strategies. In this post, we’ll look at five effective tactics small e-commerce stores can use to beat big brands. 

E-Commerce Booms While Hospitality, Restaurants Suffer Amid Covid-19 Concerns

Early trends in consumer coronavirus behavior indicate that the already fast-growing e-commerce sector may see an added boost over the next few months as people avoid in-door shopping to practice social distancing during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Media and marketing services firm ENGINE is conducting 1,000-person online surveys of representative samples of US consumers every few days to gauge changes in consumer sentiment and behavior as the quickly accelerating outbreak develops. The firm found that while 31% of consumers said they were increasing their online shopping in surveys conducted March 13-15 and 16-17, 42% said the same March 20-22, a 35% increase.

Constant Contact Expands Beyond Email, Adds Website Builder for SMBs

Constant Contact, known for its email marketing platform, is expanding to offer an AI-driven website builder as well as tools for branding, productivity, and e-commerce. It’s the first major expansion for Constant Contact since its acquisition by Endurance International Group.

The company’s new website builder is specifically designed for SMB owners and operators without the time or expertise typically required to build an effective site from scratch. Constant Contact claims sites can be created in minutes.

Shift in Gift-Giving Culture Speaks to Changes in Digital Commerce

At the heart of the shift in gift-giving culture is the rise of online shopping. While previous generations would take to their local shops or markets to find the perfect gifts, today the process is infinitely simpler thanks to online retail giants like Amazon. At the click of a button, Internet users can purchase a present to be sent directly to their (or, even better, the recipient’s) door. Indeed, this is how the majority of people appear to be approaching gift giving today; approximately three quarters of consumers in the UK say they now buy more than half of their Christmas presents online. 

How CPGs Can Thrive on Amazon

Amazon already uses its most valuable weapon — its own internal data — to compete with its own suppliers. It analyzes customer behavior around noted CPG brands, key market sectors, and private-label offerings from brands that sell on its platform to make decisions about where to launch its own private labels.

What can CPGs do to make it a win-win? 

Brick-And-Mortars Are Taking A Data-Driven Approach To The E-Commerce Challenge

Brick-and-mortar stores have contended with competition from the likes of Amazon and the steady growth of e-commerce, where testing is easily done. Yet brick-and-mortars can also take a data-driven approach to the e-commerce challenge. In-store experimentation based on advanced data science allows them to test everything from the store CX to its operations with relative ease and in a scalable way. 

Real-world, science-based testing isn’t limited to product merchandising. It can be applied across a wide range of brick-and-mortar challenges, new product launches, store remodels, loyalty programs and more. A test-and-learn culture like the one described here can take a company’s research capability to the next level, helping to avoid failed ideas, fuel faster new product rollouts, maximize marketing ROI, and ultimately driving better business results.

How Americans Shop Today

All industries—apparel, grocery, electronics—are affected differently by the move to e-commerce, and consumers are turning to new options, including social marketplaces, disrupting what we typically think of as digital shopping. Here are some insights on major market changes, including the key to Amazon’s dominance, the industries flouting the turn to e-commerce, and a curious preference among millennials, from a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by Signs.com.

Identity Crisis: Optimizing a Brand While Pursuing Omnichannel

Andrew Witkin: When viewed as a way to raise brand awareness and impressions, a clicks-to-bricks move can still net an overall gain—if the traffic from the retail space driven to the website costs less than what it would to purchase those impressions through online advertising. The end goal of an omnichannel strategy is not only to engage customers with an experience that isn’t available online but also to use this unique experience and brand awareness to boost online sales.

Williams-Sonoma Sues Amazon, Underscoring War Over E-Commerce Monopolization

Foreshadowing a battle over Amazon’s overwhelming control of e-commerce, Williams-Sonoma filed a lawsuit against Amazon in the final days of 2018, charging that the retail juggernaut used its market power to copy the furniture maker’s products and squeeze it out of the market.

Doddle Launches in US, Pushing Click-and-Collect Forward for American Retail

Touting the fact that 70% of U.S. shoppers have leveraged click-and-collect options at their disposal in the last six months, Doddle, which has been active in the UK, will be helping major retail partners such as Amazon create smoother buying experiences for customers who want to take advantage of one-click online ordering while avoiding the process of delivery.

The Numbers on Mobile’s Role in Holiday Shopping This Season

The results of a survey released just last week by mobile ad firm AdColony go beyond the already stale proclamation that the mobile revolution has taken over retail, pointing instead to granular details about just how consumers are using mobile today. We provide the highlights.