Tips to Optimize Your eCommerce Business During a Recession
All companies, large and small, are working to identify the best way to react to the coronavirus. Right now, most businesses are attempting to stabilize operations, keep employees safe, and adjust to future unknowns over the next several months. We are seeing pure-play ecommerce companies with strong financials and differentiated products doing well, compared to companies that have been running in unprofitable or break-even business models. The massive change to consumer behavior will likely weed out 10-20% of digitally-native vertical brands. Businesses with substantial in-store sales are scrambling to move budget to digital channels quickly. To take steps in the right direction during this time, companies should plan to adjust their distribution and marketing strategies as soon as possible.
Companies that have strong distribution facilities shipping out of multiple locations and those that maintain good relationships with overseas suppliers, are positioned to turn the corner faster than their competitors. We are seeing factories in China come back online and begin to ramp up production, so business distribution from that part of the world may not be as impacted as initially thought.
Digital Marketing Investments
Businesses need to adapt their digital marketing behavior to meet the needs of consumers. Additional investment in creative and video will be necessary to reach customers as they spend more time on social platforms. “Considering that consumers around the globe are already leaning into the growing ray of content options and channels, a 60% increase [in social media usage] is significant,” according to a study by Nielsen. Surges have been seen with Facebook-owned Whatsapp, which experienced a 40% increase in usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to social media, advertising and understanding attribution in OTT channels will continue to be an opportunity as consumers stream more content at home. Recently, HBO reported that “the percentage of people binge-viewing series has increased 65 percent, while movie watching is up 70 percent on HBO Now.” Brands should take advantage of programmatic OTT connected TV advertising now due to the increase in available inventory and lower eCPMs. Through programmatic transactions, brands have the ability to benefit from real-time market shifts because of lower-cost streaming.
Along with OTT channels, investment in mobile ads, as well as providing a seamless mobile or in-app shopping experience, will be essential. Check that your website is optimized for mobile by making sure it is responsive, has a site speed under 3 seconds, and has an ideal user interface for mobile shopping. Finally, leveraging data to understand consumer demand sentiment will be crucial to success. Implementing tools to help automate and take advantage of these trends will poise forward-thinking businesses for future growth.
Managing ad spend, profit, and inventory at a product level is increasingly important. With consumer demand changing daily and supply chains interrupted due to an inability to ship or delays in shipments coming in from overseas, wisely investing marketing dollars at a product level will be a top priority. Building rules-based bids using tools such as Adlucent’s Deep Search allows for real-time updates that prevent stock outages or wasting marketing dollars where product inventory is finite. Consider re-evaluating the following when marketing your products:
Marketing spend: It’s a natural tendency to pull back on marketing spend in times of change. While that may be prudent for some companies, those that have ample inventory in many markets may see average acquisition costs decrease as competitors reduce spend on media channels, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. Companies should, in many instances, see lower CPCs and CPMs – and often higher conversion rates.
Channel investments: As mentioned previously, more people are at home scrolling through social channels and consuming large amounts of media, so it’s vital to capitalize where viewers are spending their time. Also, give thought to addressing mobile bid strategies because people may be using their phones and tablets much more than usual.
Attribution: As companies evaluate how to move marketing dollars to different channel allocations, understanding the overall business impact is increasingly meaningful. Incrementality testing is the best way to estimate allocations, in addition to traditional MTA tools.
Preparedness Is Key
Companies must put a plan in place by laying out distribution and marketing investments to find success during a recession. To make informed decisions, understanding their audience’s change in behavior is key to figuring out where and how to advertise their products.
If your large retail or ecommerce brand is looking for support as you adjust your marketing strategies during this time, Adlucent is here to help.