‘E-commerce shopping has steadily grown, even accelerated due to Coronavirus, expected to reach $4.2 billion globally in 2020 (Statista) and be more than 16% of global retail sales. Nearly every category and vertical has been impacted, including books, video, electronics, and of course household goods. We can expect this holiday season to be even bigger.’ BARE shares an article by Mat Zucker for Forbes with shopper behavior and marketing.

‘I spoke to Ricky Busby, director of e-commerce and website content strategy at Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products—maker of Brawny, Quilted Northern, Dixie, and other household brands—about what it means from a marketer’s point of view. What does he see in his role developing online content for brands on retailer sites like Walmart, Amazon, and Target? What shifts are brands selling products online making?

Busby started from the customer perspective, recognizing the new wave of customers weren’t the early adopters who chose e-commerce, but in the time of COVID-19, have been pushed to use it. An eMarketer report from May of this year showed a more than 50% increase in the number of households buying groceries online vs 2019, from 92 million to 131 million! With almost 40 million new shoppers buying online, how should brands rethink some of their content? How can they help ease the transition to digital?

“With this influx of new shoppers to e-commerce, they’re bringing with them some of their behaviors from brick-and-mortar,” Busby said, pointing out several characteristics that should cause us to pause and re-examine how we think about selling online and how we develop our user experiences and marketing approaches.

  • Browsing: It’s no longer just about page one. A new report this year from Kantar and Catalyst showed that 49% of shoppers are scrolling past page 1, with the numbers even higher for younger generations (Kantar/Catalyst). At the same time,  the number of paid search and merchandising placements continues to grow, pushing organic results further below the fold, especially on mobile. How much are you willing to pay for screenshare?
  • Shop-ability: The digital shelf is just as, if not more, crowded than the physical store. As marketers, how can we improve the customer experience  for shoppers thumbing through dozens of options so that they can find what they’re looking for quickly?
  • Content: Presentation is tricky. How can you help people easily know how much they’re buying when every image has the same square dimensions? . Most packaging is designed to be seen  up close when picked off the shelf, but those accolades, symbols, and details aren’t legible online. An art history major, Busby questions how brands might simplify the packaging in a hero image to be useful and clear to a prospective buyer? It often means deleting some elements and reprioritizing the remaining pieces of information
  • Incentives: For shoppers used to physical stores, couponing is a different game online. It’s gotten more complicated than just clipping coupons from the Sunday paper; now you’ve got to load coupons to a shopper card or upload receipts to rebate apps. There’s browser plug-in Honey, which scours for discount codes, and Ibotta, a hybrid of traditional couponing and rebates. Some of the retailers have their own, often tied to shopper cart.
  • Relationships: For conventional in-store shopping, retailers have loyalty programs that build customer relationships. By selling direct-to-consumer (DTC), brands can establish deeper relationships and capture data to generate product and shopper insights to fuel their omni-channel marketing strategy. Some are moving fast. Pepsi launched two D2C sites at the start of the pandemic in the less than 30 days: snacks.com and pantryshop.com.

From re-architecting your hero image and content experience to mining reviews for product improvement ideas, Busby advocates for marketers to rethink online shopping from the perspective of the new online customer.

E-commerce marketing can be viewed through several levers, online marketing and retailer search (how you’re discovered), including digital shelf (how you show up), content marketing (how you motivate and inspire action), and innovative and emerging experiences (how you might use, say, Alexa). Each one might be retackled through the eyes of a novice online shopper.

Retail paid search, for example, is an important to lever to look at. In the competitive mobile context, the number of paid ads a customer has to scroll through to get to the first organic listing is high. What are you as a marketer willing to invest in acquisition for Share of Voice, or “Share of Screen.”

How does shopper marketing continue to evolve? Busby notes that it’s not just about buying online, but how omni-channel retail is constantly evolving based on rapidly changing consumer mindsets and behaviors. Multiple retailers, from Kroger to Walmart to Home Depot, now include the exact store aisle as one of the first pieces of information when shopping on the app. It’s yet another example of how marketers can embrace change and start anticipating the “next normal.”’

 

Read the original article in full here.


With the holidays coming up, here’s a gift from us to you!

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