Cyber 5 weekend and the holidays represent an opportunity to launch ecommerce success for 2020 and beyond. This inflection period of peak sales volume and viewership will feature intense competition, with lasting, algorithm-driven success for the brands which win. With Cyber 5 beginning tomorrow, brands that have optimized a few key areas of their ecommerce business model will be the winners.
The Capability Playbook
In our upcoming report, Ecommerce & Digital Ecosystem Management, Edge by Ascential has set out an ecommerce capabilities playbook for brands. Those brands which seek continuous development across the plan, operate, and innovate stages work towards the goal of digital ecosystem leadership in the future. While all 14 capabilities are key important, three affecting product visibility and conversion will be markers of success this holiday period.
1. Optimizing Product Listings for Best Placement on the Digital Shelf
Ranking high in search is essential for winning the digital shelf and requires aligning with retailer search algorithms. While varied, conversion tends to be a strong driver of rank and is driven by content, reviews, availability, price and promotions. Optimizing these metrics alongside advertising opportunities is key to future online growth. The intensity of viewership and transaction volume during holiday 2019 will enhance this effect.
Source: OneSpace and Edge by Ascential Digital Shelf
Antacid brand TUMS adjusted its title structure on Amazon, which previously contained no product or benefit keywords to drive search and conversion. The new title included additional elements such as SEO-focused product format and benefit terms, and a more descriptive brand and variant description. Following the adjustment, TUMS’ share of search ranking rose by 18 ranks from 34 to 16, and weekly sales increased by +22% in the post-period.
2. Thoughtful Promotional Strategies Must Be Backed Up with Price-Monitoring
The price visibility and transparency for consumers online makes a proactive price & promotion strategy an essential ecommerce capability for brands, to maintain credibility and competitive appeal in the eyes of these shoppers. Brands must deploy price monitoring strategies to achieve optimum levels of responsiveness, and to protect profitability from price-matching programs within the market.
Applications of Price and Promotion Monitoring
- Set thresholds for automated pricing alerts and measure daily pricing activity to proactively address retailer pricing compliance issues (such as Minimum Advertised Price regulations).
- Analyze real-time and historical competitor pricing data to identify competitor pricing strategies for more informed pricing decisions.
- Analyze price in the context of all digital shelf metrics for more meaningful insights – predict CRaP issues, understand price war dynamics, identify channels and 3P sellers driving price compression, assess true ROI and the halo effect of promotions, and pinpoint competitor promotions and their impact on a brand’s market share.
3. Utilization of Ad Tools Becomes Especially Critical During the Holidays
Ecommerce retailers like Amazon, Alibaba, Kroger, Target, and Walmart have built out advertising units of varying degrees of sophistication. Ecommerce platforms have rich online consumer data, and now challenge the digital advertising giant’s such as Google and Facebook for market share. The level of purchase intent shoppers have on these platforms makes investment here superior to non-retail based tech platforms.
Kellogg’s partnered with Kroger Precision Marketing to build a long-term cross-channel campaign to keep its Special K brands ahead of changing shopper trends and drive long-term loyalty.
Using a year’s worth of cross-channel data, Kroger was able to pinpoint the most relevant households and coordinate consistent messaging across online and offline channels, as well as extending its measurement to a 6-month post-period to measure the long-term impact of the campaign. Households which were exposed to three communications channels delivered 12X more uplift than one, and after the 6-month period, uplift increased by 118%.
Holiday 2019 is the Opening Bell for the Year of the Challenger Brand
As ecommerce sales continue to take share, and ecommerce continues to blend into almost all shopper trip types, brands who recognize the gravity of this shift sooner will have a distinct advantage. The landscape thus far has seen best-in-class strategies and leadership on this front come from the so-called “challenger brands.” These brands were built from scratch to succeed at all costs online first and built their connection with shoppers via digital mediums. With ecommerce reaching an inflection point, all brands can adopt challenger brand mindset and strategies. Legacy brands can leverage existing brand equity, amplifying its effect via the high-stakes, low-real estate digital shelf where it will be quickly recognized provided it is there. Brands that are doing this now, for holiday 2019 are best positioned to lead in 2020, using this time period as a launchpad for their own challenger brand activity in 2020.
Stay tuned for part two of our series where we predict what is to come in 2020, and discuss how brands can position to take advantage of these trends
Cyber 5 Front Runners
While category leadership pre-Cyber 5 doesn’t guarantee leadership during and post Cyber 5, it is certainly the most favorable position to drive going into the holiday season, especially in light of the increasing number of challenger brands from D2C, digitally native, specialty channel, private label and exclusive brands all surging and chipping away at the market leaders’ share.