by Adam Budd
Nov 30, 2022
If you’re navigating the post-pandemic market as an eCommerce business, chances are you’re feeling a little dejected. After near-universal year-on-year success for eCommerce brands during the pandemic, a flattened curve can be disconcerting – not to mention the financial uncertainty the Western world is experiencing. It’s tricky to forecast into the Christmas season, let alone 2023.
Nevertheless, trends that may at first glance seem concerning are saturated with promising signs. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the trends the eCommerce industry is seeing – and how to leverage them in 2023.
Trend #1: eCommerce Businesses are Being Hit Harder Than Service-Based Industries
There’s no getting around it. Retail businesses are seeing a fall in sales since the heights of the pandemic – and that goes for eComm and D2C businesses, too. Purse strings are tightening, so to speak, with households shying away from big spending – even if only momentarily.
By and large, however, online shopping remains above pre-pandemic levels, when eCommerce businesses saw a widespread boom. Despite financial uncertainty, online spending has firmly established itself as the go-to option for many shoppers, so if they are spending, they’re increasingly spending their money online. Seasonal trends are still very much at play, even if overall traffic for the majority of eCommerce sites is down.
Should you worry? If you’re an eCommerce or D2C business, you’re probably looking at scaling back amidst uncertainty. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that even should a full-blown recession strike, eCommerce businesses will be the first port of call for many shoppers. There’s a great quote that marketers love to throw around, and not without good reason:
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”
Keeping things ticking amid uncertainty is the surest way to combat any periodic dip the eCommerce industry is seeing. And, keep in mind that we’re still developing a fuller picture of how the economy will look long-term after the rise in spending during the pandemic.
Regardless of this, seasonal trends are by and large behaving as expected – so consider learning from and adapting what has worked for you historically.
Further reading: The Essential D2C Marketing Checklist
Trend #2: Online Searches Are More Conversion-Focused
As users become savvier when spending their money online, their baseline intent is changing. Searches that develop their awareness of a product and aid them in the consideration phase are on the decline; more and more, conversion-focused searches are taking the spotlight on search engines.
The ramifications of this are twofold:
- It’s safe to assume the average user has grown more confident when it comes to identifying the right brands/products for them
- eCommerce businesses must place a greater emphasis on marketing campaigns that target users at the conversion stage
What does this look like? Let’s take a gander:
The above example shows the number of users and total revenue for a women’s sportswear website, comparing performance in 2022 to 2021.
Note that while users are down YoY, the graph shows the same trend as the previous year. Revenue likewise follows a similar pattern, with a little more fluctuation.
Above is the same website’s performance in Google Search Console. It’s mostly stable, with a decrease in impressions likely coming from the fact that fewer searches are being performed for their generic ranking keywords, which they rank well for on Google. They rank less well for product-specific keywords in general, however.
The key takeaway: Place a greater emphasis on optimising category pages and product pages to target the increased volume of conversion-focused searches. For your ad campaigns, likewise push users to products and categories rather than generic, informational landing pages.
Users are less likely to deliberate over purchases they are intent on making, so ensure your content marketing at the conversion stage is well-optimised to help those pages appear higher on Google and entice users to buy once they’re there.
Trend #3: Increased Competition Makes Customer Retention Vital
With consumers predicted to be more frugal going into 2023, eCommerce businesses will be competing more intently for each conversion opportunity. Furthermore, with eCommerce sales saturating more of the retail space, it’s becoming more crowded with competitors. D2C businesses continue to steal a march on their big-brand competitors, making it vital that each eCommerce brand stands out in a crowded marketplace.
For advertising, higher competition means higher CPA and reduced ROAS. Not to mention an ever-increasing emphasis on privacy in the digital world, which is forcing advertisers to be more creative when trying to attract niche audiences.
So, how to approach this as an eCommerce business? The answer is a renewed focus on generating customer loyalty. Retaining customers through campaigns that encourage an increased lifetime value is hugely important; converting customers for the first time is only the beginning. Remarketing strategies and a reinvigorated approach towards communication signups are more important than ever.
Don’t see each purchase as a win; the true victory is generating repeat customers who buy into your brand. As with anything marketing-related, honest and open communication with your audience is key.
Final Note: eCommerce Marketing in Uncertain Times
While marketing your eCommerce business may look a little different given the current economic climate, there’s no reason it can’t be effective. Again, the words of Henry Ford ring truer than ever; businesses benefit from a maintained brand presence, especially in an increasingly competitive eCommerce environment. Bowing out now can be costly.
Additionally, consumers are showing a greater willingness to ditch big brands in favour of smaller, more specialist businesses. D2C brands have taken over a considerable portion of the market, so much so that big brands are increasingly following suit.
eCommerce Concerns? Invest in Digital Marketing You Can Trust
Navigating the digital landscape in 2023 doesn’t need to be difficult. At Peaky Digital, we specialise in digital marketing for eCommerce businesses. With bespoke strategies that make the most of your brand’s marketing channels, we can work with you to establish your brand online and drive increased revenue amidst uncertainty.
To get started, contact us today – we’d love to chat!
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