Unpacking the Permanent Effects of the Pandemic on E-Commerce
As the world weathered the struggle and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we regularly reported on the trends and trials experienced by our clients and partners in the e-commerce industry. So much has changed since those early days of the virus, including the availability of a vaccine in the United States. Although Marketwatch reported a drop in Amazon stock in the second quarter of 2021 as the nation returned to traditional retail stores, many of the effects of the pandemic are here to stay. As we continue to move past the onset of the pandemic, we reflect on the lessons we've learned and think strategically about how to navigate the permanent changes to e-commerce and thrive in this new landscape.
Back to basics: Hands-on tech expertise and channel management
Succeeding on Amazon has always required the dual-threat of expertise on the back-end of the platform and constant channel management. These elements of strategy are more important than ever as brands face effects of the pandemic like bulk buying, rising competition, price gouging, and limited inventory. Search engine results page (SERP) presence, a must for brands, becomes ever less attainable as competition shows no sign of slowing.
To mitigate this issue, we recommend regular data monitoring to keep abreast of shipping forecasts, available product inventory, and other factors that affect your ability to fulfill orders successfully. Make changes as needed to prevent unexpected delays that can tank your brand's ratings. Catalog optimization reduces the risk of costly errors and increases the chances of SERP placement.
Another strategy? Refocus your efforts on the Amazon Buy Box. According to data from the BigCommerce blog, this Buy Box leads to 85% of purchases on the platform. Unfortunately, Amazon suppresses or removes the Buy Box based on algorithmic factors beyond our control, and its status can even change from hour to hour. Our team helps our clients get to the bottom of these issues to ensure that the valuable Buy Box doesn't disappear from your listings.
In the hot seat: Inventory and supply chain management
Inventory storage limits at Amazon warehouses have disrupted the order fulfillment process for many brands. This factor has particularly impacted brands who use Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) and have an Inventory Management Index of less than 450.
If this variable has thrown a wrench into your inventory management protocol, consider exploring local storage options to hold products awaiting shipment to Amazon. Leveraging multiple methods of order fulfillment can help you avoid costly delays that can occur with the Fulfillment by Amazon program in today’s landscape. Longer manufacturing and fulfillment timelines are one legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic that may remain for the foreseeable future.
Ready to refocus: Amazon advertising and DSP
Before the pandemic, Amazon's demand-side platform (DSP) was considered a nice but not necessary tool for many brands. Today, DSP has become an absolutely essential tool for companies selling on Amazon. Brands that use both programmatic and search advertising on Amazon experience a 10-fold increase in attention from shoppers with high intent to purchase. If you're struggling to maintain or grow sales through Amazon, investing resources in DSP can dramatically improve your success in this arena.
In the spotlight: The necessity of social commerce
The new e-commerce environment requires advertisers and brands to be everywhere at once to capture potential buyers where they spend time online. To succeed, your company must create connection points and conversion opportunities across multiple channels.
In addition to remaining a constant presence on Amazon, identify the social platforms used by your ideal buyer personas. Explore the features of those channels to take advantage of additional chances for conversion. As the quarantine period created by COVID-19 accelerated the shift to social commerce, relying solely on Amazon no longer spells success in the e-tail realm.
We can serve as your partner as you devote resources to making the most of Amazon and other online sales channels. Especially as you navigate the permanent effects of the pandemic. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
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