The E-Commerce Boom (part 1) – How to sustain your growth?

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The chances are the COVID-19 e-commerce spike has left your business in one of two positions: either working out how to maintain the current high levels or if you missed out, making sure you’re adequately prepared for any second or even third wave.

But what is the current e-commerce situation? How do you handle the ‘new normal’? The answer is in looking at the ‘big picture’.

Our recent survey of over 5,000 UK mums revealed some trends that bear serious reflection.

That 73% are now shopping online isn’t a shock, but where they’re buying products makes for interesting reading.

Over 20% of mums are now buying from small or independent online retailers.

This makes sense. After all, the e-commerce boom has meant unprecedented challenges for companies up and down the chain, ranging from stock fulfilment, to digital infrastructure and delivery mechanisms.

So, how do you navigate the months ahead?

Firstly, don’t be short-sighted

There’s no doubt consumers are looking for value – nearly 75% of mums in our survey considered ‘price and value’ the most important factor when making a purchase. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still looking for quality, trusted brands.

In fact, over 70% said they wouldn’t be likely to buy from an unfamiliar brand during this time.

This demand probably means the temptation is there to turn your back on affiliate marketing programs, but that doesn’t make it the best long-term decision.

It’s actually short-sighted.

When you think about cutting off revenue to an affiliate, it’s worth remembering that they still have a business to run. They will simply go and work on other viable programs in the market, which will include your competitors.

Realistically, in the long-term, you’re also going to need those people and programs again, so helping them keep their business strong during this pandemic will only reap future benefits for you.

Secondly, use the direct margins

The e-commerce boom has made most companies review their ‘direct to consumer’ channels, but how do you make the most of those stronger margins?

Again, it’s about thinking ‘bigger’.

Rather than focussing on driving easy ‘one-hit’ sales but cutting off your affiliate partners in the process, it’s instead about being creative with those extra mark-up percentages.

You can now afford to run discount codes, campaigns or pay commissions – the flexibility is there to be smart in driving sales over a much longer period.

Sales are also only one part of the equation. There are opportunities to ultimately build your own e-commerce funnel by acquiring quality data on your prime customers – which we’ll cover in more detail in the second part of this blog (coming soon).

Finally, history favours the progressive

The current pandemic has thrown up ‘new’ factors that require companies to consider their strategy, whether it’s the wider presence of social anxiety, people in isolation or impacts on health and safety. 

However, research into historical low-points such as recessions, clearly shows that companies that use progressive strategies can also ride the momentum after the event is over.

You need the right data to encourage sales and you need the right partnerships in place to get that data.

Your approach during this time shouldn’t just be about ‘reactive’ marketing, but laying the foundation for success over the coming months or years (whether the second wave comes or not).

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