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There are countless ways to describe 2020, a year that became an outlier when COVID-19 kept people at home and turned established systems on their heads. To be frank, we do not feel the need to add to the already saturated landscape of discussion about how the pandemic altered our day-to-day lives.
However, 2020 was a year full of strategic and numerical exceptions in the eCommerce marketing space. We believe we must discuss the reasons for these outliers, why 2021 will be different, and how brands should be strategizing moving forward.
In 2020, the eCommerce industry boomed as a byproduct of shelter-in-place mandates and brick and mortar stores temporarily closing their doors. The spike in online shoppers combined with the way that Facebook Ads operated at the time created the perfect opportunity for small, niche businesses to market their products to a highly segmented audience.
It felt like any brand could stumble into incredible growth through a single-faceted marketing strategy: Facebook Ads.
What Is Different about 2021?
While the ripple effects of the pandemic made eCommerce marketing easy in 2020, it was bound to be short-lived.
“It’s never worked to do the same thing again. You might be able to make some bucks doing that and ride someone else’s coattail and another person’s strategy or whatever, but ultimately, success is defined in long-term ability to sustain a brand.” (3:29)
iOS 14 brought changes to Apple’s privacy policies, and Facebook shortened the attribution window for its ads, causing a drastic decrease in the amount of data that companies have access to.
“The days of finding a niche segment of the audience and being able to scale that with subpar creative or even just a basic website, it’s kind of gone because you can’t segment those audiences like that. Facebook doesn’t have the ability to segment audiences.” (7:43)
Shoppers have been anxious to return to brick and mortar storefronts, and eCommerce stores saw an unprecedented dip in sales. While much of the eCommerce marketing landscape keeps its head above water, we see these changes as an opportunity to grow.
“A lot of businesses….are kind of struggling to get out of the mud of 2020. They’re kind of getting stuck in the ways of what was working last year, and I just think right now, the biggest strategy change is perspective.” (3:05)
At Shopanova, we’ve always viewed these times of uncertainty as an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition. While the rest of the industry is paralyzed and without direction, we put plans in place and create new strategies.
How should your brand’s strategy evolve so that you can leap past your competitors this year?
Check out these tips:
How Can Brands Stay Competitive?
The most significant piece of advice we have for brands currently is to focus on business development. We believe that the brands that will succeed in the coming years will be well-rounded companies that prepare for the future. It is necessary to be introspective and consider where your deficiencies lie.
“I think you have to take a holistic kind of view of your entire business and think, ‘What are my holes? Where do I fit into this new landscape of digital marketing? Where can I reach people the best? How do I diversity my brand?’ I think taking that step back and looking at your brand and being honest and humble…is really important.” (16:03)
Brands are no longer able to get by with subpar creative and a bad website. You need high-quality content and a website that leads consumers directly to a sale.
It’s also imperative for brands to understand that consumers want brands they can relate to and invest in. Brands that provide customers with the opportunity to develop a relationship with them are more likely to see increased customer LTV.
“People are really starting to invest in brands that have something special about them…Really, what people are wanting now more than ever is a relationship with a brand. They want to invest in that brand.” (8:30)
How Should Your Marketing Strategy Change?
As brands emphasize business development and consider where their weaknesses lie, they’ll have to alter their marketing strategies as well. With iOS 14’s privacy changes and Facebook shortening its attribution window, brands will need to widen their marketing efforts.
“From a marketing perspective, I think diversifying and multi-channel marketing is the name of the game.” (17:07)
Facebook is still an effective marketing platform, but it can no longer be your only choice. Try exploring other trends such as TikTok and Instagram to widen your base. Similarly, dive back into SEM and organic trends as well. Lastly, consider influencer marketing as a marketing channel.
“One of the easiest things you can do right now, and I think a lot of businesses have seen success from, is influencer marketing.” (25:44)
Why You Should Partner with an Agency
Diversifying your marketing strategy often comes with a significant amount of challenges. You have to learn the ins and outs of several different channels, and then you have to keep up with trends for each channel.
For small businesses, this is nearly impossible. Online store owners simply don’t have spare time for this, and we understand that.
Partnering with an agency gives businesses access to a whole team of individuals whose sole job is to keep up with trends on specific platforms so that they can create and execute the perfect strategy for your brand.
Are you interested in partnering with Shopanova to create the eCommerce marketing strategy of your dreams? Contact us today!