Today’s constant evolution of e-commerce makes it hard for brands to stay relevant and meet the increasing demands of consumers. In addition, most brands are now facing a longer peak season, brought on by the adoption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so companies need to adopt new e-commerce strategies or risk losing their market share.
On September 26, we hosted our annual SCI Executive Summit, focused on the Power Shift of Consumerism. The summit brought together organizations from different industries across North America, all of whom are facing similar e-commerce challenges. It was a great day of information-sharing and gaining invaluable insights into how brands are handling evolving consumer expectations and peak season. Below are my five key takeaways from the event.
1) The importance of catering to hyper+ shoppers
Hyper+ shoppers are becoming increasingly important in the e-commerce business. This group of shoppers make 25 or more online purchases annually and represent more than 60 per cent of online sales. Businesses that consider the needs of hyper+ shoppers have a much better chance of creating return customers and succeeding in the current landscape.
2) More brands using D2C
Consumers want more accessibility, options and speed in their online shopping experience, challenging brands to get products into their hands faster. Direct to consumer e-commerce is one of the strategies brands are adopting to meet these increasing demands. By avoiding third party retailers and other ‘middlemen’, brands can offer a new direct channel for customers to buy their products.
A D2C platform allows brands to own the relationship with customer, reduce dependency on other distribution channels and control the messaging, branding and pricing – enabling the brand to manage the entire customer journey.
3) Automation isn’t always the answer
For better or for worse, the recent digital revolution has impacted automation in supply chain management. As a result, we have seen a rise of automation in all areas of the warehouse. Solutions such as collaborative robots, automated pack solutions, voice activated technologies and various sorting options are all driving efficiencies in warehouse operations.
However, unnecessary automated processes can increase costs and require additional training for small tasks that could be handled by an existing worker. Automation should only be leveraged when there is a real benefit to operations that creates efficiencies, is scalable and helps meet consumer expectations.
4) Consider Influencer Marketing
More than two-thirds of North American retailers are using some form of influencer marketing as part of their multi-channel approach. Adding to that, another 40 per cent of people report they’ve purchased a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Influencer marketing is an effective way to drive positive awareness, engagement and trust and it’s important for companies to align with influencers who share their brand values.
5) Get ahead of peak season
The increasing demands and extreme fluctuations of peak season are causing companies to adopt new strategies to deliver on customer expectations. Brands can look to get ahead of peak by spreading out sales over a long period of time, or starting earlier promotions, such as Black-Friday like sales, in advance of peak. Introducing other peak periods can help companies manage lower peaks and create an uplift in sales throughout the year.
Be sure to check out this The Voice of Retail podcast, where our CEO, Chris Galindo, talks about the importance of preparing for the upcoming peak season.
I’d like to thank all our speakers and guests who attended and participated in these important discussions at the recent summit. Although we come from different sectors and backgrounds, we all face similar challenges posed by e-commerce and these key insights can help us be better equipped for the road ahead.