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It’s safe to say that 2019 was an eventful year for direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies. From Shopify creating its fulfillment network to help online retailers overcome logistical challenges to e-commerce sales increasing 18% during the holidays, last year proved to be an exciting, yet challenging time for D2C companies. As we settle into 2020, here are four big e-commerce strategies, in no particular order, that you'll want to know about to edge out your competition.
In 2017, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) published the results of a research study involving 46,000 consumers; 73% of respondents used multiple channels during their buying journey. HBR also discovered that customers who engage with companies across channels spend an average of 4% more than single-channel customers.
Providing a seamless omnichannel experience is a critical opportunity since more than half of companies don’t have a cross-channel strategy. While multichannel marketing focuses on being present on the various platforms that are most impactful, omnichannel marketing is about providing a seamless customer experience across all channels, such as Facebook, Shopify, and even your physical store locations.
In 2020, learning how to build a fantastic omnichannel customer experience will be essential for all D2C companies. Sephora is an excellent example of creating an omnichannel experience, allowing customers to shop deals and limited-time offers, "try on" products using virtual reality (more on that later), and then pick up their purchase in-store at the nearest location.
In 2019, Nike ran a series of ads narrated by Serena Williams that championed women empowerment. Gillette also published a compelling video that challenged men to be their best and reject toxic masculinity. In 2020, companies that are driven by purpose, not just profit, will succeed. Supporting causes as a company can help your business generate attention on social media while separating you from competitors. In fact, 91% of consumers throughout the world stated they would switch to a brand that supports a good cause.
However, It's essential to exercise caution when marketing to support a cause. For example, in a 2018 marketing campaign, Mastercard offered to donate 10,000 meals to starving children for every goal scored by two players in the FIFA World Cup. Instead of gaining traction for its brand, Mastercard received an overwhelming backlash; consumers demanded that the company simply donate to the kids, regardless of the tournament's outcome.
For D2C companies, aligning your company with a worthwhile cause can help you generate awareness for your products and attract new customers. But, be careful that your marketing efforts aren't seen as inconsiderate or gimmicky. Partnering with structured campaigns can be a great way to support a cause while avoiding creative mistakes.
As an e-commerce store, you can use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to provide customers with a great experience.
Although it’s nothing new, customers want to experience and test products before they buy them, but now, the ability to do this is very pervasive online. Ikea's AR app, Place, enables shoppers to virtually arrange and preview how furniture will look in their home. Studies show that 77% of shoppers use AR and VR to customize their product or get additional information about the product.
As the customer experience continues to become a competitive factor, it may be worthwhile for you to consider hiring an AR developer to help you develop an outstanding online experience for your shoppers.
People across the planet use social media, a massive audience that fueled the growth of social shopping, also known as social commerce, where consumers can buy products directly within their social media feed. This is different from referral traffic, which relies on customers clicking ads and making purchases on your website.
Sure, social shopping isn’t new, but it’ll continue to grow — you should incorporate this into your e-commerce strategies if you also want to grow. Last year, it was estimated that the average order value (AOV) derived from social commerce worldwide was $79. Multiply that by the number of social media users, and you can easily see the immediate and long-term impact.
If you haven't made the jump into social shopping, here are four social media platforms you can use in 2020:
Facebook: Once you've set up a Facebook Page, you can set up a Shop and upload products, establish return policies, and specify delivery details.
Instagram: Whether you create shoppable posts within your Stories, or use the new "Shop" feature, Instagram is a great place to showcase and sell your products.
Pinterest: Given the fact that Pinterest says its platform is designed to help people discover products, it's only fair to mention this platform as well. Features like Buyable Pins will help you build native, profitable customer experiences.
WhatsApp: Released in November 2019, WhatsApp's Catalog lets you showcase your products using the WhatsApp Business app. This will undoubtedly make it easier for customers to learn about and buy products without having to exchange countless messages or leave WhatsApp.
As businesses continue to compete for the attention and support of consumers, it's more important than ever to ensure that you're continually staying a step ahead of competitors. Whether you're focusing on developing a cohesive omnichannel experience or researching the best ways to adopt a purpose-driven brand, improving your marketing in 2020 will help you keep customers, drive sales, and remain ahead of competitors.
As businesses discover new ways to reach their customers, staying on top of these four e-commerce strategies will help you build a brand that excels well into the new decade.
Now that you know the year’s top e-commerce strategies to adopt, check out these four digital marketing trends you should be thinking about.
Originally published on January 31st, 2020, last updated on June 30th, 2022.