eCommerce Disruption and Your Product Data

The eCommerce industry is ever-changing, responding to market forces and consumer preferences. The Coronavirus pandemic is a wide-reaching example of a phenomenon that has altered consumer behaviour. Disruption and market changes can occur at any time, meaning businesses must be able to pivot in order to stay successful.

To help professionals in eCommerce, Product Management and Marketing roles adapt to a post-Covid 19 world, we’ve put together a list of examples we’ve seen from sectors that provide insight into how disruption can be overcome.

  1. Health and beauty
  2. Fashion
  3. Fitness
  4. Home Electronics

 Health and beauty products saw an increase in sales during the Coronavirus lockdown period.

1.  Health and Beauty

How Was the Industry Affected?

The health and beauty sector experienced fluctuations, as consumers were unable to go to salons because of lockdown.

While luxury beauty companies saw an initial decrease in sales, the market bounced back as consumers invested in self-care products to use at home. In the UK, the health and beauty industry saw a 111% boost in the number of online beauty transactions since lockdown measures were implemented in March 2020.

According to Mckinsey, the health and beauty products that showed the biggest increase in sales were skin care, hair care, aromatherapy and bath-and-body items.

Key takeaways

  • eCommerce: It’s important to focus on product information as a way of providing more context about an item and improving the customer experience across all channels. This can be achieved by crafting engaging product descriptions with accurate information.
  • Product Management: With rich product data being integral to helping brands overcome disruption, product managers should look to refine how product information is tracked and speed up time to market for the most relevant beauty products.
  • Marketing: In the wake of the pandemic, virtual salons have been created to help make the shopping experience more interactive. This provides a great opportunity for marketers to focus on promoting digital salons that help to guide consumers to products that are most relevant to their needs and offer tutorials in real-time.

2.  Fashion

How Was the Industry Affected?

Before the pandemic, many fashion brands were already selling online. But with the closing of physical stores, fashion companies needed to put even more of a focus on their eCommerce strategy to ensure they could reach their customers at home.

This involved being aware of the comfort economy, which meant adjusting marketing messaging to consumers in the context of self-care. As part of this trend, product categories such as loungewear saw an increase in sales, with an incredible 433% jump in the UK.

Key takeaways

  • eCommerce: A valuable lesson to take away for eCommerce managers is that they shouldn’t hesitate to shift towards promoting product categories that may not have been a part of the main offering before. A good example would be to ensure that loungewear was featured as a main category on the homepage of an eCommerce store. Or they could invest in technology like Augmented Reality (AR) that combines the best qualities of physical and online fashion retail.
  • Product Management: With 56% of fashion consumers citing discounted promotions as an important factor when shopping for clothes during the leadup to lockdown, product managers should ensure that bundles of complimentary items are pushed to market quickly. This will help to increase average order value and encourage repeat purchases.
  • Marketing: Developing campaigns for the most relevant product categories is how fashion marketers can help brands overcome disruption. This could involve creating a campaign that taps into self-care and offers tips on how to stay comfortable while working from home.

3.  Fitness

How Was the Industry Affected?

During the pandemic, gyms and other fitness venues closed down, limiting exercise to the home and outside. Consumers responded by increasing their purchases of fitness items such as exercise bands, which rose by 504% in the UK and dumbbells and kettlebells, which jumped to 307%.

Fitness brands responded to the change by creating a virtual gym experience with workout classes, tips and positive mental health related content.

Key takeaways

  • eCommerce: In a time of disruption, it’s vital to champion initiatives that drive customer engagement. This could mean coordinating free digital subscriptions for a fitness app. During lockdown, this was a great technique for boosting engagement, with signups rising between 80 to 250%.
  • Product Management: Fitness brands that are able to create online communities will solidify brand loyalty among their customers and a product manager could take the lead on setting up a hub with educational product content e.g. using kettlebells in a home workout.
  • Marketing: A great marketing technique for overcoming disruption is to reach out to influencers and promote products through people that customers engage with regularly. During the pandemic, many fitness brands collaborated with influencers on exercise related content that promoted self-care. 

Electronic products recorded a strong growth in sales.

4.  Home Electronics

How Was the Industry Affected?

Sales in the home electronics sector fluctuated in the early stages of the pandemic, due to delays in the supply chain and many electronics manufacturers being unable to receive their products from China. According to a survey, 65% of electronics companies reported delays from suppliers.

However, the industry recorded strong growth overall, with a 128% increase in conversions since the onset of the outbreak.

Electronic goods rose in popularity because of their practical use and entertainment value in the home, with a large increase in the sales of gaming consoles (growing to 486% in the UK) and staying connected to friends and family with webcams (up by 258% in the UK).

The sales of kitchen appliances like fridges and freezers increased as well, rising by 23%.

Key takeaways

  • eCommerce: To combat the effects of disruption slowing down the electronics supply chain, eCommerce managers should ensure regular updates are provided on the website. Whether it involves delayed goods or certain items selling out quickly, these updates will help to keep customers informed.
  • Product Management: Focusing on refining the product delivery process will enable brands to build a reputation for reliability. A product manager could set up a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) account to ensure that the brand is eligible for Amazon Prime’s next-day-delivery option.
  • Marketing: Social media is a good channel for marketers to focus on during a time of uncertainty. With up to 65% of consumers using a social channel to research an electronic product before making a purchase, there’s a great opportunity for engagement. As an example, a marketing team for a camera brand could run a photography competition on Instagram and offer a gift card to the winner.

Adaptation Is Crucial to eCommerce Success

The key to being successful in eCommerce during times of uncertainty is being able to adapt quickly and focus on strengthening the connection with consumers. Brands that offer exceptional digital services and are able to embrace emerging trends will rise above any disruption.

Using software that’s designed with eCommerce adaptation in mind can put businesses on the road to success. This is where Pimberly can help. Book a free demo to see our software in action.

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