Arrow Blog

Weekly recap of eCommerce news - W20


The internet is a great, yet overwhelming source of information. Every week, we read many of the articles published on eCommerce blogs, journals, and websites. We then sum up what's hot and what’s not in eCommerce, and link to the information that matters to you. Here you go!

We’ve been reading up on the latest news in eCommerce and plenty of exciting things caught our attention last week. We summed them all up for you. 

Here’s the lowdown on some of the hot topics in the industry last week:

  • Advertising & Marketing Trends: breaking boundaries with AR and video ads
  • Lead generation: how to grow your database; pros and cons of all sales channels supported by Shopify
  • Conversion rates: general tips for a conversion-oriented business strategy in 2021; Google Analytics’ Assisted Conversion; product descriptions that convert; understanding cohort analysis.
  • Customer Retention: small gestures that bring back customers; advice from engagement experts on customer retention
  • This Week’s Buzzword: headless commerce 
  • The eCommerce week in numbers: Walmart and Target’s online sales growth

Advertising and Marketing Trends

Prompted by the pandemic, the eCommerce sector has grown faster than ever in the past year. This is partly also due to marketers redirecting budgets from traditional advertising channels to online advertising platforms. 

A prime example is American Eagle Outfitters Inc.’s partnership with Snapchat to create an AR advertising campaign that allowed homebound consumers to enter a virtual pop-up store and browse through 15-20 pieces of clothing as they moved their phones around the room. It seems like more and more retailers are likely to embrace augmented reality in the years to come, so this isn’t just a fashion fad that we can dismiss. Read more about it here.

Video is also becoming an increasingly important channel for online advertising. As a result, more and more online platforms now offer a multitude of tools to help advertisers produce shoppable videos, edit them, and create live streams. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the tools and platforms you can use for your next video ad campaign. 

Get ready to pitch this idea to your team and convince them to try out video ad campaigns with this success story. In her podcast, Molly Pittman talks to Ryan McKenzie of TruEarth about how his viral video ads helped scale to over $100,000/day in ad spend.

We have good news for those whose budgets don’t allow for AR and video production, too. As Katrina McKinnon suggests in this article, there are still numerous more cost-effective advertising strategies that you can use in 2021.

Lead Generation 

As third-party cookies become a thing of the past, first-party leads become the focal point. For marketers, this means continuously finding ways to grow their databases. If you’re scrambling to get more leads, this article has a few ideas you can try to get more contacts and reach more potential customers.

Looking to explore new sales channels with Shopify? Several channels can be integrated with it - from Facebook Shop, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Shop, Amazon, The Handshake Marketplace, Google, Walmart Marketplace, eBay, or even its own buy button. They all have pros and cons and figuring out what works best for your business can be a bit daunting. If you don’t feel ready to explore multi-channel sales, this comprehensive list of pros and cons might help you prepare. 

Improving Conversion Rates 

Improving conversion rates is always going to be a newsworthy topic. We found some interesting reads all published within the past week to help your find new ways to improve your conversion rates.

For general tips on how to draft an effective, conversion-oriented business strategy in 2021, check out Roy Goldstein’s article. The article touches on the general points you need to consider when drafting a business strategy, most of which you will already know at least in theory. If you need a refresher and a reminder of why some of these things are important, start here. For more specific hacks, head over to Gaurav Sharma’s piece on how to boost your conversion rates.

You probably know Google Analytics inside out, but here’s a question: are you using Assisted Conversions? Assistant Conversions is a way to move past the last-click model and find out which channels assist with a conversion. If you want to explore this hidden gem, head over to this article and find out how to map the entire path a customer takes towards conversion. 

Start writing those catchy product descriptions to improve your conversion rate. But before you do, have a look at Pamela Hazelton’s, author of The Official Guide to Miva Merchant, 3 keys that make for high-converting product descriptions.

How do you know you’ve done something right? Ever used cohort analysis to measure the performance of specific campaigns, changes to the website, and pretty much anything you want to A/B test? In this piece from last week, Annika Thompson explains the why and the how of cohort analysis.

Customer Retention

While you run around trying to generate new leads and improve your conversion rate, try not to forget about existing customers. In this comprehensive article, Alexa Collins sums up how you can bring back those loyal customers with small gestures that will drive your retention rates through the roof.

Last week, Vivian Wagner of eCommerce Times also spoke to a few customer engagement experts about the importance of awarding the same level of attention to retaining and engaging existing customers as you do to acquiring new customers. Their insights are summed up in this article

This week’s buzzword: headless eCommerce

There’s a new, more efficient way of developing an eCommerce website and you want to know about it. Headless commerce architecture separates the frontend content of a store from the backend commerce functions to offer businesses the agility and flexibility that are so essential in the online retail world. This is not just a fashion but, but it’s likely to become the norm in eCommerce. This article explains in detail what headless commerce is, plus the apps and platforms that use it. If you still need convincing, this article talks about the practical uses of headless commerce in terms of engaging with customers. 

The eCommerce week in numbers

Walmart Inc. reported sales growth for Q1 of the fiscal year 2020, including significant gains in eCommerce revenue, which increased by 37% in the U.S and by 49% globally compared with the same quarter a year earlier. Read more about this successful shift to online shopping here

In other news, Target Corp.’s online sales also increased 50.2% to $4.43 billion in its fiscal first quarter, with Ecommerce now accounting for 18.3% of all sales in the quarter, up from 15.3% in the same period a year ago. While customers prefer to shop online, Target’s online growth is still dependent on its physical locations with over 75% of the online orders fulfilled from its stores. Read more about it here.

This article was brought to you by Ana-Maria Carabelea

Ana-Maria is a content creator, copywriter and brand storyteller with extensive experience in eCommerce and the creative industries.

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