eCommerce Trends To Watch Out For In 2022

I don’t think I need to tell anyone that eCommerce is a part of everyday life for every consumer group as we come to the end of 2021. The inevitable takeover has only been accelerated by Covid-19 and associated lockdowns, with consumers purchasing online more than ever. In fact, 70% of Britons say buying online is now their preferred shopping method.

 

Looking ahead to 2022, here are 5 key trends I think will shape the world of eCommerce.

 

Predicted eCommerce trends for 2022:

  • Using social media as a sales channel
  • Increased use of voice search
  • Sustainability
  • Returns will become an even more prominent customer touchpoint
  • Subscriptions & Loyalty programmes

 

Using social media as a sales channel 

Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for eCommerce brands to utilise. It not only allows them to send direct traffic to their website, but it also gives them the opportunity to create and foster a community which they can nurture to encourage returning custom. Whether it’s through paid social ads, organic content or influencer marketing, social media is the most important marketing tool currently available to drive sales online. 

Unsurprisingly, as social media grows, so too will the ability to sell to customers on their platforms. We’ve actually already written an entire blog about social commerce which you can read here to get ahead of the trend for 2022.

 

Increased use of voice search

The global increase of voice search has been well documented in recent times. The majority of new devices now come with voice functionality, from your new smart watch to the TV remote. 

Not only are these devices becoming more popular, but they are actually being integrated more into consumers’ day to day lives: “65% of 25-49-year-olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day.” It’s important to note, however, that it isn’t just the 25-49 year old category that is using this functionality. Both those older and younger are using these devices.

Voice is expected to be a $40 billion channel in 2022, although it only accounts for $2 billion currently. This section of the market is still relatively small and a very viable channel going forward into 2022 and further, which provides an interesting opportunity for D2C businesses to get ahead of the competition by adding focus to voice search in 2022. 

 

Sustainability

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword reserved for eco-friendly businesses. It’s the reality that modern consumers expect now and will expect in the future. Simply put, if your business isn’t looking to improve on sustainability, but your main competitor is, then you will lose customers. 

Customers are increasingly buying from purpose-driven brands and brands that align with their values, and this isn’t just a trend for 2022. In order to connect with these eco-aware consumers, you need to ensure your business values align with your target audience’s.

An excellent example of a successful sustainable business would be Pangaia. They are by their own admission “a materials science company on a mission to save our environment”, but from any consumer’s perspective, they’re a clothing brand who sell quality recycled/organic clothes. 

Shopify states that within 1 year, they were able to generate $75m in revenue while staying profitable, grow their staff size by 12x and increase their Instagram following by 14x. These statistics clearly showcase that when sustainability is at the forefront of a business, and the consumer aligns with this mission, growth and success are inevitable. 

 

Returns will become an even more prominent customer touchpoint

We already know that how businesses deal with eCommerce returns can create a competitive advantage. It’s a significant part of the customer experience which can be easily overlooked due to not being particularly glamorous. However, with increased online sales comes increased returns. 

When done correctly, the returns process can massively improve customer return rates. In fact, 92% of customers said they will buy again if the returns process is easy. However, on the flip side, a quarter of shoppers attribute a delay in processing their return to a negative customer experience.

This simply cannot be overlooked, and it needs to be a priority touchpoint for eCommerce brands in 2022. If you have the ability to improve future purchase decisions and increase a customer’s lifetime value, why would you overlook it?

 

Subscriptions and loyalty programmes

Subscriptions are a great way to increase customer retention rates, which is ultimately at the forefront of any eCommerce brands’ thoughts.

This can be a great tradeoff. Customers get the products they want, regularly and for less. They don’t have to spend time purchasing the product/service regularly or making decisions. Businesses keep the customers they want, for longer and for less cost. It can help with business forecasting and planning for the future – something every business would love to be able to do accurately. However, your business needs to be thinking long term and needs to have the technology in place to implement this. 

As eCommerce continues to grow in 2022, you’ll need to find new ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. Subscription and loyalty services should be in your conversations going forward if they haven’t been already. 

 

 

If you’re looking for help moving your eCommerce business forward in 2022, please get in touch with me at marius@pilotfishmedia.com!

Festive Social Media Ads Guide

With BFCM planning out of the way, it’s now time to focus on your Christmas social strategy. Facebook ads are a strong asset to your multi-channel marketing strategy during the holiday season and we are here to guide you to creating a successful holiday campaign. Gifting season means holiday marketing campaigns everywhere you look. It is important to create a campaign that cuts through the noise and delights your customers. Our festive social media ads guide outlines 4 key steps to help you stand out from the crowd.

 

1 – Identify your Goals

In identifying your key goals for your holiday campaign, you can address these and work to overcome any challenges you may face. Your goals might be along the lines of:

  • Creating a sense of community around your holiday campaign. 
  • Driving new customers to your offering.
  • Increasing sales by 40%.

Once you have laid out your expectations, you will be able to more easily manage your campaign and measure its success.

 

2 – Define your offering

Before you start building anything, it is key to define what you will be offering to your customers. For example, will you be bundling any of your products into the perfect gifting set, offering free shipping on all orders or pushing gift wrapping as an add on at checkout? You can then communicate these in the creative of your ads at the appropriate stages of the funnel.

It is important to note that you don’t always need to include a discount or add-on, you can also look at strategies including partnering with a charitable organisation whereby a percentage of the purchase goes to the selected charity. Work towards an offering that most aligns with your goals.

 

3 – Develop strong ad creative

In their 2021 Holiday Marketing Guide, Facebook identified four key needs of holiday shoppers:

  • Community and Connection;
  • Engagement and Entertainment;
  • Anticipation and Occasion;
  • Inspiration and Spontaneity.

Develop your ads with these key needs in mind. You want to create something that makes your audience feel something, communicates your brand values and captures your brand voice and identity. Check out a few of our favourite holiday marketing campaigns, which harness these needs and might inspire your approach.

 

Apple’s ‘Make someones Holiday’ campaign gives us all the feels.

Disney: From our family to yours.

 

4 – Launch as early as possible and remember to test, test, test. 

When creating and launching your ads make sure to test different copy variations and creatives at different stages of the funnel to define what your audience reacts best to. Alongside your copy variations, test different ad formats including videos, carousels and still images. This approach will allow you to optimise upon what works best among your customers and maximise results.

If you are an eCommerce brand, make sure to update your product catalogue and test collection ads and dynamic ads to help you maximise results. Make sure you work hard to define and understand your buyer persona and what they are looking for this holiday season to deliver them a winning social ads campaign!

Remember: Don’t just rely on Facebook ads this holiday season

We know that social ads are a strong approach to driving web visits and conversions. However, don’t sell yourself short and miss potential sales through other channels. It is best practice to pursue an omni-channel marketing strategy which nurtures new and existing customers. 

 

Looking for some help in developing your social ads strategy this holiday season and into the new year? Feel free to reach out to me at zoe@pilotfishmedia.com, to find out how we can help you!

In Other News: CSR Grows Larger, Holiday Shopping Goes Hybrid and Tik Tok Unveils Community Tok

It’s this time of the week again: let PFM give you the lowdown on what’s been happening in the digital marketing world this week. Get ready for the latest social media news and digital marketing insights!

 

 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) gets bigger and bolder

While consumers’ interest in CSR is not new, the pandemic has shown us all how much of an impact businesses can have on the wider society beyond just selling their products. In our home city of Edinburgh, for instance, who could forget when, at the very start of Lockdown, Leith Spirits started manufacturing hand santisers for free when it was virtually impossible to find any!

Now more than ever, consumers expect more from brands. Not only do they value companies with sustainable (environment- or social-oriented) activities, an increasingly large proportion of consumers purposefully choose the brands they purchase from and work for based on their sustainable agenda and stay away from companies without one.

“More than ever before, brands will need to have an opinion on issues that affect our world. From racial issues to environmental topics, consumers want to see what brands will say and act and hold them accountable.” Chris Asahara, Global Head of Content and Social Media at Les Mills

What does it mean?

In short, it means that integrating CSR to your business strategy will be critical in 2022. But in more details:

  • Brands need to contribute to society at large to be noticed and valued;
  • To communicate this effectively, brands’ social media need to become value-oriented;
  • To show that they walk the talk, brands need to consistently weave their CSR agenda and efforts through their multiple channels and touch points.

 

Holiday shopping experience becomes increasingly hybrid

Here are some key metrics to get started

  • 48% of worldwide consumers plan to do 75% or more of their holiday shopping online
  • In that group, 47% shop on their mobile phones
  • 64% of US consumers use retail apps

In 2020, consumers got used to shopping online as physical options were limited or undesirable. This year, while most UK consumers are in a position to visit a store physically, they have had a taste of the ease and convenience of online shopping. As such, consumers will want to combine the best of both worlds this holiday season.

What does it mean?

The hybridisation of the consumer’s shopping experience has a few consequences, the first one being the need for an eCommerce platform. Beyond this, however, are the following:

  • For conversions, digital shopping experiences will need to be pleasant, fast, and seamless;
  • Investments in server capacity may need to be explored to make sure your website can cope with the increased traffic;
  • Successful digital shopping will require flexibility in delivery options (ie. home delivery, pick-up from store…) and returns;
  • Consumer service both online and offline will be paramount.

 

Tik Tok introduces ‘CommunityToks’

In its latest promotional campaign, Tik Tok introduced CommunityToks, which consist of subnetworks within the app linked by a single shared topic or interest, and are marketed at advertisers. CommunityToks focus on driving engagement, fostering rich subcultures and allowing for more personalisation.

What does it mean?

CommunityToks make advertising more effective via more precise targeting and more personalised content:

  • Businesses can reach and leverage segments interested in the same key topic;
  • It’s easier for brands to become part of relevant conversations;
  • Brands can share their content with smaller audiences that are more in line with their strand of content, which increases their resonance with the content;
  • It’s an opportunity for branded content to be seen as peer-to-peer communication, leading to deeper connection with the audience.

 

Wondering how to successfully meld physical and digital shopping this holiday season? Book a complimentary consultation with us at maya@pilotfishmedia.com, we’d love to chat!

 

Sources

Hubspot 2022 Social Media Trends Report

https://www.marketingdive.com/news/future-of-holiday-retail-is-mobile-app-blended-experiences/609826/

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/tiktok-launches-new-communitytok-promotional-push-to-highlight-subculture/610388/

https://www.tiktok.com/business/en/blog/communitytoks-authentic-connection-creativity-joy?platform=facebook&attr_source=social&attr_source=social&channel=social-organic-post-community-tok-44519&attr_medium=organic-post&attr_campaign=social-organic-post-community-tok-44519&attr_agency=gbmhq

Why Email Marketing (Still) Matters

When I say email marketing, what comes to mind? Mountains of spam, I bet. I think we can all agree that way too many useless emails are floating about, and that’s saying nothing about that nasty “won’t you leave me alone” feeling we all get when spotting one of them crowding our inboxes. Let’s get one thing clear: that (insert shudder) isn’t email marketing. It’s death by a thousand cuts, also part of How To Make Your Customers Disappear 101: Noise Pollution… or, in less heated terms, spam.

 

So what is email marketing?

Simply put, email marketing is the practice of using email to promote an organisation and/or its product and services to targeted customers. And here is the key: targeted customers. This means individuals who have opted to receive communications from your brand. Email marketing carefully curates engaging and compelling content to a meticulously selected audience. As such, indiscriminately bombarding anyone you can with emails about lawnmower sales does not qualify as email marketing.

 

… And what makes it worthwhile?

Email marketing enhances the customer experience

It enables you to tie the different touch points (your website, organic social media, partners, paid ads) your customers go through together to create a smooth and continuous customer journey across your multiple platforms and channels. Email marketing works as the bridge that links all your customers’ individual experiences on different platforms together so that they form a seamless, overarching experience.

 

It’s a brand awareness booster

This is the most obvious benefit of email marketing: reminding people you’re there! This is more important than one might think. All of us have a thousand and one big and small interactions with multiple brands each day, which makes it difficult to remember any one in the medium (let alone the long) term. Audience members may or may not stumble on your brand or its communications again, thereby rekindling the brand awareness spark, but it is not guaranteed. 

Email marketing is therefore a conscious effort on your part to fan the brand awareness spark into a brand recall fire. (Excuse the fire metaphors, I am writing this in the middle of a cold Scottish winter and had fireplaces and bottomless hot chocolate on my mind). Now, you may be thinking that you can do all of this through your organic social media. True enough, social media is a great tool for brand awareness… just not as powerful as email marketing. Unless you’re following a brand, you may or may not see specific brands’ posts appear on your timeline, so it’s a bit of a gamble. 

You will definitely see emails in your inbox (remember, we’re not spam so no reason for your comms to end up in the junk folder). While 14% of individuals check social media in the morning, 58% check their emails and check them about 20 times throughout the day. And now for the knock-out punch, on average the engagement rate on organic social media is 0.58%, while email marketing has a 22.86% open rate and 3.71% of views lead to website visits.

 

It allows for personalisation

Most channels your brand will use have you addressing your entire audience at once. While this means more people will hear your message, it may not be worthwhile for everyone to pay attention to, meaning that some individuals may get the wrong impression about your brand and what it can do for them. 

Email marketing allows you to segment your messages to fit your different target audiences. This way, each type of customer gets a message that is valuable to them and aligned with their wants, needs and values. And this is the beauty of carefully built mailing lists: personalised communication is also more effective. By tailoring your message to your customer segments, you increase its readership, the perceived value of your brand, and in turn, sales.

Bonus: by using different messages per target segment, you can learn about their preferences, what works best for them and their behaviour. The better you know your audience, the best you can serve them… and increase your sales.

 

It helps you to nurture and deepen relationships

With email marketing, you are communicating with a warm audience: individuals who already know of your brand and who like it to an extent (remember, we’re not talking about spam, here). Through regular communication, email marketing enables you to slowly reveal other compatible facets of your brand to your target audience for them to get to know you a little better.

If you are clever with this tactic, you can also adapt your timing and content to fit major relevant moments in your audience life. This would demonstrate your understanding of your customer base but more importantly that you can be a partner in their lives. If you can achieve this, it will be absolute gold for your brand. This shift in perception deepens your relationship and upgrades your connection from a rational to an emotional one, which is stronger and longer lasting.

 

It’s an owned channel

Contrarily to paid advertising, email marketing is an owned channel, which means that you have complete control over the following:

  • Your message
  • Its visual aspect
  • The timing and frequency
  • The audience

This type of control is not that common when it comes to marketing. With email marketing, there are very few restrictions and templates you need to follow, allowing you to design every detail of your brand’s appearance, message and communication style.

 

It’s cost effective

In part because it is an owned channel, email marketing is an economical way to reach your audience. In the grassroots stage, all you need is a little time to write your message, basic computer skills, repurposing your brand assets (pictures, videos, GIFs) and you can send the lot through your regular email platform. At this stage, your emails are cheap and not too time consuming.

Once your business and brand stabilises a little, you can move to email marketing platforms like Klaviyo, Mailchimp and the like for a more polished look, scheduling and analysis capabilities. These platforms are relatively inexpensive, with varied levels of subscriptions to fit your brand’s needs, and they save you some time by giving you templates to work with and automating some of your work. When your brand gets even bigger, you can opt for a higher-level subscription, saving you even more time for a reasonable price.

 

Performance is easy to track and has a high ROI

Last but certainly not least, performance is easy to track and highly successful. By UTM tagging the links you include in your emails, you can review the behaviour of users who clicked on it. With this tool, you will be able to know by audience segment how many users visited your page, how many times, how long they spent on it, how many pages were visited on the website, and how many conversions (purchases if your brand is in eCommerce) were made. All of this will give you a good idea of how well each segment email performed and the overall interest in the content you have published.

Not only is email marketing performance eminently trackable and measurable, its return on investment is high, with email being one of the highest-ranking marketing tactics. In 2020, for every £1 spent on email marketing, £35.41 was earned in return! Hard to argue with those numbers.

 

… So, have we convinced you yet?

 

Want to get into email marketing or upgrade your game? Get in touch with us now at maya@pilotfishmedia.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

Sources

https://optinmonster.com/email-marketing-vs-social-media-performance-2016-2019-statistics/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/283067/return-on-investment-roi-for-email-marketing-in-the-uk/

https://www.kub-uk.net/insights/email-marketing-stats/

eCommerce and Social Media: A Look to the Future of Social Shopping

Hello everyone, my name is Marius and I’m the paid media manager here at Pilot Fish Media. Having worked on marketing campaigns around the world, I’ve found that my passion lies in eCommerce and driving sales through the use of paid ads. eCommerce brands and social media platforms are inherently intertwined. You’d be hard pushed to find any, new or old, who aren’t on social media in some capacity. I’m going to break down why this is the case, and why social media platforms are all moving towards an eCommerce approach.

 

What is an eCommerce brand?

An eCommerce brand is any company that is involved in the buying or selling of products, services, or experiences over the internet. Whenever individuals or companies are buying/selling products, services, or experiences online, they’re engaging in e-commerce. 

 

Why do eCommerce brands use social media?

Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for eCommerce brands to utilise. It not only allows them to send direct traffic to their website, but it also gives them the opportunity to create and foster a community, which they can nurture in order to encourage returning custom. Whether it’s through paid social ads, organic content or influencer marketing, social media is the most important marketing tool currently available to drive sales online.

 

What is social shopping?

Social shopping or social eCommerce is when social media platforms and eCommerce platforms become one. Certain social media platforms have direct integrations with eCommerce sites such as Shopify, which allows a customer to buy products directly from their feed/shopping section. Essentially, social shopping enables social media users to shop for and purchase products on social media.

 

Which social media platforms currently have shopping tools?

Social Shopping is already a popular feature on a range of social platforms and is expected to grow rapidly. But why?

Simply put, it reduces the purchase journey for a customer to 2 steps. They engage with the product on your social media feed and then begin the checkout process. This is now possible on the below platforms who all currently use social shopping in some capacity:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Whatsapp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • WeChat

 

What does the future hold for social commerce?

Social commerce is the future and we expect it to be adopted by more platforms going forward. There will be a time in the not-so-distant future when customers in the UK can click on a product on Instagram and purchase directly within the platform. This feature currently only exists in the USA.

If you assume social media is where your target audience spends the majority of their time, then it only makes sense to sell products to them then and there. They’re already engaging actively with your brand, so there will be a sense of trust and you won’t have to move them off the platform onto a separate website. Furthermore, with all of the privacy changes (iOS14.5/death of the cookie) and the shift to ‘walled gardens’ it makes sense for platforms to keep users on the platform. They are unable to track them effectively when they leave and go to a website, and as such, if they keep users on the platform, they can collect first-party data and information.  With one of the main struggles for eCommerce brands being the streamlining of the shopping process, social media and eCommerce integration should help combat that.

China has been the country at the forefront of social commerce through WeChat. WeChat originated as a messaging app and has developed into a unique hybrid platform. Users can do everything from calling a client, or their family group chat, to paying for their taxi or weekly shop. In China where services like Facebook are banned, WeChat is the standard platform for all business and communication. When we look at how important WeChat is, it’s no surprise that such a high percentage of products purchased in China are sold through social media. In fact, in 2019, 11.6% of eCommerce sales came through social commerce.

While China is a very different market to the UK, we can clearly see some similar patterns. There’s a history of copying what works in China: FB Messenger and Whatsapp have already adopted plenty of the features as seen in the chart below on WeChat.

*

It’s clear to see then why the UK and other countries in the West would adopt social commerce going forward. It allows for a streamlined shopping experience, which is beneficial to both the customer and seller. In addition, social platforms keep users on their app and try to keep their attention there, which is every platform’s ultimate aim. They’re trading in attention. Customers will expect to be able to purchase your products on social media with a couple of clicks very soon. So get ahead of the curve and prepare your platforms for social commerce now!  

 

If you’re looking for help moving forward with social commerce, please get in touch with me at marius@pilotfishmedia.com!

 

Sources:

* https://www.bigcommerce.co.uk/blog/social-commerce/#what-does-the-future-hold-for-social-commerce