The WARC Guide to E-commerce and the Future of Effectiveness.
“But it is also clear that brand remains key in online retail. In an age of almost limitless choice, brand recognition and trust translates into pricing power. Creative brand-building, therefore, remains key,” Roland said.
Edge by Ascential, WARC’s sister company, has revised the e-commerce growth outlook for 2020 from +22.2% to +30.4%. Brands in sectors such as FMCG are seeing rapid increases in online orders and have a growing range of options to sell through. Marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba have seen exceptional growth, omnichannel retailers like Walmart and Target are expanding their online offering and platforms like Shopify and Instacart have risen in prominence.
Effectiveness in the e-commerce age requires a rethink of all the marketing fundamentals: product, place and price as well as promotion.
Brands are offering bigger packs and multi-buy options, at different price points, as they look to boost profitability out of online retail. Delivery is a new ‘moment of truth’ for online brands, with packaging a key touchpoint. Unboxing is a key brand opportunity to stand out.
E-commerce platforms like Alibaba in China and omnichannel retailers like Walmart and Target in the US are becoming advertising and media destinations in their own right. Amazon has seen record growth in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak with ad revenues rising 43.8% ($1.2bn) to $3.9bn in Q1 2020, as brands look for ad formats linked to e-commerce.
Shoppable ads are now a key trend in digital advertising, with social platforms looking to extend their reach into e-commerce via shoppable formats and storefronts within their platforms.
For brands, these trends bring e-commerce and media strategy much closer; many brands are rethinking the way their budgets are siloed to enable better investment.
The rise of shoppable formats and e-commerce media is likely to accelerate the shift toward short-termism identified by researchers such as Les Binet and Peter Field. And that will only be compounded by recession.
Yet there is evidence that a strong brand is key to driving traffic, boosting performance of direct-response ads and maintaining price premiums online. Balance is key – it’s not a question of investment in either brand or activation, but a smart blend of both.
Trust is vital in e-commerce, not just in the brand but in the entire end-to-end experience.
COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of livestreaming e-commerce in China: a powerful combination of influencers, video, social and online selling. According to Yimian, WARC’s sister company, the number of livestreaming users reached 560 million in China as of March 2020 – 62% of the country’s total number of internet users.
That said, automotive and luxury brands are experimenting with livestreams, which is driving awareness and consumer engagement.
The latest phase of livestreaming puts Chinese business leaders from brands such as McDonald’s and Hema centre-stage, to engage consumers and even launch new products.
- Hosting a series of free-to-join related webinars: WARC Talks 360 – your guide to E-commerce and the future of effectiveness: 1-3 September 2020
- C-suite masterclass video series: early September 2020
- Releasing WARC Global Advertising Trends – data on e-commerce: mid-September 2020
- View here WARC’s Effectiveness in the Age of e-commerce keynote session first screened at Cannes Lions Live