It was an unpredictable year for advertisers across a multitude of channels due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global impact of Coronavirus also expedited the adoption of online shopping due to the reduction of in-store purchases. According to some reports, there’s been a +129% year-over-year growth in U.S. & Canadian e-commerce orders and a +146% growth in all online retail orders. I know we relied heavily on Amazon for many household items we needed, and in many conversations with people this seemed to be the new norm. It was also convenient when so many people were concerned about the spread of the virus when shopping at stress locations such as grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.
Although we can’t be sure what to expect in the new year, we do know it will be a challenge for many of us as things are no longer status quo.
As e-commerce as a whole is growing at higher rates than originally expected, it is anticipated that more sellers will come into the market to sell products without adhering to minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policies. This is good news for consumers looking for better prices and options, but it also has its downside with businesses that rely on a fair margin in order to stay in business.
The problem most small businesses will have in the new year is how to compete with industry giants like Amazon which resells businesses’ brands and products to consumers, and they have far greater recognition and audiences than an individual brand. A good example of this is where a consumer wants to buy a specific product you can search for it on Google or your favorite search tool and you decide you want to buy it direct from the source. Here are the considerations that you have to weigh in on:
- Do they have a complicated return policy or a no return policy?
- Do you want to read all the conditions they might post on their website?
- Do they have an automatic “renew your purchase” clause hidden in the agreement you are required to sign?
- Do you want to spend the time reading the agreement they ask of you and often written in legal language that you might not understand?
- Will they share or sell your contact information as most sites require this, including your email?
- Do you trust they will protect your credit card information?
I will continue to be an online shopper and hope our online businesses can recover and compete in the new year.
As marketing and public relations professionals, we plan to use our many years of traditional marketing methods combined with new affordable technology that can be used. I specifically say “affordable” because as more and more people compete for business those costs continue to increase.
We are looking forward to 2021 with an optimistic outlook and strong hope that we will not see a repeat of the coronavirus outbreak. Wishing all of our readers and advertisers a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2021.