Everyone will remember 2020. This year crashed into our lives like the worst kind of storm (or at the very least like Kramer from “Seinfeld”).
We kicked off 2020 with a global pandemic that crippled most industries and pushed most of the world into isolation. And as people went into quarantine, they had no choice but to change their shopping habits.
Which means while a lot of other markets tanked, ecommerce climbed to an all-time high. Retail sales in the US fell by 3.4% in Q2 because of COVID-19, while ecommerce sales climbed 44.4% during the same period.
If your company has been in the ecommerce business for a while, you’re already riding this glorious wave. But the strange truth is that you can’t afford to sit back and enjoy that success. Companies that aren’t always looking for new ways to grow run the risk of falling behind when the world finally goes back to normal.
So, to help you set your business on a lasting path to success, here are three big ways to grow your ecommerce business in 2020.
#1. Double Down On Video Marketing
Let’s get right to business: Video marketing has been an upwards trend for the past few years, and it has really hit its stride in 2020. 81% of businesses use video as a piece of their content strategy, and that’s because video marketing improves everything you care about: ROI, engagement, and perceived value.
In other words, video should already be a core pillar of your content strategy.
But if not, it’s not the end of the world. Ecommerce is on the rise in 2020, and that gives you an opportunity to invest into content that will help you maintain this growth rate beyond the end of COVID-19.
For starters, 66% of people prefer to learn about products and services in a video format. Compare that to 18% that prefer to read written content, or the 3% that would prefer a downloadable asset.
This trend predates Coronavirus, and that means it isn’t going to suddenly revert once the world goes back to normal. The transition to video marketing is something that isn’t going to change after 2020 ends because it’s a valuable way to connect with your audience.
#2. Find Partnership Opportunities
Like video marketing, brand partnerships have become a fact of life for companies these days. If you spend any time on Instagram, you’ve seen how influencers promote products or brands. You’ve probably also spotted some brand partnerships, collaborative projects between companies with some market overlap.
Yes, that all sounds wonderful. But my guess is you’re already going through a list of complications on how this couldn’t work for your brand, budget, etc..
As a company focused on ecommerce, your business is all about online presence. Diving into keyword research and building an SEO platform will help, but it’s hard to organically grow without at least a little focus on your social media presence.
Maybe you’ve gotten that taken care of. Maybe you already have a million subscribers and followers across your social channels. Even if that’s true, you’ll still want to grow your audience. (Because, in reality, that’s what every brand wants.) Partnerships can help you accomplish that.
I’ll keep it simple. Brand representatives (a.k.a. “influencers”) bring a lot more value than organic social advertising, and usually more than paid social advertising too. The average ROI on influencer marketing is $5.20 per dollar spent, and that can climb as high as $15 per dollar.
Business Insider predicts that businesses could spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing in the next few years, and 97% of marketers (according to a recent survey) planned to seek brand partnerships on Instagram in 2020.
Again, this trend of influencer marketing has grown into a stable and repeatable way to grow ecommerce businesses in 2020. And you don’t have to throw millions of dollars at a celebrity or compromise your company values to find a partner.
After all, the only healthy partnership is one that adds value to your customers and introduces you to new ones without weakening your position and reputation.
#3. Take Advantage Of Affiliate Marketing
2020 has affected every company differently. Some have closed down permanently, and others had no choice but to open online stores as a way to survive. So instead of looking for ways to collaboratively promote your products, could you leverage your marketplace to work with other, smaller brands?
Affiliate marketing is the other side of the partnership coin, and it’s the side that gives you a little more control of the exchange. In a nutshell, “affiliate marketing” is the process of advertising another company’s products or services, then earning a commission on every sale made through the link on your website.
If you’ve never explored this concept, it might sound illogical. (“Why would I promote another brand’s products on my site?” is a very normal response to this idea.) But 81% of brands already use affiliate marketing, and so do 84% of publishers. In fact, there is a 10.1% increase year-over-year on affiliate marketing spend in the U.S. alone.
No matter how strangely it sounds, affiliate marketing is on the rise. And with ecommerce businesses already riding high, 2020 is a great time to explore some of these new tactics that could lead to steadier long-term growth.
Staying Afloat In A Competitive Market
For all the obstacles 2020 has thrown at us, eCommerce is an industry that’s thriving like never before. And while it might seem odd or selfish to look for benefits during such a difficult time, the truth is that all of this growth is a byproduct of those events.
Sure, you can ride out the wave and enjoy the revenue boosts. But eventually the world will go back to normal, and while many people will continue to stick with eCommerce over physical marketplaces, there’s no sure prediction on what that future will look like.
You owe it to yourself and your customers to take steps to prepare for that future. And what better way to plan ahead than by doing a little extra work now to give yourself an even better market position later?