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Pandemic Enables Online Firms To Undergo Rapid Business Growth

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Jared Polites
·3 min read
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In the early days of Google, companies focused on website presence, search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing (via blogs and media articles) to increase online sales. However, in the past few years marketers’ priorities have shifted towards mobile optimization, social media and influencer partnerships for engaging and growing audiences.

These shifts reflect the rise of new sales channels, especially during the pandemic and work-from-home (WFH). As businesses pivot towards ecommerce, there’s increasing demand for digital advertising that produces life-changing results.

Skyrocketing Ecommerce Sales

COVID has enabled the extreme growth of ecommerce while putting many retailers who aren’t able to adapt out of business. Retail ecommerce sales in 2020 grew a whopping 27%, according to eMarketer, which amounts to $4.2 trillion worldwide. That blew past analysts’ previous projection of 16.5% growth for 2020.

In the United States, the growth was even higher. Consumers spent $861 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, according to Digital Commerce 360, an increase of 44% year over year.

It’s truly a disruptive time but the changes are also here to stay.

The direct-to-consumer (D2C) model empowers startups to quickly generate millions of dollars in revenue within a couple of years. Business owners no longer have to deal with retailers’ brutally difficult terms. And entrepreneurs can increase profit margins by shipping directly to consumers.

Digital Marketing Is Key To Sustained Success

According to advertising expert Josh Sturgeon, D2C firms should not get complacent in 2021 because digital ads is becoming a crowded marketplace. Especially when it comes to promoting on mainstream channels like Google search, Facebook and YouTube.

That means there’s an ongoing surge in customer acquisition costs -- a key performance indicator (KPI) for online sellers -- which can dampen margins. Sturgeon is cofounder of EmberTribe, a North Carolina-based agency that specializes in paid traffic.

“Our agency has seen 342% growth over the past three years and served over 300 clients. Since 2015, we’ve succeeded helping clients across industries with Facebook ads, Google ads, and customer acquisition and growth. In 2021, we’re seeing the need for brands to use a comprehensive, multi-channel approach. That can mean promoting on newer platforms like Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok, Reddit and others in addition to buying ads on mature channels like Facebook and Google.”

What 2021 Brings

Many observers predict that ecommerce growth will decelerate substantially this year.

Emarketer expects global growth to downshift to 14.3% due to partial reopening of brick-and-mortar shops and physical distributors.

While retail gives millions of consumers the option to leave the house and stroll at the mall, we expect shopping behaviors to have lasting changes beyond Covid. That’s because people will have been educated, trained and willing to buy online due to cheaper prices, time management and personal effectiveness.

Some remote workers, who have moved to cheaper jurisdictions, won’t have to relocate back to the office and/or originating city.

It seems the only certainty is that things won’t fully revert back to pre-pandemic days. Shoppers will have been introduced to upstart brands that didn’t exist months ago; new mobile and social platforms for making better buying decisions; and new deals and offers from which to make less expensive purchases.

Today’s consumer, too, is different. Gone are the days of swag and living it up. In a historic recession, it’s about being financially responsible, finding bargains, and stretching a limited budget. Companies need to prepare for a post-pandemic business reality.

Disclaimer: the writer does not have any relationship with the companies and people mentioned in this article.

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