Privacy-First Changes Have Far-Reaching Commerce Platform Implications

Essentially, Apple and Facebook have declared war on one another. For its part, Apple has decided to take a stance on privacy, calling it a fundamental human right and using that stance to differentiate itself from all other tech giants. Recently the company released an ebook, A Day in the Life of Your Data: A Father and Daughter Day at the Playground, that explains in plain English just how extensive personal data collection has become.

In late January, Apple announced some iOS 14 updates that are designed to offer users more stringent privacy protection. One of its features, App Tracking Transparency (ATT), will, “require apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies. Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit.”

Want to learn more about this? Head on over to the Rightpoint blog.

5 Problems Your Brand Will Face in 2021 (And How to Avoid Them)

If consumers were not familiar with digital commerce before the pandemic, they certainly are now: The decline of in-store shopping has led to a rise in online purchases and the proliferation of e-commerce platforms. As a result, we have witnessed companies beginning to scrutinize their digital experiences and syphon funds towards that effort.

But through our research and recent work with top brands, we must preach caution—budgets are tight, and you can’t afford any mistakes.

Head on over to the Rightpoint blog to check out the list of the top five problems your brand will face in 2021, including steps to address them before they derail your customer experiences.

How to Choose an Ecommerce Agency: Part Two

In part one we discussed the number one thing clients look for when choosing their ecommerce agency: Trust (find it here.) If trust is number 1 on our list, then price has to be number 1(a), after all, you are trying to run a profitable online business.


There is not a perfect formula of “I should spend x percent of my total online revenue on my replatform project” because that would only direct you based on where your online business is now. You should be thinking about where your business is going, or where it ought to be going. To say it another way: you should be skating to where the puck is going, not where it currently is.  

That said, you must be realistic. Ask yourself questions like:  

  • What is my revenue growth projection and how am I going to get there?  
  • If I am planning to spend (x) on my website, do I have the traffic to justify that spend? 
  • If I do have the traffic, will this move help me increase my conversion rate (CR)? 
  • If this move won’t help me increase my conversion rate, will it increase my average order value (AOV)? 
  • If I don’t have the traffic, and it won’t increase my CR, and it won’t increase my AOV, then how will I see my return on investment (ROI)? 

Here’s a little secret: functionality is not everything on an ecommerce website. In fact, unless you can prove that functionality is driving revenue, you should be asking yourself if it is worth having that functionality in the first place. Heck, you could be spending that money driving more traffic to your site either from existing customers or driving new customers through marketing campaigns 

How does this relate to choosing an ecommerce agency? There is an agency out there that specializes in every need you may have. Some are going to have lower rates, some are going to have all their employees in a foreign country, others could be right down the street, and all of those are going to have different pricing structures. You need to decide what is important to you and how those factors are going to change your ROI.  

After you have a good rapport with an agency, and have a good understanding of their price structure, you must decide if their capabilities are the right fit for your needs. 

Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for the third and final installment of our choosing an agency partner series. Until then, contact us with all your questions and to learn more.

How to Choose an Ecommerce Agency

As directors of business development at Something Digital, we are constantly asking ourselves the question: what is going to help this prospect decide to choose Something Digital as their partner on their eCommerce journey? Since we are thinking about this every day, we figured it would be a good idea to share our thoughts on the matter. Choosing an agency ultimately comes down to three decisions: Do I trust these people? Is the price they’re offering within my budget? And does this agency’s capabilities match what I need from them? With that, we bring you part one of our three-part series of how to choose an eCommerce Agency:


There’s a reason we chose to write about trust first: it is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of choosing an agency. If you have an immense amount of personal and professional trust in the agency you choose to lead you on your eCommerce journey, then you can extend your budget because you know the project will be done right. Obviously trust is a feeling (a belief even), it can be emotional: “I get a good vibe from these people”, “they seem trustworthy”, “wow these people seem to know what they’re doing”, etc. But you can take action to get to know them better, and establish a stronger relationship to allow for a smooth eCommerce journey.

Ask yourself the question: what is this agency’s reputation?

Assuming you already have an eCommerce store, you may be using a platform like Shopify or Magento. What you may not know is these platforms have dedicated channel management teams that interact daily with their partner agencies. They can tell you verticals an agency works in, what systems they have integrated with in the past, issue resolution they have come upon working with a particular agency and so on. Asking your account manager at these platforms for recommendations on an agency is a great first step to finding the one that is right for you and your business.

But don’t stop there, you may use a reviews platform like Yotpo, or a personalization company like Nosto, or a deferred payments company like Klarna. Well guess what? They all have channel managers that interact with agencies too. These people are great resources for you to gauge a particular agency’s reputation in the eCommerce marketplace. Not only that, but you will also get insight into the agency’s familiarity with your tool set!

Develop a relationship in the sales process

News flash! The business development person you are speaking with probably is not going to be intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of your eCommerce store after you start working with the agency. On top of that, it is the salesperson’s job to make you feel comfortable with them. So, it is always valuable to get introduced to those who will be more involved. For example, at Something Digital we have development, creative, strategic engagement and project management leadership who are excited to get on calls with prospects. These people will be your escalation points on the project, so it is important you develop a rapport with them. One excellent way Something Digital has found will develop a strong relationship with people is the actually the traditional way: breaking bread. Sharing food with one another has been a great tool for our clients to establish a personal rapport with us,  When you truly sit down with someone and connect with them over a delicious meal, your hesitations are cast off and you become friends. Friends do right by each other. If anything ever goes wrong (and if you’ve been in the agency/client game long enough, you’ll know that even you’re the best that’s actually a “when”, not an “if”), you’ll have the relationship to fall back on.

The other thing developing that relationship does for you is it allows you to assess the culture of the company you are working with. The reality is, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with these people, so you need to know if these people are the type of people you want to spend time with. A colleague explained it to me this way: if you were stuck in an airport with them on a 10-hour delay, would you ever want to see them again after that? If you would, then they’re probably a good culture fit. Another point here, at some point in your relationship, issue resolution will happen, so when something goes wrong, having that relationship established is hugely beneficiary. On the other hand, things will also go right, so ask yourself the question: when things DO go right, are these the people I want to celebrate with?

First get a sense of an agency’s reputation, and then find ways to connect with them more intimately.You’ll have a leg up on deciding if they’re the right agency for you on your eCommerce journey. Trust is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of choosing your agency partner.

Keep an eye out for part 2 of our 3-part series on choosing a partner agency. Until then, contact us with all your questions and to learn more!

New Study Measures Shifts in Consumer Behaviors, Driven by Rapidly Changing Attitudes as to What’s Essential

The pandemic has radically altered the products, channels and services consumers deem essential. In our first research report of 2021, Rightpoint and Something Digital delve into the new normal for 2021 and beyond. 

 According to a new study by Rightpoint and Something Digital (now part of Rightpoint)The New Essentials, the pandemic has substantially altered the products, channels and services consumers deem essential, and those new perceptions will likely last beyond 2021. Brands that respond to the shift in consumer sensibilities will be poised to earn their loyalty.  

The report surveyed 1,002 consumers in the US and Canada between November 20 – 28,  2020 to explore mindset, category engagement and digital savviness as life during the pandemic has evolved. In addition, we interviewed 10 digital executives to understand how  their organizations have capitalized on the shifting landscape.  

Key findings include: 

Accelerated life change correlates with redefinition of what is essential. 

Two out of three consumers report making significant lifestyle changes as a direct result of the pandemic, giving rise to a new class of trendsetting “life changers.” Highly adaptable, young (60% are under age 40) and economically comfortable (66% are gainfully employed), this trendsetter group is evidence of larger demographic and attitudinal shifts in the near future. These shifts will radically transform how consumers live, make decisions, and purchase. 

Individual perspectives redefine what is essential.  

Although every person experienced the same pandemic, there is no collective internal response to it. Every person has created his or her own risk-benefit analysis to everyday activities like shopping, working, and socializing. Which has resulted in a fragmented perspective of needs vs. wants, and indeed, what is essential and what’s not.  

 For example, consumers who see the pandemic as a collective challenge have a more generous view of what’s essential, assigning categories typically associated with personal growth or self-actualization — travel, furniture and home, fitness — at significantly higher values than those who don’t. 

 “Marketers know they need to move away from targeting consumers based on broad characteristics like geography and demographic. These findings add more urgency to that shift. In the post-pandemic world, consumers are strongly motivated by their internal risk-benefit analysis, and brands that can tap into that analysis will build long-term loyalty,” says Phillip Jackson, Chief Commerce Officer at Rightpoint. 

Consumers who will soon dominate spending have evolving expectations around convenience, community and social good and safety. 

Gen Y and Gen Z bring a set of strongly held expectations to the commercial world, and they demand brands to meet them:

  • Convenience. Features like onsite search and product inventory/availability continue to prompt conversion, but younger shoppers also want flexible fulfillment and ways to reach customer service. They also want seamless cross-channel journeys — e.g. browsing via connected TV and buying via a mobile device.


  • Community. For younger adults, digital connections enable community. For instance, 68% said they prefer discovering new brands on social media, and 55% said they’ve increased their use of video conferencing. Younger adult shoppers have a strong sense of community, with 64% of them feeling guilt for finding joy while others are struggling; 82% of Gen Z won’t ignore a brand’s ethics for the sake of a good deal. Brands will need to walk the talk to succeed with this generation.


  • Social Good and SafetyGen Z and Millennial shoppers are entering 2021 more cautious about their physical health, emotional well-being and finances. Transparency will be key; consumers will want to know what brands are doing to protect the physical, emotional and economic wellbeing of their customers, employees and suppliers. 


“The pandemic has heighted the consumer’s awareness of the world around them, including its joys, challenges and opportunities. Younger adults in particular are making decisions based on a new set of essentials that speak to their hearts, minds, wallets and preferences. Brands that can adapt to the new essentials will enjoy greater success, while those that fail to resonate will struggle to survive,” said someone at Rightpoint. 


Download the complete report here. 

What we talk about when we talk about performance: Part Two

In part one, we more clearly defined what site performance is. Here, in part two we’ll take you through how SD recommends you address site speed and scalability, with savvy.

How can you address your Site Speed?

Improving site speed shouldn’t be viewed as just a single, one and done,’ project but rather, a long term and strategic approach that fits into your overall website development and ongoing growth efforts.  Naturally, ecommerce enabled websites are constantly evolving; from new development and integrations, to catalog and content updates – here are key steps to establish a foundation for measuring and tracking site speed against ongoing development efforts on your site. 

  1. Create a consistent framework in leveraging not only the right tools (ex.: New Relic APM Pro) but ensuring that these tools are properly configured and setup to measure and track site speed. 
  2. Perform an initial site speed review (leveraging said tools), in order to generate a record of truth backlog for remediation items that should be managed, executed, and monitored ongoing. 
  3. Determine a budget and a pace of development including tracking efforts that works for your business in conjunction with the goals and results that you set out to achieve.  SD recommends a monthly review and remediation plan although the key is to establish an actual cadence after the first review. 


An example of a custom client scorecard/dashboard built by SD which pulls in data and tracks site speed over time after participating in SD Boost Program.

2020 is nearly over (much to the relief of many) so rather than putting your site speed on the priority backburner and panic again this coming September, start your planning now. Set aside a specific budget; make sure you have data driven goals. Invest in your site speed as a marathon, not a sprint.  You already know you’ll be adding new featuresevolving design, upgrading for security and honing your marketing driven initiatives, so why not plan to nurture your site speed the same way? Site speed isn’t a once-a-year item, it should live in your roadmap alongside all of your other major KPIs.  

Lucky for you, SD has a new initiative that’s primed for the trailblazer that wants to improve site speed, thus educating yourself on how to plan around your infrastructure and optimize your business (hint: that should be all of you). No one is exempt from these concerns, and no business is neutral when it comes to these goals. SD Boost is an accessible initiative that helps you monitor and remediate on site speed concerns over time, making it a digestible and ongoing effort.  

So, we come full circle 

Don’t let a slow website cost you revenue.  

Make your web pages fast on all devices.  

Bring it up in your next planning meeting and ask yourself, what kind of steps can you take to help monitor and improve your site speed? Don’t wait for your boss to notice a flaw, or a customer to log a complaint. Get ahead of what you know is important, take the lead on arming your business with the right data, and pioneer long term approach with your team.  Ask us about SD’s Boost program today and we’ll be happy to share some knowledge on how this could apply to your business goals and plans for 2021 and beyond! 

This post was written by two of Something Digital’s Strategic Engagement Managers, Laura Kim and Holmes Koo.

What we talk about when we talk about Performance: Part One

“Make your web pages fast on all devices.”

“Don’t let a slow website cost you revenue!”

What do those statement make you worry about if you are responsible for running an Ecommerce site? Do you know what kind of conversation you’d need to have? Common requests that we get at SD are, “I need to improve Performance,” or “Our site is slow.” What should you do if a customer complains that it takes too long for a page to load? How do you define what kind of traffic your site can handle?

“Performance” is often used as an umbrella term for several aspects of your site. We want you to feel empowered to use more concise language, so let’s define what you are likely referring to:

Site Speed

Site speed is the average time it takes for the end user to start consuming pages on your site. The factors that undermine site speed are varied, common ones are:

  • Image file size and how they load
  • Bulky or unused custom code
  • Redirects
  • Javascript issues
  • Etc.

The importance of site speed is not going to be elaborated on; high conversion rates, low bounce rates and ranking are all benefits that we’re going to assume you know (and want).

There are a number of tools out there that are free and extremely tempting to rely on as benchmarks or even standards, for site speed. As with all things that are free, they should be treated with caution; those tools are often setup to convince you of a specific brand of resolution, which may have nothing to do with your business, since they’re meant to be generic. The best way to understand what’s happening on your site is perform a reliable audit, whether using a reputable tool or professional resource such as your agency partner.


Understanding how your site would perform under increased or expanded workload if often a temporary or seasonal concern, but more and more businesses are realizing the benefit of always knowing exactly how your site might react under any level of strain. 2020 certainly made that awareness more valuable, and also exposed how little some might be able to speak to the assessment of infrastructure capabilities. As part of a measure of scalability, load testing clarifies how much concurrent traffic your infrastructure can handle. Not only should you understand what your site can handle, but you should also be aware of what kind of traffic would potentially bring it down. Given today’s ever changing buying habits, this is now prerequisite information.

Oftentimes, the way a page might load slowly for a customer is just the tip of an iceberg. You need to be able to take that pain point, outline what might be causing it, and then decide how you validate that and resolve it. “Acknowledging that your site might have some underlying issues that you can’t see on the surface is the first step.” -Neil Patel

Hopefully you’re now armed to have a more productive conversation around site speed and scalability; whether you’re highlighting concerns or requesting enhancements. We challenge you to move away from throwing around the word “Performance” and address these initiatives with intentional specificity.

Check out part two, where we outline how SD recommends you address site speed and scalability, with savvy. Until then, contact us to discuss your site!


This post was written by two of Something Digital’s Strategic Engagement Managers, Laura Kim and Holmes Koo.

5 Mobile Strategies for Improving Conversion Rate and Average Order Value

The rise of mobile ecommerce has been a topic of conversation for quite some time. Over recent years, mobile shopping trends have been limited to mobile accounting for a majority of website traffic, cross-device shopping experiences, product browsing, and brand engagement. Despite these trends,  ecommerce experts have been forecasting that one-day mobile shopping will be of greater transactional value than desktop.

For instance, consumer data software giant, Statista, predicted that by 2020 mobile ecommerce would make up 70.4% of total eCommerce sales.  Well, it is 2020 and Statista was onto something.

Today, more than ever, consumer behavior is changing and mobile ecommerce is one of those consumer changes.

As we begin to close out this fiscal year, Something Digital’s Digital Strategy team has been heavily analyzing mobile ecommerce trends.

One of the biggest data trends that our Digital Strategy team has unveiled is that mobile ecommerce sales have started to top desktop eCommerce sales in regards to the quantity of orders, but desktop still accounts for a majority of revenue. Why? Because on average, desktop conversion rates and average order value are still higher than mobile.


Below is a sample data set of the Digital Strategy’s’ team findings.


Desktop Avg.


    Mobile Avg.


Transactions 43% 55%
Revenue 50% 49%





Desktop vs. Mobile




Avg. Order Value




Desktop avg. order value is 23% higher than mobile avg. order value.


Conversion Rate    +101% Desktop conversion rate is 101% higher than mobile conversion rate.


Mobile is the leading device in the number of orders at 55% of total online orders.  Online revenue is nearly split 50/50.  However, desktop is the leader in having higher avg. order value and conversion rates.

These data points prove that mobile really is starting to bridge the gap on desktop, but strategic mobile optimization still needs to take place to fully close that desktop barrier.


With that being said, here are the five mobile strategies that focus on improving conversion rate and average order value:


1. Product Merchandising

On avg, 10% of all mobile product clicks will be from products within the first five product listing positions on a category page. Knowing that most users are going to click on a products quickly versus scrolling through pages of product offerings, a strategic way to increase mobile avg. order value is merchandise products with a higher price point within the top five product offerings on category pages.


2. Shop the Look (Up Sells)

One of the more simple ways to boost avg. order value is taking on the Shop the Look strategy. This version of an upsell is a common tactic to showcase related products to the consumer as they enter the checkout process. The idea is that you are selling an entire outfit or a whole product set rather than just one product. Here is an example of how beauty company Bliss uses the Shop the Look strategy to upsell an entire beauty collection:

To the left is the product the user clicked on and to the right is the related product Bliss is looking to upsell to the potential customer. They use the wording Perfect Pairing to indicate that these products pair well and should be purchased together for a complete product experience.


3. Clear Call to Actions that Encourage Conversion

Designing your user experience with a mobile-first approach includes the strategy having a clear call to actions that live above the fold on a mobile device. As seen in the example below from Robert Graham’s mobile website, the calls to action are easily accessible on mobile making the checkout process more intuitive to users.


4. Page Speed

In simplest terms, page speed refers to the faster your pages load the more likely users are to convert. In a study performed by Google, researchers found that as mobile page loads increase between one second and ten seconds, a user is 123% more likely to bounce. Google also discovered that if a mobile page speed rises anywhere between 400 – 6,000 milliseconds users are 95% less likely to convert.  Focusing on page speed can have major impacts on conversion rates.


5. Personalization

Using personalization as a strategy can increase both avg. order value and conversion rates. By making your website a personalized experience, eCommerce businesses have the opportunity to serve the correct products to users right away, which will have positive impacts on avg. order value and conversion rates. In fact, consumers are 80% more likely to convert  & are willing to spend 50% more on their purchase when served a personalized experience.

Although desktop is still the reigning champion when it comes to eCommerce revenue share, mobile is putting up a good fight. The data shows that consumer behavior is changing.  Following these five strategies will help your ecommerce website adapt for when mobile becomes dominant.

Looking for help with your brand’s digital strategy? Contact us.

Conversion Rate and eCommerce Maturity 

As business maturity increases so does the importance of conversion rate optimization. 

In Something Digital’s 20 years of being in business we have worked with startups and some of the largest companies in the world. What we have learned about our clients from our experience: the maturity of the brand will drive the business plan. 

Take a startup for instance, typically when they launch their website, they do not have a solid customer base. Their immediate goal is to get their name out there, drive traffic to the site, and encourage brand discovery.  

Enterprise level companies however, are focusing their website visitors on conversion. In many cases, this conversion is correlated to revenue generation.  

The difference between the goals of these two businesses, being on varying ends of the maturity spectrum, is the enterprise level company has already established name recognition, credibility, and a loyal customer base frequenting their website. And a startup cannot optimize what it does not yet have. Therefore, as business maturity increases so does the importance of conversion rate optimization.  

Mistaking revenue generation as the only factor of website success 

You may be asking yourself: Shouldn’t an e-commerce site be all about driving revenue? That is what I thought when I got into this business 6 years ago. But as a startup brand, it’s difficult to build your customer base. Think of it this way: you open a brick and mortar store your first priority is getting people in the door. Once they are in the door, you need to create a welcoming environment that provides a positive first impression. Maybe a shopper is just going to peruse on this visit. So, you want to make their experience memorable so that they come back, and even better, share their experience with others. This is the beginning of creating a loyal customer base; one which you can rely on for continual purchases. But it starts with getting customers in the door. It starts with traffic. 

In the early stages of e-commerce maturity, it is advantageous to encourage the development of your relationship with the customer through discovery, where we get to know each other. 

Driving Traffic 

Let us look at an example of why it’s important to start with a maturity analysis before jumping into optimization.  

A few years ago, I started working with an online-only startup. We began discussing their site so early in the birth of the business that they did not even know their brand identity. We progressed over time and eventually launched their site. In the infancy of their launch, like any release into production, we started getting requests to troubleshoot issues, change design elements, and add new features. The site was live, but we weren’t meeting business expectations.  

So, with a data driven mindset and mentality to prioritize what would be most impactful first, we looked to the onsite metrics to frame out next steps.  

Where was the data? Their traffic was so low, we had no supporting factors or evidence to make any changes. Every hypothesis was a shot in the dark. Troubleshooting functionality was difficult when we couldn’t recreate issues. We would watch back session recordings, but the sample size was so small we couldn’t assume, “because one person is stuck, they all will be”. So, we entered strategic war rooms and all ideas were thrown on the table: 

Content Marketing: Can we more clearly emphasize the value of this brand and product over competitors? What’s unique here? Do we have more and higher quality images or videos to validate the superiority of the product? Can we get more descriptive product summaries? 

Cost: Can we lower the product cost? Can we offer free shipping and returns? 

Promos: Can we increase the discount for newsletter sign-up? 

Security: Can we visually prove the site is secure and transactions are safe? 

Technical: What is broken? Is add to cart working on all browsers and devices? 

Marketing: What is being done to drive more traffic? What is the PPC Plan? Paid Social? Paid Search? 

We decided that we could not come up with any valid hypothesis until we had more traffic. We also recognized that any solution would cost money. So, guessing was risky. And that’s when we decided, driving traffic was the priority.  

As a startup, it does not matter if your site works, if you don’t have traffic. And yes, driving traffic would also cost money, but at least then your next steps would be based on data driven decisions, instead of risky assumptions.  

Building Trust 

Once you have reached your target audience by getting them “in your front door”, you need to have a trustworthy brand to get them engaged.  

When I visit a site like I’d assume they are not the highest converting site. And conversion is clearly not the primary goal, because the shopping funnel is almost hidden from you. You visit their site and they immediately encourage you to break the rules. They introduce you to characters like Dash and Zombie. You are honestly not sure what they are selling, but you know you either like or do not like what you immediately see. And if you like it, you are going to stay for a while and explore. Customers will start playing games on their product detail pages and forget why they came to the website in the first place.  

What is all this meant to encourage? It cannot be sales. It even looks like they are selling tickets to a show rather than cereal. The site is encouraging you to explore the brand: who they are, the art they create, how they make you feel! So that when you do make a purchase and taste the cereal, you harken back to the website that made you feel like a kid again, even if you are eating cereal at $12 per box (!!). That nostalgia is what differentiates Off Limits from their thousands of competitors in the breakfast cereal space. Off Limits would not trade that feeling for a single sale.  

On the other hand, you have a more mature business like When a customer is looking for flowers to be delivered, it is one of the first places they look. When you are a mature brand, that has developed a loyal customer base, the exploration aspect is less important. With a strong traffic flow and brand credibility in your favor, you’ll want to eliminate shopping distractions to avoid obstacles to conversion. Customers will come back to your site over and over because they know your brand, they know what you are about, and they know what you sell. For first time customers, you have a strong customer base to validate your brand. Instead of exploration, the business is looking to provide a seamless experience that motivates the purchase. 

Pro Flowers has clearly invested in conversion rate optimization. They cut to the chase and know the first thing you want to see: what is your target delivery date and what is your zip code. Once you fill that out, they show you everything available to you and all the categories: birthday, anniversary, congratulations, get well soon and so much more. This is not by accident. They have a path that millions of customers have followed before you. Less mature businesses do not have that advantage. Through conversion rate optimization, they even cater my journey with a unique experience from yours, as I fit into a different customer segment. They are taking the customer data available to them to provide a personalized experience that will best generate the sale. 

Website goals are not all the same 

At the end of the day, your business goals are going to determine your ecommerce strategy and those business goals will change as you mature. At Something Digital, we start with our ecommerce maturity model: BULLSEYE. If you are a business just starting out online, we will advise you to focus on growing traffic. If you are a more trusted online brand, we will gear our work toward conversion rate optimization. It is our goal to help you strategically approach your growth. 


Have questions and want help with your conversion rate and ecommerce maturity? Reach out to us.

This post was written by Something Digital’s Director of Business Development Tony Ciarelli and Vice President of Programs Megan DeLeonardis.

Why Would a Consumer Buy from you this Holiday Season?


This is a question that every brand and retailer annually asks itself starting in Q2. But it’s a question that takes on added significance this year as we’re seeing certain companies significantly consolidate their advantages during the pandemic at the cost of lesser-known brands. Holiday growth estimates, which I find to be overly optimistic, are not rosy. Holiday travel looks likely to be way down. And does anybody really want to picture what Black Friday looks like for physical retail in 2020?

Consumers know what they’re getting when they order online from Amazon, Walmart, Target and the like. But if you’re not looking to put up with Amazon’s nonsense, you want to own the customer relationship or you just don’t see a path to success working with the big players, what can be done to get the consumer come to you?


Help Them Out

National Parks and outdoor recreation destinations such as Moab, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming are seeing record attendance numbers. Quite a few of these newfound outdoor recreation enthusiasts had no previous experience purchasing products or picking destinations. This is a huge opportunity to guide behavior and become sticky.

Mervin Manufacturing’s Board Finder on their Lib Tech site is a great example of easing the burden for a first time shopper. REI, ever on top of things, has tips on training for backpacking and how to read topography maps for newbies to the lifestyle. These are the kinds of digital experiences that help first-time customers immediately feel comfortable with your brand for the long run.

 The outdoor space is hardly the only industry seeing rising opportunity. Gaming and entertainment, alcohol, hobbyist goods, etc., have all seen explosions in the amount of interest and direct-to-consumer dollars available. But when people can’t touch and feel, they need a replacement.


Give Them Ideas

 I have made a massive list of movies and tv shows that I plan to consume over the next few months as the weather becomes inhospitable to outdoor activities, patio dining, etc. Am I going to get burned out after yet another run of binging on Netflix and Hulu? Almost certainly. And I have no idea what I’m going to do when that happens!

Yet I haven’t seen companies that are supposed to be “good at this” going after my time or money. Oddly absent are the overtures from Kindle, Dick’s Sporting Goods (where I bought pandemic exercise equipment), or cancelled services from past years such as People are desperate for activity for themselves and for their families. Be their North Star and you’ll reach eyeballs and wallets.


Be accessible

In the first few months of the pandemic, my friends and I routinely did Zoom calls that would last a few hours. I don’t think we’ve done a single one since July. This lack of continued communication isn’t surprising. It also very much resembles the sheer horror my friends and former colleagues who spent all day on the phone for work would show when asked to pick up a phone to do something as simple as order a pizza. As a result, it is an awful idea to make people sit on hold, go through automated systems or make them fill out a bunch of forms.

Simple, easy-to-use channels of communication are going to be essential for the foreseeable future. If a customer calls, have somebody available to answer the phone. Does your site have a contact us email? Respond quickly. Live chat and any tool you can think of to communicate with potential customers should be staffed to the best of your ability. Obviously, funds are tight in most businesses right now, but this should be an absolute priority.


In Short

The companies that will survive and thrive over the next several months are going to be the ones that make an effort to stand out through customer guidance and experience. Every ounce of effort possible should go towards being the companies that people want to interact with and praise to their friends.