Brands selling online are making a range of investments across new talent, digital marketing spends and delivery capabilities in expectation of a booming 12 months for e-commerce, according to research.
Multichannel commerce platform ChannelAdvisor and research firm CensusWide surveyed 304 CMOs working at UK brands selling online. 91% of CMOs said they feel confident that their brand’s revenue would grow over the next 12 months, with a quarter (25%) feeling very confident in revenue growth. Respondents were also self-assured about customer growth, with 92% expecting it to become even easier for their brand to attract and retain online shoppers across the next 12 months, with nearly a third (32%) saying they expect this to become ‘much easier’.
When asked which hires would be most sought after by their brand over the next 12 months, e-commerce expertise was ranked first, followed by marketing talent. Those surveyed listed web developers third, while senior strategic expertise came fourth, followed by logistics expertise.
As brands look to build further e-commerce success in a very crowded market, many have poured money into online marketing. 80% of brands say their digital marketing spend is higher than pre-COVID levels and 91% expect their digital ad spend to increase further over the next 12 months.
Digital ads across all online channels were primarily dedicated to directing consumers to D2C opportunities. 36% of CMOs said digital advertising was directing traffic to the brand’s own website, while 29% said clickable digital ads directed customers to online marketplaces such as Amazon. 20% direct to retailer partner websites, while 14% said their digital ads were not clickable.
How brands have adapted to a new wave of online shoppers
The pandemic has seen brands responding to shifting consumer habits and behaviour. More than a quarter (29%) of CMOs said they had noticed an older demographic of shoppers purchasing their brand’s products online. 31% said they had noticed that shoppers were purchasing online more frequently than before COVID, while more than a quarter (28%) observed that consumers were demanding more flexibility in when and how their products were delivered compared to before the pandemic.
Brands have invested to meet these new demands over the last year. 84% of CMOs say their brand has increased the speed of their average delivery time since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. 45% have invested significantly in their logistics capabilities, including delivery and returns.
Brands have also spent to optimise the various channels they sell across. When asked about areas they have made significant investments in across the last 12 months, 49% of CMOs say their brand has invested heavily in optimising their presence on online marketplace channels, while 45% made a significant investment to improve their relationships with retailers. More than a third (38%) say they have invested in optimising their own online stores.
Mike Shapaker, Chief Marketing Officer for ChannelAdvisor, said:
“This research shows that brands are tremendously confident about their online prospects and believe the next 12 months could drive even higher e-commerce revenues than those seen during lockdown. It appears that the investments in marketplaces, online advertising, e-commerce infrastructure, and retail relationships are paying off for most brands.”