JUNE 2020, BY MARK BURGESS, ECOMMERCE DIRECTOR AT MELODY AGENCY, PART OF SMP.

The current Covid 19 pandemic has made us all realise how grateful we have been to be able to shop for essential and non-essential items wherever and whenever we choose.  This choice has allowed an unrivalled array of products ready to be picked, collected or delivered.

In recent years, we’ve seen stores create even better experiences to stimulate our senses and tantalise the tastebuds.  Online, one click purchases, mobile shopping, voice purchases and free or cost effective delivery the same or next day have made our shopper journeys even more frictionless. Shoppers have been able to experience products in store and then check the price on their mobile before deciding where best to buy or who stocks the exact product that is right for them.

Recently, with many of our main street stores closed to slow and stop the spread of the virus, many have been turning to online for their shopping. Queues have formed on websites to access the site or to access delivery slots.  Such has been the demand that Amazon have hired 175,000 seasonal workers to keep up with demand and they have just announced that 125,000 of these workers will be given the opportunity to take up full time work – should they so wish.

In Ireland, prior to the crisis, eCommerce was already worth €2.6bn with a forecast to grow to €4.3bn by 2024.  Amazon has a household penetration of 67% and 500+ Irish brands are listed on Amazon.co.uk

With a market share of 4.2%, Amazon is now the fifth largest retailer in the UK, accounting for £4 in every £100 spent.

Amazon Prime, meanwhile, has surpassed 15 million subscribers in the UK, equivalent to over a quarter of the country’s adult population. With Amazon’s announcement to build a distribution and handling centre in Dublin, it is being muted that Amazon Prime will enter the Irish market in the near future to improve customer experience.

The e-tail giant is fast transforming into a fully-fledged ecosystem. To support its ambition of becoming seamlessly integrated into consumers’ lives, Amazon recently restructured its advertising ecosystem, spanning media, data and content.

From aiding in the discovery process with Sponsored Ads to reaching audiences programmatically with Amazon DSP, and even offering fully branded experiences through Amazon Stores, Amazon is now equipped to reach shoppers throughout the entire journey.

But the path to Amazon Advertising success is a tough one to tread. Both established and fledgling brands compete to occupy the same advertising space. The sophistication of tools involved, combined with the high level of shopper expectation for a seamless shopping experience means navigating the platform’s ad offering can be complex and requires a diverse range of specialist capabilities, as well as significant ongoing buy-in from the brand.

The always-on nature of Amazon means advertising strategy and planning are of utmost importance. At Melody, we operate at the intersection of shopper, retailer and brand to place brands in shoppers’ baskets and have cultivated a five-step process to reach shoppers and convert traffic:

  • Establish objectives to shape the vision, role and strategy for Amazon Advertising within the broader marketing mix
  • Create a holistic activation plan by defining the role of media and content in delivering the Amazon Advertising strategy and metrics
  • Align the plan with the brand’s Amazon commercial trading strategy
  • Provide clear direction on investment priorities
  • Create a measurement plan to monitor ongoing effectiveness

With 47% of product searches beginning on Amazon, a key differentiator for the etail giant stems from the fact that consumers on the platform know what they want and are after information on which they can base their purchasing decisions. Coupled with Amazon’s wealth of data and its media and content offering, the platform offers great insights for continuous testing and refinement of strategy by tracking performance.

Consistency is key. Each touchpoint across the shopper journey plays a pivotal role in the overall strategy, so planning the content to activate these with is crucial. Always return to the shopper and look at the data available to better understand the purchase journey, any barriers that may impact shoppers’ purchasing decisions and how to overcome them. Content should be similarly developed with the shopper in mind, remaining unified across the journey.

Even more necessary, however, is the capacity to continuously optimise and measure performance. Mapping out the customer journey, after all, is only half the battle; carrying out testing programmes and deep diving into insights to gain a better understanding of what has worked and what hasn’t is what separates the best from the rest.

Some have suggested that the recent pandemic has fast forwarded people’s online shopping by 5 years in a further blow to the main street. What is clear is that ecommerce is reaching more of us and playing a great role in our overall shopping habits here in Ireland and abroad– so now is the time for brands to act and sort their ecommerce strategies and at pace.

For enquires regarding listing or supporting your brand on Amazon, feel free to contact SMP’s Client Partner in Ireland, Jason Kidd: jason.kidd@smp.uk.com / (+353) 852250222