As cheers travelled around the world on January 1st, nobody knew how different 2020 would be. With offices in 15 countries and clients across North America, EMEA, and Europe, we published an eCommerce business guide to analyse the tectonic shifts COVID-19 is causing.
A Practical Ecommerce Business Guide
At Vaimo, we see how the COVID-19 pandemic affects eCommerce. We help global brands like Champion and Helly Hanson to match unique brands with eCommerce. We've even assisted Jaguar to bring their luxury vehicles online. Our expert perspective on eCommerce inspired us to create a COVID-19 eCommerce guide to help you sell online in the months and years to come.
In our Practical Guide to Ecommerce in a COVID-19 World, you get a free resource on topics such as COVID-19's impact on Black Friday, eCommerce, Cybercrime, and Customer Experience. Finally, we show our solutions to help you sell online during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also download the resource here:
The Table of Contents:
Click to Start Reading & Bookmark for Future Updates:
- How does COVID-19 impact eCommerce?
- How does COVID-19 impact Black Friday?
- How does COVID-19 impact customer experience?
- How is cybercrime connected to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How can your business adjust to COVID-19?
- COVID-19 Business Case: An Interview with Champion Europe Group
- COVID-19 Business Solution 1: Data Breach Monitoring
- COVID-19 Business Solution 2: Quick Launch Accelerator & 5 Reasons to Launch
- COVID-19 Business Solution 3: Do you have specific eCommerce issues? Vaimo's Partners will help!
Too busy to scroll? Click to download our PDF version.
We certainly noticed the difference at Vaimo. As a full-service omnichannel agency on the Adobe Commerce platform, we deliver strategy, design, development, and managed services to brands, retailers, and manufacturers all over the world.
Across our offices in 15 countries, the COVID-19 pandemic hit each one differently. At our international unit in Tallinn and our headquarters in Stockholm, we are operating in a post-COVID climate. However, our South African, UK, and US offices still operate under strict conditions. On August 11th, The Economist noted that it took 6 months to reach 10M global COVID-19 cases and just 43 more days for that total to double to 20M. With global cases still increasing rapidly, consumers will continue seeking products online.
Discussing the effect of COVID-19 on eCommerce remains difficult as certain statistics appear contradictory. But the signs of eCommerce growth are undeniable. Even before the crisis, the annual European Ecommerce Report showed a 14.22% growth in European eCommerce in 2019. Without a doubt, eCommerce is growing, and it appears that the COVID-19 pandemic is further intensifying eCommerce. Storefronts are still relying almost solely on online interactions.
The changing nature of commerce has forced shoppers to buy whatever brands are available which, more often than not, leads them online. Vox Media noted that 88% of consumers tried at least one new brand during the pandemic. With many companies lagging in eCommerce, consumers opened their pocketbooks to firms big and small.
The new consumer behaviour exposed early winners and losers. During the pandemic, companies more heavily focused on eCommerce and direct-to-consumer have seen impressive results, according to DigitalCommerce360. In particular, brands that aggressively engaged in online marketing saw their sales grow 70% compared to a 42% decrease with brands that curtailed their marketing efforts.
The potential for unbelievable profits sent Nike Inc. on a new path. Despite a poor first-quarter, Nike reported a 75% increase in digital sales. The results drove Nike’s management to change leadership and invest deeper into a direct-to-consumer strategy. Nike Inc. announced that it would reorganise management to grow D2C, navigate its partnerships, and create long-term profitability. Yes, digital sales increased, comprising 30% of revenue with a goal of 50% of Nike’s sales in the future. The change accompanies Nike’s ambitious measure to 150 to 200 new smaller footprint stores in North America, which give customers a more premium shopping experience coupled with their mobile presence.
The longer the crisis lasts, the more eCommerce will overshadow traditional sales channels. Though leaders watched their forecasts change soon after 2020 began, the unexpected shift yields new possibilities.
In this guide, we offer our take on how the pandemic affects eCommerce, Black Friday, customer experience, and cybercrime. Lastly, we give solutions that under COVID-19, will help you adapt to the flood of new consumers headed online.
HOW DOES COVID-19 IMPACT ECOMMERCE?
Written by Vaimo’s Head of Strategy and Consulting, Henrik Feld-Jakobsen
Working in eCommerce since 2008, it’s always been natural for me to research and educate myself online before bigger personal purchase decisions. But in most cases, I still ended up in a physical store to touch and feel the product. Or so that I could instantly make a purchase when my brain decided what to go with.
Going through these current times, however, I started changing my purchase behaviour to online—and both the numbers and the fact that delivery networks are under pressure, tell the story that many people are doing the same thing.
For me, this has happened quite naturally without further consideration.
I’m in my early thirties, consider myself healthy and have recently moved with my family from Denmark to Sweden. This situation hasn’t naturally provided me opportunities to make many new contacts, besides a closed group of friends, colleagues and family. And since I’ve no commute (I’m currently working from home) and don’t have the same daily movement as usual, ordering online has simply been more convenient.
I’ve also caught myself ordering online from new product categories, such as groceries, meals and generic household items—things I’d usually pick up from the mall or supermarket.
Whether my behaviour is unique is hard to tell. Many of us have been ‘pushed’ to order our groceries online since the COVID-19 outbreak, since we want to avoid going to stores. But habits are easy to form and we might find that we create new habits as a result of COVID-19 given that we prefer the convenience of shopping online. And the general numbers do show that eCommerce is on an all-time rise with more people shopping from the comfort of their homes.
ONLINE SALES STARTED TO ACCELERATE IN MID-MARCH AND ARE GROWING
Digging into online publications and our clients’ statistics, it confirms the same growth trend starting in the middle of March. Across most industries, sales started to slowly increase week by week. And what’s more interesting is that the numbers keep growing despite some countries slowly opening up again.
Fashion retailers had a short dip around the time when the COVID-19 outbreak put most of Europe into lockdown. But I’m seeing most catching up on this lost revenue and performing 20-30% better compared to last years’ numbers.
Elsewhere, the majority of categories (except for travel retail and tourism services) have been stable since the initial lockdown measures began.
The below charts show how sales started to kick off during mid-March in different continents..
Data snapshot May 6th from https://ccinsight.org/ - Emarsys created CCInsights.org to help businesses by drawing from the eCommerce and retail data of more than one billion consumers and 2,500 brands worldwide to provide an up-to-date view and trends of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online retailers.
Data snapshot May 6th from https://contentsquare.com/covid-19-ecommerce-impact-data-hub/ - Contentsquare has analysed more than 7 billion sessions across +20 industries and 26 countries.
THE SAME PEAK IN DELIVERIES AS WITH BLACK FRIDAY SALES
On May 5th 2020, one of the Nordic’s largest logistics providers, PostNord, reported the same peak of deliveries as seen during Black Friday—without any special event or reasoning. In Poland, the national postal service, InPost, is rewarding parcel receivers if they pick up their parcels quickly and are also expanding deliveries to seven days a week.
And I’m hearing similar trends happening across all the countries we are operating in—more pressure on logistics systems due to increased online sales.
HOW COVID-19 IS PUSHING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
We’ve seen companies freezing investments due to uncertainties or supply chain impacts. And others have been forced to close their primary sales channels due to local lockdown restrictions.
On the other hand, I also engage with companies that, due to COVID-19, have put eCommerce and digitalisation at the core of their strategy, with a strong push from the board and shareholders. Others are ramping up investment and want to move faster to monetise on the trend and get ahead of competitors.
I’ve come across many business leaders who had digitalisation on their radar, but always put the core business model first—and digital was an outlier in their strategy. That has changed for many during COVID-19 as they see the impact on society, business and their personal lives.
As someone working with digital enablement and transformation, helping companies to onboard and grow eCommerce, I have a very positive outlook on how this will make the change management and organisational anchoring of digital easier.
THE OUTLOOK FOR ECOMMERCE POST COVID-19
Ecommerce will most certainly not keep its current growth rates as we are slowly easing lockdown measures, but the baseline will for sure be higher. In light of the improvements and services implemented during COVID-19, such as more flexible delivery options, online assistance and better availability, eCommerce has taken a big leap forward over the last couple of months.
The duration of the lockdown and the expected restrictions during the next few months also mean that we are settling into new routines—and some things will just become the new normal. Will I continue to buy groceries and meals online? I personally don’t see why not.
Though eCommerce is already seeing double-digit growth rates in most European countries, I’m sure at the end of 2020 we’ll see some further unexpected growth numbers which might not have taken place without the pushes in our own behavioural changes.
So if you’re currently not online—and not available for your clients and customers as a result—now is the time to make it happen.
As Sandy Shen, Director of Research at Gartner puts it:
“This is a wake-up call for organizations that have placed too much focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Businesses that can shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms will mitigate the impact of the outbreak and keep their companies running smoothly now, and over the long term.”
If you want to fast track your eCommerce onboarding and digital transformation, reach out to us and learn more about how our Quick Launch Accelerator and best practices help retailers, brands and manufacturers to launch at speed and with success from the start.
HOW DOES COVID-19 IMPACT BLACK FRIDAY?
Written by Vaimo’s Head of Strategy and Consulting, Henrik Feld-Jakobsen
In chapter 2, we discuss the relationship between COVID-19 & Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2020, discussing several indicators which show that it could break records.
Every year, it’s right about now that businesses start planning their Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. Typically the largest shopping weekend of the year, all efforts are on finding ways to maximise Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Well, that would be the case for a normal year—except this year is anything but normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has business leaders the world over scratching their heads and wondering how to approach this Black Friday.
COVID-19’s potential impact on Black Friday 2020 is huge. And that’s because a large proportion of retailers already saw Black Friday like results after COVID-19 hit. In the US, eCommerce shopping levels during COVID-19 (April to May) were 7% higher than what retailers saw during the 2019 holiday season (November to December).
As shown below, online sales took on a new upward trajectory in mid-March. This trend was also reflected in the majority of our clients’ results here at Vaimo.
Data snapshot May 6th from https://ccinsight.org/
Given this upswing in spring eCommerce sales, retailers are wondering if Black Friday will still hold the same value as before. Will customers have any appetite for Black Friday? And will they have the means to purchase as before, given the economic uncertainty?
If we fast forward to the present day, average eCommerce sales have stabilised somewhat since the March spike. Data from Adobe Analytics shows the huge year-on-year growth for May and June in particular and then some stabilisation moving into July.
But despite this, July eCommerce sales are still well up on last year and what we were used to in the pre-COVID world.
New research from Adobe suggests that 2020 online sales will surpass the total online sales in 2019 by Oct. 5, 2020. Note that this October date is even before the holiday season begins to ramp up—demonstrating how much COVID-19 fuelled eCommerce growth in the first part of 2020.
So, to the burning question being muttered by CEOs and customers alike…
WILL BLACK FRIDAY 2020 BE THE SAME AS IN PREVIOUS YEARS?
While Black Friday will most definitely take place this year, there are bound to be some important changes. Let’s take a closer look...
Do you remember turning on the news on previous Black Fridays?
Chances are, you’ll have seen at least one report on:
- Customers in tents queueing through the night to get their hands on the best deals, or
- Customers getting into fisticuffs over the discounted 56-inch Sony TV.
For obvious reasons, it’s impossible to think that companies (or governments) will allow such huge crowds for Black Friday 2020. Laws are different across the globe, but there’s a consensus that in-store Black Friday sales will look different this year. Along with government rules and guidelines, retailers are cautious about employee safety and we’ve already seen many introduce restrictions on the number of concurrent visitors.
In a historic first step, retail giant Walmart has already signalled its intentions by closing its doors this Thanksgiving. This is the first time in decades that the step has been taken. And Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette has also commented that he expects the department store's Black Friday business to be geared more toward online in 2020.
"With the heavyweight retailers making such moves, I think it’s only a matter of time before plenty more follow suit and adopt a purely online strategy. As such, it’ll be those businesses that can replicate the buzz, excitement and drama of a Black Friday shopping floor in their eCommerce store that will get the best results."
Black Friday’s impact will also depend on the economic situation in specific countries. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, countries have adopted different economic strategies in dealing with the lockdown. In some regions, there is the threat that rising unemployment and/or changes to welfare payments will ultimately halt the type of Black Fridays we’ve seen in the past. A reduction in disposable income is the reality for millions around the world and you’d have to think this will have some kind of impact on Black Friday sales.
So does this mean that Black Friday will be bigger than last year, or will it take a dip?
With the shift to online, I think that we’ll be seeing Black Friday sales accelerate further than they ever have.
BLACK FRIDAY VS. COVID-19 PEAK SALES
During the initial COVID-19 lockdown, certain products saw massive spikes in sales as we all prepared for more time indoors. Some of the key headings were groceries & home cooking, DIY, household items, fitness, and home office.
And even now it’s these product categories that are seeing the largest increases in YoY growth rate. At the time of writing (August 21st, 2020), the CCI weekly report of highest growth rate products includes:
YoY sales growth increase
When COVID-19 took hold, eCommerce sales increased due to necessity. Access to physical shops was tightened so we had to order our weekly groceries online. Offices and gyms were closed, so we invested in an office chair and a skipping rope (jump rope) for a lunchtime workout. And our favourite bakeries were shut, so we invested in the equipment to make sourdough bread and cakes at home.
But typically, Black Friday has mainly been associated with non-essentials, predominantly apparel and electronics. This, therefore, presents a new opportunity for certain product categories that may not have previously had much of a Black Friday eCommerce presence such as DIY, household appliances and fitness equipment.
With the experience of COVID-19 in their back pockets, these types of businesses may well have the ammunition to reach their highest ever Black Friday eCommerce sales. And for brands and distributors that are sitting on inventory, Black Friday could represent a huge stock clearance opportunity.
BLACK FRIDAY PSYCHOLOGY
There are genetic reasons why we humans love a good bargain. It all starts with those words we associate with Black Friday and that hint at some kind of exclusivity: ‘sale’, ‘deal’, ‘x% off’. These trigger the reward circuits in our brain, and override the rational part of the brain that might normally ask, “Do I really need another iPhone, just because it’s discounted?”
Additionally, there are two key principles that Black Friday taps into.
Scarcity and social proof.
A Black Friday deal is inherently scarce as it’s only there for a day or two. And it’s this scarcity that plays on our primal fear of there not being enough to go around—something that could have been deadly for our ancestors. In parallel, we also have social proof, which is further exacerbated by social media. We see friends post about deals on Facebook, we talk with colleagues about their Black Friday deals and we see other shoppers on TV bagging bargains. The principle of social proof says that we’ll change our behaviours as a result of social interactions with others. We’re only human after all.
"This heady combination of scarcity and social proof seriously ramp up our FOMO (fear of missing out). And if there’s one thing humans don’t like, it’s missing out."
It’s impossible to know if these instincts will see Black Friday 2020 hit new sales heights, but it does show that Black Friday won’t be going anywhere soon.
BLACK FRIDAY 2020 MOVES ONLINE
As we look ahead to Black Friday, there are many moving parts and external events that could impact its YoY growth. But one thing’s for certain—this Black Friday won’t be played out in shopping malls, it’ll be on laptops and phones.
We saw that this year’s eCommerce sales are already predicted to beat last year’s, by a long shot.
With eCommerce’s popularity at its highest, could this turn out to be the biggest online holiday season on record?
It’s impossible to tell, but several signs indicate that it could break records. And as we’ve learnt this year, anything can happen.
Despite the uncertainty, businesses will still need to be ready for a Black Friday onslaught. If your customers are coming to you and expecting a deal, it’s up to you to make that happen. And you’ll need to make sure you have the technical infrastructure to deal with larger than average visitor numbers to your website.
Remember, there’s a big chunk of shoppers who normally visit the store on Black Friday who will be clicking on a website this year. The last thing you want is your site crashing and customers heading off to a competitor’s website.
2020 has been the year of the unknown and it’s no different for Black Friday.
Given this uncertainty, though, businesses need to stack the chips in their favour by investing in eCommerce optimisation. If it turns out to be a record-setting Black Friday, you’ll need an eCommerce store that’s reliable, secure and that can give shoppers that exciting Black Friday shopping experience they’ve come to expect.
HOW DOES COVID-19 IMPACT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
Crises breed change—both at a societal level but also within us all, personally. As COVID-19 has taken hold, we’ve all had to alter our habits and have likely seen changes in our behaviours, attitudes, beliefs and motivations. And it’s this collective change in mindset that businesses must consider in adapting to the needs of the COVID-19 customer. Whether you previously prioritised customer experience or not, now is the time to reevaluate this term and what it means for your business. The reason? It’s changed. Yes, there are universal customer experience principles that still exist. But we must consider the evolving mindset of COVID-19 customers. What binds them is a set of anxieties, fears and sensitives that have arisen as a result of the pandemic.
In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the ways customer behaviours are changing in the wake of COVID-19 and how your business can respond.
PROBLEMS OF THEIR OWN
COVID-19 is impacting a variety of people in very different ways. From health concerns and economic pressures to job security and cancelled plans. Whatever shape these troubles may take, the point is that a higher proportion of shoppers are dealing with the stress of these issues when arriving at your online store (maybe for the first time). So just like talking to a good friend in a time of crisis, your eCommerce store needs to support above everything else.
This will manifest itself differently depending on your store and industry but key areas to consider are:
- Increasing on-site messaging e.g around delivery times or physical store opening times.
- Making customer service contact obvious, accessible and easy.
- Proactively providing added flexibility so that customers can amend, cancel or postpone orders without the added worry of, "What if they won't let me?"
- Talking like a human—in times of need your customers want to be heard and appreciated. Now’s not the time for authoritative business lingo and flashy marketing campaigns. Customers want a caring and honest helping hand.
MORE CLARITY, LESS AMBIGUITY
If there’s one thing customers have had enough of, it’s uncertainty. There’s already enough uncertainty in our personal and professional lives without having to think about the state of the world’s problems in general. Throw in fake news, misinformation and rumours and you’ve got yourself a breeding ground for fear.
To counter this, your eCommerce store needs to provide clarity, predictability and reassurance. It might be clarity in how you communicate your store updates or changes to delivery options. Or you may want to address this by rethinking your key user journeys and making site navigation as simple as possible. Weed out any potential areas that may be jarring for your customers. Anticipate their needs and provide an eCommerce experience that’s intuitive and easy to follow from your homepage through to checking out.
REPLICATE THE PHYSICAL, DIGITALLY
Whether by choice or by force, less of us are visiting brick and mortar stores. Instead, we’re opting to shop online. And for many customers, it may be the first time they’re ordering a certain product category without ever having seen the product in the flesh.
To gain trust and credibility, you need to give customers what they were getting in-store, on their laptop or mobile screens.
Think about how you can turn your product knowledge into tangible assets on your site and in your social media. There’s plenty of opportunity for video content here around how-to guides, hands-on assembly instructions, product walkthroughs and demos. Or how about content-led initiatives like inspirational look books, shopping guides and user testimonials? Several Vaimo clients have also benefited from product configurators so that customers can visualise how the end product will look. Whichever form it takes, the goal is to make your eCommerce store more interactive so that customers get a little slice of that in-store feeling when a rep comes up and asks, “how can I help you today?”
See how we implemented leading eCommerce integrations to transform DOMU Brands' customer experience initiative!
IT ALL STARTS WITH TRUST
Trust forms the core of your customer experience initiative. Without it, there’s no relationship, no conversion, no repeat visitor and no brand advocate. We’ve already discussed the external environment in which shoppers are arriving at your store. Trust, therefore, is more important than it’s ever been—particularly for those less digitally-savvy shoppers who may be buying online for the first time.
This is where you can leverage eCommerce features to make sure that every step of the customer journey instils trust.
- We touched on it in the above point, but reviews and user-generated content are a surefire way to develop trust. Without being able to visit a store, customers are relying on others’ experiences before purchasing. And the more reviews (and different type of reviews) the better.
- Personalised emails and on-site messaging that take into account a customer’s preferences will help develop the bond between you and your customer. One size fits all blanket emails just won’t cut it here. Customers want to know (particularly during a pandemic) that they matter and that they’re being heard. Here’s your chance to let them know you’re on their side and are there for them.
- A bad checkout experience is enough to break any trust. We’ve all probably had a time where we input our credit card details, pressed pay and then got an error screen and no confirmation of purchase. Did it go through? Do I have to do the whole process again? Has someone tried to steal my credit card details? At Vaimo, we can integrate a payment gateway from one of our trusted partners to provide your customers with the smooth and safe checkout process they demand.
The spread of coronavirus has brought uncertainty, panic, and fear to people around the world. It has also frozen the operations of some organisations due to governmental regulations, changing consumer behaviour, panic, or all of the above.
Daily, we get news, regulations and actions required; all due to coronavirus. Simultaneously, we all have to run our businesses and put in more effort than before, to make sure that we survive and come out of the crisis ready to help our clients. And while all this is happening, in the background coronavirus has given rise to the spread of online viruses, malware, scams, and fraud.
HOW IS CYBERCRIME CONNECTED TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?
Even though it may be surprising that the global virus has triggered a surge in cybercrime, there is nothing new in such tactics used by hackers. Other major events, such as elections, the Olympics and natural catastrophes have also triggered similar actions. Hackers use the general public’s confusion, lack of attention and over exasperated attention for their gains. People are distracted by major news or events and it is easy to use this distraction.
However, the distraction has never been at its current scale. It’s not only individuals but also companies and governments; the whole world is focused on the virus and distracted from many other activities. Even more, for the first time in history, people are working from home offices at a large scale and have shifted their daily activities, such as shopping, entertainment and sports online.
Since our daily routines have changed, we know that many businesses also need to change due to the current lockdown. We expect things to be different and may not notice that the difference is suspicious. However, we may be interacting with many services for the first time, and have no idea about their regular flows, processes, etc.
Then, some businesses have experienced unexpected surges in demand, and might not have been prepared to handle this demand from an operations standpoint nor from a security perspective. Plus, many businesses weren't prepared to handle a fully-remote workforce for an extended period.
As a result:
- employees may be accessing sensitive information from unsecured networks or devices
- employees might be granted access to information they should have never had access to
- security processes might not be followed fully or not at all from the home office environment
So, due to these distractions and changes, companies may find themselves in a vulnerable situation from a cybersecurity perspective.
HOW DO DATA BREACHES HAPPEN?
We know that 52% of data breaches happen due to human error. This may include sharing usernames and passwords, writing passwords in unprotected tools or places, using easy to compromise usernames and passwords, opening suspicious emails, clicking on strange links, and not being cautious. Usually, human error is caused by a shortage of time, poor security training, poor processes, distractions and good intention. We are all familiar with situations where someone shared usernames and passwords to access tools and systems to save time, money and to be more efficient.
The distraction around COVID-19, home offices and human mistakes make a great combination for hackers to capitalise on. Cybersecurity firms are reporting that hackers are also using COVID-19 as a hook for victims. Through email campaigns, they can deliver spam, steal credentials, infect a computer with malware and trick people into paying outstanding bills to their bank account (instead of the merchant’s). They also impersonate trusted organisations that require victims to take urgent action.
Some attacks are directly linked to COVID-19, and some just use the distraction to go through with their standard set of actions but at increased levels. For instance, at the end of March, another Magecart attack was reported. This time it was NutriBullet. What is interesting about the NutriBullet attack is that it has been performed by a group of groups, which is quite unusual. The malware was removed from the website repetitively, but it is believed that the hackers still have access to the infrastructure. The company is working with outside cybersecurity specialists to secure the site and work through the aftereffects of the attack.
A CLOSER LOOK AT MAGECART ATTACKS
The number of criminal groups conducting Magecart attacks is growing. These groups have different motivations and targets but use the same tactics and techniques with the goal of financial gain. Usually, the main goal of Magecart attacks is to steal personal data, including credit card data and sell this data on the black market. Additionally, the stolen credentials may be used for other more sophisticated attacks to commit fraud on other websites.
That’s why it's easy to hack into numerous websites once a third-party vulnerability is discovered. So, when the malware is injected into the website, it collects sensitive information entered by consumers on the website. This collected information is then sent to a location controlled by hackers.
MAGECART OR FRONT-END ATTACKS CAN BE DISASTROUS IN SEVERAL WAYS.
Firstly, they are almost impossible to detect. Secondly, since they are hard to detect, they last for months until detected, which means that a large number of website users may be affected. Thirdly, when the malware is removed from the website, it’s often not secured properly, which means that the malware can get in again in the same way as in the first place (as was the case for NutriBullet and Marriott). Lastly, reputational damage and legal ramifications can be devastating to a company.
Today, when people not only want to but have to or are encouraged to do their daily errands, such as shopping, sports, etc. online due to the pandemic, the playground has shifted significantly for many companies. While some are suffering from significant losses, others see an unexpected surge in traffic and transactions. Those websites with high traffic may quickly become a “sweet-spot” for hackers if huge traffic is coupled with the improper security setup.
The heady combination of brand new users, distracted existing customers and a busy business provide the ideal conditions for hackers to access sites, insert malware and cause considerable damage.
It's also good to keep in mind that company size doesn’t matter for hackers. Anyone can find themselves under attack and smaller companies are often preferred since they are deemed to invest less in cybersecurity.
HOW CAN YOU MINIMISE THE SPREAD OF MALWARE AND AVOID DATA BREACHES?
- Companies need to make sure that cybersecurity is top of mind. This can be the last thing to prioritise during a crisis, but ensure that access to your infrastructure, security practices and processes have not been compromised due to changes in your operations.
- Understanding trends and risks are key. Having a clear picture of vulnerabilities that may influence your business will help you deal with potential threats. These are some of the most common risks: hacking, phishing, malware, identity theft and keylogging. Are your people well aware of those risks and do they know what to do? And more importantly, do they know what not to do, or is it only your IT department that understands the threats? Make sure to educate your employees. It's critical that everyone understands basic cybersecurity principles and is on the lookout for suspicious activity and follows the security policies and procedures you have in place.
- Put security policies in place and ensure they're adapted to the current working environment. In addition to policies, a response plan needs to also be reviewed, potentially modified, or created.
- Make sure your software, tools, and hardware are up-to-date and patched. If your employees use their own devices, make sure that those are also safe, and that security policies and processes are followed when using those.
Lastly, make sure you have adequate tools in place to protect your website and that alert you in case a breach takes place so that it doesn’t go unnoticed for a prolonged period, leading to devastating consequences for your business. You can learn more about Vaimo's security and data breach monitoring tools here. Cybersecurity is a complex issue and requires a layered approach to ensure that you keep your data, your customers and your infrastructure safe.
COVID-19 BUSINESS CASE: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHAMPION EUROPE GROUP
At the start of June 2020, we launched a new Magento eCommerce site for our client Champion Europe Group. To celebrate the launch, we caught up with Nicholas Freddi (Senior Manager Sales and Marketing E-Commerce, Champion Europe Group) to hear about the new site and much, much more.
Let’s listen to what Nicholas had to say about the eCommerce store and future of the Champion brand.
Hi Nicholas and congratulations on the Champion site launch! Before we get into the site itself, let’s rewind the clock to when the idea of a new eCommerce store first surfaced. What did you want to achieve, and what were you looking for in a solution partner?
Before working with Vaimo, we were operating on a legacy system that was giving us a number of headaches. It was no longer fit for purpose and we knew that we needed to change to stay ahead in a competitive eCommerce environment. From the start, we decided on the Magento eCommerce platform—a flexible solution that could be tailored to our needs and that we could scale with in the future.
Of course, it all sounds easy in theory, but in reality, this eCommerce project was looking complex and multifaceted. We understood the challenges ahead and needed a partner with a number of qualities. Expertise was top of the list, especially given the complexity of our legacy system. But we also needed a partner who had experience with migrations and who we could trust to take us from point A to B without any disruption. These points are what led us to Vaimo given the team’s experience in delivering proven eCommerce results across markets and industries. And then through Vaimo, we were able to identify leading tech partners to help us deliver the best eCommerce site possible.
In today’s competitive landscape, customer experience is everything. Can you tell us how your new site meets the expectations of the modern-day customer?
For me, customer experience is a journey that never ends. The online and eCommerce worlds represent such a competitive space given the low barriers to entry. As such, businesses cannot afford to stand still.
Although the new site is live, we’re still building and optimising the CX all the time. We want an experience that speaks truthfully about the Champion brand in ways that no other companies can do. Today, you can get any product or service you want at the click of a mouse or the swipe of a phone screen. With this instant access to products, the question becomes: how do you create uniqueness in terms of tone of voice, and authenticity?
Our goal is to nurture past, present and future champion lovers. But this is a continuous improvement exercise built by multiple pieces of technology. We need to weave a narrative across the physical and virtual worlds so it’s a consistent experience wherever our customers are. The competition will never stop, so it’s up to us to be proactive and finetune the experience in new and innovative ways.
Champion has a rich history and heritage, having celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2019. Can you tell us more about this story and how you marry the heritage with the digital world?
Champion has an amazing story! As a former basketball player, the fact that Michael Jordan’s Dream Team wore the Champion logo is extremely inspiring for me personally and is just one example of our storied heritage.
Our 100+ year history speaks to the authenticity of the brand. We’ve been through many different phases and product development initiatives. But despite this history, our brand is naturally digital—and this is seen in the huge online following we’ve established over the last 10 years. We might have a long history behind us, but it’s ultimately this heritage that helps us stay current and connect with the customer of today.
Customers are flicking between eCommerce sites, social media, physical stores, emails and apps—expecting a seamless experience as they transition from one to another. What is Champion’s approach to omnichannel and how important do you see its role in your strategy?
Omnichannel as a term is important to us, but for the average customer, it’s jargon! Customers don’t know (and don’t necessarily care) what a channel is—they just interact whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for them.
But in the backend, the challenge to offer seamless experiences is huge—it’s about balancing the worlds of retail, wholesale and online. The convergence of these 3 areas is our ultimate goal in providing a true Champion omnichannel experience that hasn’t been seen before.
Customers often want so much more than just a transactional interaction. They want experiences and meaningful connections with brands. How does eCommerce help you deliver this?
I think there are two types of customers. One, those who know exactly what they want and will checkout in just a few clicks. And two, those who might be after a more in-depth personalised experience. We’ve anticipated this need in our new site and are helped by some top tech partners such as Nosto, Yotpo and dotdigital.
Our new site understands customers’ needs and finds content that is relevant. And as I said earlier, it’s all about being able to shop on any device from wherever, whenever. This is the foundation of a great customer experience that we’re building on. We want to be bold, ambitious and creative in how we approach and implement our customer experience.
Since you first planned the new site, the world of retail has changed dramatically with the onset of COVID-19. How has the crisis impacted your site go-live (if at all) and how has it changed your working practices at Champion?
COVID-19 impacted us at 2 levels—for the company as a whole in terms of our wholesalers and retail network, and secondly, it came at a time when we were in the middle of the eCommerce build. It’s been a confusing time as there are so many questions and theories about what the future of retail might hold in a post-COVID world. Everyone’s got a different opinion and we’re still unsure of the true impact on retail and the world as a whole. As always, our focus is on the convergence of wholesale, retail and eCommerce to continue serving our customers in the best way possible.
And despite COVID-19 (and lockdown measures), I’m really happy to say that there was zero impact on our site build. I’d like to give kudos to the Vaimo team for their professionalism and getting our site live without any issues. It’s a great testament to our partnership that we could work efficiently during uncertain times.
At the moment I’m sure it’s all hands on deck with the new site. But looking further ahead, what are your future goals for the site and do you have any new initiatives up your sleeves?
Looking ahead, it’s crucial to have the right people around to guide you. That’s why we’ve been working on roadmaps with Vaimo. I love the roadmap approach as you can project targets for the future and measure along the way.
Our short term is focussed purely on operational goals but longer-term we’re looking at strategy. We want to manage content more effectively across B2B, marketplaces, virtual catalogues and eCommerce. So one future project will be in creating a central hub to manage these.
Elsewhere, we want to continue investing in new technologies. We want to leverage AI to guide us in terms of merchandising and what content to give customers. Then we’ll also be going full speed on personalisation, customisation and omnichannel.
Ecommerce will definitely be our front line of the future and will be Champion’s biggest shopping window. We’ve come so far in the last few years and we can’t wait to embrace the power of eCommerce technologies to take the Champion brand forward!
A huge thanks to Nicholas for taking the time out of his busy schedule to catch up with us. Visit the Champion store today here!
COVID-19 BUSINESS SOLUTION 1: DATA BREACH MONITORING
We’re pleased to announce the launch of our new Data Breach Monitoring tool to help protect the safety of your business and customers.
Data breaches occur every day and are growing in both volume and scope as cybercriminals devise new methods to target and expose sensitive data. Risk Based Security’s 2019 Year End Report found a 284% increase in exposed records for 2019 compared to 2018—with the total number of exposed records topping 15.1 billion. And forecasts suggest that the number and type of data breaches are only likely to increase in 2020.
In response to this global threat to all businesses, we’ve developed a new tool that detects all major breaches (Magecart attacks, supply-chain attacks, skimming and form-jacking) in real time. We do this by running scripted user journeys on your site comparing outgoing server addresses to whitelisted addresses and acting on any new, suspicious calls. With this immediate alert mechanism, we’re able to take appropriate action before a breach can wreak havoc on your business. Vaimo’s Data Breach Monitoring tool reduces detection time—and the potential impact on your business—from days, weeks or months to just minutes.
In today’s eCommerce environment, it’s this quick action that’s crucial to your business’ success and your customers' safety. Because without adequate monitoring and protection, the impact of a data breach on your business could be irreversible. Firstly, there’s the financial loss incurred from tackling the breach itself, then operational disruption as things grind to a halt, potential legal and regulatory consequences and ultimately the reputational damage of having data exposed.
It’s through the introduction of this tool that we want to fight back against the growing influence of data breaches and help your business to mitigate risks so that you can carry on operating as usual. We also appreciate that due to the ongoing global crisis, you may be facing a number of different challenges all at once. And this is why we’ve designed the tool with simplicity in mind. You don’t need to waste time on webserver access rights or handing over your site code. To get this tool up and running, all you need to provide is a website URL and your user journeys—we’ll then get everything set up and your business defended from cyber attacks. Plus it doesn’t matter what type of eCommerce store you have—our tool can be used on any website, no matter what eCommerce platform you’re running on.
If you’re interested in learning more about the tool and discussing your options, then simply book a call with our dedicated Data Breach Monitoring team today. We can talk through your specific business circumstances and requirements and find a solution to match your needs.
COVID-19 BUSINESS SOLUTION 2: Rapid LAUNCH ACCELERATOR & 5 REASONS TO LAUNCH
During the past few months, even companies in non-essential industries celebrated record-breaking eCommerce sales. Whether operating in the D2C, B2B, or B2C markets, you can still launch your eCommerce site for a great return on investment and long-term scalability. Start your eCommerce journey now, after all, the current crisis is only accelerating the trend of eCommerce sales.
The majority of eCommerce tactics, procedures, challenges, and opportunities carry over from your storefront to the digital arena. Why should you recreate the wheel?
With a Quick Launch framework, you can apply best practices from UX, development, and business consulting to go to market fast and efficiently, and drive value in a continuous cycle. With the current crisis accelerating the trend towards eCommerce, take a look below at our 5 tips for launching an eCommerce site fast.
1) DRIVE VALUE FASTER
Launching faster means bringing value to your customers and business more quickly. On top of seeing the project realised, you can shift the course based on initial observations. In the area of maximising customer value, the quick launch possesses an advantage compared to the typical eCommerce project, which takes 9, 12, or even 18 months. So, launching faster allows you to adapt more quickly to the market.
2) REDUCE PROJECT RISK
The second reason is that you will reduce the risk around your project. For example, time poses a huge risk for project implementation because of changes within teams. In one case, the digital project owner on the client-side changed abruptly. And when the new person arrived, they knew little about the initial project arrangement, defined business requirements, or the scope. The new project owner, of course, adds their view of what's essential for the business. The Quick Launch framework mitigates the risk of internal changes through a shorter implementation.
For projects, the most significant risk is that the scope changes midway into the project, and any scope change impacts the timeline. And changes to the schedule, of course, increase cost and investment. Launching faster means curbing steady investment and, instead, splitting your investment into multiple phases. Accordingly, you're always aware of the return on investment during each stage and if you achieved your goals before investing further.
Lastly, launching fast gives you more business agility. The gravest examples are disasters such as the COVID-19, which transformed business practices overnight. In response to crises, a quick launch allows you to course-correct and say, "Okay, let’s shift our focus," if a sudden surge in orders occurs. You can, therefore, make necessary site changes or move investment across phases. The agile nature of the quick launch fits with uncertain times, giving you shorter, more defined goals and the chance to be proactive.
3) SPEED UP DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Consider the tale of two companies: Company A takes 18 months to go-live versus Company B which goes live in 12 weeks. Company B quickly knows the results. Suddenly, colleagues notice a difference. The increase in engagement spurs new excitement towards eCommerce across the company. Meanwhile, Company A languishes for another year in eCommerce limbo, wondering whether their efforts will be rewarded.
The faster you launch the easier the process becomes to assemble the right tools and the best possible team to further your digital strategy. First, the go-live forces the company to collaborate to ensure that the site works. Secondly, you get customer insights immediately that help your sales team and other relevant departments. As a result of completing an initial phase, you foster the proper support and mindset to accomplish more in eCommerce.
4) A MORE DATA-DRIVEN APPROACH
Launching in phases makes you more data-driven. At each stage, you assess what's essential. You also get to see the impact on your business metrics and the attributable business value. Unlike a big project, you get precise data to assess whether you are doing well. In the end, you gain more control of your investments and where to focus to get the highest value.
5) TEST OUT YOUR PARTNERS
The final reason is about people and not systems and tools. Individuals and teams are responsible for success in eCommerce.
You answer a few questions early on:
- Do you have the right partners?
- What is your company or team's culture?
- How easy can your team adopt different digital projects?
- Are your partners pursuing the same goals?
- Are your partners focusing on your satisfaction and KPIs?
Quick launches give you the input and feedback to understand if you're working with the right partners. Better to find a mismatch early and reinvest elsewhere, then rowing in opposite directions in the churning waters of eCommerce. Diving into a site launch first provides you with faster feedback and understanding regarding the individuals surrounding the projects, as well as what works and what doesn't.
COVID-19 BUSINESS SOLUTION 3: DO YOU HAVE SPECIFIC ECOMMERCE ISSUES? We have partners who can help.
The Magento platform offers immediate functionality. But what about personalisation, customer loyalty, or top-notch search solutions? We partner with companies to defy what’s possible in eCommerce.
In this section, we bring forward new innovations to boost your eCommerce performance. Each partner solution begins with a question, which you may need to answer in the months ahead.
VAIMO'S CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE RATING
Do you know where to invest your eCommerce money?
Our best-practice scorecard grades your site on 150 customer experience parameters. The scorecard comes from 10+ years of experience designing and optimising digital customer experiences for leading global brands, manufacturers, and retailers.
- Learn from experts: Vaimo’s Strategy and Consulting team guides you from the start.
- Improve conversion rates: investing in CX is cheaper investment than paying for lead acquisition
- Get expert feedback: Know where your CX inspires or where it falls short
- Start shaping demand for your brand: influence customers’ buying decisions and loyalty
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- 28% of online shoppers in the Nordics shop online out of convenience (DIBS)
- 78% of users put a high level of importance on the overall usability of an app or website (Forrester)
Get clarity on how to improve your CX, drive greater conversion, and outshine the competition! Find out more about here.
DOTDIGITAL'S COMMERCE INTELLIGENCE
Do you know how customers interact with your site?
dotdigital's Commerce intelligence links commerce and engagement data to unearth practical insights.
- Build stronger customer relationships: made possible with RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value)
- Increase ROI: Highly-personalised campaigns
- Greater customer lifetime value: tailored and retargeted loyalty campaigns
- In-depth knowledge: data-rich profiles on your customer audience
- Customer & Persona Movement Reporting: Understand your customer base and the state of your customer lifecycle
- Retail reporting and drill-down reports: get all the required data, celebrate achievements with visual reminders, see trends and results on the retail dashboard or dig deeper into results
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Mr.Beer saw an 800% increase in customer orders and a 75% CLV growth since adopting RFM personas in dotdigital Engagement Cloud
- Caruso’s Natural Health saw a 71.91% increase in conversion rates since applying RFM personas to their customer segments
- dotdigital Engagement Cloud increases engagement and maximises marketing ROI: email provides £42 for every £1 spent (DMA 2019)
- dotdigital Engagement Cloud offers SMS, push notifications, social, live chat, and more
- Shoppers who engage with your brand on 4+ channels spend 9% more on average (Medallia, 2017)
Maximise your store’s revenue today: learn more about dotdigital Engagement Cloud’s leading eCommerce solutions.
AKENEO PIM 4.0
Do you need a faster way to organise and enrich your product information and attributes?
Offer dynamic product experiences built on a strong foundation of accurate, consistent, and compelling product information.
- Eliminate Useless Product Information: centralise product data into a system of record and choose which information to push to each channel
- Increase your revenue: Increase purchases and lower returns
- More time for selling: a more efficient method of product catalogue management
- Sell to your customer anywhere online: mobile apps and marketplaces
- Quickly expand your catalogue
- Take on new markets: Localise data and streamline the translation process
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- 5x Increased in average shopping basket value (Heathrow Airport)
- 5x Reduced product enrichment costs (Midland Scientific)
- 3x Faster Time-to-market
Ready to learn more about the Asset Manager, Data Quality Insights, and everything else Akeneo PIM has to offer? Download their eBook, PXM For Dummies, or schedule a meeting with Akeneo’s expert team!
Are shoppers struggling to navigate your site?
Voice assistants have become a part of daily life, which makes it the next best innovation for your eCommerce store.
- Brand Awareness: Including voice search in your commercial strategy will create a positive brand image in your top-converting audience — those who search
- Powerful Customer Service: Use the search box to serve your customer quickly
- Seamless Shopping Experience: Make the shopping experience personalised and authentic by capturing their voice and giving them the most relevant results
- Search to Purchase Path: Empower shoppers with a seamless path from search to purchase that increases conversion
- Omnichannel Wins: Use search data to recognise the most valuable keywords for your store and allow your team to create better campaigns
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- 50% of searches will be voice searches by 2020
- 216% higher conversion for on-site search users
- 2/5 of users say that voice-activated devices are essential to their daily lives
Klevu offers AI-powered smart search that works on any platform, learns in real-time, and generates sales. To put Klevu’s AI into action, start a 14-Day Free Trial.
KLARNA INSTANT SHOPPING
Are you losing customers on the way to checkout?
Klarna’s Instant shopping turns any page into a checkout, allowing customers to make purchases while on the go.
- Higher Conversion: You can put the instant shopping button anywhere. One-click shopping with a smooth checkout will help shoppers complete their purchase
- Increase Average order value: supports all popular payment methods, including pay-later options like Pay in 30 days and 3 interest-free instalments. Choices make settlement smoother
- Improve Customer loyalty: identify your customers and adapt the checkout to their preferences – on any device – increasing client loyalty
- Drive traffic: improve your site traffic. Klarna’s strong brand and influencer collaborations attract shoppers seeking retailers that offer Klarna’s payment methods
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- 30% increase in product page conversion
- 16% increase in average order value
Create the best shopping experience for your customers. Get started!
YOTPO REFERRAL AND LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Are confused about how your loyalty and referral programs are performing?
Yotpo’s dashboards tell you how your programs generate monetary value.
- Program performance and ROI: A complete view of both essential items
- Loyalty performance dashboard: Evaluate value generated through changes in customer behaviour
- VIP tiers dashboard: Find out how many customers are in each VIP tier, and how they behave and interact with the brand depending on their tier
- Referral ROI: See comprehensive analytics on how the referral program brings in revenue, studying both new referred customers and existing customers who successfully referred their friends
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- 4-7 x ROI after applying learnings and optimisations
- User Case Finding: Active customers were making fewer repeat purchases, so consider running a double points campaign to re-engage those shoppers
- User Case Finding: Customers are reaching the first VIP tier, but they rarely make a follow-up purchase that takes them to the second tier. Consider rewarding customers who just earned the first tier with a bonus reward to inspire their next purchase
If you want to learn more about Yotpo’s Loyalty Dashboard, dive deeper by clicking here.
NOSTO CATEGORY PAGES
Are your shoppers missing the most relevant products?
Nosto’s personalised Category Merchandising ensures that shoppers see the right products.
- Integrate Goals and KPIs: Arrange products on category pages based on your goals and KPIs
- Address Promotional Needs: Highlight specific products on the most vital areas of category pages to address specific promotional needs
- Automatically Change Product Order and Selection: show your shopper what they want to drive more discovery, engagement, and revenue
- Performance Metrics and Rich Product Attributes: Assign different personalisation and merchandising rules for various customer segments and layer in product filtering strategies
- Merchandising Strategies: Use A/B testing with different customer segments to test strategies
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- 51% more conversions
- 24% higher revenue per visit
- 63% increase in sales
Are you losing shoppers before they pay or unable to track if they've paid?
Adyen hosts and creates secure payment links for customers to send funds through any channel.
- A complete overview: confirm payments and manage expired links.
- Increase your ability to accept payments: use popular payment methods with a payment page that works across devices
- Customise the payment page: add your brand name and logo
- Use one payment link: use the same link for multiple payments if required
- Flexible Link Generation: create payment links manually or automatically by sending an API request
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Adyen's latest retail report found that consumers are increasingly open to contextual commerce like Pay-By-Link
- 55% of shoppers abandoned the purchase process on social media due to a prolonged payment process
- During COVID-19, merchants are adopting Adyen's Pay-by-Link to take their activities online quickly
Are you wasting time sharing product information with partners, retailers, and marketplaces?
InRiver’s Syndication helps you share product information with distribution partners, online retailers, data pools, and marketplaces.
- Boost automation: set up product information processes and eliminate labour-intensive, error-provoking manual tasks
- Transform your data: comply with channel partners’ changing requirements
- Increase data quality: Ensure your data is complete, accurate and consistent across all of your channels
- Simplify the selling process across channels and marketplaces
- An in-depth knowledge base: Access inRiver’s in-house expertise and growing library of over 250+ templates for 100+ channel partners
Try inRiver Syndicate! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.