Online buying

Ecommerce – is there any hope for those with declining sales?

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 04 Jun 2020 by Simon Badman
Digital Strategy

During April 2020, Stackline released its report on “Top 100 Fastest Growing & Declining Categories in E-commerce”. The company reviewed E-commerce sales across the U.S. and at SocialB we have had some discussion and debate about the list.

(Prefer to listen?)

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, many of our conversations have been around the amazing ingenuity of companies “pivoting” to offer their goods and services to isolated customers with new focus and priorities. At SocialB, we have delivered training globally both face to face and online for quite a while. For us, moving all training online was a lot more straight forward than for other companies with physical products to sell. But what about the categories Stackline had found to be the fastest declining, have they been able to revise and revisit their offers?

With no one travelling, no one’s buying luggage

Not surprisingly positions one and two and filled by Luggage & Suitcases and Briefcases, respectively. With no one travelling, no one’s buying luggage.

Checking out the UK websites of Samsonite and American Tourister, there is sadly not a lot they can offer at present, apart from major discounts in the hope we will be travelling again soon. I’m hoping that luggage companies at least considered to diversify their offer to produce face masks and potentially PPE.

Swimwear, a category that entered the table in fourth for men’s and sixth for women’s, has seen a few companies diversifying their offer. Swimwear manufacturers have the fabric and production lines so why not produce face masks?

Agon Swimwear face masks

US-based specialist sports swimwear company Agon has done exactly that launching its own range of customisable face masks.

Lacking in focus?

I found the category coming in third a bit of a surprise, Cameras.

Yes, people are not travelling and having to postpone events and weddings, but I thought it might be further down the list as our current crisis has potential customers. More on this later.

If you compare the top three camera companies, Canon, Nikon and Sony, you will see different responses to the current crisis. In the US all three of their websites seem to be “business as usual”, however, their UK teams seem to be at least trying to see how they can link their products to customer wants in the current circumstances.

Nikon Website

Nikon UK has clearly thought about the changing wants and needs of customers during lockdown and how their product range can meet these. On their website they lead with “Vlog Like Pro,” aiming at an ever-expanding customer base who are producing their own videos for YouTube and other online platforms.

Slightly further down the page is a link the Nikon School which offer both online courses and 1-2-1 tuition, a great idea to promote this at present with people on furlough and actively looking for things to do, including add to their photography skills.

Sony, who has a more diverse product range than Canon and Nikon, also lead with products aimed at the vlogger audience on their main UK website.

Canon website

Canon goes for a different tactic “adding value” to those working at home and both home-schooling and entertaining kids, by focussing on ideas to create with its printers. Whereas with Nikon and Sony there’s a direct link to their online sales, there isn’t really with Canon, it’s more about awareness and information.

Improving online meetings and training

If you look one of the major growth areas during the last couple of months, I am quite surprised that all three have not promoted their camera ranges as solutions to enhance the picture quality of online conferencing and training.

Zoom video call

While mobile phone and desktop/laptop cameras are improving, the lens quality of DSLR or mirrorless cameras are significantly better. Simply plug them into a USB via an adapter (companies could bundle the adapter and lead with the camera, or what about a year’s subscription or discount to Zoom?) and your meeting or training video quality increases. Something to consider, especially if you are saving the video to share on your website or social channels.

Going Live

And what about live streaming?

Adweek reports:

“Since Covid-19, Facebook has seen live viewings increase by 50%, Instagram by 70% and Twitch is seeing new channel creation up 33%, a high for the platform.”

While a lot of live streaming has been the screen-sharing of games, there has also been a lot of other streaming that could have benefitted from better video quality.

As lockdown eases, it will be fascinating to see which categories bounce-back quickest and which companies are left behind. The key is to keep thinking “what do our customers currently want?” and to be agile in adapting your offer and how that’s reflected in your digital marketing.

Have you seen categories or companies who’ve successfully adapted or diversified their offer online?
If you have please share these on our social channels.

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