Insights to Drive eCommerce Success in 2022

Live Event

Jan 25, 2022 3:00 pm4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Are you aspiring to evolve your brick-and-mortar business to the next level and become an eCommerce business in 2022? What are the trends that you must know about in the eCommerce world?

The world has changed a lot as a result of the pandemic and a good percentage of business has shifted to eCommerce — but do you have what it takes to succeed in this field? Through partnerships with over 500 eCommerce businesses worldwide and a focus on online retail and direct-to-consumer industries, Udayan Bose has acquired a lot of knowledge in this field. How can he help you amplify your digital presence?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Udayan Bose, the Founder and CEO of NetElixir, to talk about the drivers of eCommerce success in 2022. Udayan talks about the five eCommerce trends of 2020 and 2021, five holiday shopping trends, and his five predictions that DTC brands should focus on this year.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • Udayan Bose shares a little bit of background around how NetElixir was formed and why
  • The major eCommerce trends that came up in 2020 and 2021 that are driving success in 2022
  • Udayan also shares the five holiday shopping trends for this year
  • eCommerce growth over the two years and the pandemic’s effect
  • The five predictions for how DTC brands should pivot in 2022
  • Udayan’s advice to marketers for 2022
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Event Partners

Guest Speakers

Udayan Bose

Udayan Bose

Founder & CEO of NetElixir, Inc.

Udayan Bose is the Founder and CEO of NetElixir, an independent, digital marketing agency that partners with global brands to drive eCommerce growth. He founded the company to help online marketers acquire customers profitably through efficient search engine marketing. Udayan and his team have helped more than 500 leading eCommerce brands grow their online presence, profitability, and predictability.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Event Moderator

Udayan Bose

Udayan Bose

Founder & CEO of NetElixir, Inc.

Udayan Bose is the Founder and CEO of NetElixir, an independent, digital marketing agency that partners with global brands to drive eCommerce growth. He founded the company to help online marketers acquire customers profitably through efficient search engine marketing. Udayan and his team have helped more than 500 leading eCommerce brands grow their online presence, profitability, and predictability.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Tuesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant, I'm the Co-founder and managing director at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing for 1000s of brands who do exactly that. We network and knowledge share together to stay on top of newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping digital as a whole. We're going to host close to 500 of these virtual events this year, all educational, informational. At any point in time you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop them in the chat, the Q&A, or email them to me, aaron@bwgconnect.com if you ever need any references for service providers across the board, digital experts. In those one on one conversations, I'm happy, I'm getting topics that people are trying to solve for but also asking them, "Hey, who's helping you solve for these different issues?" So across anything digital from Amazon, direct consumer to drop shipping, international expansion, if you're ever looking for a service provider, rather than doing a Google search, you can just reach out, we'll just shoot you an email connection. The last thing here and before we get started is we're kicking this off at three to four minutes after the hour. And just so you know, we're going to wrap this up before the end of the hour as well, we're going to give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. And I think now we kind of go ahead and kick it off.

The direct-to-consumer side has now shifted the massive focus over the past year. If I look back a year ago, the number of topics that we did on Amazon, probably balanced 70 30, Amazon direct consumer. And now it's almost completely flipped as people focus more on the direct to consumer side, stuff they didn't want to see Amazon grow this, Amazon's grown so big. They're like, "Hey, where else can we turn?" Walmart stubbing his toe a little bit, Target's really restrictive. And so people are kind of looking to their own eCommerce as a whole. And so we got some great friends, partner, supporters of the network over at NetElixir. Udayan has been a great friend for years now. And he's graciously agreed to jump on and kind of give us insights of what they're seeing their leaders in digital strategy and data as a whole. And so Udayan, I can kind of kick it over to you, if you want to do intro on yourself and NetElixir, that'd be awesome. And then we can kind of jump into some of the content. Sound good.

Udayan Bose 2:35

Awesome. Thank you very much, Aaron. Thanks again for having me. And hello, everyone, still I think it's fair for me to wish everyone a happy new year. It has been a quite eventful last 24 months. So when we were creating this presentation, driving eCommerce success in 2022, understandably, we wanted to set the stage as to what is the basis of our prediction. And that's the reason I mean, keeping that in mind, I just had to create an agenda, which is just a quick introduction about us NetElixir. We talk about the eCommerce trends first about 2020 and 2021.

These were two pivotal years. And I think at this point in time, it may not able to appreciate the true magnitude of change, which happened because of those two years. But as the state, we can only connect the dots looking backwards. We very firmly are seeing some trends, which we believe are here to stay, and which may have changed the entire digital industry completely forever. I also really touch upon the 2021 holiday trends and key insights, as some of you who may have been attending our prior webinars will know that we are fanatically analytical digital marketing agency, and we have been tracking these numbers since 2008 now. So this is actually our 15th-year 14th-year in terms of tracking those hourly insights in terms of eCommerce trends. And 2021 also, we sort of track these trends. And there are some very interesting insights which come out as well. And last but not the least, based on all of these findings, I will try to recommend the top five trends, which we believe every marketer should really keep a tab on and also really provide some recommendations for you to succeed as global marketers as well.

So without further ado, let me start with a quick introduction about our company. So NetElixir, we are a growth marketing agency. And we help eCommerce brands find and engage high-value shoppers and acquire game-changing insights. We provide a fairly wide range of eCommerce growth solutions. And the growth part is emphasized because I think that's where customers working with us have been able to increase their market share anywhere between seven to 15%. And that's what really gives us the maximum kick and maximum joy as well. We start with working on a digital marketing strategy, do a full-fledged planning and execution into in the paid search, paid social, Amazon Marketing, obviously do search engine optimization, a fair amount of analytics consulting. We also build websites for eCommerce sites re-platforming, etc. And have a fair amount of content marketing and creative services but just treat us as a more of a full-funnel growth marketing agencies that. We are privileged to partner with UPS as their specialized, what they call the UPS, I mentioned, partner. And we are also a premier partner for Google Microsoft and now, Meta, the business partner.

We worked with a fairly wide range of clients, 100% is either retail or direct to consumer companies. Really quick some of the differences for those of you who may not really know us very well, we have been around in fact, tomorrow we are celebrating our 18th birthday. So we are one of the fastest-growing independent digital marketing agencies in the US. I have invested a substantial amount of time developing our know-how, which really has helped really partner with over 500 eCommerce companies and really drive substantial success over the last about close to 18 years now. A big driver of our success is our customer intelligence platform. It's basically an AI-taught platform, which segments the customers into high value, mid-value, and low-value segments. And then through one click, you can really retarget the segment of your choice to really improve your return on investment. And it's called Elixir Insights, have a wide and deep experience in international search marketing.

In fact, last year, we started our office in Sweden in Stockholm as well, through which we are also reaching out and working with quite a few European customers as well. And last but not the least, very privileged to partner with BWG strategy for our mission of sharing knowledge in terms of practical insights and know-how. And the initiative that we have is called Elixir University. And some of you who may be interested in checking out some free SEO and SEM tools can get access to them for free at Elixir marketplace.com. So really quick about me, I am the Founder and CEO of the company, me and my wife founded the company literally out of our living room back in India in Hyderabad in 2004. And I also was recently selected as the Innovation Fellow at the Lang Center of Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School. I am a guest lecturer at Columbia, Cornell, CUNY and the Indian School of Business as well.

I started with the eCommerce trends and one request that I would have is this is some of the observations we have just try to calm it down to three key trends which we believe every eCommerce company should really keep a tab on. Now, these are trends, what it really applies, or how it really applies for your business is something which I would love for each one of you to think about. Because these are some fundamental and big trends. And we don't see these trends going away anywhere soon.

All of these really emerged and became very prominent during the last two years, the pandemic years. If you have any questions, feel free to, as Aaron mentioned, put it in the chatbox or in the Q&A box. How many of you remember this? I'm just curious. This graph was making it around in the second quarter of 2020. whereby I think everyone from Satya Nadella to everyone was talking about how there was 10 years of growth in three months. So we wanted to do a bit of a dipstick check as to what exactly is a reality check. And per our research, we have seen that the eCommerce growth actually which happened in these two years helped us leapfrog forward by about two years. So currently, the overall eCommerce is contribution to overall retail in the US is anywhere between 18 to 20%. During the holiday season is about 20%. It has been fluctuating between 18 to 20% in 2021, and this is up from 14% prior to the pandemic.

Had there be no pandemic, we probably would have got to this level by 2023 or 2024 more likely. So we have leapfrog forward by about two years. However, I think as this graph shows, there was a big implication for this huge penetration in eCommerce, and some of the ramifications, let me try to explain that. So what happened during the end of March when I think all of us were forced to go into a lockdown end of March, and beginning of April as well, approximately 7,000,000 first-time online shoppers really joined the eCommerce fray in these initial three months of the pandemic, so March, April and May. And many of these shoppers that maybe, but these were the folks who had never ever shopped online. Now that was a big mass as you can understand and many of them baby boomers, they had the buying clout as well. And that was the fundamental shift, which has happened. So they were able to break a very important entry barrier, which was the barrier of let us say, "I'm a little scared of trying to shop anything online, but I don't really feel safe and secure really shopping online because of multiple reasons." So that barrier was broken, to why we talked about leapfrogging ahead to yours, we also have to be cognizant of this mind that there are 7 million people who have broken this barrier of adopting or not even adopting, probably trying out online shopping. And that is very fundamental.

And that's extremely important and going to be more and more an important element as the entire eCommerce business scales up. And also, we saw that even after the vaccinations began, and the shoppers started returning back to physical stores, many of the first time online shoppers really continued to shop online. So we actually had documented this, this was, I think, a presentation that we had done with our partners at BWG in September 2020, where we quantified that about 17%, one 7% of all these first-time shoppers actually have continued to purchase online. Now, September 2020, still, many of the folks were not comfortable going out to physical stores and really purchasing. And hence, I think, because the vaccines were not still out. But still, because of the longer stretch means many of the first-time shoppers daily build this into a habit. And that habit formation is something that I really want all of you to be cognizant about. Because that really is the key factor in our opinion, which has helped us leap forward by about two years.

This is an interesting stat by the YouGov survey that they had done in 2021, where they tried to see what were the changes in shopping frequency during the pandemic. The interesting part was, this was done in 2021. And effectively, about 49% said that they shopped somewhat less online in person. Now 49% is a pretty big number because they have surveyed a fairly wide population, a range of population. So that was an interesting stat, which to an extent validated the observations that our research team also had about that 17% shifting, and really, they are continuing to really purchase fairly frequently online as well. So this is a fundamental issue. Because when you talk about 49% Of all the people are shopping less in person. This was in 2021 well after the vaccines were introduced, that really was a great confirmation that this shift in certain extent, may have become permanent. So the first trend I would essentially want to highlight since also we are seeing that every customer journey has online touchpoints. I think the first request I would have to all of the marketers out here the eCommerce marketers, I think, principally, we should stop talking about online and offline. Because for the end consumer, the pandemic has shown it is all about a unified experience.

They couldn't care less as to where they're purchasing from, but irrespective of wherever they are purchasing from, you can literally guarantee that there would be one or more touchpoints, which really, is there with online channels. So since that is the situation, should we really stop talking about online and offline? And just talk about how exactly can we really be Omni excellent, and we really, really have an unified experience that we are able to provide to our customers, and just be Omni excellent, essentially, and are able to responsibly engage the customer at every touchpoint in their journey. So when the marketers are really building their overall digital marketing strategy and the plan, this concept of Omni excellence has really assumed a very different level of criticality at this point in time. It has a pretty big implication primarily because we are so used to talking about online and offline in many cases, the online teams and offline teams tend to operate in certain cases in silos as well. So I think it requires a bit of an organizational almost like a reward to really get everyone to really focus on one thing, how can you really help your customers have a unified overall experience, rather than just having an online experience and a separate offline experience?

Aaron Conant 14:39

I think an interesting thing about that data too, was the fact that was done last year when we're 16 to 18 months into the pandemic. Vaccines have been rolled out, people are more comfortable going out to a store as a whole and yet, I mean, we've changed their habits. I think it's kind of what you're saying as well. This is the new state that we're in. It's not going to slowly drift backwards?

Udayan Bose 15:08

Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, it seems to be pretty well-formed, because it has been almost 24 months now. And the data very clearly proves that these habits have been pretty well set. And it's really difficult to break the habits once it gets there. And especially online, because I mean, online is all about reducing friction. So once the initial entry barrier was overcome, I think the frictions have already been broken. And the 17%, which has continued probably has continued to build really leading to this fundamental shift, we at NetElixir, believe that by 2025, the percentage of retail which happens online, should be able to exceed about 30%. So that's a pretty big number that we are talking about. And for that to happen, such a habit shift needed to happen in which the COVID really provides a stimulus on a pedestal. Let me move on to the second theme, or the second trend that we are seeing this is the concept of de-averaging the consumer. So the pandemic essentially led to a fragmentation of the consumer preferences. Also, I think, different segments really became very prominent, and these different consumer segments, whether it is Gen Z, whether it is Baby Boomers, Gen X, each one of the segments really showed very unique buying behavior or shopping behavior, especially the two segments which showed very unique behaviors. One was Gen Z, and who really continued to have a growing buying clout or shopping clout, and their overall impact in the entire online shopping really has constantly amplified or grown, and will continue to grow for many years now.

And the second one is the older generation, embracing their overall shopping behavior and the customer journey, and track customer journey, Aaron as you know, using our customer intelligence platform, Elixer Insights. We are able to seize a very unique peculiar paths, and perhaps are very different for Gen Z, compared to the other generations, definitely the baby boomers or Gen Xers, and so on. And these meaningful differences in customer segments are also forcing the brands to rethink their audience segmentation targeting strategies. So it's very important because normally as marketers, we really tend to have one campaign, right, whether we are doing search marketing or social media marketing, and so on, we tend to have one campaign, which is a big block. Now, the pandemic has very clearly showed that one campaign will not really work, because the one campaign was built always around if you remember Aaron, the concept of average order value. And the way that we were calculating average order value, or the AOV, as it was called, we were taking the overall revenue, and we divided it by the number of consumers. But tell me as to who's an average consumer? I mean, that's just a overall mathematical average. It doesn't really speak to any specific consumer as such.

I mean, for example, like even in the older generation, specifically, you would see that Gen Z was at a different level altogether, always in terms of their adoption of online reachability, etc, etc. But look at as to how much the 55 plus audience segment or the 45 to 54 audience segment really has gained. It gained about 22 points. And this is based on a Google smart shopper research, which was done in February 21. You will see that they have really gained to that level, that much, essentially, they still obviously lower compared to the Gen Zs. But still it's a fairly high shift, which has happened. And this shift again, like fundamentally, again, probably to an extent support from previous point as well, this shift is unlikely to go back. They will not go back minus 22 again, and that's a fundamental shift. And this is almost like an uptick in the eCommerce activity as well. Again, the same Google smart shopper study, you will see that 55 plus 41% to 76% reachability in two years. While if you really look at up to the 24 or Gen Z segment as well, the 41% went up to 68%. So those uptakes are unlikely to go back down again.

Aaron Conant 19:23

Do you think a chunk of that is because as brands, we understand now we have more data than ever on the campaigns that are working to be able to AB test and fine-tune and pay differently. It used to be that thought that hey, if they're older, they're not shopping online. So let's focus all of our ads on the younger demographic. Well, I mean, it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you're not advertising to them, they're not going to engage as much therefore, they're not going to shop as much. Well, now when they start jumping online, now you can have a ton more data and you can target them a lot more. And so they're a lot more engaged and they purchase more then it's like a cycle that keeps reiterating itself?

Udayan Bose 20:04

Absolutely Aaron. Actually, we had done an interesting study, this was more connected with Google ads, or let us say paid search Google ads specifically. And we had studied a substantial chunk left upwards of 100, Google advertisers and eCommerce, Google advertisers, and just asked the simple question, I mean, Google has this capability where you can really select your audiences and so on. So we wanted to see in that audience selection, what percentage of the budget was allocated to the 55 and up group, if that was an audience selection, one person is about is allocated. I wanted to ask the question that this was done end of 2020, beginning of 2021. Any guesses Aaron as to how much percentage of the entire Google Ads budget marketers and I'm talking about over 100, eCommerce marketers retail and direct to consumer eCommerce marketers in 2020? It was actually lower than 8% my friend. And guess the other piece which was interesting.

I'm using the word average order value specifically for that segment, the average order value for the 55 plus segment, specifically, and I'm talking about seven different retail categories, was about 13%, 13% higher than any other segment. So here you have the most valuable segment, where you are allocating 8% or lower budget or lesser of their budget in terms of audience mix. That, to us really very clearly showed as to how less of this audience analytics, still a lot of eCommerce companies are really focusing on. And that's, I think the next trend that I really wanted to very clearly emphasize on because I think, as marketers, it's extremely important for you to understand that there is nothing called an average consumer, average is just a mathematical number. You really divide whatever, a million dollars revenue divided by 4000 consumers, that's the average, but there is no average consumer does not exist.

It just a mathematical number. So why are you really building your digital marketing campaigns, targeting a consumer who doesn't even exist. And the other interesting stat that we found, this is for across retail and eCommerce, more than 100 companies, 70% of the online shoppers direct to consumer shoppers, they buy only once from an eCommerce website and never return, 70% or more. That's how big the number is. And why is it so primarily because as marketers, we tend to target constantly, that average shopper will does not exist. So one request and one recommendation that I would have is please stop creating marketing campaigns, that doesn't talk to anyone.

That talks to a mathematical number, I think it's extremely important for you to understand that every specific consumer segment that I shared earlier, they show or exhibit a very unique buying behavior. Unless and until you spent, analyzing, researching and really having a very customized overall acquisition strategy very specifically targeted to that, I don't think you'll be able to compete and gain market share. So that's the concept and what we very clearly want to communicate. Please say no to average, because there is nothing called average in digital marketing.

Aaron Conant 23:32

I love it. It's super interesting, because we're at digital, like, almost 3.0 now, where you can't just check the boxes. That's not enough anymore. It's literally understanding what the campaign, who it's targeting, how you're targeting, what's the performance behind it, and the ones who are actually drilling down into who they actually want to target rather than an average of the ones that are going to win. It's the next level up we've hit that we've exhausted this methodology.

Udayan Bose 24:10

So the next theme I wanted to talk about is the retail media. I think Aaron has already touched about a little bit as retail media is very clearly the new batch record. So if you really look at the different phases, the broad phase, the first one, pre-2004 was more of a display, which is the CPM was the battleground. The second which started with Google 2004 really picked up around 2005, six, and so on and went on till about 2010 or 11 was the search group. And then 2011, 12 was more of the Facebook-led growth, which is the social media group. 2017 or 2018, the retail media primarily Amazon Marketing really started becoming big. And during the pandemic, it really went to a different level. Completely different, I mean, it very clearly shifted the clout in terms of digital marketing to the retailing Media Network. And Amazon obviously has driven much of this growth so far. I mean, for example, as I'm pretty sure many of the folks who are attending know that 66% of all the product searches happen on Amazon. But this really has inspired nearly every major retailer to start a retail media network. I mean, there is a steep learning curve. I mean, the other companies, including Walmart, are pretty way behind Amazon in terms of just the sophistication advancement and removing friction for their advertisers.

I think they are getting there. But I think as a channel, or as a media, this is something which not only helps drive more sales, but really strengthens the brand-building approach as well, and it's a closed-loop environment. And last, but not the least, we are seeing very clearly retail media at that intersection point where you are able to really combine the different formats, even like the connected TV as well. And this would be an interesting one in the next about two to three years, we believe retail media will really boom or continue to explode. And I think this is the forecast given by eMarketer. So if you do not have really a strategy or a plan for retail media, please do so. But as you're doing this, let me share with you trend number three, which you really want to think about a little bit. I think it's extremely important now for you to think about a synchronized digital advertising strategy that really helps you within the walled garden. When I say walled gardens, I'm talking about the Google ecosystem, Facebook ecosystem, the Amazon ecosystem, and so on, while offering a unified brand experience for your consumers.

So think of these three funnels, these are the three big mega funnels, who has to say, the Google, the Facebook and Amazon, they are funnels. So essentially, the question is, how will you really unify the entire user experience knowing that one of them is completely closed loop. Amazon is completely closed-loop, Facebook, after obviously, the US the cookie application, understandably, you are getting limited amount of data to really make your different thing altogether. And the third part, essentially, is Google, which has been the search constantly. But overall, the search percentage of search impact has declined, understandably, as retail media growth. Now, is it fair for you to really think of this holistically? So when you think about driving your eCommerce sales? Should you think about on-site versus off-site? Should you think about your own web store versus the retail media? And what are the contributions, and then think about the overall holistic strategy. And on top of that, if you add the social commerce politics when it becomes a very interesting and a very unique differentiated landscape.

Now again, the reason I wanted to sort of directly target to get us at 2020, and 2021 is primarily this is the time when we saw that it became more and more important for brands to come up with a strategy which really put a substantial amount of emphasis of winning within each walled garden. And at the same time, unifying the entire brand imagery, as well as really the consumer experience that your brand is able to offer. To compound that in the retail media, I'm pretty sure those of you who are advertising on Amazon know it very well. The brand conglomerates and the aggregators, by the PNGs of clever trust CEOs, they are really competing to own digital share. And they are either driving up the prices and driving up the competition driving demand. So the question is, how can you really hold your own without sacrificing your profitability, and we will talk about the profitability, one request which I would have is if you really mapped it down to let us end up 2022 and mapping back.

And then really look at 2021 and 2022, 2020 years, just see as to how much the cost per click, let us take as a simple metric has really increased. So you would see that as marketers, it's extremely important for you to balance both of these, let us see your own web store or your own website versus the other walled gardens. So the retail media walled garden start separately. It's important because strategically, it's a very different play altogether and your overall digital marketing strategy has to evolve, taking into cognizance that this is happening and this will continue to happen effectively. I would probably even say that maybe by 2025, maybe it will be a 50, 50 split. 50% would be direct to consumer basically coming to your website and 50% maybe on the retail media and other channels and such which are beyond your site.

Aaron Conant 29:43

I mean the retail media side the unique pieces, Amazon has been no gobbling it up right now but everybody's rooting for other sites to come in, like a Walmart or a Target or Home Depot in there. They're actually rooting, they want to pull money away, they have a budget. They would love to divert some of those to those other retail media outlets if it works. I think you pointed out there that they've got a steep learning curve, they will figure it out. But the interesting thing is being fueled by the brand demand as well. It's not just a money grab by the other retailers, its brands, like say, we want other outlets because it's working so well on Amazon, how can we help you drive traffic to our brands and your own site? And the other thing is, I mean, I love this, how can you hold your own without sacrificing your profitability? It's probably the biggest issue holistically that I talk to brands about, holistically is how do we make eCommerce, digital commerce, less margin diluted, across the board? Because there are people out there that are just driving up the cost of everything. Love it.

Udayan Bose 31:03

So these are the three trends, Aaron that I wanted to share. So let me dive into some of the holiday trends as well, because I know when we spoke last time, Aaron, you had requested me to come up with some of the holiday trends. I just keep it short. So the first part and this was a very interesting observation during this holidays, which makes it very unique. We have been tracking this, as I mentioned, Aaron, since 2008. So 14 years of tracking and this is the first time we are seeing this, was it really one holiday season, or was it five holiday season? So overall, in terms of the November December sales, at least for our data set went up by about 6.2% year-on-year growth in eCommerce. These are all on our own website sales, not Amazon sales or marketplaces.

What we have done is we thought five very specific time segments. The first one was November 1st, to the day before Thanksgiving. So one day prior to Thanksgiving, we saw that overall sales went up year on year by about 12.4%. That was pretty sizable because 2020 holiday season was pretty big. Cyber five, it sort of came down by 7.3%, it was negative 7.3%. That giving twist Tuesday, which is the day after Cyber Monday to December 17, was about minus 2.2%. We saw a last-minute search prior to the holidays, December 17, December 24. And finally, Christmas Eve this is closed post-Christmas sales. So very interesting trends. And I think the reason I wanted to present some of these things, and with some of the factors which really have influenced that can really also have a long term ramification for the businesses, which as they really plan their entire four-piece of marketing strategy.

The first one was really shopping trends were really influenced the product startups, I think all of us knew that there was a massive supply chain issue, which was really kind of influencing that. That is something that we have say but how many of us really would have guessed such a lackluster performance during cyber five? I don't think anyone had guessed that cyber five numbers year on year, just those five days would actually fall by 7.3% compared to last year. I don't think anyone had guessed that. So there were two factors which we saw in play. And interestingly, they were not supply chain. First was inflation. So the prices which are higher if you compare the same in case as an example, both headphones, this year versus previous year, the prices were higher.

Plus the lackluster promotion, the promotions were not really promotions. I think most of us probably would have experienced that, that we believe really dampened cyber five states because one of the things which came out really really clear that will consumers were doing a lot more research, during the 2020 and 2021 holiday season. And as a result of this, they were able to compare business promotion and the new price the discounted price is attractive enough for me to purchase at this time. The third phase was giving Tuesday to December 17, we are expected to pick up after a lackluster Cyber Five, we are expect the numbers to go up. It went up a little bit. But again at that point in time when the product stock out really impacted, we believe that overall impact and try to quantify that maybe about 8% of overall online sales revenue loss was because the products were unavailable. And the last phase December 17 to December...

Aaron Conant 34:27

Really quick, interesting now, I'm thinking about this as I tie it all together, the lackluster promotions is that people knew they were going out of stock, they weren't discounting. Why discount if I know I'm going to run out anyways. Then I might as well get as much as I can for them and so they kind of tie in together as a whole inflation but then why would I promote it if I'm going out of stock? And I agree then people look at it like that price isn't that good? I'm not gonna buy it. But then some people will eventually go out of stock.

Udayan Bose 35:02

Exactly. So 17 to 24, we saw a pretty massive surge in the bopis face. So people were sort of buying online and thinking of it so and as a result of that 10.4% compared to last year, which was again, huge, was a pretty big shift. So we saw a 10.4% increase overall. Christmas Day to New Year's Eve was a real surprise, we saw that knee-by is effectively as retailers really offered the attractive discount almost like to liquidate a lot of the stock. Specifically on 12, 26, 27, and 28 we saw the online sales went up substantially. If you really take the entire last week, after Christmas, the sales went up by 21%. So overall, if you look at it is about 6.2%, November, December. But if you remove the Christmas Day to New Year's Eve, it's probably close to about two to 3%. But the overall online sales. What is the status bar, but I think it's important for us to be cognizant of some of the trends and buying trends because some of these trends may continue to persist in the upcoming holiday seasons as well? And I really wanted to kind of highlight five trends out here. The first one, obviously, the mobile phones drove 58% of all online orders higher than 54% last year. So again, some of the categories like fashion and beauty, mobile phones drove 75% of all the orders the massive shift.

Now massive lift has been the early shoppers may have completed their purchases prior to cyber five. We estimate about 30% of the shoppers may have actually completed their holiday purchase prior to cyber five, which was a very unique and a new trend. We have never really seen that happen. Normally that number is anywhere between 17 to 20%. That went up to 30%. Again, the fear of missing out essentially was the big driver in terms of the stock-outs of supply chain issues were the big driver for this. Stockout price increases and lower than usual discounts. Again, I have already discussed this part will not really emphasize anymore. The fourth is the last-minute shopping spree was very interesting. Now as I think about it, I mean, obviously Amazon and Walmart, with their promise of pretty sort of, even if you purchase till about I think 22nd, Amazon was able to deliver it prior to Christmas. They really kind of grab some market share then, and the retailers who had a brick and mortar presence, the storefronts were there, they really benefited from the book sale service as well and if you notice the plus 10.4% during that time is indicative of how much revenue really was there to be sort of made essentially. That's something which we believe may continue.

The theme out here is the first is the shoppers are doing their homework a lot more extensively prior to making a purchase. This may be an outcome of a couple of factors. One is people may have more time because they are mostly at home so they have more time online. And they are doing a lot of research prior to making the purchase. The second part is also the Gen Z or the digital natives, as we call them. They are very comfortable in terms of doing a very wide and thorough search before really making their purchase decisions. And they're perfectly willing to wait all the way to the last minute as well. So as the Gen Z's clout really continues to increase over the next many years, it really merits an important question for all the businesses or all the eCommerce companies to ask as to how exactly will you try to understand the buying behavior of the Gen Z, what exactly will you do to do that? And the second part is how will you factor in all these so-called the snapshots let us say inside snapshots to make your Holiday season more successful next year? So that's I think one thing which I really emphasize and the last part is the mean by maybe also to an extent substantially driven by the Gen Zs as well.

Many of the companies or most of the companies offered pretty heavy discounts or attractive discounts leading to online sales spikes or is it a trend which is here to stay. We saw the same trend, a similar trend in 2020 and 2019 as well. So we feel that this me bias is a growing trend and this is here to stay and as consumers are more informed and doing more research they are perfectly okay waiting for an attractive discount, something for you to consider that normally when we think about the holiday shopping as we knew it, it may be worthwhile for you to consider it about three to five different segments or time periods and please do not ignore the post-Christmas purchases as well. Because there is a substantial amount of demand, which is there that you can really tap into. So with that, Aaron I will get to the category-wise enough growth. I know we have attendees from different categories today, apparel, beauty, cosmetics and consumer electronics. There was some growth year on year, the other categories didn't really do as well. But you must really also factor in that last 2020 was a pretty substantial year solid year. And if you really compare this number with 2019, every category grew substantially. So I think it just may not really be a very fair comparison to compare it only with 2020, which was a pandemic influenced the holiday season. So that's our overall essentially numbers.

I'll end with the last piece 2020 predictions and recommendations for eCommerce marketers. But before I dive in, any questions from anyone, happy help to take them now? Before really wrapping up with we have five predictions just sort of an account with that? Okay, so let me continue to move on. So these are five predictions based on this. And it's more of a five moves your DTC brands should be making in 2022. The first one, as we have seen a simple example is the eCommerce sales fluctuation. Instead of one holiday season, we are talking about five holidays. Or even if you take the concept of having the different audience segments very clearly established, there is nothing called an average consumer. So it's extremely important for every eCommerce business to expect the unexpected, because dramatic fluctuations in sales, we believe have become a new normal, unfortunately. So it's extremely important to build an overall operational system, which helps you to be very agile and nimble. And to really be able to anticipate the changes before your competitors are able to anticipate and really make those shifts. So that's our first recommendation to all of you. The second trend and recommendation I think would be build an in-house experimentation and insights lab. It was very interesting when we did that survey, when we saw that only about 8% of the entire will ad spend was really being targeted to 55 plus audience segment. Now, all of them are not targeted exactly to the baby boomers category. But many of them were as well.

So 8% Seems like extremely, extremely low number. And we believe that happened because companies still are not really experimenting as much in terms of what is the optimal audience segment? And how exactly is this audience segment really giving? Is there a particular product market with specific audience segments that you really want to tap into? So our recommendations very clearly would be building an in-house experimentation and insights lab and really conducting those tests on an ongoing basis. The third recommendation is meet shoppers strong desire for change. Very clearly, the customers aren't really satisfied with status quo. One of the interesting observations that has really become very prominent. And again, I would probably specifically call out to audience segments. The first one is the millennials. And the second one is Gen Z, the digital natives who really want to know, what is the purpose of a brand? And what is that social cause that the brand really is supporting? Extremely important. So your brand has to stand for something, the band has to have a point of view, the brand has to have a voice and it has to stand for something. And that's something it's important as you're really building the overall brands online, to understand that.

To understand in a more holistic sense, think of building the brand now, not only on your own website or web store, but building it across the different walled gardens as well. So how is retail media helping you build that brand? And what is that unified message that you would really want to share? Versus the one that you are essentially sharing on your website? Versus the one that probably sharing on your social media platform? Is your shopper a customer able to see a complete tie in? Are they able to very easily understand what your brand's purpose is? And are they able to understand what is that social cost that you are championing? Because there is a very clear, strong desire for change and this change is very, very prominent, specifically in the Gen Z and the millennials, who really want to support brands which stand for something. So that's something which I wanted to again highlight.

The fourth part which we would recommend as well, establishing a resilience plan for the pandemic turning into endemic as well. We have a tremendous amount of optimism that once the Omicron, solid really comes down, and it is already coming down, we are in our offices in Princeton, and we are already seeing the cases dramatically come down. And I think there is a very clear case for optimism, that by the end of first quarter, the pandemic may actually enter the endemic phase and become a lot more a lot less threatening, and may become just a part of our lives. Now, we believe that it's important to really look at the future with a tremendous amount of optimism and be prepared.

But having said that, it's extremely important to understand and try to really anticipate the changes in consumer personas, consumer behavior, the audience behavior shifts, essentially, because those are the shifts, the evaluations are getting made, essentially on the personal level as well. What is my overall risk appetite? And what is my risk overall forecast into the future as well? Those are the things which we will recommend every marketer really does, or every eCommerce company does internally, that they are able to create this team, which is meeting literally on a weekly basis to discuss what are the recent step shifts? What are the changes that you really need to be aware of, because having a plan is extremely important, but having a plan B, probably is equally important as well?

The fifth and the last trend I really wanted to share, essentially is accepting metaverse as the next year frontier. We'll have a separate presentation that you do, along with the BWG Group in the next quarter, specifically on the metaverse and our understanding and as indicated frontier. But I think Facebook made a pretty big boat. And they did it with a particular reason. I think very clearly, the pandemic has shown a few things. One, the digital natives are not really afraid to check out things. And essentially, they have a very unique and a different consumer journey compared to any other segments. And the digital natives will really continue to have a better clout, the first trend. The second trend is people are a lot more, let us say online savvy whether you take even the baby boomers, to Gen X's to millennials, every segment has really gotten to the next level in terms of their online savvy, essentially. And the third, but the last part, I think effectively, a lot of marketers are going ahead and really pitching in and supporting this concept of the next frontier because that's where we firmly believe that the world is really moving too.

So it is extremely important for you to I would even recommend if it is possible to set up maybe a small team, a small core group, almost like a Research and Innovation Group team within the group, which really keeps a tab on all the latest developments, which is happening on the metaverse front, because it will not really happen tomorrow. But I can assure you in the next five years, metaverse, as we really sort of know it would have a very different meaning compared to what we are able to call even. The marketer who's able to piece together those different touchpoints, and different almost like the developments over the next few years, and really be able to be prepared for what seems to be an inevitable outcome in terms of the future and the next digital frontier will definitely win the battle for the digital natives, hearts and minds moving into the future.

Aaron Conant 48:25

The questions that actually came in, can you please clarify the experiments that you mentioned in number two? I got a couple more that came in as well. We'll jump to it after this one.

Udayan Bose 48:39

Absolutely Aaron. And so let me talk about the experimentation part. So for example, I mean, in our world, the experimentation is based on a certain hypothesis that you really set, for example, the hypothesis is, this particular audience segment will really have a certain conversion rate, buying this type of products. And this is the typical landing page or the website page through which they'll sort of buy. So there are different variables that will sort of essentially test out on that landing page and the variables potentially and testing and then testing it out.

That's certainly one type of experimentation which is typically associated in our world what is called the CRO or conversion rate optimization. But there is a second type of experimentation as well, you have again in a very simplistic sense, the entire marketing mix has four elements, you have the product, you have the price, you have the promotion and you have the place the channels. So there are multiple experiments possible for each one of them. For example, what is your product assortment that you really want to sell? That used to be a very broad question. Now if you really layer on it, the specific audience type, can you really do certain tests certain teasers to test out what our audience is responding bail or engaging bill with pot audience? The same concept can be applied to promotion as well. Gen Z audience interacts better or engages better with a certain type of let us say promotional pricing or promotion and pricing. And the last part is the place which is there is a certain buyer behavior, which let us say, again, a very hypothetical example, maybe hypothesis can be the Gen Zs, 37% of their cost to purchase starts with the first engagement, or the touchpoint being on TikTok.

So can you really do a test or an experiment, which really validates that or revalidates that, but aggregating all this information and doing it differently as a practice, as a more of a discipline, practice has become extremely important? We use a process at NetElixir, which it's a pretty simple thing, which is almost like a TLG framework. So it's like, test learn and grow. So we take those small tests, break it down, because you really have to minimize the number of independent variables and really have to have one control variable tension. And then you need to test out the overall outcomes. And then you build out the entire or validate or revalidate the hypothesis based on whether the outcomes are really forming to the hypothesis or not. That's just to give you an example.

Aaron Conant 51:09

So just a couple more questions. This goes back to a little bit earlier, is there any data to help us understand consumers' choice of channel like to understand that they switching from branded websites to other online retailers? Understanding the channel-agnostic, you know, looking for other benefits and other channels? I think they're looking at how they measure shopping as a whole, and how those patterns shift and evolve, other tools out there.

Udayan Bose 51:38

Right. But that's a great question. I mean, through our tool, Elixir Insights, we are able to see the different channel touchpoints. But then whether there is a switch, which is happening, unfortunately, we are unable to track because, as just as an example, Amazon is pretty much a closed-loop system. It's literally once you're in the Amazon system, you don't really get much information essentially. So that's the reason I think, to really extrapolate whether a touchpoint would actually lead to a conversion or a switch is very difficult to make.

So what are two Elixir Insights and any one of you interested in getting a demo, we can reorganize a demo for elixirinsights.com, you can either sign up or send me an email on that? That can really help you to understand the touchpoint. That's one in terms of the closed-loop part within the channels. As it pertains to the website of the DTC site, it's easy for us to really track the attribution effect as well, what percentage of all the click paths, let us get started with the first click happening on Google ads? What percentage, the second click really happened on Facebook ads at all. So those are easy to track. But the overall switch between a retailed media and your own website is a lot more difficult to track.

Aaron Conant 52:52

Awesome. And I see we're getting right to time here and I don't know if you had any last few slides, but I do want to say a quick thank Udayan. And anyone looking for follow-up connections, Udayan and the team at NetElixir, are just crushing it. They're data-driven. And they're just crushing it for a ton of brands in the network. 100% worth of follow-up conversation. Take a look at their Elixir Insights platform. It's amazing. Just a lot of brands love it today. And from my side, so there's Udayan's email, we can connect to as well. I love to have a conversation with people. We don't sell anything here at BWG Connect, but it's those one on one conversations that we get the topics for call. So, we'd love to have a conversation or if you're looking for any kind of service providers, don't hesitate to shoot me an email. I'm more than happy to connect to anything from direct to consumer to Amazon to drop shipping to international expansion. But Udayan, I'll kind of kick it over to you if you want to wrap this up here.

Udayan Bose 53:48

I think, first of all, thank you very much, everyone, for joining in. And thanks for the question Aaron, thanks for hosting us. I think if anyone is interested, you can download this the same five trends. One recommendation or more of advice as a professor, putting my professor real hat on, I would have is once you really download this, I would request you to really have those discussions around each one of the trends.

We really shortlisted almost about 25 trends before really coming up with these five that we have shared with you. And it will be very helpful. And I can't really recommend it highly enough for you to really have a team discussion where it is not just the digital marketing part, but every part of the business really safe, sane, and really has a discussion as to what does it really mean for your business. So that's my only request. This is a link that you can really use to download this particular basically a one-sheet essentially. And if you have questions as Aaron mentioned, I have put in my email address udayan@netelixir as well. Feel free to contact me, happy to chat and discuss any questions you have regarding the growth market. But thank you for the opportunity, Aaron. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

Aaron Conant 54:57

Udayan, it's always a pleasure. Thanks, everybody who dialed in, thanks for the great questions. Hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday and great rest of the week. Everybody take care, stay safe, look forward to having you in a future event, look for follow-up email from us, we'll be in touch. Take care now. We'll see you at the next event. All right, thanks again.

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