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WARC How Marketers Address Shift to E Commerce Jan2021While COVID-19 negatively impacted many industries in 2020, e-commerce thrived, with a global study [download page] by WARC reporting that in the US alone, e-commerce experienced a “10-year growth spurt” in a matter of eight weeks.

On the whole, there is an expectation that the shift towards shopping online is here to stay. Two-thirds (67%) of client-side marketers and agencies who were surveyed for the report believe that this shopping behavior is permanent.

This sentiment is more prevalent among some e-commerce categories than others. Some 84% of Retail marketers agree that the shift is permanent for their category. Those in the FMCG (82%) and Food & Drink (80%) category also largely agree that the shift is permanent.

While client-side marketers in other categories such as Financial Services (68%) and Telecoms & Utilities (66%) are leaning towards the idea that these e-commerce behaviors will stick in their field, far fewer in the Business & Industrial (28%) category agree that the shift will continue into the future.

Presented with this rapid change, virtually all (95%) of marketers surveyed are taking action. The primary activity taken to address this shift towards e-commerce, cited by two-thirds (64%) of respondents, is an effort to improve the customer experience online, although other research shows that marketers have experienced some struggles when it comes to customer experience.

Marketers are also concentrating on increasing the number of channels through which they sell online (47%) and investing in e-commerce technology (40%). About one-third say they are developing their direct-to-customer offerings (33%), partnering with providers (32%) and upgrading their supply chain, logistics and product availability (31%).

To a lesser extent, others are focusing on live streaming commerce (22%), developing a subscription or report purchase offering (22%) and developing a click and collect strategy (18%).

Additionally, roughly two-thirds (68%) of respondents believe that the economic recession will have a significant impact on their 2021 marketing strategy. Client-side marketers are taking the recession to heart, with a mere 4% saying they aren’t adapting their brand or seeing a change in demand.

Instead, the recession has forced the majority of marketers to adapt. About 6 in 10 (57%) client-side marketers say they are focusing on quality customer experiences, while 4 in 10 have developed a new product offering.

In-house marketers are also adapting to the recession by shifting advertising budget to a specific set of products (33%), focusing on customer retention over acquisition (30%) and running price promotions or sales (30%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a global survey of more than 1,000 marketing executives.

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