Online retail is surging – but brands and retailers are strained 


Since the start of the pandemic, retail has come under unprecedented pressure. Consumers are staying at home and buying online en masse – Adobe Digital Economy Index data shows e-commerce grew by 25% during March alone. 

Yet, for many brands, supply chains are overstretched, and rising e-commerce and e-retail purchases aren’t matching the reduction in sales from the shutdown of non-essential bricks-and-mortar operations. Adobe Digital Economy statistics show growth is focused on a few key product categories such as pharmaceuticals and FMCGs, Amazon sellers are seeing sales of nonessential goods drop by 40-60% and 65% of European e-commerce associations expect a decrease due to the pandemic. What steps can be urgently taken to ensure business continuity, then take advantage of new opportunities, attract new groups of consumers online and ensure their loyalty?

Brands late to digital commerce are in a perilous position. It’s crucial you leverage e-commerce to rapidly adapt to the crisis, but in a matter of weeks, how can you forge the partnerships, online presence and customer experience required to flourish? How do you take the offerings and experiences of products best suited to bricks and mortar, replicate them online then sustain momentum? 

Emphasize product experience to engage your consumers

Replacing or improving the product experience for goods suited to bricks-and-mortar sales is imperative to facilitating, sustaining and growing direct and indirect online consumer interest.

  • Ensure brand storytelling runs deeply through your communications and product listings.
  • Leverage product experience management to replace photography with digital 3D product models. 
  • Make sure all products benefit from exceptional-quality imagery to give consumers a complete, well-branded view – on-site and on social.
  • Improve e-retail customer pathfinding – align product suggestions with customer needs, not product types.
  • Use email, social media and influencer marketing to engage communities and start conversations with consumers.

Redefine supply chains to ensure agility and improve your customer experience

To guarantee continuing quality of service, you must pay close attention to your supply chains and customer experience. 

  • Implement features such as product tracking to improve multiple customer experience touchpoints.
  • Liaise with suppliers and distributors to make sure they are coping well – 48% of retailers are currently acting to improve supply chain communication.
  • Redefine digital commerce partnerships to succeed together – work closely, share ambition, and provide content and sales support.
  • Continually monitor and review product and customer experience, and sales performance.

Act at speed and scale to sustain your business

While the crisis is constantly developing, a ‘wait and see’ approach will only harm your prospects of business continuity and resilience. By acting rapidly, now, you can implement agile solutions that sustain business and prime you for future success.

  • A global hair and beauty leader implemented e-commerce in ten countries at a global level in just three months. The business saw 50-100% growth in these countries versus their other retail territories, with first-day results.
  • The priority for businesses without e-retail is to focus on a limited number of the most highly performing, digitally mature territories. For one retailer, creating an effective online presence in the UK took less than a month.
  • Large, French pharmaceutical businesses successfully adopted direct and marketplace e-commerce models to great effect, despite significant regulatory constraints.

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