April 9, 2021

A look back on the past year in Digital & E-Commerce, what’s next?

Covid-19 has been with us for over a year now – and don’t we all know it.  When the 1-year mark passed recently I took some time, like many others I’m sure, to reflect over the last 12 months. Many things came to mind, career related and otherwise, but what really struck me was just how much Digital & E-Commerce has accelerated since the virus hit these shores. It’s been a transformational period for the FMCG & Retail industry in particular, the pandemic presented plenty of unforeseen challenges and consequently we’ve seen a real surge in organisations moving towards a Digital & E-Commerce mindset by building D2C (Direct to Consumer) capability or by investing time and resource to maximise commercial opportunities with platforms such as Amazon, Ocado & Ebay. Since joining Mackenzie Jones in October, I’ve found the approach and reaction to Covid taken by the FMCG & Retail industry incredibly fascinating, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts…


A look back on 2020

What a year…Many of us had no choice but to shop online, consequently multiple shopper missions have shifted and now show a clear preference for buying online. Organisations had to adapt their channel strategy, and some reacted more quickly and with more agility than others, Grocery Retailers being a key example of responding effectively to a radical shift in shopper behaviour.

Just as impressive are the businesses who looked after their employees when stores were forced to close, a prime example was when The Perfume Shop repurposed their staff to continue the Digital & E-Commerce drive, the link shares the full story (https://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Article/2020/08/11/The-Perfume-Shop-e-commerce-sales-rise-with-virtual-assistant-tool#).

Many trends and patterns appeared throughout the year. For example it emerged that desktop and tablet visits were massively overtaking mobile site visits. This was a real curve ball for a number of organisations as pre-2020 substantial investments had been made on enhancing the UX & UI of mobile websites. Businesses began to realise that consumers were not only purchasing more online but were also using ‘Online’ to research products prior to purchase. Content & Marketing teams had to think fast and respond to this shift.

Unfortunately, numerous organisations simply were not digitally fit to counter the forced closure of stores, lacked inhouse Digital & E-Commerce capability or had no Click & Collect or Home Delivery options. They had under-invested prior to Covid and paid the price…

We don’t know the exact figures, some say we saw 3 years growth in 12 months, others say it was 10 years growth. Regardless, it was huge, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down.


What have we seen so far in 2021?

We’re only 3 months in, but it’s been an intriguing start to the year. New delivery brands have entered the UK market, prime and well documented examples are the likes of Gorillas and Getir in London, however, watch out for the guys at Foodstuff. These brands are all attempting to challenge the likes of the brilliant Deliveroo and Uber Eats, so watch this space. We’ve seen some excellent social media activity (remember the Heinz Baked Beans and Weetabix collab?) and some brilliant CRM tactics (e.g. Thortful have been very creative with their ideas), so I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year has to offer.


Predictions going forwards?

So much has chopped and changed recently and it’s hard to predict anything. However, I’m expecting Digital & E-Commerce to continue to dominate the strategic intent and capability plans of most organisations within the FMCG & Retail industry. Businesses will no doubt start using and analysing data from the last 12 months to shape their thinking and retailers will want to understand how to effectively operate an omni-channel approach.

Amazon. Where do I even start. FMCG brands know they need their products & brands on Amazon but anyone who has worked with Amazon knows it’s a very complicated account to understand and manage successfully. Amazon are still the dominant force in this market and whilst we will hopefully see a return to ‘normal’ trading conditions, brands will still be asking themselves, “How can Amazon work most effectively for us…?”


What now?

Now is the time to invest in Digital & E-Commerce – customers are still online so businesses need to be too. Investing in people and capability are critical success factors.

So whether you’re looking for your next move within the FMCG/Retail industry, or would like access to high performing talent within Digital/E-Commerce, or just want to learn more about our approach…..please feel free to contact Billy Maddock on 07969 295 423 or email [email protected]