Operations

Coronavirus’ Effect On Ecommerce: Preliminary Data And How To Respond

coronavirus’-effect-on-ecommerce:-preliminary-data-and-how-to-respond
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is officially a global pandemic. And we all have questions.

To keep you up-to-date on how it may affect your ecommerce business, we’ve put together this article as a short guide.

First things first …

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to serve as medical or financial advice.

We’ll be posting regular updates here in the coming days with (1) CTC client trends, (2) tactics from aggregated and anonymized account performance, as well as (3) related news as it breaks.

Shipping and Fulfillment

Earlier today, we reached out to three of the most common 3PLs used by CTC clients — ShipBob, Promofill, and Shopify Fulfillment.

At the time of this post, none reported interruptions in service.

Still, we suggest reaching out directly to your provider because work stoppages could significantly slow down delivery times and need to be communicated with customers sooner rather than later.

Economic and Manufacturing Trends

Manufacturing and shipping have already picked back up in China (Reuters; CNBC) and the European travel ban “only applies to human beings, not goods and cargo.”

Meanwhile, in the US, recession language has shifted from “if” to “what shape?” Both domestically and globally, COVID-19 continues to wallop stocks prompting headlines like “worst day since 1987.”

Ecommerce, Coronavirus, and Your Business

The good news is eMarketer, Retail Dive, and The Drum each report ecommerce may soon fair better than wider markets as consumers turn from in-store to online shopping. Regardless of comforting predictions …

Data from 20 of our top accounts at a ~$50M annual spend rate — excluding this massive outlier — show week-over-week (Sun.-Wed. vs Sun.-Wed.) changes to be statistically insignificant:

  • ROAS: -8.94% (w/o delayed attribution)
  • CPM: -11.32%
  • CPC: 2.33%
  • CTR: -7.31%

Data on Coronavirus and Ecommerce Effects (Preliminary)

Some of the first steps we’re taking at 4×400, our in-house brands, are …

  1. Monitoring ad placements on Facebook Audience Network, Google Display Network, News, and YouTube closely
  2. Thinking proactively about cash flow and inventory as well as how best to take advantage of “downtime” (e.g., landing pages, email sequences, creative projects, etc.)

Andrew Faris, the CEO of 4×400, spoke about this and more on today’s Ecommerce Playbook Podcast: How Our Ecommerce Brands Are Responding to Coronavirus COVID-19.

“What I’m thinking about first and foremost as a leader in a company is, ‘What do I do with uncertainty?’

“That’s the biggest challenge for me. At the human level, we need to be serious about isolation. This is not a joke. This is something not to mess with. And, there’s a human social responsibility. Even if you’re a healthy person who’s at low risk for this to really, really harm you, be careful about.”

 

As leading indicators, we’re keeping a close watch on …

  • CPM, CTR, and CPA impact on spend and ROAS
  • Traffic by channel and ecommerce conversion rates
  • Non-branded consumer search volume via Google Trends
  • Branded search volume via Google Ads (paid) and Google Search Console (organic)

With active members across a host of ecommerce groups — Ecommerce Fuel, Shopify Plus’ Facebook Community, LeanLuxe, and 2PM’s Polymathic — we’ll be paying attention to noticeable shifts or activity.

(Note: Many of these groups are closed, so we’ll only share anonymized commentary, tips, and links.)

Things are changing fast. We’re keeping a pulse on the best sources in the industry, distilling them, and delivering it to you as soon as it becomes available.

Remote work

Starting tomorrow, all of CTC will be working remotely.

Because the vast majority of our time with clients is remote anyway, just expect to see a few additional “screens” when you join any regularly scheduled meetings.

For your own organization, here are a few links to help you navigate:


 

Aaron is the VP of Marketing at CTC. Previously the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus, his content has appeared on Forbes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, The New York Times, and more. Connect with Aaron on Twitter or LinkedIn (especially if you want to talk about bunnies or #LetsGetRejected).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is officially a global pandemic. And we all have questions.

To keep you up-to-date on how it may affect your ecommerce business, we’ve put together this article as a short guide.

First things first …

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to serve as medical or financial advice.

We’ll be posting regular updates here in the coming days with (1) CTC client trends, (2) tactics from aggregated and anonymized account performance, as well as (3) related news as it breaks.

Shipping and Fulfillment

Earlier today, we reached out to three of the most common 3PLs used by CTC clients — ShipBob, Promofill, and Shopify Fulfillment.

At the time of this post, none reported interruptions in service.

Still, we suggest reaching out directly to your provider because work stoppages could significantly slow down delivery times and need to be communicated with customers sooner rather than later.

Economic and Manufacturing Trends

Manufacturing and shipping have already picked back up in China (Reuters; CNBC) and the European travel ban “only applies to human beings, not goods and cargo.”

Meanwhile, in the US, recession language has shifted from “if” to “what shape?” Both domestically and globally, COVID-19 continues to wallop stocks prompting headlines like “worst day since 1987.”

Ecommerce, Coronavirus, and Your Business

The good news is eMarketer, Retail Dive, and The Drum each report ecommerce may soon fair better than wider markets as consumers turn from in-store to online shopping. Regardless of comforting predictions …

Data from 20 of our top accounts at a ~$50M annual spend rate — excluding this massive outlier — show week-over-week (Sun.-Wed. vs Sun.-Wed.) changes to be statistically insignificant:

  • ROAS: -8.94% (w/o delayed attribution)
  • CPM: -11.32%
  • CPC: 2.33%
  • CTR: -7.31%

Data on Coronavirus and Ecommerce Effects (Preliminary)

Some of the first steps we’re taking at 4×400, our in-house brands, are …

  1. Monitoring ad placements on Facebook Audience Network, Google Display Network, News, and YouTube closely
  2. Thinking proactively about cash flow and inventory as well as how best to take advantage of “downtime” (e.g., landing pages, email sequences, creative projects, etc.)

Andrew Faris, the CEO of 4×400, spoke about this and more on today’s Ecommerce Playbook Podcast: How Our Ecommerce Brands Are Responding to Coronavirus COVID-19.

“What I’m thinking about first and foremost as a leader in a company is, ‘What do I do with uncertainty?’

“That’s the biggest challenge for me. At the human level, we need to be serious about isolation. This is not a joke. This is something not to mess with. And, there’s a human social responsibility. Even if you’re a healthy person who’s at low risk for this to really, really harm you, be careful about.”

 

As leading indicators, we’re keeping a close watch on …

  • CPM, CTR, and CPA impact on spend and ROAS
  • Traffic by channel and ecommerce conversion rates
  • Non-branded consumer search volume via Google Trends
  • Branded search volume via Google Ads (paid) and Google Search Console (organic)

With active members across a host of ecommerce groups — Ecommerce Fuel, Shopify Plus’ Facebook Community, LeanLuxe, and 2PM’s Polymathic — we’ll be paying attention to noticeable shifts or activity.

(Note: Many of these groups are closed, so we’ll only share anonymized commentary, tips, and links.)

Things are changing fast. We’re keeping a pulse on the best sources in the industry, distilling them, and delivering it to you as soon as it becomes available.

For your own organization, here are a few links to help you navigate:

This article originally appeared in the Common Thread Collective Blog and has been published here with permission.

About the author

Aaron Orendorff

Aaron is the VP of Marketing at CTC. Previously the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus, his content has appeared on Forbes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, The New York Times, and more. Connect with Aaron on Twitter or LinkedIn (especially if you want to talk about bunnies or #LetsGetRejected).