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Selling to Today’s Digital Consumer – Part 1

Online shopping has been growing in popularity for several years, with the UK boasting Europe’s biggest B2C e-commerce market since 2017.  The impact of COVID-19 has accelerated consumers’ need for digitised shopping services, acting as a catalyst to bring about new trends at an unprecedented rate. The fact is: for many, online shopping is now a necessity. 2020 saw up to 87% of UK households buying online, resulting in the highest digital purchase penetration rate in the country in the past 11 years. There’s no doubt that retailers who were not prepared suffered when it came to sales during the pandemic.

This evolution poses a challenge for online brands: how can you effectively sell to today’s digital consumer, and importantly – keep them coming back? 

Thanks to our access to ecommerce audience data and industry insights, we’re able to keep an eye on emerging ecommerce marketing trends that will help online brands grow during these challenging times. Here are some tips on how to stay ahead of the curve in 2021.

The early bird catches the worm

You may have noticed that in the run up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020, brands began to advertise their deals earlier than usual to tempt buyers online ahead of time. Amazon’s Black Friday event lasted an entire week! In 2021, brands will continue to target online shoppers with earlier advertising campaigns and exclusive offers for their target audiences.

Focus on key shopping days

Every brand’s key shopping days are different – for instance, an online pet food brand will prepare for National Pets Day. Similarly, an online gift hamper delivery service will prep for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day over Black Friday. Taking a cue from the success of big retailers’ early approach in 2020 suggests that the sooner e-commerce brands start preparing for major sale dates, the better.

Readying your digital advertising campaigns well in advance will be essential is making the most of these key shopping windows. Prepare well, and you’ll be rewarded with a boost in reach, increased traffic and a surge in sales.

Get to know your audience

There is a growing expectation among consumers that their online shopping experience should be tailored to their unique needs. In fact, 72% of customers only engage with personalised messaging.

Personalise across platforms

Personalisation aims to create a lasting customer relationship. It does so by recording information about your customer (with their consent) and using it to remember things like the last time they made a purchase, the types of items they viewed or bought, and then provide recommendations for next steps. Done well, personalisation will give your customers a seamless and intuitive brand experience across platforms, leaving them wanting more.

Delivering a top-notch personalised experience starts with really getting under the skin of who your customer is. Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What matters most to them?
  2. What channels do they often visit?
  3. How can you help them?

It can be tempting to want to be everywhere, but start by focusing on the channels where your customers go the most and share your message with them there. Adapting your (re)marketing messaging to the nuances of each platform will ensure it is closely tailored to resonate with your target audiences.

Adopting a personalised approach that customers love will help your online brand to stand out from the crowd and encourage more engagement and sales.

Knowledge is power

Understanding customer data is key to commercial success. Our advice is to root your marketing strategy in data as far as possible, rather than making subjective assumptions. And be prepared to be agile and adapt your approach based on what the data is telling you.

Many brands focus on basic vital metrics, such as click-through-rate and conversions, which indicate where the bulk of traffic and sales are coming from. Getting more granular with analytics and segmenting your data to gain valuable behavioural insights will be vital for ecommerce brands in 2021. The more you know about your audiences, the more relevant you can make your offering and the more sales you’ll generate.

Get granular with Analytics

Use Google Analytics to see what data you already have about your customers and the performance of your online store.

  1. Segment your audience by factors such as geographical location, age, and gender, buying habits (such as time of day), total spending and device
  2. Figure out which channels led your customers to your online store
  3. Understand what content works the best for you – what messaging and creatives lead to the most conversions? What adverts attract most people to click through to your website? Coupling this with keyword research allows you to pinpoint key areas of opportunity for search discoverability


2020 was a year none of us will forget. For online brands, the pandemic represented a seismic shift in consumer behaviour, and many brands have been left scurrying to keep up. Following our tips will help you to pivot your strategy, setting you in great stead for commercial success in 2021 and beyond.

Here at Beattie, we love partnering with dynamic customer-first online businesses. If you’d like to learn more about how we could work together to take your business to the next level please contact us on 0800 612 9890 or via email