2020 will go down as one of the most challenging and memorable years in retail. Merchants quickly adjusted their business playbooks and learned new strategies due to the coronavirus pandemic, with closed stores and swift changes in consumer habits. Our editors have been covering the industry from all angles by interviewing retailers and analyzing data trends throughout the year. Here are the Digital Commerce 360 staff’s picks of our favorite stories in 2020.
- Charts: How the coronavirus is changing ecommerce
These charts show the impact of COVID-19 on online retail, including U.S. online sales growth, retail bankruptcies, curbside pickup and traffic on Amazon.com.
- 2020 changed the face of grocery retailing—likely forever
The coronavirus pandemic changed consumer habits, forcing food retailers to adapt quickly. Millions of households started buying groceries online for pickup or home delivery and many will continue using ecommerce options after the crisis passes.
- Amazon Prime Day analysis
Amazon sold $10.4 billion worth of goods during its sixth-annual Prime Day, up 45.2% from $7.16 billion in 2019. Here’s Digital Commerce 360’s full data analysis of this year’s Prime Day.
- Amazon cracks down on a creative counterfeit scheme with new lawsuit
The ecommerce marketplace filed a complaint against 13 individuals and businesses that used social media to advertise fake luxury goods for sale on Amazon.
- Higher Amazon advertising costs are expected during peak seasons
Despite the potential for higher advertising costs on Amazon advertising during peak seasons, retailers say the return on investment is worth it.
- E.l.f. Cosmetics does more than pay lip service to personalization
The vegan beauty brand has doubled down on personalization with interactive quizzes, receipt-scanning incentives and improved product recommendations—increasing the data insights at its fingertips and boosting conversion rates by 120%.
- College bookstore operator Follett is learning on the fly this unusual back-to-school shopping season
Online sales are surging, consumers are opting to ship products rather than pick up in store and many students are buying digital course materials instead of physical.
- With restaurants closed, online retailer Spiceology shifts focus to consumers
Overall sales at Spiceology.com are still growing, but not as fast as projected at the start of 2020. Losing sales from chefs means losing large, high average order value transactions, CEO Chip Overstreet says.
- Fabric retailer Joann.com launches curbside pickup as ecommerce booms
Joann.com’s chief information officer Varadheesh Chennakrishnan chats with Digital Commerce 360 about the two ways retailers can go about launching curbside pickup and why it is doing both. During the height of the pandemic, 60% of Joann.com’s orders were picked up in store or via curbside.
- Analysis of Walmart’s new membership program
Just under 48% of consumers who shop online at least weekly say they are somewhat or very likely to join Walmart+.
Industry news analysis
- A repeal of Section 230 could create big changes for online retailers—or not
It’s impossible to predict how ecommerce merchants and social media would respond to a repeal of Section 230, which protects them from liability for things posted by website users. But the consequences of such a drastic policy change could be significant.
- Does ecommerce have a gender diversity problem?
More men than women hold leadership roles in ecommerce. But the landscape is slowly shifting as more opportunities open up for women in online retailing.
- Retailers should take a stand
What should retail’s role be during a civil rights or political crisis? How should brands address these societal challenges?
- A curbside holiday shopping experience
Retailers that don’t execute curbside well will be challenged to compete in today’s omnichannel environment. And some will never get a second chance. Retailers should keep in mind communication, signage, speed and consistency, factoring in all the details that make for a successful curbside holiday.
- How digitally native brands approach stores
Retailers that are opening stores for the first time approach omnichannel store technology differently than retailers that have been around for decades. They are selective about the technology they implement, and focus on providing a cohesive online-to-offline experience.