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2020 Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Q3 Round-Up

It’s hard to believe

 

—but we’re past Q3 and into Q4!

 

2020 has been a turbulent year. Although we aren’t quite sure what the holiday shopping season will look like, it’s a safe bet it will be a bit different than last year.

 

Let’s look at what some major retailers have done to weather the storm and prepare for Q4, and which changes may impact your day-to-day ecommerce management ahead of the holiday season.

Catch-up on Q3 digital marketing news: 

1. Walmart and Shopify Team Up

At the tail end of Q2, Walmart and Shopify partnered up.

 

In Q3 digital marketing news, Shopify merchants can now sell directly on the Walmart website. If you use Shopify and want to sell on Walmart.com, you will need to be based in the US and meet Walmart’s service requirements. 

If you meet the requirements, you can start selling on Walmart.com and manage your inventory and orders via Shopify using bulk editing. Wondering about the costs? Walmart charges what they call a “referral fee”, which varies by category. Read more about how this partnership helps both companies compete with Amazon here.

Marketing Manager’s Thoughts: Christina DiSomma

“Walmart has been trying to chip away at Amazon’s market share since they bought Jet.com several years ago. This alliance with Shopify might be the best effort yet, as it allows Walmart to capture retailers who find Amazon too time-consuming or impossible to scale.

Bulk editing for listings, automatic syncing, and no listings fees make this partnership an especially attractive prospect for sellers who are fed up with the Amazon model.”

2. Amazon Fulfillment and 2-Day Delivery

Amazon sellers are frustrated. 

 

As more and more retailers try to take advantage of Amazon’s success in the wake of COVID-19, Amazon is trying to up their requirements. 

 

In August, Amazon made changes to their Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program. Amazon is pushing SFP sellers to meet 2-day delivery guarantees. Whereas before these sellers could offer Prime shipping only to certain locations, Amazon now requires sellers to offer Prime nationwide. By February 2021, all SFP members will have to meet these requirements in addition to providing weekend delivery and pick up. Amazon noted that currently many companies do not operate on the weekends which they say is a significant cause for delays. 


On top of the new tighter deadlines, Amazon struggles to have enough space in their warehouses. According to sellers, they are taking several weeks to over a month to check-in and stock items. Because of this, Amazon has set new restrictions on how much inventory sellers can ship to their warehouses. According to Amazon, sellers with an Inventory Performance Index Score of 500 or higher will not be subject to these new restrictions. The question is, do any smaller businesses meet these requirements?

SEM Analyst’s Thoughts: Chris Kendall

Some third-party sellers on Amazon may soon have to make some tough choices. One way to guarantee products are Prime-eligible is Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) in which inventory is stocked and shipped from Amazon warehouses. The other way, Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) allows products shipped by the seller to be eligible for Prime so long as certain requirements are met.

Stricter requirements for SFP taking effect next year, may put smaller sellers in a bind that may not have the resources to meet these obligations. I suspect that this policy will drive some to Fulfillment By Amazon. However, the slow FBA fulfillment experienced by some sellers recently has put the reliability of this program into question.

All in all, while there is plenty of opportunity for sales on Amazon, sellers should be wary of completely relying on Amazon for fulfillment.

3. Google is Limiting Search Term Reporting

Google is now limiting search term reporting on Google Ads. After the change, advertisers will lose visibility into some of the queries they pay for.

Which queries are getting nixed? According to Google, they will stop showing search queries that trigger ads when there was no “significant” data. Updated search term reporting will only include terms that Google considers “significant”—but what does significant mean?

Senior SEM Analyst’s Thoughts: Tim Moran

“Google’s newest limitations on search term reporting is a blow to advertisers utilizing advanced query analyses to improve campaign performance.

Though I have not seen anything I would call PII in the reports (I also have not been trying to find any), privacy concerns are certainly at the forefront of digital marketing conversation and this change makes sense as a safeguard.

Rationale aside, the end result is a bit less control in the hands of advertisers and it will require some creativity to drive similar campaign results.”

4. Google Shopping Feeds Now Automatically Serve in Multiple Countries

Why are my products disapproved in Canada? 

If you advertise on Google Shopping, you might’ve seen some strange disapprovals in your feed this quarter. Google is now automatically serving ads to countries using the same language as your ads (barring you meet Google’s requirements).

 

If there are certain countries you want to l need to use the new attribute “shopping_ads_excluded_country”. Google has also set up additional tracking to see if your product data is eligible for other countries. For more details on how to utilize this new feature, check out our blog here.

SEM Strategist’s Thoughts: Rob Jenkins

“For businesses that aren’t advertising across multiple countries, it can be a bit vexing to see this excess data populating on the Diagnostics page. I’d simply recommend setting your filter to, ‘Countries: United States’ to display only data relevant to your Shopping Ads.”

That’s it for Q3 digital marketing news. With ecommerce continuing to do well, make sure you’re prepared for Q4—which is sure to offer many opportunities to grow profit! 

As you plan for the holidays, be sure to check out our blog—as we will be sharing unique holiday ecommerce tips for retailers like you. 

Author

Savannah is a Marketing Specialist at Omnitail. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a minor in Graphic Design from George Mason University. She enjoys working with the amazing team at Omnitail to create original, helpful content.

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