The only thing that’s been predictable about 2020 is its unpredictability – and it’s not over yet! In fact, Q4 is the time when all eyes fall on retailers, both physical and digital. That said, there are also huge opportunities – for marketplaces like OnBuy, for eCommerce fulfilment businesses like Huboo, and for your own online business too.
Besides being the season of OnBuy’s biggest expansion push ever, seeing ready to light up TVs and expand across the world along with a major marketing push unlike anything we’ve ever done, Q4 2020 is also a period of consumer doubt and confusion unlike anything any business has ever witnessed before.
Today, we’re exploring the general feeling among consumers in the tail-end of 2020, the expectations they have now that eCommerce growth has proven so immense, the ways sellers can optimise their listings and marketplace choices to excel throughout and beyond Q4 2020, and the products tipped to be the must-haves of the season.
eCommerce just keeps getting bigger – and broader
Analysts worldwide can agree on one thing – that the global health crisis of 2020 accelerated the rise of online shopping as never before. In fact, the August 2020 McKinsey Periscope report, Retail Reimagined, remarked that digital adoption by both businesses and consumers sprang forward the equivalent of 10 years in just 90 days.
The UK Office for National Statistics similarly recognised that summer saw a sharp rise in British shoppers looking online no longer just for technology, clothing or luxury purchases, but more and more for essentials, groceries and ways to stay entertained.
Why multichannel marketplace sales matter in Q4
The upsurge in eCommerce and online shopping is a trend that’s here to stay, with consumers enjoying the convenience, choice, efficiency and safe feeling of shopping online.
Keep in mind that consumers are bargain hunting like never before, too – often leaving brand loyalty or preference of platform aside in order to get the best price. Offering your products for competitive prices ahead of Q4 has likewise never been more important.
OnBuy’s competitive seller fees and complete lack of listing fees were designed to help vendors enjoy healthy margins while still offering their products to consumers for less than the competition. OnBuy’s investments in improving its guest checkout process for speed and safety, as well as championing PayPal Protection for both its buyers and sellers, have done much to grow both its users and merchants in the run-up to Q4.
On the consumer side, much of that growth is because of that need for a good deal from a trusted, reliable, transparent platform, as we just discussed. For eCommerce businesses, retailers and sellers, however, diversifying how many marketplaces your products are being sold through has seen vendors and big brands alike signing up to sell via OnBuy.
It makes sense to protect your interests in this way. Third party sellers on other platforms were famously left out in the cold without warning when the crisis first made the enormity of its impact known, and putting all your inventory online via just one marketplace – while convenient – creates a potential single point of failure. Using multiple marketplaces can sidestep that problem easily.
Instead, smart businesses today diversify the marketplaces with whom they work, creating listings and accounts across several to ensure any slack in one is picked up by an uptick in another. The reach and growth opportunities of these marketplaces is often unparalleled, and OnBuy’s ongoing internationalisation strategy, particularly, is poised to promise tremendous growth opportunities as never before throughout Q4 2020, into 2021, and beyond.
Consumers in Q4 need trust, confidence and convenience
While growth has remained steady, even impressive, in eCommerce across autumn, the eyes of many are already on a Black Friday unlike any other in the history of our industry. Consumers are frustrated, confused and weary of the year and its events, with Black Friday warned to be the most competitive in eCommerce history in Q4 2020.
In short, that means that eCommerce businesses need to be prepared to stand out in a period in which consumers will be likely bombarded with media from all sides. Differentiation will be key here – OnBuy already plans to outperform its stellar Black Friday 2019 Price Crash this year – but so will recognition of the fact that consumer spending power and confidence is severely diminished.
To restore that confidence, and to steer customers to your business, trust is paramount. Customers need high quality images and product descriptions to replace the confidence in a product they’d otherwise gain from seeing it physically. Creating consumer confidence from the moment they click on your listing is absolutely vital, plus also helps you stand apart in a crowd of online sellers.
That means on-point customer service, a smart fulfilment solution that gives buyers the products they ordered swiftly and safely, as well as prices and products that raise eyebrows for only the right reasons.
What consumers will be buying in Q4 2020
OnBuy’s perspective on consumer spending throughout the initial nine months of 2020 made clear that the public health crisis caused a tremendous upsurge in the sale of household hygiene products, together with personal protective equipment, face masks and hand sanitiser products.
As stock of what households came to quickly regard as essential purchases evened out, so did buying habits and competitive pricing. Going forward, it’s unlikely the demand for these goods will be anything less than consistent, and the UK may well join the likes of several Asian countries in wearing face masks as a societal norm, long after the pandemic has ended.
However, while garden furniture, gazebos, toys, entertainment and outdoor games were highlights of online shopping during the famous summer of lockdown, the move to Q4 is already showing that consumers have a much broader appetite for the products they want today.
Home furniture is a clear winner that has remained consistent throughout 2020, as has media and entertainment, spurred on by people spending more time indoors. Video games, already the world’s biggest entertainment medium, trod on the toes of a stifled movie industry all the more during 2020, and this explosive growth will continue into Q4 – boosted even more by the launch of new video game consoles in and around November 2020.
Besides this hotly competitive space, OnBuy anticipates that the gift-giving season will cause the historic slumps experienced in the sales of jewellery and clothing during lockdown a chance to enjoy a little more of an upswing in Q4. However this, much like the ever-festive wine and spirits sales that climb in Q4, will be much more of a seasonal shift for Q4 alone.
For a long-term strategy, the best bet is to offer value, convenience and access to swift fulfilment for products consumers are going to need going from Q4 into 2021 and beyond. A shrewd move here is into laptops, webcams and business goods that customers will be on the hunt for as working from home becomes, for many, the new normal workday.
Safety, trust, convenience, health and happiness – everything a harrowed public wants after a gruelling year that will hopefully be capped off by a sensational Q4 for marketplaces, for eCommerce players and for logistics. Are you poised to reap the rewards of the season?