• Blog
  • Aug 02, 2022
  • By Cam Sivesind
Taming the Ecommerce Economic Rollercoaster with Marketing Attribution

Ecommerce Rollercoaster

The pandemic pushed ecommerce marketing and attribution to new heights; the recession is bringing some businesses back to reality; regardless, marketers must press on with smart tools and data

If the pandemic proved anything, it was that people will find ways to shop – crazy new disease be damned. Ecommerce was already booming, but homebound consumers pushed their credit cards to their limits and online retailers’ profits to record highs.

It depends on which economist you ask whether we are in a recession. And it depends on the business, too. Some companies are doing very well; some are using the upswing during the pandemic as the measuring stick, which provided some unrealistic gains and expectations. Things appear more downturn-ish than they likely really are. It’s more of a leveling off to the way things were pre-pandemic.

Here are some companies adjusting for the “new normal” coming out of the pandemic and into comparatively slower times:

  • Shopify: The Canadian-based ecommerce platform increased its staff ten-fold when the pandemic boosted ecommerce, and its leaders bet on those insane spending levels to continue for 5 or even 10 years – and they haven’t. As this Forbes article headline indicates, “…CEO admits he ‘bet’ on e-commerce—and he was wrong.” The company recently laid off 10% of its staff.
  • Procter & Gamble: The consumer packaged goods behemoth is cutting its marketing spend due to increasing inflation and supply chain challenges. This is not new for P&G, which can ride reduced spending without feeling any short-term sales effects. And its leadership said the company won’t broadly reduce its advertising. P&G still remains in the Top 5 in ad spending globally.
  • Coca-Cola, Unilever, and McDonald’s: The agencies who handle these biggies say the plan for the first half of this year and continuing into the second half is to spend their way through any downturn. Like P&G, these top spenders could likely afford to let off the gas, but they’re not yet.

The pandemic DID accelerate ecommerce, as brick-and-mortar retailers took to the web to sell their wares. Furniture stores are one category that went from not having enough supply from 2020 through 2021 to now having too much inventory as the supply chain opened back up. Sellers of couches, chairs, tables, beds and home accessories are increasing ad spend to draw in more customers to buy up items from overstocked warehouses. 

Ecommerce Sales Top $1 Trillion 

So how’d we get here? Some stats according to a study quoted in Multichannel Merchant:

  • In 2002, there were $1 trillion in ecommerce sales for the first time.
  • Amazon will be the biggest retailer in the U.S. by 2026, surpassing Walmart with a 14.9% market share, vs. the latter at 12.7%.

Ecommerce came to the rescue during the pandemic. When done correctly, online commerce is all things it promises to be: ease of use for the buyer and the seller – and happy consumers and businesses. The customer in the customer-retailer relationship experiences a functional website (landing page) interaction, easily makes a purchase, and drops a few chips in the trust bucket for the business. 

The retailer in the relationship lets automation do its thing, smoothly handles the transaction through its in-house ecomm platform. If not in-house, businesses use one of the “Big 5” platforms; including Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento), BigCommerce, Shopify, Shopify Plus, and WooCommerce) to collect revenue and earns buyer trust. And that will hopefully lead to a repeat customer that increases customer lifetime value and decreases cost of acquisition.

Ecommerce Attribution: More Insight Into Improving ROAS

This MarTech article does a great job of analyzing trends and challenges facing ecommerce businesses, and how marketers can win by knowing what its existing and potential customers want and need.

First a few more stats from the article:

  • Globally, e-commerce sales saw a 27.6% growth rate throughout 2021.
  • Insider Intelligence expects that the worldwide ecommerce market will reach $5 trillion in 2022.
  • That number will grow to $6 trillion in 2024.

Bottom line: online sales continue to grow. But with more traditional in-person businesses moving online to meet-and-greet customers digitally, it’s more challenging than ever to find and keep customers. Brick-and-mortar stores were forced to either move to online retailing or accelerate plans it had in place to do so. That added more competition for the online dollar.

That’s even more reason for businesses to create and measure effective landing pages using easy web development tools and multi-touch attribution. Build pages that work; then determine just how customers are finding those web pages. It’s all about improving return on ad spend (ROAS).

MarTech’s trends for staying competitive in the new ecommerce landscape are not surprising but bear repeating:

  • It’s important to balance being helpful with consumer data collection – so you serve up a positive customer experience – but you want to do so without being creepy with all that first- and zero-party data.
  • Make the rest of the transaction easy with seamless shipping, more digitization of the entire process (the less the consumer has to do to complete a transaction, the better), and partnering with the right vendors to make it happen.
  • Find and use the right technologies built for ecommerce in a rapidly changing world. Consumers have expectations and you need to meet those with flying colors. Make it easy for them to find you at your various touchpoints, whether they experience one or seven of them on their way to a conversion.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Cosmetics Ecommerce Retailer

One segment that has for some time realized the value of online retailing is the beauty/cosmetics industry. The pandemic, fortunately or unfortunately, accelerated the growth of beauty products ecommerce. And the trend continues.

According to this Inside Intelligence report, ecommerce sales will reach $30.73 billion in 2026. That’s nearly a third  of total retail sales in the beauty category alone. The majority of U.S. beauty consumers have shopped online. 

Knowing the trends is one thing but knowing how customers are finding these beauty retailers – perhaps a combination of online shopping and in-store purchasing – is key to marketing properly. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the Facebook ad is no longer performing but that paid podcast ad on the beauty influencer’s channel is rocking it? Attribution data and insights will tell the marketer, allowing for a real-time pivot of ad dollars from underperforming channels to the ones that ARE working.

The Insider Intelligence article notes that retail media networks are becoming important tools for beauty product marketers. Of note:

  • Macy’s launched its own media network in the summer of 2020, and it is generating millions – $35 million to be exact.
  • Nordstrom tested the retail media waters in 2019, first with offsite ad campaigns, and now with onsite sponsored ads. Q4 of 2021 netted $40 million in ad revenue from hundreds of brand partners.
  • Social media is driving much of the beauty ecommerce business.
  • TikTok is the favorite among teen makeup buyers.
  • A multi-channel approach in necessary and allows brands to meet consumers where they are, be it specialty stores, big box retailers or Amazon. Those partnerships are important business growth opportunities.

Ecommerce: Addressing Its Unique Marketing Challenges

What the beauty/cosmetics category shows is ecommerce – and direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies – have a few unique problems when it comes to generating revenue. But all of these can be overcome with smart marketing and the use of the right tools. Our take is this:

  • The first sale to a new customer is not always profitable once you consider customer acquisition (CAC) and manufacturing costs.
  • These sunk costs reduce customer lifetime value (LTV). And if a customer buys only once, profitability may never be achievable.
  • Cost of new customers can remain a problem if you don’t have the data to make strategic campaign adjustments.

Now, imagine knowing what is – and what is not – working in marketing campaigns. Imagine spending the same amount of money for more revenue, achieving a better return on ad spend (ROAS) and elevating lifetime value. Ready to bring these trends to life and see your online sales grow and exceed expectations? We have you covered. That’s what LeadsRx does through our multi-touch attribution solution.

Improve Ecommerce Marketing Performance with the Attribution

Marketing-effective websites don’t just magically happen, right? In today’s tech-forward world they can – and do. Unbounce, the parent company of LeadsRx, has tools that make landing page creation easier and smarter:

  • Classic Builder: Create, test and optimize campaigns with a drag-and-drop landing page builder.
  • Smart Builder: This tool helps marketers create high-performing pages – with recommendations backed by data – in no time.
  • Smart Copy: Not just for landing pages, Smart Copy writes effective, engaging copy for websites, blogs and more.
  • Smart Traffic: An optimization tool, once turned on, Smart Traffic sends visitors to the landing page variant that is mostly likely to lead to a conversion.

It’s all part of the Unbounce platform. Even better, LeadsRx integrates quickly and easily with Unbounce landing pages, putting the power of the LeadsRx Universal Pixel™ and LeadsRx Attribution™ to work measuring marketing performance so it can be more effective and efficient.

LeadsRx has been helping ecomm and DTC companies since its inception more than 7 years ago and continues its commitment to improving marketing performance for SMBs and mid-market companies selling online.

If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic and now recession, it is that no matter the highs and lows of the economy, marketing always can and should be refined, examined, and adjusted based on that unbiased data and insight.


If you have any questions on this topic or need help with getting the most out of your marketing campaigns visit the LeadsRx website.

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