I don’t usually write long posts …
There is one aspect of ecommerce I find troubling.
Not trying to make a claim about the brand below. Don’t mean to take a cheap shot. Simply using an actual experience to discuss a broader point.
Again, please look at the example as an illustration.
Also, please don’t sue me.
Stackline has created a list of 100 fastest growing and declining ecommerce categories. Partial screenshot (full list here) here (observe item #2):
#2 on that list are bread machines.
I did a Google search for bread machines and found this:
Result 1, 2, and 3 are prominent brands: Cuisinart and Breville.
I’m sure you’ve heard of these 2 brands because these 2 brands have spent many millions to build their brand equity.
In this scenario (based on screenshot above) it looks like Cuisinart is the value model (priced at $109) and Breville is premium model (priced at $299).
Now move your eye to the last 2 product photos.
There is no mention of a brand name. Also, I haven’t heard of the retailer carrying the brand, and I’m guessing you haven’t either.
But by simply being adjacent to Cuisinart and Breville this new brand is getting some brand equity juice.
Now if you actually go to the product page you’ll see it’s a fairly well designed page:
My concern: this is where the average online shopper stops investigating.
But I don’t.
Observation #1: They don’t have reviews on this page. To be fair, it’s not like reviews can’t be gamed. So even if they had 150 reviews it doesn’t mean much but not having any gets my attention.
Observation #2: I went to their About Us page and saw this (please read and draw your own conclusion):
Observation #3: Contact Us page (please read and draw your own conclusion):
They’re using a Gmail ID. Nothing wrong with Gmail ID but it isn’t typical.
Simply based on these 3 observations I wouldn’t have bought this bread maker.
But what about the average shopper? We already know from the Stackline infographic that bread machine demand is up 652%. That means 652% more average shoppers are hunting down bread machines.
And they’re probably thinking:
“I haven’t heard of this brand but it’s next to brands I recognize and I trust Google results.”
That’s probably the end of their due diligence.
One More Thing …
I don’t personally know people at Cuisinart and Breville. They might have an excellent ecommerce team. But because Cuisinart and Breville are traditional retail brands I’m guessing their ecommerce teams are also somewhat traditional. It’s unlikely they are equipped to fully leverage this 652% demand surge. They are likely moving slow and their strategy hasn’t changed at lightning speed. And this creates an opening for web-savvy marketers to quickly exploit the opportunity.
Could one smart marketer quickly put together a Shopify site, buy a ton of low quality bread makers, and sell them for a premium knowing that they have no intention of handling customer complaints?
Moral of the story: There is a huge disconnect between the naiveté of the average shopper and the amount of data available to marketers. This creates an unfair playing field. Marketers must take their version of the Hippocratic Oath.
Be well, do well.