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April Eighth
 
No it’s not first thing Friday morning  - this is an experiment where we share an additional midweek Fix, going deeper on our core topics. This week Merchants and we will alternate with newTV. We will get this onto a separate database so people can opt out of this if they want - but if you unsubscribe now you lose Fix Friday too. Would love your thoughts on how we make this better  - hit reply.

This current situation is having a big effect on ecommerce and hence will be the crucible in which strong, enduring Merchant businesses will be forged - and where weaker ones melt away. 
 
There is lots of data around showing how companies and categories are performing. And lots of opinion on what it all means.  But one has to be careful with these bar charts and bombastic rhetoric. So much is clouded by the source of the data - is it really representative? - and the eagerness to call the situation. It feels like there is a way to go before we can draw real conclusions.
 
Waiting and watching doesn’t really work though. Learning and adapting is crucial. For the last 20 years we have ended our keynotes, talks and workshops with the advice that It’s time to experiment. This has never felt truer than now.
 
So our new bi weekly Fix.Merchant deep dives into this changing world of retail. We try and avoid the confusing acronyms but we cover DTV, DNVB, O2O, ecommerce, mcommerce omnichannel and every other sort of retail.Our focus is on the Merchants selling things in the best way possible
 
A good place to start with the data is a very comprehensive report on the global impact of the virus from SimilarWeb - where our chart above comes from. Argos suffers from being  a little unfashionable but is a business we often talk about in workshops - they have embraced digital and use their network of stores to gain logistical advantage. Many of the Merchants doing less well are engaged with digital transformation but need to go beyond workshops and PostIt notes and focus on real world experimentation. It's never been easier to build a new DTC proposition to test where the opportunities lie.
 
Legacy brands do have some real advantages. Walmart sales have soared in the last month through their 4700 stores, but online grew even faster for them. Announcing results for the year up to the end of February Tesco shared that in March sales were up 30%. An FT story on how the new Tesco CEO has fixed (the) ailing supermarket giant is good background.
 
A US study on online grocery shopping unsurprisingly shows a big increase, with their data showing almost a third of US shoppers have used a delivery or pick up service in the last month  - up from just 13% last August. Lots of new users are in older age groups and 43% of all respondents say they are very or extremely likely to stick with online in the future. Many of those not using these services, do say they are very likely to try online if the crisis continues.
 
It's worth looking back at emarketer data that shows grocery was a small sector in ecommerce - with penetration at just 3.2% in the US. This ‘enforced’ trial will pay off for the better firms.
 
But as we have mentioned before this bonanza hasn’t helped meal delivery services. A Reuters piece includes this graphic - love the fact our Italian friends are going big on home delivered Pizza.
In a sign of desperation most services have seen a rush of new restaurants join as they try and diversify from eat-in customers - but whilst supply is booming demand isn't. I can't be the only one to have their instagram flooded with friends baking sourdough and lovely home cooked food? 
 
Our friends at Gousto are doing really well, helping fuel that desire to cook with demand for their meal kits at record levels. The whole sector seems to be doing well.
 
Looking at the much shared Top 100 fastest growing and declining ecommerce categories this should be no surprise; in the top 20 fastest growing are bread machines (+652%), flour and dried grains and rice.
 
Plus
 
I mentioned the new commercial focus at Pinterest last Friday and shared a summary of their new initiatives - now they are adding shop tabs and the ability to connect to stock inventory. These new moves are an interesting new opportunity for brands and merit experimentation. 
 
Amazon Prime Day is likely to be delayed - in previous years it has been in July but now seems August is more likely. 
 
(Interesting thought? - Prime Day is already bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined  - how big could it get if they manage to time it to coincide with life returning to normal? So you need to think about how you can benefit from Prime Day and the return to ‘normal’. It will happen at some point and you need to be ready.)
 
Amazon have won an important court case over trademark rights, clearing them of responsibility for policing third party sellers. Our friends at Fabacus have a fascinating solution in this area - enabling major brands to manage their licensing and supply chains - and expose that to Amazon, Google etc so fake and grey products can be identified and removed. Happy to make intros.
 
Even in lockdown good independent food shops are doing well - we have a great butcher and a wonderful fishmonger at the end of our road. As more food producers and wholesalers pivot to retail our friends at Appear Here have been helping find good locations for new stores.
 
The best way to use the unusual amounts of free time we now have is to invest some of it in learning. I am going deep into Dialogue Marketing - Messenger and Text ads - with this Playbook proving really useful. And retail guru Steve Dennis has a new book - read the first chapter here and buy it here.
 
Constantly new features in the Shopify platform as their API develops - many (most?) Shopify customers are missing out as they don’t take advantage of new opportunities for marginal gains
 
Shopify are also good at sharing knowledge and insight with their community - this podcast with their Partnerships Manager looks at long term growth and covers lots of interesting topics.
 
Finally - i really like this new project from DTC drinks brand Haus - they have tweaked their business model to drive revenues for a selection of iconic US restaurants. This helps these businesses immediately - and drives trial and customer acquisition for Haus. I guess the $80 cost is rather less than their CAC on social. And the true cost for Haus will be significantly less than $80. Smart marketing that solves problems.

There is so much opportunity for smart Merchants right now - lets talk about how I might help you seize it - hit reply

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