A Vision Of eCommerce Post COVID

The next phase of growth for many brands is going to be far more tempest than tidal wave.

Here is what I see on the horizon...

(warning it's darker than I hoped)
One year ago I wrote this piece:


Begging eCommerce brands to go ALL IN on what was proving to be a TIDAL WAVE of support for online shopping.

What followed was 12 months of hardship and pain for our species, but massive growth for our industry.
Now 1 year later as I survey the landscape I see a much more ominous future.

Here are 5 serious challenges facing us all on the other side of COVID...
1. Unreliable Data

Most eCom brands walk a thin cash line that depends on the ability to forecast demand with moderate accuracy.

Underforecasting leads to missed opportunities, over forecasting leads to death

2020 growth rates will lure many into overzealous inventory postions
2. The Return of Options

COVID is ending, retail, travel, nightlife, gyms, etc are all returning.

There is no doubt that during lockdown eCommerce grabbed a disproportionate share of consumer's wallets.

How will the money be spent as we go forward?
3. The FB Problem

eCommerce is so over-indexed on FB for its growth that even a moderate impact on its magical ad product would devastate the sea of small DTC brands.

Recent privacy restrictions from Apple, Google, and legislators pose a meaningful threat.
4. Large Competitors Have Entered The Chat

Massive CPG players, retailers, and fortune 500 brands that previously ignored DTC as a major channel have now pushed hard into every corner of digital real estate.

From SERP's to IG feeds their war chests move markets.
5. Small Competitors Are Flooding In

Shopify touts that every 28 seconds a new store owner makes their first sale.

Q1 of 2021 was the largest filing of new businesses of any quarter in our country's history.

The barrier to start an online business has never been lower.
I dive into all these dynamics in-depth, including some things you can do about it in my newest state of the industry piece released today:

The Tempest & the Tidal Wave: Five Challenges to Ecommerce on the Other Side of COVID

And if you prefer video I recorded a breakdown of my thought process behind the piece.

To be clear I am as bullish as ever on the MACRO movement of eCommerce.

But just like @web wrote earlier this year, I believe:

"The Roaring Twenties weren’t everyone’s. The Roaring Twenties will not be everyone’s."
Only the disciplined, truly unique, and fundamentally sound will emerge from this next season.

If you found this content helpful at all here is what I ask.

- Share the link with a friend
- RT to your followers
- Leave a comment on how you see the coming future

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More from @TaylorHoliday

7 Apr
Somewhere around $50M many eCommerce brands go through a similar experience.

I call it "The Shrinking Sponge"

Here is how the story plays out time and time again...
Venture Capital group "Power Johnson Ventures" has just invested some fresh capital in DTC darling "Never Towards".

The first meeting with the executive team lays out one simple, obtuse, ambiguous, unclear goal. Growth.
Absent any clear indication of in what time horizon, at what margin, on which product, from which customer this growth is supposed to happen, the CMO excitedly gathers her leaders up...
Read 21 tweets
30 Jan
1/ What causes long term sustained performance in an ad account?

🧵featuring real examples 👇🏻

If you explore the source of FB ad growth and subsequently revenue growth for eCom brands it is almost never a function of iterative improvements to ad creative or tactics over time.
2/ More often it is a series of moments that unlock an order of magnitude increase in awareness, engagement, traffic and performance.

These moments can be caused by:

A single ad
A big PR moment
A breakthrough campaign
A change in market dynamics
A new product release
3/ The problem is they are very hard to predict and create.

I’ll give you an example of a few that happened for us @QALORing that changed our trajectory (and ad account performance) each time...
Read 9 tweets
24 Nov 20
You've never heard of the brand from this screenshot.

They have no PR, no influencers going viral on tik tok, they just have 1 powerful thing...

Perfect, product-market fit

I share this, not to brag. We did very little. Really, look how simple that ad account is...

I share this to remind MYSELF and all entrepreneurs that blaming FB for your ROAS is a cop-out.

When you can unhitch yourself from the idea that FB is screwing you, or is broken, or is not what it used to be, then you can begin the powerful process of self-reflection

Understanding that FB is simply a distribution engine for your message moves you from victim to the one in control of the outcome.

From there, you can begin the hard work of making people care about your message.

Making your product so MAGICAL that people must have it.

Read 5 tweets
10 Sep 20
1/ Your brand is much more than a headline away from exit.

“Testing” as the highest value of marketing behavior is deteriorating “brands” down to a series of headlines and image variations.

At its worst it removes the “tester” of obligation to do deep, quality work up front.
2/ It (testing as the highest value) precludes any activity (like community development) that doesn’t fit neatly into a pseudo scientific measurement system or has a more latent value capture.
3/ It also favors “incrementality” over truly innovative thinking. The kind of thinking that isn’t rooted in an extrapolation of past results.
Read 10 tweets
15 Jul 20
1/ There is an inverse relationship between the complexity of a topic and the amount of valuable learning material available.

Take eCommerce accounting: 15,300,000 search results


Facebook ad buying: 1,460,000,000

Its 100 : 1

and the problem is...
2/ Lack of accounting skill and cash flow management accounts for the most life threatening mistakes I see made in early stage eCommerce businesses.

Nothing is more important than mastering these skills.

But access to quality information for early stage founders is difficult.
3/ This is why we added @evrydaysprhero as the "CFO In Residence" of youradmission.co

To give all members access to a:

"Micro-fractional CFO"

A brilliant mind to access to help with any accounting issue at any time. 🤯🤑
Read 5 tweets
5 May 20
1/ Healthy Traffic Pie.

([Visitors] x CR x CM) - VC = Profit.

Continuing the series on eCommerce growth I want to breakdown what your traffic sources should look like as you grow.

Start here 👉🏻
2/ A few TLDR general principles regarding traffic:

The more diverse your channel sources the better

50/50 split between paid and organic traffic is a healthy mix.

Organic:Paid new customer acquisition ratio is a critical metric.
3/ A few visual examples:

Early traffic pies will likely over index on paid.

Here is one of our own brands. At approximately $4M run rate.

As you can see:

Organic Search + Direct = 20%
Paid = 60%

Over time we want to see direct, organic and email all claim larger slices
Read 6 tweets

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