How to plan for Q4: Key considerations for ecoms

Q4 is a critical period for all retailers, and after a year of lockdowns, the launch of iOS 14.5 and huge ecommerce growth, the final quarter of 2021 is going to be challenging. 

However, there are several ways to help combat the increased cost and competition we’ll see this year. Below, you’ll find the key trends to prepare for and advice on how Ecommerce brands can maximise Q4 performance.

Anticipated trends this Q4

There was a time where the ‘C’ word wasn’t uttered until 1st December. These days, consumer intent to purchase online sharply increases from the start of November, demonstrated in the graph below when Conversion Rates (CVRs) and Click-through-rates (CTRs) rise. This intent unsurprisingly peaks around the week of Black Friday/Cyber Monday as customers rush to get the best deals possible.

Consumer intent to purchase will start in early November

Whilst early intent to purchase in 2020 was in part due to early discounting from retailers driven by excess stock from numerous lockdowns, 2021 will likely see brands repeat this early discounting as the market becomes more competitive. 

Competition on social will be fierce in Q4

It’s no secret that Facebook CPMs are increasing YoY as Ecommerce booms. The last year has seen big brands join DTCs in the auction, resulting in more advertisers on the platform than ever.

How to maximise Q4 potential

Use Q3 to test, test and test

Q3 testing is critical to finding the best performing ad strategies to work for your brand in Q4. Testing should cover:

  • Creative: This should be a top priority for Q3. Testing USPs to understand what appeals most to your audience will benefit both short and long-term performance, and help you select the best performing creatives to focus on in Q4.
  • Account liquidity: Simplify your account structure in order to maximise efficiencies and reduce costs.
  • CRO optimisation: Run on-site tests throughout Q3 and Q4 to make sure your site is as appealing as possible to potential customers. Facebook activity can drive strong levels of traffic, but if CRO is poor that spend becomes much less effective.
  • New features: Try testing new Facebook features such as Shops, which will likely become much more important as time progresses, to improve users’ on-platform experience too.
  • Cross-border: Expanding internationally can help reach new, in-market customers at a low cost. 

Start offers before Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Try offering a discount the week prior to Black Friday weekend. A longer or separate discount earlier in the month can be a good strategy to catch early bird shoppers.

…Or if you don’t have an offer

For those brands not participating in Black Friday, the aforementioned trends will still impact your results – it’s worth thinking about what other USPs you can push during this time, as some users will respond well to unique gift messaging, or creatives that highlight a brand’s sustainability credentials. 

Ultimately, whilst Q4 presents challenges for Ecoms, if your brand tests thoroughly in Q3 to build the most effective ads, the rewards will be substantial.

Related thinking

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