Any other business: 03 July 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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In this week’s AOB, we explore sustainable e-commerce packaging, TikTok’s new advertising platform, and why Google’s switched-up search model may benefit SMEs.


TikTok entices advertisers

TikTok, the video sharing social network beloved by Gen Z-ers across the world, has launched TikTok for Business1, a global business platform aimed at making it more accessible to brands wishing to advertise.   

Under the banner 'Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks’, the app is inviting brands to reconsider traditional marketing in favor of creating storytelling content on the platform, with support from its suite of advertising tools including brand takeovers and influencer partnerships.

It comes as many brands are boycotting advertising on Facebook in support of the Stop Hate for Profitcampaign, and will be looking for alternative routes to selling on social. And with over 800 million active users3, TikTok is approaching Instagram-levels of market reach.  Ignore the platform at your peril.

From doorstep to compost heap

Two creative entrepreneurs from New Zealand are hoping to minimize the environmental impact of the e-commerce sector through their sustainable packaging company. The Better Packaging Co.’s4 compostable shipping material will be an eco-friendly alternative to the 2+ billion tons of waste produced by the e-commerce world every year5.

Utilizing their backgrounds in chemistry, the founders have developed packaging that considers “the complete lifecycle of a product from raw material sourcing, right through to end-of-life disposal”6, using plant-based materials free of microplastics.

Bugaboo rolls online

When the pandemic hit, many bricks-and-mortar stores had to pivot online to survive. For premium pushchair brand Bugaboo7, which sells its products in department stores across the world, this posed a challenge.

Its customers traditionally like to view and test the products before buying, which made switching to an e-commerce model seem insufficient. So, the company worked smartly to re-create some of the in-store experience online, posting demonstration videos on social media and introducing a live chat feature to answer customers’ questions in real time. As a result, website traffic increased substantially.

“It is a terrifying period for every business out there but also exciting, as it has forced us to be more entrepreneurial,” said Thomas Stegelmann8, Bugaboo’s director of global e-commerce.

Our exclusive series on Pandemic Culture dives into how other brands made the switch to e-commerce – and what their future holds.

Germany: Europe’s big spender

E-commerce in Germany – the world’s fourth largest economy – is forecast to be worth €103.4 billion by the end of 2020. The figure is a 10% increase on last year, fuelled by the coronavirus and the country’s high adoption of e-commerce – last year, 84% of the online population made a purchase. 

The Germany 2020 Ecommerce Country Report9 by RetailX10 also found that clothing and shoes are the most purchased products, whilst groceries are the least popular.

What e-commerce opportunities could Germany hold for your business? Discover all in our exclusive country guide

Google’s boost for SMEs

In the US, most product searches now start on Amazon11, which has had a negative effect on Google’s revenue. But now, the search engine giant is making changes to try and draw consumers back. It's shifting the way it displays search results, replacing sponsored product ads in the knowledge panel (on the right-hand side of search results) with free listings – giving consumers more relevant products to their original search term. The change, which will be rolled out in the US on mobile commerce initially, is a positive step for SMEs who have traditionally been dominated on Google results pages by larger e-tailers with bigger ad spend.

1 – TikTok for Business

2 – Stop Hate for Profit

3 – Business of Apps, June 2020

4 – The Better Packaging Co.

5 – Happi, June 2020

6 – The Better Packaging Co.

7 – Bugaboo

8 – Thomas Stegelmann, Essential Retail, June 2020

9 – Germany 2020 Ecommerce Country Report, Ecommerce News, June 2020

10 – RetailX

11 – Econsultancy, July 2020