Three big trends for brands moving to e-commerce

Marketers looking to thrive in e-commerce should get back to basics, think of online retail platforms as media destinations, and make sure they don’t overemphasize the performance marketing.

These were the key takeaways from a session hosted by WARC during Lions Live, a virtual event hosted by Cannes Lions – WARC’s sister company – which profiled key e-commerce trends and provided in-depth insights from various industry experts. industry. (The video from this session can be streamed for free here, and WARC subscribers can read a summary of the main takeaways here.)

It’s a time of going back to basics, and the brand experience is essential

The first recommendation for brand custodians hoping to improve their digital capabilities, a shift that has been encouraged by consumers searching online after the COVID-19 outbreak, is to focus on fundamentals.

Consumer habits on e-commerce sites vary significantly compared to physical stores, such as a shift to larger, less cost-effective packaging and a lower frequency of impulse purchases.

More generally, the fact that online shoppers are unable to smell or touch a product means that a broader customer experience is essential, especially during expensive acquisitions.

Cheryl Calverley, CEO of online mattress brand Eve Sleep, told WARC that the risks to consumers are low when it comes to small-value purchases, but when buying a larger item. expensive, the customer experience is absolutely essential.

“The effectiveness of our customer experience and its impact on your brand is important. And if the investment in the brand and the customer experience is bad, the investment will be ineffective,” she said.

Closer integration between marketing and supply chain is an integral part of this process, as peaks in demand caused by communications must be met seamlessly.

Patrick Miller, co-founder of Flywheel Digital, a WARC sister company that helps brands optimize their presence on sites such as Amazon, Instacart and, called the delivery process a “second moment of truth”. for brands.

The first is when a purchase is made. But the process of getting a product into the hands of a consumer is another opportunity for customer delight or – potentially – disappointment.

“Unboxing moments aren’t just for Apple products anymore,” Miller observed. “Today, it’s even for toilet paper. How does the product arrive and what is it like to open the product and then store it in a pantry at home? ” He asked.

Performance marketing is changing

Another indicator of the new synergies resulting from the shift to e-commerce platforms is the growth of these sites into full-fledged media destinations.

This will clearly benefit Amazon, the largest online retailer in the United States, but brick-and-mortar players like Target and Walmart have also been rapidly building their omnichannel capabilities.

New buyable ad formats are an inspiration for marketers to explore this space, as is the ability to immediately tie a brand message and a final transaction.

The Hershey Co., the candy maker, is adapting to such processes by breaking down the old silos that separated its marketing efforts from e-commerce.

“It’s been an interesting and very quick journey of bringing all of these budgets together and planning them together so that we don’t overlap or run into, as we call it, one offer over another,” Jill Baskin, the marketing director of Hershey’s, reported.

One development from China that shows where e-commerce and media can intersect in powerful ways is live streaming, which combines entertainment, influencer marketing and retail in a compelling way.

Elijah Whaley, CMO of Chinese influencer consultancy PARKLU, suggested that community is a central part of this engaging formula.

And he cited the example of beauty brand Perfect Diary, as it has created many private WhatsApp groups and even created a virtual brand ambassador to promote its products.

“It’s really, really fascinating what they’ve done to really turn customers into loyal, long-term brand advocates, and keep them there by creating this avatar, this persona that people really relate to, that they follow and are interested in it,” Whaley said.

But the focus on performance poses a threat to the brand

With the increased measurability of e-commerce comes a temptation to focus on performance marketing, which seeks to drive short-term results in favor of long-term brand advertising.

Fiscal pressures induced by COVID-19 and the impending recession will increase the appeal of this strategy and thus accelerate a pre-existing gravitation towards short-termism in marketing.

Companies like Expedia, the online travel company, and adidas, the sportswear giant, have benefited from reconsidering this kind of approach.

Jerry Daykin, EMEA media director at healthcare company GSK, explained why performance marketing alone isn’t enough. It offers real-time data to help optimize campaigns, he said, but cannot establish overall media impact.

“I always encourage marketers to take a step back from what are sometimes seen as slightly more old-fashioned forms of measurement: brand impact studies and econometrics, as well as slightly more that ultimately will really help you understand how your media is performing.” added Daykin.

Source of ARM

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