Campaign UK

What’s the value of ecommerce?

Mobile is taking ecommerce into fresh territorie­s where the brand experience must be unified and consistent to engage consumers and help them make purchase decisions

- Richard Townsend, CEO and co-founder, Circus Street

Ecommerce has opened up new opportunit­ies for old business models. Mobile has become the new internet. For marketers who wish to take advantages of the new possibilit­ies offered by both ecommerce and m-commerce, the only way is to “tool up” by embracing training.

Tech giant Amazon has far-reaching ambitions. We all know that. Its recent takeover of Whole Foods Market — a bricks-and-mortar retail business — for $14bn sent the retail and FMCG industries into a spin, with an expectatio­n of Amazon disrupting the retail ecosystem like never before. What Amazon understand­s best is how to sell convenienc­e to a tech-empowered, self-sufficient consumer. As choice increases, customer journeys become fragmented, and consumers have more control and influence afforded to them by digital innovation­s.

Today’s connected consumer expects to be able to shop at any time and from anywhere. Moreover, the increasing demand for the best price and multiple delivery options means there’s little choice but to play according to the consumer rules to ensure positive outcomes. Amazon clearly gets it — after all, global online retail sales are expected to rise to $4.1 trillion in 2020 (source: emarketer) — but this represents a tough challenge for many other marketers facing growing competitio­n, consumer fragmentat­ion and the growing complexiti­es of mobile as a powerful sales driver and a central part of ecommerce.


With the increasing ownership and usage of smartphone­s, consumers seeking convenienc­e and choice are ready to zap, tap and go. With consumers now using their phones to browse and buy, but also for price-discovery and product-comparison in stores, it’s easy to see why m-commerce is expected to grow to $693.4bn by 2019 (source: Criteo). However, the big challenge is not just attracting the attention of mobile internet users, but also how best to bring together all the data available about these consumers to fuel mobile commerce.

To respond to these challenges, marketers are being forced to reinvent their consumeren­gagement model to allow for seamless switching between channels, focus on both online and offline platforms and create effective strategies to adapt to changing consumer demands and preference­s.

Brands that can create a unified and consistent experience, regardless of where the consumer is, will succeed in driving retention and conversion rates. After all, consumers aren’t driven by price and convenienc­e alone, but by the total experience that a brand offers. It points to the underlying principle that the way to engage with the consumer is to respond to their evolving expectatio­ns.


For marketers who don’t want to be left fumbling around in this new world order, the remedy is to build a greater understand­ing of the connected consumer and invest in the data sciences that will fuel a future built around that consumer. How? By building knowledge to thrive in this fast-changing world. As Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed said at the Cannes Festival of Creativity: “We’ve got to be much more passionate about skills and training,” adding that those who are reluctant to invest in it “don’t want a future in marketing”.

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