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

Campaign UK - - PROMOTION - 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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