Jasdeep Mondae is Director of Demand Generation, Performics @ Starcom
Covid-19 accelerated many trends, what behaviours do you expect to continue post pandemic?
Contactless is only going to accelerate further now that adoption has been forced upon smaller and out-of-city locations due to the pandemic from a business perspective and also since the limit was increased last month in the UK.
How important is personalisation in ecommerce?
I think we are moving to a post-personalisation world in ecommerce. Personalisation has been something we have spoken about for at least five years and has manifested itself as product-level retargeting, named email marketing and hyper-personalised ad variants. Customers are increasingly savvy of these types of methods. In fact, what customers want is more conversational ecommerce. This could take the form of a bot or easy chat solution whilst in the consideration and conversion phases of a purchase. Millennials and Gen Z are both averse to calling custom service over the phone to ask questions, wanting a quick and immediate answer that cuts straight to the point, avoiding small talk, niceties and extensive customer service menu navigation. I predict brands which use chat boxes at purchase points are more likely to see better conversion rates than through traditional personalisation methods.
What are the challenges around the increasing amounts of data being generated by brands – and the need to surface it in real-time across multiple touchpoints?
Brands are not sitting on a wealth of data, and actually organising and using that data is the pinch point at present. Some of this is related to legacy systems and some of this is related to disorganised data strategy. We have spent years working to gather data but use cases are also being contracted as data usage becomes more regulated. Businesses still have the challenge of needing to unify data sets and sources but even more important than that is identifying actionable data.
How is DTC continuing to disrupt the market?
The unprecedented acceleration of ecommerce during the pandemic has benefitted DTC businesses. I think the success of DTC is likely to be loyalty. In the case of the CPG sector, many of these brands are well known and loved but have always been accessed through a grocery store. Being able to build a direct relationship between brand and customer on the foundation of existing customers is a strong starting point. DTC brands in other sectors also benefit from the direct relationship and cutting out the middleman often improves customer service as the customer is talking to the proverbial ‘horse’s mouth’.
One of the important points for DTC businesses to be wary of is the supply chain crisis unfolding globally at the moment. Any DTC product-based businesses that are starting to see an impact need to manage their comms carefully; a recent Oracle study found that 80% of Americans would stop buying from a brand due to delays or shortages. Therefore, the loyalty that sits at the heart of DTC success could easily be eroded by supply chain problems which are out of their hands.
Digital marketplaces have proliferated and what we are actually beginning to see is consolidation. The players that have the best logistics, infrastructure and largest customer base are starting to buy up smaller players. This is essential in a space that we expect to eventually see some of the social networks playing in.
How important is sustainability and ESG in a brand’s ecommerce strategy?
Gen Z is increasingly called the sustainability generation and they are also the generation driving adoption of frictionless methods of ecommerce transactions. Ease and sustainability have not necessarily been two words that have gone hand in hand in the past but now ecommerce brands need to demonstrate both attributes: making it easy to purchase and showcase their sustainability credentials. In fact being social natives, Gen Z are also not averse to researching ESG and sustainable credentials further themselves and to call out brands on social media. Gen Z are making choices about who they purchase with and, even more than that, the brands which they advocate based on these factors. I expect conversion rates to start being positively influenced when sustainability and ESG credentials are dialled up during the purchase process.
What platform or technology are you most excited about at the moment when it comes to ecommerce?
The development of commerce on social platforms but not just becoming frictionless shopping marketplaces. I think the opportunities that AR and VR provide for trying on or trying out products is exciting for the fashion world but will eventually have repercussions in a wider range of products and services. For example, being able to test-drive a car virtually ahead of purchase is not only more frictionless but can also be more sustainable since if virtual test drives become the norm, this step could lead to vehicle customisation ahead of any vehicles being made, thereby battling against overproduction. Virtual reality consumption of products and services could itself battle against overconsumption as well, so this is an exciting new frontier for ecommerce as brands work to make their products virtual-ready but also positively impact the planet.