5 ways to maximise ROI from commerce

We all know of the traditional silos that exist in companies – the most prominent one between marketing and sales. Traditionally, brands have had separate sales and marketing teams, often with different objectives. Marketing teams need reach the right customer at the right moment and are measured by awareness and reach metrics. Sales teams on the other hand need to meet ‘sell-through’ targets and are often assessed on short-term sales metrics.

But this leads to brands missing out on driving growth through new commerce platforms as their marketing and sales teams are not structured to leverage these opportunities, reported Zenith’s latest research "Five commerce imperatives for marketers".

As part of the digital transformation process to enable them to embrace end-to-end consumer journey planning, brands need to close the gap between sales and marketing in order to maximise returns from e-commerce.

Samrat Sengupta, regional e-commerce strategy lead, Publicis Commerce Asia Pacific explained that many brands are currently spending "their money blindly", be it on a retailer or on corporate branding. They need to have deep data partnerships with retailers to understand if their marketing spend is optimised. On the other hand, a lot of brand marketing leads to actual sales and given the teams work in silos there is no connect between the two.

"O2O is another thing brands need to be prepared for, a lot of the online marketing leads to offline store sales and there are now enough tools in the market being developed which connect the dots. Brands need to have their technology in place before the commerce 2.0 revolution hits the region,” Sengupta said.

Here are five key areas of focus, according to the study, that will help brands maximise ROI from commerce:

Break down silos

Influencing a customer’s decision to buy your product is not as straight forward as it used to be. Historically, when a customer was considering which brand to purchase, they turned to the shelf in the bricks-and-mortar shop and prioritised pricing, packaging and brands they were famil­iar with. This has expanded to include the entire internet, which means ‘the shelf’ has become infinite. Building the optimal consumer shopping experience has become the most important battle ground.

The growth of online and digital platforms has meant that no two consumer journeys are the same. In order to connect consumer experiences all the way through to sales, brands must break down their silos and understand category differences in journey planning. Specialists from a brand’s marketing and sales functions must inform commerce strategies, and cross-functional models must be developed to ensure the right strategic and investment decisions are made.

" When a customer is deciding whether or not to buy, they consider brands in many different ways. This could be through online research, offline advertising, in-store promotions or from social influencers. The only thing that is certain is that you cannot control how a customer gathers information about your product - no customer’s path to purchase is the same," said the study

Leverage the Retail Experience

Retailers are now acting more like publishers, so brands must approach retail in the way they would media, working collaboratively to plan and activate all the right placements. Consumers expect seamless, connected shopping experiences, so brands must work on joint plans with their retail partners in line with consumer expectations. They want consistent information regardless of where they decide to purchase a product, and value
things like quick and easy checkout over the way a brand makes them feel.

Understanding the likelihood of your retail part­ners, or your direct to consumer solutions, to de­liver a quality experience will help you prioritise your joint growth opportunities with retailers. This is how to do it:

  • Identify within a market how customers are nav­igating between devices and the experience each retailer provides via mobile web or app.
  • Check a retailer’s page speed using tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
  • Analyse the checkout process and delivery options each retailer provides.
  • Understand a retailers CRM programme and their personalisation solutions.

Identify sources of growth
As e-commerce ‘pure players’, such as Amazon, gain share and grow their customer base, brands to need to rethink the distribution of their products. Shoppers are notoriously loyal to where they purchase, so brands need to focus their partnerships on a core set of retailers that offer the most growth potential.

Brands must start with your own data to inform your retailer efforts and evaluate their competitive positioning.  At a minimum brands need to have the basics of a partnership in place and understand the retailers product page templates and requirements. Brands must also ensure they share with retailers robust product information and include more than one image of their product and increase the number of ratings and reviews.  For more advanced content integration, they must build bespoke connections with retailer CMS or PIM systems for ease of update and identify key contacts at a retailer to discuss DMP or personalisation integrations.

Exploit retailer media

With the launch of self-serve marketing solutions to manage on-retailer inventory and promotion, such as Amazon Advertising, traditional retailers need to make it easier for brands to do the same with them. However, traditional commercial agreements do not offer transparent, robust data/reporting or innovative digital solutions for brands. Partnerships with brands represent a key opportunity for retailers to win back share of commercial investments and for brands to drive growth.

In order to get the most value, brands need to skill up and align their marketing and sales teams to clarify their data requirements to ensure that their marketing campaigns are considered within agreements and measurable through to sale on retailer platforms

Amazon has been effective in creating self-serve marketing solutions to help brands promote their products on its platform. Many traditional retailers are behind the curve on this and so brands need to push them to quickly develop digital marketing solutions. It is important that digital trade investments are optimised in a similar way to digital marketing.

Enhance partnerships
Advances in data and technology solutions present an opportunity for seamless integration between brands and retailers. In order to leverage these opportunities brands need to connect communications to commerce. One way of doing this is to use retail e-commerce data to optimise a brand’s digital marketing.