Dentsu SG unveils commerce solution to take ideas from 'PowerPoint to profits'

Dentsu International has rolled out dentsu Commerce in Singapore to deliver an integrated and frictionless end-to-end commerce solutions. Dentsu Commerce brings together its commerce capabilities from across the network in Singapore, as well as globally through its Teaming Platform and is powered by dentsu's global partnerships in technology, media and eCommerce. The launch comes hot on the heels of its recently announced commerce wins in Singapore and across the region, including Singapore fintech start-up Hoolah, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Leveraging the strengths and capabilities from across is creative, media and CXM groups in Singapore, dentsu's Total Commerce approach will focus on commerce intelligence, commerce transformation and commerce excellence. This will help brands discover and define commerce strategy with market intelligence, develop solutions to optimise commerce experiences, and deploy commerce performance and measurable ROI transformation and excellence. The new offering is led by Guillaume Legond (pictured below left), client director and commerce lead, media group; Vivekanand Salunke (pictured below centre), regional strategy director; and Anil Dabhi (pictured below right) project director, Isobar Commerce. 

dentsu commerce

Legond told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE in an interview that with commerce intelligence, the team will conduct audits for clients and help them discover and define their needs based on the problems they need to solve. As for commerce transformation, it will help design and develop products and services tailored to each client, with the end goal of growing the business by reducing cost.

While traditional ad holding companies and consulting firms have all in recent times been launching commerce capabilities, one crucial differentiating factor, according to Legond, is the aspect of commerce excellence. 

"A lot of consulting firms have the first two but not the third one. They are unable to implement what they are recommending. When we approach a client, we can deploy and deliver, and what we do is best in market. Happy Marketer, Merkle, Isobar and iProspect, for example, are seen as leaders in their pocket of excellences. That's why other holding companies are buying companies similar to ours or trying to set up their own shop," he said.

When it comes to commerce excellence, he explained that dentsu Commerce offers an integrated end-to-end business solution, which is similar to the "joined-up thinking" that dentsu Singapore CEO Prakash Kamdar has been advocating for since he took on the reins last year. "Today, all the teams are fully integrated together and when we have joined offerings and capabilities, it becomes a client's team rather than individual agencies working on a project," Legond explained. 

Besides being fully integrated internally, another main differentiator is the global partnerships that dentsu international has with brands such as Adobe's Magento, Salesforce, Google and Facebook. Not only do these global partners look to dentsu to see how the market is evolving and what brands' needs are, they also provide solutions and tools that help bolster dentsu Commerce's offerings. Meanwhile, Legond also said that although it just launched its commerce offering, it has been delivering commerce excellence to clients for many years, including Philips and Panasonic. Thus, clients have confidence in its commerce solution. 

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How the joined-up thinking comes into play

Legond explained to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that dentsu Commerce's first goal is to find out what problem needs to be solved, and what the right solution to the problem is. This is where the three lines of business come into play. "The team at Isobar are champions at ensuring change management happens online, while iProspect will lead strategy and focus on activation. Meanwhile, Merkle, gyro, Merkle, dwa and Happy Marketer will come in from a recurring revenue point of view and think about driving customer lifetime value," he said.

While there are several aspects to the solution, the fundamental goal is to offer clients a "joined-up thinking" solution to solve their business problems and take it from "PowerPoint solutioning" to actually delivering results. Legond said that while dentsu Commerce is competing with traditional agency holding groups and the consultants, its biggest differentiator is translating ideas from PowerPoint to profits.

According to the agency, the end-to-end offering follows a commerce success framework which encompasses the following aspects:

1. Desirability

Is your brand loved? What is your brand equity and wow do you measure that? Legond said dentsu's creative line of business will play a role in advising clients the type of messaging and creative they should put out in order to build desirability.

2. Availability

This represents a brand's distribution strategy and dentsu Commerce will work with clients to figure out where their consumers are at, where their category growth is and whether they should invest in marketplaces, social commerce or have their own websites.

3. Findability

Legond explained that just putting a products on one's platform guarantee it is easily findable. At this stage, dentsu Commerce will leverage on the agency's joined-up thinking by having iProspect, for example, advise clients on the amount they should invest in order to see a particular increase in sales and return on ad spend. 

4. Buyability

ECommerce is a competitive ecosystem and Legond said competitors are going to adjust their strategies based off of one another. In this aspect, dentsu Commerce has products and services such as marketplace optimisation as well as dentsu tracking that will inform clients on the type of strategies their competitors are implementing and adjust accordingly. "The whole point of this is to tell clients that while they are doing a good job, they are still not doing XYZ, for example. Hence, they are either missing out on opportunities or their competitors are gaining market share on different platforms," Legond explained.

5. Repeatability

Are brands engaging their consumers further than just one time purchases? According to Legond, while livestreaming has taken off in China and is doing so in Southeast Asia, brands see very little repeat purchases via livestreaming. "You cannot be investing in livestreaming repeatedly because that means your media dollars are being used up. So you have to find a way to be able to repeat that purchase, so that's where customer experience management comes in handy," Legond said.

commerce success framework

"We have about 66,000 people across 143 markets. We have some great talent sitting out of China and India, and we can leverage that talent and skillset to offer competitive solutions which include strategy, implementation and maintenance. That's where the whole joined-up thinking of dentsu comes together," Legond explained. Through its Total Commerce framework, dentsu Commerce will make available to brands in Singapore dentsu’s years of experience in delivering customer data and intelligence, commerce strategy and consulting, last-mile optimised creative and content, and world-class technology development and integration. The team will continue to help brands prioritise and succeed in the area by mapping their commerce maturity to a strategic road map covering creative, data and operations, experience, as well as performance and media.

"My personal view is that there will be two sides of the coin. On one side, brands which are on the lower end in terms of pricing will be happy with a platform that gives them the keys, for example marketplaces such as Lazada or Tmall. However, brands on the higher end of the pricing scale and have higher desirability such as Dyson or Apple, can start doing more vertical integration of eCommerce. While we can do both sides of the spectrum, we are also helping brands decide where they want to go," he added.

Meanwhile, brands in Singapore will be able to tap on a number of proprietary products and solutions designed to support all stages of the commerce journey. They include total commerce analytics, commerce intelligence, eCommerce enablement, loyalty and customer lifetime value optimisation, dentsu tracking and marketplace consulting, among others.

(Read also: Dentsu Aegis Network SG outlines leadership structure and biz model across 3 units)

Element of repeatability and loyalty in eCommerce

Repeatability is an important aspect in business and for eCommerce firms, but it can be a very expensive business exercise. Prantik Mazumdar, MD, CXM group at dentsu international, explained to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE during the interview that the first three to five transactions consumers make are loss making because businesses are offering consumers discounts. Hence, for businesses to become profitable, there needs to be repeatability and loyalty.

Mazumdar explained that when the team works with FMCG companies, its main goals are to collect first party data (beyond just names and emails) to understand their behaviour; and to to map out their journey to the website be it via search or social or any other routes. Details such as demographic, psychographic, behavioural and commerce data are all crucial to the data science team as it enables them to analyse and segment customers and decide on new products and pricing.

The repeatability is a great secret sauce for us because a lot of businesses today do not focus on that. Everyone is excited about the first sale but as we know, until the 10th sale, for example, you will not make money.

Brand.com, marketplace or both?

Another aspect that brands sometimes struggle with is whether they should build their own website or have a marketplace partner. Mazumdar explained that creating a website is easy, but brands often struggle with the logistics and payment aspect. In such cases, dentsu Commerce partners with clients to advice them on whether they should "build a brand.com, partner with a marketplace or even do both". 

"Depending on product category, when you partner with a marketplace, each of them come with their different specifications, such as the type of data they share and advertising solutions, for example. We will hand hold brands, help them devise a strategy and implement it. There's a lot of consulting work that happens because if this planning stage goes wrong, clients might lose faith in digital and commerce," Mazumdar explained.

Using the analogy of car keys and engine, Mazumdar said the ultimate goal of dentsu Commerce is to ensure that brands are able to keep their own revenue engine running after they are handed the keys. The goal of these tech solutions offered by dentsu Commerce is to allow marketers to present a case to CFOs and prove that they are getting their return on investment, he added.

CEO Prakash Kamdar said the move from an offline to an online economy has accelerated much faster than anyone expected. Change that was supposed to take place over a few years has happened in one. Brands will therefore need to rapidly transform to adapt to these changes and dentsu Commerce is specifically designed to help them respond and thrive.

"Dentsu’s commerce capabilities run deep as we harvest from our years of investments in commerce capabilities, and experience in helping brands of all sizes enhance commerce experiences for its customers from the top of the funnel to the last mile. What we are bringing to the table with dentsu Commerce is the best of our people and the breadth of our commerce capabilities into one joined-up team in Singapore that can strategise and deliver with agility. This is an unparalleled offering that we are delighted to be able to make easily and seamlessly accessible to all clients in Singapore now," he added.

ECommerce trends to take note of

1. The eCommerce experience has to be quick, short and rewarding

Salunke said 75% of eCommerce sales happen on mobile and 70% of consumers drop off after the second click. Hence, it has to be a short journey and brands need to provide a good experience that is also relevant to consumers. In this case, dentsu Commerce can leverage the CXM aspect of its business to segment consumers and figure out what they bought previously to cross sell and up sell. 

2. Rewarding

Lazada and Shopee, for example, come up with targeted, instantly redeemable rewards which involve coins and games. According to Salunke, this does not only concern discounts or offers. All brands are offering discounts but what makes one stand out is the type of offers which are lifestyle driven and are in line with consumers' passion points. Dentsu Commerce will leverage on the capabilities of iProspect, Isobar and CXM to help brands create relevant offers to consumers, along with an effective user interface and user experience.

3. Make it engaging

Citing shoppertainment and the use of key opinion leaders as an example, Salunke said these factors are becoming important to platforms such as Lazada and Shopee. Also, "See now, buy now and win now" is the new trending behaviour among consumers. Customers feel that if they are among the first 10 to purchase an item, for example, they will stand a chance to win something and this creates a sense of urgency among buyers.

4. Need-based buying versus shopping

Over the years, two behaviour spectrums have emerged - need-based buying and shopping. Buying is mechanical, intent driven, monotonous, and involves a fixed shopping list while shopping is fun, rewarding, exploratory and involves experience-driven purchases. Salunke explained that the role of CXM in this case becomes even more important because of the need to cross sell and up sell relevant products. 

Overall, Salunke said dentsu Commerce does not only focus on marketplaces, brand websites or social commerce individually but all aspects of the commerce pie because customers do not view any of these channels differently. 

"We want to also deliver meaningful and personalised experiences where we integrate data, tech, media, creative and CXM capabilities to deliver the brand promise through an omnichannel commerce experience. It is not just a one-time acquisition. It's about how you acquire the customer and grow with them to drive more lifetime value. That's where Mazumdar and his team comes in where we balance acquisition and retention, as well as drive operational efficiencies and effectiveness," Salunke explained.

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