This post is sponsored by Celtra.
The pandemic has sent us all shopping online, even shoppers who previously would prefer the brick and mortar experience. This is likely to have a lasting impact on consumer behaviour even after things normalise (and who knows when that will even happen). Southeast Asia alone is predicted to be home to more than 300 million online shoppers by the end of 2020, that’s five years ahead of earlier projections by a Facebook and Bain & Company report.
The bottom line is: advertisers have had to pivot quickly to cater to this eCommerce-first reality. Even brands who previously relied on physical retail will need to, in many ways, act like DTC companies. In order to create that direct brand-to-consumer relationship online, conventional brands need to revisit their storytelling. The digital purchase journey has numerous touch-points and brands need to create content to engage and convert shoppers across that journey. This creates additional pressures on the production of digital assets.
ECommerce brands need droves of creative
ECommerce campaigns are notorious for requiring a high volume of creative assets. From channel-specific sizes and formats to business-driven content scaling needs, let’s take a look at some of the most common drivers of creative variety:
New product launches
Perhaps the most evident driver of variety, creating for eCommerce means dealing with product catalogues with hundreds or thousands of products. When a brand needs to launch a new product or product line, its creative team or in-house agency needs to design original assets for the launch, often from scratch.
Marketers in APAC are keen on acquiring customers beyond country borders. That means localising content not just language-wise, but also culture-wise. What works in Indonesia does not make the cut for, say, Thailand. Add in unique, country-specific media plans that all call for different formats and sizes, marketers and creative directors quickly face a production plan with hundreds of assets.
Reacting to cultural or societal events
COVID is a prime example of this. Imagine being an eCommerce brand with a campaign shot in a large party setting at the start of the pandemic. This kind of storytelling would surely miss the mark as social distancing is the new norm. Ecommerce creative teams need to invest in tools that grant them the agility to quickly repurpose campaign assets without having to start from square one.
According to research conducted by Celtra and Dynata in August 2020, 79% of shoppers want to see a variety of storytelling approaches from brands. With Singles’ Day 11:11 and the holidays around the corner, don’t just count on one narrative to charm shoppers, try to plan for different angles that capture different interests.
Achieve variety with creative automation
As you can imagine, catering to all these variety needs is impossible manually. As a marketer, your creative resources or budgets are not growing to meet the exploding content demands. This creates a content gap – the delta between the amount of creative you need to convert shoppers and the resources you have available to produce that content.
How do you solve this dilemma?
There is a new category of software that is designed to solve the content gap. It’s called Creative Automation and it is already being used in creative production by the likes of adidas, Spotify, and many more.
Creative automation helps brands to quickly pivot to eCommerce to set up a new suite of creative assets, iterate existing campaigns, repurpose assets, and even expand these across to new channels such as social media and email.
Creative automation software enables marketers to quickly meet the volume demands that are common to many eCommerce brands by allowing marketers to create and customise their own library of templates. This is paired with a content feed where brands can store information such as product images, messaging approaches, language variants, and so on. By separating content from (template) design, in-house creative teams can produce masses of content.
Forward thinking brands are already automating production processes, and the results speak for themselves. With creative automation, in-house production teams typically create three times more content in half the time. For eCommerce brands, adopting creative automation isn’t a nice to have in 2021– it’s a must have.
The writer is Raushida Vasaiwala, general manager, APAC, Celtra.