E-commerce groups are a must-have at the big global agencies today.
And on Thursday, IPG Mediabrands digital agency Reprise is the latest to announce a global solution that helps clients navigate the new retail landscape.
Reprise has always had e-commerce capabilities, but it wanted to expand and formalize those offerings as online shopping exploded this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Will Margaritis, head of e-commerce in North America at Reprise.
“With changes in the market, we’ve been looking to increase the scope of work we can do in e-commerce and take a full service offering to the market,” he explained. “E-commerce has become such a more critical part of the brand experience and consumer journey.”
While e-commerce used to be about managing a brand’s Amazon strategy, brands now need to grapple with multiple e-retail marketplaces from Walmart to Target, as well as direct-to-consumer plays. That requires real-time data on not just ad performance, but supply-chain operations and warehousing.
To help clients pull all of this together, Reprise works with platforms such as Profitero, which tracks the e-commerce funnel including sales, pricing, ROI, market share and inventory availability. The team also pulls data directly from major retailers such as Walmart, Target and Amazon and builds out custom dashboards that aggregate that data with client ad spend for a full-picture view.
“That allows us to understand who the consumer is, what social channels they spend time on and from there, send them to the store where they're most likely to convert, or where the brand wants them to convert,” Margaritis said.
Reprise can then tie that data back to how an online campaign impacts in-store sales and optimize along the way, or to understand why a product that’s being advertised is out of stock in stores and adjust the strategy quickly.
“We can see, if we just spent half a million dollars for a campaign on Walmart, where did the sales come from? Did it cannibalize in-store sales? Did the product get purchased on Amazon instead?” Margaritis added.
Reprise commerce is currently working with IPG technology unit Kinesso to automate the process of pulling all of this data together. The team plans to launch a planning tool that combines vertical-specific knowledge to help clients identify the best places to sell based on their budget and target audience. “That saves us probably a month of optimization,” Margaritis said.
Reprise also integrates with platforms such as Magento and Shopify to help clients with their DTC strategies and experience design, an increasingly important area during the pandemic.
“Back in April and May, supply chains started breaking down,” Margaritis said. “We're seeing many brands say, in case anything else happens, we want something that's completely under our control.”
Reprise has hired people outside of the advertising world with backgrounds in e-commerce, retail and supply-chain logistics to staff the core Reprise commerce team, which is currently 15 people in the U.S. and 35 globally. The group can tap into e-commerce experts across the Mediabrands agencies, depending on the client's needs. The agency plans to double the core commerce team this year.
“We're doing the backbone of e-commerce strategy and bringing that to Reprise and the rest of Mediabrands,” Margaritis said.
Currently the team is working with eight clients, for whom its already driving efficiencies, Margaritis said. For one large U.K.-based client, Reprise commerce drove a 10% increase in ad-attributed sales on Amazon in three months. Another U.S.-based client saw a 14-fold increase in revenue and a 2.5-fold increase in return on ad spend after working with the group.
Reprise commerce’s goal is to be included in more global pitches this year as commerce becomes central to the advertising process.
“It really is a holistic offering where we are part of every single activation a client is doing within Mediabrands,” Margaritis said. “We're in the planning process figuring out how to add e-commerce metrics or shoppability or commerce to every activation.”