Ecommerce has opened up new opportunities for old business models. Mobile has become the new internet. For marketers who wish to take advantages of the new possibilities offered by both ecommerce and m-commerce, the only way is to "tool up" by embracing training.
Tech giant Amazon has far-reaching ambitions. We all know that. Its recent takeover of Whole Foods Market — a bricks-and-mortar retail business — for $14bn sent the retail and FMCG industries into a spin, with an expectation of Amazon disrupting the retail ecosystem like never before. What Amazon understands best is how to sell convenience to a tech-empowered, self-sufficient consumer. As choice increases, customer journeys become fragmented, and consumers have more control and influence afforded to them by digital innovations.
Today’s connected consumer expects to be able to shop at any time and from anywhere. Moreover, the increasing demand for the best price and multiple delivery options means there’s little choice but to play according to the consumer rules to ensure positive outcomes. Amazon clearly gets it — after all, global online retail sales are expected to rise to $4.1 trillion in 2020 (source: eMarketer) — but this represents a tough challenge for many other marketers facing growing competition, consumer fragmentation and the growing complexities of mobile as a powerful sales driver and a central part of ecommerce.
Zap, tap and go
With the increasing ownership and usage of smartphones, consumers seeking convenience and choice are ready to zap, tap and go. With consumers now using their phones to browse and buy, but also for price-discovery and product-comparison in stores, it’s easy to see why m-commerce is expected to grow to $693.4bn by 2019 (source: Criteo). However, the big challenge is not just attracting the attention of mobile internet users, but also how best to bring together all the data available about these consumers to fuel mobile commerce.
To respond to these challenges, marketers are being forced to reinvent their consumer-engagement model to allow for seamless switching between channels, focus on both online and offline platforms and create effective strategies to adapt to changing consumer demands and preferences.
Brands that can create a unified and consistent experience, regardless of where the consumer is, will succeed in driving retention and conversion rates. After all, consumers aren’t driven by price and convenience alone, but by the total experience that a brand offers. It points to the underlying principle that the way to engage with the consumer is to respond to their evolving expectations.
Build knowledge to thrive
For marketers who don’t want to be left fumbling around in this new world order, the remedy is to build a greater understanding of the connected consumer and invest in the data sciences that will fuel a future built around that consumer. How? By building knowledge to thrive in this fast-changing world. As Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed said at the Cannes Festival of Creativity: "We’ve got to be much more passionate about skills and training," adding that those who are reluctant to invest in it "don’t want a future in marketing".
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Richard Townsend is CEO and co-founder of Circus Street