Welcome to The Loop Marketing Podcast. I'm your host Elise, Director of Marketing at Coegi today. I'm joined by Coegi's president and founder, Sean Cotton, as well as senior account strategy director, Monica Herschelman. Let's get started.
So it's no secret that eCommerce has exploded, I would say obviously over the pandemic, but it was on an upward trajectory way before then. So what changes have you seen in consumer behavior as a reaction to the growth of eCommerce, and how have brands in turn reacted to capitalize on this growth?
Well, I think from the consumer perspective, there's almost an expectation now from consumers that the brands that they want to buy are available in a e-commerce environment, and they also expect it to be tailored to their needs. As they've seen this, it's really impacted them as to how they approach making those products available. So even if they don't have an eCommerce environment so to speak, it's buy online pickup at the store or things of that nature. These are things that smart brands are leaning into because they realize that they have to make their products available, uh, in that environment.
00:01:34 Yeah. I also think the shop online, pick up in store, like getting groceries delivered of your trunk, is amazing, right? So, you know, how you browse in store has changed. You used to just go up and down every aisle and now the aisle is online. And so you can stick to your list and you can really just drive up to a parking spot, call a number and then get a coffee now at like a target, you know. So they're making these experiences so much more seamless without inconveniencing of stores and lines in store. But also, you know, our society just wants things instantly. So two hour delivery on Amazon from Whole Foods and things like that, where we have that high expectation and want things really, really quickly. And we rely on that now. It's not a secondary, it's more of a primary type of shopping. And then we, if we need something, we'll go to the store secondary. So that's how we blend everything, right? So we as consumers put the online presence actually first. The brands that are doing really well are putting those online experiences first, but then also complementing and supplementing with offline and in store sales.
So it could be very tempting to just copy the approach of brands that have done this very well and expect it to be equally successful for your own brand and drive the same ROI. What would you do? Or how would you challenge brands to really take a strategic approach to eCommerce and deep dive into what their customers expect and want?
00:03:11 Yeah, I think it really starts with getting to know their specific customers. What's important to one brand that's doing e-commerce, what's important to their customers may be different, right, than what's important to the customers of our particular brand. Right. And so we do have to look really at the individual characteristics and attributes of who our key customers are, and then craft around that. There's likely going to be a lot of overlap between the ones that are doing e-commerce well because there's a reason why they're doing well. But there's going to be other things that maybe resonate with our customers that aren't as important to that other brand. For instance, it could be around being able to have a list and/or a favorites feature on our website because there's things that we wanna shop and we wanna store for later for easy access, but we don't wanna buy today, you know. Something as simple as that, including that on our website. Or for this other retailer, it could be discounts and coupons, right. For our particular customer. maybe that's not the most important thing. Maybe they're drawn to our product due to the high quality and reliability. And we need to lean into attributes that are around that. So, it starts with getting to know our particular consumers really, really well. We can look at what others are doing and having success with and incorporate that, but be sure to satisfy the specific needs of our most valuable consumers.
Yeah. And I think to build on that the consumer is looking for the brand to offer them something, right. So if they're tied to that brand, if they're loyalists already, they wanna continue to be loyal or they're going be switched over. So we have to think about the brand experience too, and that's how you can really incorporate a communication strategy and a media strategy together. One on one. So your message is hitting the people that you need to be hitting, as Sean said, but also the experience within what they're doing, right? So seamless integration and messaging of, okay, you have bought this or cross-selling upselling...that type of thing where you can't just copy and paste. And in this day and age, you're probably going to be called out. So really creating that customer experience for your target customer, but also finding opportunity with other customer spaces too, like that secondary or tertiary space, and just understanding what value you bring to your customers as a brand and then applying that through all the channels.
Yeah. And I think you have to be dedicated to doing that. You know, prior to the explosion of eCommerce and DTC, a brand could ride the waves of their brand loyalty for a long, long time. But now that consumers have more and more choices and options, and many of these are being pushed towards them, that brand loyalty can erode pretty quickly. If they're not continually engaged by their current products and services.
00:06:22 So that brings me to the point of personalization. I think that's really where loyalty is gained, but there's also a balancing of personalization and being authentic and not overly pushy. I feel like consumers have gotten pretty aware of when that product that's being placed in front of me makes complete sense because I bought product that's complementary to it yesterday, and maybe are turned off because they feel like there's not been enough space or time in between the purchase. So how do you do personalization well on eCommerce and at a point that's scalable? Because every brand is gonna have subsections of their customers... So, what have you seen work well, in terms of personalization?
I think really developing a path for your customer, right, and understanding the timing that they need to really get their mind shifted to the next product or to the next thing. Because sometimes you don't get everything at once. You get a pair of shoes, now you might need shoelaces. So thinking about that customer experience or thinking about... You know how cookies are going away, right, and personalization is somewhat triggered by those. If you're going on to land on this landing page, I'm gonna serve you this ad and this ad and this ad, but it starts with understanding your audience and knowing the segments of your audience and where we want to deliver. So new moms might be completely different than a new dad, right. With messaging and tone and color. So we, as agencies with media and creative and branding, are going to have to work together a lot more to understand how we get to the audience and how that message and creative is going to resonate. Not more so of like, "hi Monica, you want this ad." It's more so of like those little pods of people that you can really start building that personalization, not with words, but with themes and with other pieces of creative and messaging.
Yeah. I think most of us have when we're shopping have seen ads in the footer or over to the right, of things you might also like, right, and all these other products. And certainly there's value to that and that can be very helpful. But to your point about being scalable, those are one to one interactions that would take place potentially millions and millions of times. And we're directing that particular consumer down one path. So if we can come up several different levels and give them the opportunity to see different paths that they can go, maybe that wasn't even directly related to that product that they just bought, then that promotes discovery on behalf of our consumers and discovery leads to engagement and leads to loyalty.
00:09:13 So then thinking over the last two years, there have been a lot of brands who have had to pivot very quickly in terms of their business model, to be able to reach customers with their products in a way that's seamless and convenient. What have you seen brands do well and where have you maybe seen some missteps that have impacted consumer loyalty?
Yeah. So I think a good example, you know, coming out of the pandemic is, is gym equipment and gym attributes. So before everything was very convenient. They could go to gym work out. And then all of a sudden that was taken away in a day or a week, right. So these companies had to really figure out how do I get these products in customer's hands, but also offer a little bit of stress relief for these people. You know, people were bottled up in their homes, they couldn't go out. So you have companies like a Tonal where they kind of went to the social channels, where they knew that people were looking for something to release energy from being in their house. And so they were really resonating with that messaging.
Also just workout videos, you know look how big those have popped up, like on Apple+ and things like that, where people really resonated with just being able to do it themselves and doing it in their home, but still getting out and being out of our work style and our work from home. But then also some other like other gym companies just, just couldn't recognize or be like, they have these big pieces of equipment. How do we get them into these houses? How do we get them set up? It just seemed like overly tasked. So I think there's a nice balance that you can find where, you know, taking opportunity, but not taking opportunity from your customer, right. Not just jumping on everything of the trend or the bandwagon or QR code, you know, like doing it smartly so your customer still feels like it's loyal to them, and it's personalized to them, but also still driving your products forward.
Yeah. And I think an another area that I saw similar amount of success is in the ready to deliver furniture space, you know, Wayfair, for instance. As interest rates were low and people were building and buying lots of houses and remodeling, they needed to stock these houses. And I think a company like Wayfair took great advantage of that environment, that situation. Some of the things that I really appreciate that they did, and even still continue to do even though they're e-commerce company, they really promote their brand through all channels. You'll see them on TV, print, and so forth. And so they're really building that awareness of what they have to offer. They provide other options after you purchase that particular piece of furniture for that product like delivery, installation and assembly. If there's any kind of bad experience, they'll follow that up with discounts and coupon codes. And they do have a nice recommendation engine within their platform. So they're doing a lot of things well in that eCommerce environment, but they're not really just looking at it as an online only initiative. One of the things that I, again, think they're doing really well is looking across channels and where their consumers are spending their time and educating them about what they have to offer in those places.
00:12:52 I think you bring up a really good point, Sean, about the tactics that are needed to drive eCommerce sales. And it may feel simple thinking about social commerce, being a link to eCommerce sales, but what are some other tactics you've done with your brands in the CPG space, Monica, to drive eCommerce results?
Yeah, I think it's a holistic opportunity, right? So obviously social is probably the one that you can do the best. Um, but like complementing with just a display or a programmatic channel, even direct buys like being in that context with your customer at the right time. But then TV and traditional still has a place in our digital, in our media landscape. Right. So it has changed its face, but it does complement when you see something on a 70 inch TV, you will pay attention. So cable and CTV and you know, all of those big screen placements. Then digital out of home and out of home still, you know, people are out driving, people are going back out, they're being out in, in open again, don't forget about those tried and true tactics that have driven media for so long. Um, and then complement and supplement with social ,programmatic and, you know, online avenues.
00:14:14 How do you think the eCommerce landscape's going to evolve over the next five years? Thinking about the last two, three years, there's been an expedited amount of change. Do you think we'll continue on that trajectory in terms of pivoting, um, with e-commerce tactics or what are you envisioning?
Yeah, I think e-commerce will just be embedded into the marketing landscape for brands in that just always being available for consumers to buy or to consider their products wherever and whenever. Maybe even getting to a point to where it starts to become predictive a little bit more. Like, it's about time for that, you know, new refrigerator or for this, or whatever, it may be...a new car. Then thinking a few more years in the future, you think about web 3.0 and those interactive experiences and what that would mean for eCommerce to where people can try before you buy in virtual environments. So there's, there are some exciting areas where eCommerce could continue to expand.
I also think the, you know, eCommerce grew so quickly, now the infrastructure has to kind of catch up too. So like delivery services being, you know, two hour delivery, a drone drop, like that type of thing. So, online was so easy to change pretty quickly in the last three years, but now there's a lot of infrastructure. So I think that as long as that escalates with it, we'll be able to continue our upper trajectory. But then also people are not going to want to lose convenience. That is something that we will always want. And the convenience factor that e-commerce provided the last couple of years is just going to be... okay, how can we make it better? How can we, you know, build more brand loyalty with it?
00:16:09 Great. Thank you so much for your time, Monica and Sean.
Thank you for listening. Coegi is an industry leading performance marketing agency based in the Midwest. We've learned a lot since our founding in 2014 and started The Loop Marketing Podcast to share some of our hot takes on marketing trends, following best practices, and actionable tips for improving your digital strategy. We'll see you next time.