Thursday, November 10, 2016

It Takes a Village to Help Brands Through their Omnichannel Journey

By: Owen McCabe, Group Solutions Director, Kantar Retail

There’s a well-known African saying that it takes a village to raise a child – i.e., that a child has the best chance to grow and become a healthy productive adult if the parents allow their extended family, neighbours and broader community to contribute to its rearing. I always liked this saying.  Growing up in small town Ireland, with lots of relatives living nearby, and local sports clubs playing such a big part in the community, it rang true to my own experience.

It’s also a saying that rings true when I reflect on Kantar Retail’s experience over the past 4 years of helping brand owners take the next step on their Omnichannel/ecommerce journey. Put simply, the winners tend to be those who have understood that in order to grow and integrate their infant ecommerce channels, they need to not only upgrade their parenting skills but also actively allow others to help.  The corollary is also true, all too often, we find the go-it-alone companies among the strung-out “parents” at the back, overwhelmed with responsibility for a whole new set of competencies that their companies do not understand or appreciate (Digital Asset Management, On-Site Media, Search Optimisation, etc).

In next week’s Omnishopper International Conference, I will go into more detail on this as well as share some examples. However, in the meantime here are some of our key observations.
Firstly, the brand owners who are doing the best job of upgrading their in-house parenting skills are the companies that aren’t afraid to totally reinvent their marketing and channel management models to do a better job of engaging with the next generation of connected shoppers.  The common feature across these new models is the centricity of their focus on the connected shopper journey.

Secondly, the brand owners who are making the largest omnishopper impact are those who are purposefully forming their own Virtual Village to raise their eCommerce Child.  These companies are augmenting or replacing their singular supplier-buyer relationships with cooperative ecosystems of specialist partners to better influence conversion across the connected shopper journey.  These specialist partners include the retailers’ own media groups but also include 3rd parties covering disciplines such as Content Management and Distribution, Data Analytics, Search Marketing, Programmatic Advertising, and Digital Shelf intelligence.  At the same time, we see that those who stick with the status quo are starting to realise that the deck is stacked against them – that trade relationships without reciprocity are not really relationships at all. 

In the future, it probably won’t take a village to raise a child - either in society at large (we already see parents using iPads as a surrogate babysitter) - or in Omnichannel terms.  We already see companies investing in becoming more centred and self-sufficient in their focus on the connected shopper journey.  However,  in the short term, life on the Omnishopper savannah is a race for Brand Owners to form their own purpose-built eVillage with the right partners to allow them survive and thrive in the post-digital world without becoming someone else’s meal.

See you next week!

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