Don’t be Fooled by E-Commerce: Shopping is now the New Marketing

by / Monday, 24 October 2016 / Published in Blog, E-Commerce, Experience Design, Latest posts, User Experience

By Andrew Sirotnik, CXO, Fluid

I had a conversation recently with some folks from Amazon. The topic of Dollar Shave Club came up and drew sharp opinions, even a little outrage (some wine was involved).

“There’s no way that’s worth $1B…” “It’s just a replenishment feature for a commodity…” “It’s a novelty that consumers won’t stick with…”

Most interesting to me is that the universe’s foremost e-commerce disruptor “doesn’t get” an upstart e-commerce disruptor. And that’s because “e-commerce” is a red herring.

As soon as “e-commerce” is part of the equation — i.e. the consumer can actually buy something as part of a digital experience — it creates by default a deceptive focus on conversion, transactions, volume, scale, channels.

The reality though is that Dollar Shave Club was not purchased because it was producing razor volume sales rivaling Target or Walmart. Rather, Dollar Shave Club commanded a premium because they used commerce to forge authentic connections and deep ongoing relationships with men. Per BloombergTechnology: “The company learns about its audience and curates messages specifically meant to keep them engaged…That Dollar Shave Club is technically an e-commerce startup? Basically an afterthought.”

And that insight is why savvy CPG innovators are looking at new commerce models. Advertising is not a relationship. And traditional digital marketing, while producing clever and shiny reasons to engage, creates ephemeral connections at best with a short half-life. The $1B value placed on commerce-led engagement models officially marks beginning of an era where shopping is the new marketing and a central strategy in the CPG digital toolkit.

To be clear, this is happening because modern consumers demand it. Consumers want to consume. And they want to consume in a way that’s fun, cool, different, reputation-enhancing, and fits with their digital life all wrapped in an experience that makes them feel the brand really gets “it” and, most importantly, them.

The opportunity for CPG brands is to create new shopping occasions. Marrying value and utility with great concepts and content that earn them the love and loyalty (and sales) from the people they want to reach.

Innovate and experiment, and tomorrow’s consumer will reward you!

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