The cost of building a successful omnichannel business has contributed to an increased drag on profits for many retailers over the last several quarters. Additionally, many brands continue to shift funds from trade to advertising, and especially Amazon Advertising. These two phenomena have led omnichannel retailers like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot to create their own advertising platforms. While providing retailers with an additional revenue stream, these Commerce Marketing opportunities have an added benefit for brands: capturing consumers along each point on the path to purchase, including closer to the point of sale.
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Cleveland Research and Salsify have joined forces to bring you the latest on Commerce Marketing.
Executive Director of Cleveland Research Company’s eCommerce Council, Russ Dieringer, Salsify’s CMO, Rob Gonzalez and VP of Corporate Marketing, Peter Crosby recently discussed the implications of Commerce Marketing on Salsify’s latest Podcast “Unpacking the Digital Shelf.”
While there is no one perfect approach to thinking about how to best organize your internal structure to take advantage of these new advertising activations, we detail five key steps brands should take to determine the right path to take on Commerce Marketing.
1. Initial meeting with each account – as a starting point, we recommend brands meet with each of their accounts for a deeper understanding of what matters to each buyer, what digital activations are available, and what is believed to be performing best.
2. Understanding your consumer – everything begins with the consumer, and that’s true especially where advertising is concerned. A path to purchase study can uncover how your consumers use each of your retail partners. This, in turn, can inform what digital activations to take advantage of at each retailer.
3. Assess the account team – next, an evaluation of what type of expertise exists internally is important in maximizing Commerce Marketing opportunities. Ideally, teams will have digital marketing experience at each of the accounts you work with. Knowing what resources you can leverage today can make the transition to Commerce Marketing a much less overwhelming undertaking.
4. Evaluate partners & technology options – as advertising continues to become more complex, many brands find that external partners are needed in order to gain the needed expertise and move quickly with many of their retailer partners.
5. Strategic Planning – finally, having done due diligence in understanding the needs of their retail partners, knowing how their consumers use each account, evaluating internal and external resources, brands can begin a process of devising a Commerce Marketing plan. To truly take advantage of the additional advertising platforms, brands must ask themselves if they are willing to commit to the disruptive nature of Commerce Marketing. While challenging at the outset, we believe this will be a key capability for brands to develop in the short and long term. In this report we present several options of how brands can organize themselves and begin to build a successful Commerce Marketing strategy.
We recommend sharing this report with your individual account teams, omnichannel teams, as well as the eCommerce and Amazon groups in your organization, digital marketing teams, and of course, senior leadership. The goal with this benchmark is to ultimately help each of these teams come together to determine how to best take advantage of additional advertising opportunities at the omnichannel accounts you work with.
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Part I: Reporting, Roles, Size & Capabilities for Leading eCommerce Organizations
Brands are averaging about 9 employees on their eCommerce teams, with 5 people dedicated to eCommerce full time, and 4 employees with part time eCommerce responsibilities. Brands are looking to hire an average of 2 employees over the coming year to be dedicated to eCommerce full time. Daily Operations as well as content activities are emerging as the most challenging areas, as these are the two most common types of roles brands are looking to fill this year. Companies are recognizing analytics as an area that lacks resources with only 8% of suppliers reporting to be leveraging analytics from various eCommerce platforms extremely well, and are also planning to hire this type of role over the coming year.
Part II: Amazon Team Size, Roles and Key Drivers of Success
Most brands are having their dedicated Amazon employees responsible for sales (94% of brands have this role filled), daily ops (58%), and content management (50%). Part time roles are allocated to daily ops (47%), sales (42%), and logistics (40%). Most brands are looking to hire additional dedicated employees for sales (53%), analytics (45%), daily ops, and advertising (both 30%). Logistics and advertising remains a big opportunity for Amazon teams. As the eTailer places more packaging and logistics responsibility onto brands, the logistics function has an opportunity to expand from an overarching company function into an eCommerce (and even Amazon) specific role as well. Likewise, as Amazon places more importance on advertising, brands will have to dedicate full time resources to this area.
Part III: The Use of Partners, Automation, and Analytics for eCommerce Optimization
As eCommerce responsibilities in firms have increased, brands feel that more of their activities need to be automated, particularly those around content, rating & reviews, and digital shelf analytics. Brands are finding that content management (63%), ratings & review response (54%), and content syndication (54%) are in most need of automation. Overall, content related activities seem to be in most need of automation, as the practice evolved from a static set of attributes to needing to be continuously optimized. Only 3% of brands have this entire content process automated.