Amidst the struggle for survival, we have to be asking ourselves challenging questions. It is not prudent to inwardly focus on survival only. We have seen it documented through crisis after crisis that opportunity emerges. What if it doesn't emerge. What if we have to create it? How do you prepare yourself for it. I have gathered a few posts from some thought provoking Linkedin posters and wanted to share some of the posts that have got me thinking.
Retail Media is an enormous playing field. What Amazon have managed since 2015 or so in this space is staggering. Having kept it off balance sheet under the hguise of "other revenue" in 2017, Amazon finally split out this revenue contribution telling us that the number at the end of the year was $31B in 12 months.
According to Ben Evans, $31bn is roughly the same size as Google Display, YouTube, or the entire global newspaper industry’s ad business.
For most of us, this may mean nothing, but within the ads space, this place is new money. New money = new economic activity. I am being slightly obtuse, but this is a new industry. Right now you have teams being asked to allocate their spend into the channel and funnel stage with absolute accuracy. In here lies opportunity: -
To spend money
To waste money
To gain early advantage
To grow a career
Make fast money
To become a platform
The profitability of this revenue is exceptional too. This will impact Shopify, who have been the major knight in shining armour to mid to small merchants, in particular, over the last 3 years. Shopify have their app, Shop, their payments company Affirm, Marketplaces for international expansion and more recently to + users, Audiences. So logic would suggest that there is a #RMN on the way and they will likely fund advertising for existing merchats, for a % fee. Your shopify store, could become an automated, self funding, business utility in your pocket.
Next Up Data and Personalisation
(I hate the world, because it has little impact, relevance does)
Again going to Ben Evans but also ad great article in Internet retailing by David Kohn. First up, Ben - suggest data is not the new oil at all, in fact data does not exist. We think we should have more control of personal data, both handed over willingly, and largely nonsenical cookie based data that shows us ads.
What you post on Instagram means very little: the signal is in who liked your posts and what else they liked, in what you liked and who else liked it, and in who follows you, who else they follow and who follows them, and so-on outwards in a mesh of interactions between a billion people. If I like your picture, that is not your ‘my’ data or ‘your’ data alone, and it’s not worth much without the context of all the other likes and follows.
Data is only valuable when aggregated in numbers so large, our calculators would not be able to diplay the number. And then you have to do something with it. I think there needs to be edudcation on how we choose to use our own information and understand where it can harm/benefit us in time - let's remove the abstract and recognise that if governments or large organisations (who already have most of our personal info anyway (COVIDgrab) we should try to make it sweat for us. Understanding customer insight is a lifelong, ever changing job in any industry, on any given day in ecommerce, you are expected to be an economist and behavioural psychologist too.
Personalisation claims to know us in every way, better than we know ourselves. But it is a bit of a fallacy right now - the underlying software can, and should be used to determine intent and preference. I like his questioning here, describing intent.
Is the customer determined to buy or relaxed about it (need vs want)?
Are they in a hurry or do they have time to browse (now vs whenever)?
Have they decided to buy from you or are they shopping around (you vs whoever)?
How far have they gone in the buying process, e.g. looking at delivery options, adding to basket?
The greater the intent, the more specific your UX can be. Preference is a liottle trickier, particularly when you break it donw yourself. Cross selling is either category or sales based - they are not my only motivators - almost all software companies in this space end up with these default options. Suggesting that relevant other brands can be uncovered during discovery. Fashion, arguably is right fit - has a balance of impulse and browse embedded in it - and if time is pressing, as above, then you need not show anythingother than what is asked for, relevance is the only intent. Davids full article can be read here.
I talk a lot about proposition - look at the #UI on this snippet and see how easy it it. But the clincher for me is utility. As of March, 2022 Apple Pay has a 43.9% mobile payment market share in the US. Despite having over 500 million registered users worldwide, Apple Pay failed to make any inroads in China. Apple Pay accounted for a staggering 92% of the mobile debit wallet market in the US in 2020.
There is very little they need to do to sway adoption. coupled with a clearer long term goal, this is for me, as relevant a story as buy with prime by Amazon
Thank you Michael for the summary
And finally Tom Goodwin is upsetting the applecart. For along time we have been fed the Simon Sinek mantra - start with why. Fed up and bored with lazy marketing and poor products, Tom has decided enough is enough .. But... it got me thinking, more than most articles. Start with why - f*ck the why.
Full article here - because it is that good.
Few things are as poorly understood as "brand loyalty"
It's probably not loyalty, it's habit, laziness, risk aversion, preference.
It's hard to be loyal to a brand, loyalty is a bond between people, it is reciprocated, it's emotional. We'd be wise to recognize what we are really dealing with and hoping to create.
I drink quite a lot of Diet Coke, this doesn't mean I'm loyal, it means I prefer the taste of it to Diet Pepsi. I use Hotel Tonight a lot, this isn't loyalty, it's laziness, I don't want to think about hotels much nor spend time entering in my personal details each day.
I use AT&T in Miami, I do this not because I care one iota about AT&T, nor because I think they like me, but out of risk aversion, I don't want to spend time moving to another network, that could turn out to be crap.
We forget two things in Marketing.
01. Death is the natural state, not life
So many companies make calculations on lifetime customer valuations on the assumption that repeat purchase is likely unless you screw up. This just isn't true. Does owning a Casper mattress really make me addicted to the brand and someone dying to own their pillows.
02. In the digital world loyalty has never been harder ( in some categories)
- You may choose McDonalds to eat at lunch because it's 500 meters to your office, but in the digital world, moving to burger king means moving your finger an inch to a different app.
- You can cancel Netflix in under 30 seconds.
- You can open new neobank bank accounts in 5 oddly nice minutes.
- You can change mobile operators (thanks to eSims) in seconds online.
One of the lovely symmetries of the modern age is the companies that grew fastest are prone to collapsing fastest, it's easier to assume every customer won't come back, that to assume they will.
This isn't to be miserable, it's to start getting companies to realize three things should be top of mind, and more vital than customer acquisition.
01. Customer service has never been more important, make it hard for me to cancel your newspaper subscription and I'm never going to sign up again. Fail to answer the phones and I'll move.
02. The product has never been more important. If your service is subpar, no amount of advertising will help.
03. Leverage the power of humanity. I'll be loyal to people, I'll not want to let down a person, find ways to use real humans to help us