Best Practices in Establishing Your eCommerce Program

Presenters:

Lynn Ryan
Senior Partner
Simpactful

Clare Conway
Vice President, Customer Success
Clavis Insight

 

Details:

2016 saw the online channel continue its growing impact for global retail brands with sales growing at a faster rate than in-store revenues. To succeed in 2017, manufacturers must ensure that they have the right cross-functional practices and teams in place to maximize the online store presence for their brands.

Listen to this On-Demand Webinar as Simpactful’s Lynn Ryan and Clavis Insight’s Clare Conway share best practices to build your ecommerce program and measure its success.

Based on their experience working with the world’s leading manufacturers, Lynn and Clare share how you can:

  • Develop a scalable ecommerce strategy and determine where to play
  • Establish a cross-functional eCommerce Center of Excellence, supported by regional expertise
  • Create a framework for your ecommerce efforts
  • Set the right metrics to track the success of your ecommerce program

 

Presenter Bios:


Lynn Ryan
Lynn Ryan is one of founding Senior Partners of Simpactful, a new CPG/Retail Consulting Firm. Prior to joining Simpactful, Lynn worked at Procter & Gamble in multiple categories, customers and geographies, most recently in Procter & Gamble’s eBusiness Team charged with the start-up, organization and growth of P&G’s digital and eCommerce efforts globally.

Simpactful is made up of successful industry executives from CPG companies and retailers who have come together after recently leading and innovating at top corporations. Simpactful brings these real world experts to projects, experts who have “done the work” at both consumer products companies and leading retailers – in order to bring real world, executable solutions to their clients. Simpactful: Proven, Connected, Results.

Follow Lynn: LinkedIn

 

Clare Conway

Clare Conway is Vice President of Customer Success at Clavis Insight. In her role, she helps leading manufacturers effectively access analytics that drive eCommerce business strategies. Follow Clare: LinkedIn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn Ryan

I’d like to start with some context of why this is important and why e-commerce and the digital e-commerce space is important. To provide that context let’s start with the shopper. Everyone on the line knows that technology has brought tremendous changes to how we do just about everything, including shopping. What’s important to note though: it’s not just the act of shopping — the physical act of getting on your mobile device or on your computer and buying something — but also how consumers get information on our brands. Technology has created this mindset of anything, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. That’s the expectation that they can get what I want, when I want it, and that includes information as well as the actual product.

Estimates are now that as much as 60% of sales in physical stores are included by online. And that makes e-commerce and digital a much bigger factor that if we just looked at the percentage that was bought online alone. And then finally using online is a critical source of information; the shoppers are looking at product information on your brand. They’re checking and comparing prices, they’re searching for deals promotions, information; sometimes they buy online; sometimes they go in store. But having that information — and a brand is a trusted source of information — is critical. Consumers and how they interact and shop for brands has fundamentally changed. And that requires brands to change as well.

There are many implications of all of this change for brands and for retailers. Today I’m just going to focus quickly on four of them as background. First of all, we all know the landscape is evolving rapidly. We’ve gone from this battle between bricks and mortars and pure players to now the lines are blurring. Pure players are building stores, including Amazon. Physical stores are building smaller stores to use as fulfillment centers. Physical stores are using their stores as fulfillment centers. Emerging models like drive in Europe and click and collect in the U.S. are growing. So this landscape is not clear cut and it is continuing to merge. And that has big implications for brands and for retailers because “e-” now really stands for “everywhere,” not just e-commerce.

Secondly, the idea of loyalty and what that does. Part of this is just the fact that consumers tend to be more loyal to the brands they buy online. But also it’s the idea of subscription programs. Subscription programs are evolving. And subscription programs are a binary decision for a shopper: I’m going to take this brand; I’m not going to take that brand. And then once they are in a subscription program that choice is made until something happens to break that subscription. So as opposed to going to the shelf everyday and deciding — do I buy this kind of spaghetti sauce or that kind of spaghetti sauce? — they’re getting it on a subscription basis. Or diapers for example. Then that choice is made and they basically skip that aisle. So the cost to convert those competitive users to your brand is much higher.

The next implication is around data. Everybody has heard the phrase: data is king. I like to alter is. I think it’s data usage is king. There’s lots of data out there that never gets used in a meaningful way. But data usage, using data to target and to personalize and to create a CRM program. But not just capturing the data but using it to develop a relationship with that consumer is a huge challenge. But it’s also a huge opportunity that has now developed in the space.

And then finally, just the idea of the implication of speed. Externally speed has become a click away. You can buy quickly; you can abandon a cart and buy somewhere else. But also from a brand standpoint, it’s around the speed of learning, testing, trying things, communicating. All of that is critical. But it’s also true for competition and has opened a creative opening for very agile players to play online and digitally in a way that would be much more difficult for them in a physical store. And so that’s critical as well. And also speed has to do with how you make decisions and take risks internally, and how you do that in a quick way, a speedy way — as opposed to, sometimes it hasn’t been that fast internally.

So as the three possible responses, with all the change and possibilities, you’ve likely seen some of these yourself. The first is to do nothing. Just ignore the change. Sometimes because the brands or manufacturer isn’t quite sure what to do. This is becoming less common. Because I think the idea that this is an imperative is beginning to get through to most brands and companies. But there are still people that just say: hey it’s not a big percentage of our business, I’m not going to do anything.

Another is to take a wait-and-see response. This actually is quite common, particularly among companies that evaluate the changes I just talked about only as a percent of business. And those wait-and-see responses can range from not engaging at all — just saying I’m going to wait and see how this plays out — to putting a toe in the water but not really committing in a strategic and purposeful way. So [this way is ] not necessarily very successful.

The third, of course, is to jump into the pool and play to win. And I’m going to talk more about that later.

Just for a minute I want to talk about this idea of wait and see. Because I really do think it’s quite common, even if it’s unspoken. But I think it’s a quite common reaction. There’s a few reasons that I think this really isn’t a good idea. First of all and foremost, it stifles the brand’s internal integration across digital, physical, and e-commerce. It creates a siloed approach if you will. But it’s really in order to meet those critical shopper expectations — about anytime, anywhere, anything — you have to have an integrated approach. And if you’re not doing that internally with your own brands and products, it’s very difficult to create that out in the market.

Secondly, it really forces brands to be reactive — to their retailers, to their new competitors — and they’re doing that in a reactive way that’s not based and not grounded in strategy, which can be problematic.

And thirdly is also sometimes opens the door for new branded competitors, giving them a chance to gain a foothold online. So as you can tell, this isn’t my recommended approach and isn’t the approach that I’ve seen win out in the marketplace.

So I’m recommending that leaders play to win and that they fully engage with the new consumer in the e-commerce space. And this looks like full engagement in digital, in e-commerce, in physical stores — anywhere that that shopper gets information and buys; wherever he or she wants to engage; and developing that relationship. So we’re going to talk more about that and what that looks like now.

So there are many benefits, I believe, of full engagement. And I’m defining full engagement as just recognizing that inherent value of digital and e-commerce to grow the total pie of business, both online and off. Obviously we believe it can grow sales and profits by being available for sale whenever and wherever consumers are shopping. We believe it can increase speed, reach, and trial; it allows you to reach more consumers and more geographies with greater speed. And then securing new customers and developing a stronger relationships with those customers, reaching a level of trusted advisor with the consumer, but also allows you to experiment with new go-to-market launch models. And then finally — and I’ve touched on this before — that it allows you the opportunity to influence your internal culture. Both from an educational standpoint, but also with encouraging new approaches to grow in sales and profit that allow you to play with a full deck of cards, not just the physical store deck. So we believe it’s a critical decision to be made. I’m going to give you an example for that now.

This is a chart that can illustrate the potential benefit both of moving quickly and fully engaging in e-commerce to win. This is diapers. It’s an old chart. But the red line illustrates the product share, by size, of the diaper in the overall market. This brand team was an early mover in the e-commerce space. And if you look at the blue line, which is their online share, they almost doubled their online share for key sizes. And most importantly, if you look at where their share differential was the greatest, it’s in size 0, 1, and 2, which are the entering point sizes. We talked before about loyalty; having a consumer that starts with your product at size 0, 1, and 2 increases the chance that they’re going to stay with you throughout the entire life cycle of the baby being in diapers. This gave this particular brand a huge head start versus their competition. It was very difficult to catch up. I’m sure the chart looks different today because of course competition did  begin to play in the space as well and start to catch up. But it was difficult. It took a lot of time and a lot of money. So that’s just one example.

So, I’m assuming I’ve convinced you that full engagement is the right choice for your brand in e-commerce. Here’s how to get started. To make it simple I’ve grouped it into three steps. One is build your business case to drive the alignment and support that you need internally. Secondly, develop a strategy: where to play, how to win. And third, organize for success. And I’ll talk about each of those now for just a moment.

Under building a business case, it’s really just about looking at the five C’s. Who’s my consumer? How much time does he or she spend online? What kinds of content are they getting? Where else are they going besides my brand site? Are they going to my brand site? Where are they getting their information? Really understanding that consumer so that you know and understand her. And by the way I will tell you, there’s not a digital consumer and a regular consumer. It’s one consumer. And so understanding how they interact online and off is critical.

Second is category. How is the consumer engaging with the category? What’s the status of the category online? How developed is it? What are the retailers doing with it? And then internally how ready are you to engage?

From a customer standpoint, we’ve talked about pure player and brick and mortar. There are varied models. They are merging as we mentioned earlier. But to the extent that pure players are out there, they need CPG brands, FMCG brands, to drive their reach and frequency, particularly frequency in the space. They also need content from you. And the content can only really come from the brand. So being able to provide that content is critical for that relationship with the customers. And then frankly: pricing. It’s particularly algorithms that drive pricing changes very quickly. Pricing is a common denominator. So retailers are looking for other differentiators. And you can help with that.

The competition. What’s competition doing in the space? Are they playing? Are they doing direct to consumer? Are they selling through e-retailers? Who are the competition? Going back to my diapers example a minute ago: Diapers for years was Huggies, Pampers, and private label. And that was pretty much the space. With the advent of e-commerce and the focus on buying online and getting information online, Seventh Generation came into the mix. They were there but they became stronger, strong online. Honest Company started online only and now they’re in stores. So this idea that the competition — understanding who they are — it may not be who you think it is. It may be players are specifically online that are making a big difference to the business. And then finally the company. It’s an opportunity to build your brand equities — across, as I said, your total consumer, not just digital brand building; there is not a separate digital “who” — with your consumers and recognizing what they do both online and off.

The second step is really just developing a strategy. And this is pretty straightforward. I’m sure you’ve all done this: using the information that you gather during the 5-C assessment, developing that strategy. What are your objectives? What are you goals? How are you going to play? Where are you going to play? Who are you going to play with? And then what your measures are. And Clare will talk more about that later I’m sure. But also what are your organizational strategies? If you’re not particularly agile and nimble, how are you going to develop that culture of speed? What are the capabilities that you have internally? Do you have a way to create new processes? Do you have the process to deliver content in an expedient way that puts the best content in front of your consumers? That’s just one example, but it’s one frankly that has been relatively painful in roles that I’ve been in in the past, developing that content. So what are those processes that you need organizationally to make it easier to win in the space?

And then determining where to play. What brands am I going to focus on? Who’s my consumer? Where does she or he interact? Where does she get information? Where does she buy? What country am I interested in? And do I have the structure that I need to get there? And then, are there any consumer or customer segments that are more attractive than others? Do I have particular customers that I think would be good to start with and build my experience and my expertise and then go in from there? So determining where to play is critically important as well.

And then developing the plan. The plan really is to win online as you do offline. I would assume all of you have been successful with your brands in a physical store environment. How do you set it up to win online as you do offline? Couple of thoughts there. One is: how do you build online traffic to your brands? — either driving them to the store or online? But making it easy to buy. Don’t create traffic, drive it to your web site, for example, and then have that be a dead end — and there’s nowhere for them to buy and no connection for where they can buy that’s either in the market or in your own DTC shop. Doesn’t mean you have to do the direct to consumer, but it does mean if you’re going to drive traffic to your brand site, then figure out a way to get them from your brand site on to the retailer. Make that path to purchase as short, as frictionless, and as painless as possible.

We’ve talked about content, creating that online engagement. And then delivering the online sales fundamentals. There are sales fundamentals for an online store and for your brands online just as there are with offline. They are related. They are not the same. But knowing what those fundamentals are, and then developing the plan to drive them and measure them and measure success, is critical.

And then finally, developing a plan to win. Develop and rolling out go to market. And your customer management plan. Integrating online into your joint business plans is a great start. And doing that in conjunction with your customer to develop joint goals and measures. And then executing and measuring your plans obviously is always critical.

Starting now with organizing for success. A couple of areas. This slide and the next. First of all building partnerships. Obviously, your ad agencies, your digital agencies, building a partnership with them. But beyond that, what about Facebook? What about Google? How do you build a partnership with them to meet your goals and deliver what you need to for your brands? In terms of customers: could be a partnership with Amazon; could be Walmart; could be Jet.com. It depends on your strategy and what you’re trying to achieve, but understanding who those customers are that you can build partnerships with is critical. And then systems. And when I say systems, I’m talking technical platforms to allow you to do buy-it-now from your web site. To take people from your web site to a retailer where they can buy it now. A content platform: How do you get information developed, created and in a place where you can access it and get it out to retailers? What’s your search strategy? What system do you have to measure search? Ratings and reviews: Do you have a system to not only generate ratings and reviews, but also to respond to any negative reviews that you might have? All these are critical systems that you may or may not have today.

Secondly is around building the organization. Just creating the capabilities that are needed to be successful. Horizontal platforms: If you are a global company, it’s thinking about where is the requirement similar enough to be able to go global and have a global platform. Content might be a great example. If you’re going to build a content management system, having one that’s global, that has consistency might make some sense. But then where is local expertise required? Well clearly using content again as the example, you can have a global content management system potentially. But when it comes down to actually translating the content to markets, that’s where local expertise is going to be absolutely required.

Finishing up on organizing for success. I’m not going to review all of these principles. Just a couple. First of all, senior executive sponsorship and ongoing support is absolutely critical. And I’ll talk more about what that looks like on the next slide to finish up. Secondly, having a multifunctional team responsible for the space and developing the strategy and executing against it, is really critical. This isn’t just about marketing and sales. Product supplies can look very different if you’re selling online or shipping to retailers that sell online. So having product supply available. IT sort of goes without saying, but making that seem multifunctional. Again, it is marketing and it is sales, but it’s not just those two. Finance. Another great example is a way to measure profitability and how you ensure that your profitability is robust for the combined channel. The other area is this idea of staffing with full-time when possible and consolidating part-time. The tendency, especially when the business is small, is to give 10% of their job, or 5% of their job or whatever, to a lot of different people because it’s not a big percentage of their business. You need to sort of lean forward on that because my experience, over and over again, has been that does not work. The percentage is too small; the learning curve is too steep. And it’s human nature: they’re going to do what they’re most comfortable with and what they’re boss is asking them about, which gets back to the sponsorship. So when possible, staff these positions with full-time. That isn’t always possible; I totally recognize that, and in the beginning particularly it’s hard. But wherever possible try to consolidate your percentages of part-time so that you have 50% of somebody’s job or more. Because less than that, it just makes it really difficult for them to focus on the learning curve and to focus on what needs to be done.

And then finally the other thing I’d say in this space is, think about your start up policies. One great example is trade funding. Amazon is a retailer absolutely. They’re also a major media company in the digital space. Walmart is playing in that space as well. Think about what your policies are going to be and what your strategies are going to be for how you spend in the space. And that’s just one example. There are many. But giving that some thought up front is pretty critical as you organize for success.

I want to just finish up with a bit more about what leadership support looks like. I mentioned before, you need senior-level sponsorship. Absolutely. You also need ongoing involvement and support. A few ideas for what that might look like: First of all, many of you are the senior management support I would assume or work for those people. Be engaged. Be visible. And learn. Don’t be uncomfortable with the fact that you may not know about it. And the way you can do that is by including digital e-commerce in all of your reviews. If you do a new item launch review: What’s the digital plan? What’s the physical store plan? What’s the online store? What are the plans for each of them? When you’re with customers, ask about both online and off. Include it in the joint business plan. Make it a digital mindset that you always talk about. Obviously have a score card; review that score card on a regular basis. And then be prepared to break barriers. This is new work for many organizations. There will be barriers that come up. And be prepared to be a barrier buster for the people that you have focused in this space so that you can drive that speed that we talked about earlier.

So I’m now going to turn it over to Clare. Thank you very much for listening. I’ll turn it over to Clare, and I think she’s going to provide more detail about building that strategy and measuring success.

 

Clare Conway

Yes, thank you Lynn. And thank you very much for those amazing insights. There’s some absolute gems in there. And I’ll be looking forward to giving this recording to our new customers that we start to engage with on the pre-sale cycle.

Some really critical things that you’ve mentioned here. Talking about, really thinking about e-commerce programs and thinking with the end in mind. And absolutely some critical things to be thinking about there. But there’s also some things to think about as well if you’re in an organization that’s just getting started. [When] you’re in a small organization, the perfect can sometimes be the enemy of the done, in some of these environments. So thinking with that head in mind. And this slide could really be also renamed “what gets measured gets done,” which I think is in line with some of Lynn’s comments here.

And we’re thinking about — to Lynn’s point — developing a strategy, organizing for success. And some of these pieces may actually happen in parallel. They may not be sequential. But the key elements are still here. We think about strategy and goals. What are your priorities? And how is your success going to be measured? When you think about goals, what are your KPIs? What are your targets and what are your goals for each metric?

And then to some of Lynn’s later points around accountability: I couldn’t agree with her more. Understanding who those people are: Who is going to own the analysis, own the reporting the improvement? Who’s going to take the action based on the insights that you learn as a result of your e-commerce program? Building that in to your personal work and development plans is a really excellent way to make sure they get done. If it’s on your objective and you’re getting measured against it, you’ll make sure it gets done.

And while we’re in the processes piece, Lynn also made some good points around this. E-commerce may not be a massive proportion of your business yet. It’s probably somewhere sub-10%. It may even be sub-5%. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about the workflow. Think about what it’s going to look like. You will need to think about: How will e-commerce reporting and the program sit alongside your standardized reporting? How is it going to fit in with your existing processes? Do the people who are accountable and — per the previous step — know what steps to take and what actions are required: what process is there for them and what workflow is around that?

So thinking about that we’re just going to go on to a really simple example in terms of just breaking it down to the simplest elements here. So getting started with targets. So again, this e-commerce environment can be very daunting. There is a massive amount of data, as Lynn called out. The data can be very overwhelming. The breadth of e-commerce can be very daunting. But you can get started easily. So what I coach customers, and people new to this space, around is: okay, think about what moves the dial? What do you care about? You care about sales. This is essentially going to be the end result. This is going to be the thing that really moves your dial. So what’s the simplest way to really move that dial? Well you need to focus on shoppers buying units. And what’s the easiest way to make that happen? So the Pareto principle — my good friend Pareto — 80/20 rule. Focus on your biggest accounts. Focus on your best-selling products. And if we think about the bottom of this curve here, you talk about say, availability for your priority products on your key accounts. If you can get those availability levels up to 95-98%, on those key products in those key accounts: suddenly they’re there; they’re available to purchase; you’ve worked with your organization; you’ve worked with your accounts; and you’ve got that workflow going to make sure that those products are there.

You can then extend that out. And then look at the priority products across all of your accounts. And then finally, when you’ve gone through all of those steps — after a couple of months, maybe even a couple of quarters — you might be looking at availability for all products across all accounts. And that’s about breaking down that target measurement. The other thing that this really does is it really sets aggressive targets around the most important things at the very beginning. But it also allows your team to achieve a level of success, to go green [???]. You go green and then you ratchet it up and you make it a bit tougher next time round. That’s an example around product availability.

But we can also think about search. And Lynn mentioned about content management and content strategy. When you’re thinking about content: some very basic things you can think about with content, particularly around your product title. Is your brand’s name in your product title? Are there functional names in your product title? These are the things that not just draw shoppers to you products, but also power those amazing search algorithms that these retailers have — that they’re developing on again and again. So making sure that those pieces are there. But again, if you’ve got a very large product portfolio, even if you’ve got a small portfolio but you’re a limited team, you want to think about getting that right for your key products on your key accounts. So again, build experience. Test the processes for the key products. Set achievable targets earlier on and then dial up that intensity and make it a bit harder.

So we think about that, and that’s quite a specific example. But as you start to build out, what we think about here is aligning roles and objectives. So this may be, again as we mentioned, about breaking down some of those barriers. You think about category managers and account teams, who are very interested in things like range assortment: availability is completely critical. When you look at content integrity and search, although those things drive sales, the account manager is not necessarily front of mind for them. But it is front of mind for the brand teams and for the content team. And then we think about ratings and reviews, price and media evaluation. And who is that important to in your organization? So looking at that; building out objectives and KPIs around those elements; and breaking those down and focusing on those key pieces; and pulling in the key members of your teams. Pulling in the account team; helping them understand that, okay, e-commerce may only be 3% or 5% of your total business; but if they give you a bit of time, you can have a dramatic increase in terms of your performance and your sales in online, and be part of that exponential growth that’s going on in there.

So hopefully that’s helped you a little bit to think about where you might start and how to effect change quickly, and how to break it down into small pieces, make it manageable, make it achievable; and also help your teams to feel like they’re succeeding and that it makes this a little less daunting.

Are there a few key fundamentals that brands should be thinking of as they are starting up their e-commerce programming?

Lynn Ryan

Absolutely. First is content. What content is available online? Do I have the right content? How are my titles? How are my images? How is the content that I’m providing for retailers? Why is that important? Because content is such a key way that search happens, particularly on retailer sites. So the number one fundamental would be search. And you can think about that as share of search versus my market share; you can think of it as am I on the first page or not? What percentage of my items are on the first page? There’s lots of different ways to think about it. But in a physical store, just as an example, you typically look at: how many products, how many SKUs do I have on the shelf? You might even look at: what percentage of those SKUs do I have? If you think about it, that’s really all about visibility. Yes, it’s about assortment, but if you have the SKUs that you need, and they’re placed on the shelf in a way that they are visible, it’s all about visibility. Search is the same thing online. You can have every item that you have on Amazon, for example. But if you don’t show up in that first page of search, you might as well not be in distribution. Because the shopper rarely goes beyond the first page and almost never buys beyond the first page. So search: it would be absolutely critical. Content, I mentioned. Assortment: What assortment do you have? And then again back to the search: How visible is that assortment? Just having the assortment isn’t enough. Ratings and reviews is another critical area: How many do I have? What’s my star rating? And do I have a process and a way to respond if I get a negative review? Because the data says that purchase intent goes up about double in the case of a negative review that the manufacturer has responded to. So do you have a way to monitor and respond to those areas? So those are just some of the top ones that I would call out quickly.

You had mentioned a stat of 60% at the beginning of your presentation. Could you just review the background to that stat?

Lynn Ryan

Sure. I think that particular stat comes from Forester. But it shows up in a number of different places. And I can get you the actual data if somebody wants to message me separately. It just has to do with the phenomenon of research online by offline — sometimes you’ll hear it referred to as ROBO. And that was just an estimate put together that says: What percentage of offline sales are actually influenced by online? And by influence, that can mean research; it can mean direct connections; it can mean brand web site; lots of different things. But the estimate was that about 60% of offline sales are now influenced by online. And that was the stat.

 

In your experience working with customers or clients, where do people usually start with both their analytical programs as well as their e-commerce programs? Is it on a global level? Or is it in key markets?

Clare Conway

That’s a really, really interesting question. And I’m going to have to say it depends. It will depend largely on the nature of your global organization. There are essentially two extremes: We have one type of customer, one bucket, where they are very, very strongly global, very strongly market driven. The programs will tend to be engaged by a global team and pushed out to the local markets. And that’s absolutely one very effective way of doing it. At the other extreme, we have customers who we work with globally but we engage with very much more so with the local markets — and the global teams are much more hands off. What you need to think about is that that would be true across any program that you’d be running in your organization. And having worked in some very large companies in the past, certainly that global/local tension is well understood by us. And we are very flexible and can work with that.

Lynn Ryan

If you recall I said, in the very beginning, step 1 is doing your 5C assessment. And that includes countries. I agree with Clare completely. It depends. You can do the research and analysis that will tell you some of the markets and regions that are most advanced in digital e-commerce — China, for example; UK is another example. It’s a matter of merging where your footprint is today globally and how that fits with that space. So I would say it depends. Even at a company where I worked that we’ve done a global solution at the beginning, we clearly had priorities for which countries we were most focused on, based on again how developed that country was and where the organization was in the space. So if you have a global business today, during that initial assessment understanding how you match up with where the digital e-commerce space is growing — and then making decisions around that in your strategy and, again, your “where to play.” And you can always start with a couple of areas and regions and then grow from there as the digital e-commerce grows over time in different markets. So it depends but I agree, yeah.

Clare Conway

I would agree with Lynn completely on that one. To talk to a very specific example: What we’ve see is — to Lynn’s point — is that where global customers are doing a global deployment, they know what, we call tier 1 markets, what their advanced markets are. And they will push aggressively in those markets. So you’re talking U.S., U.K., France, and China. And they will also understand that there are probably tier 2, tier 3 markets. And they will really want to get embedded extremely well in tier 2 markets before they even start thinking about tier 3. But the learnings from those different markets: there’s a learning within a single business; in China, all of that technology is going to come to the other markets. Likewise in France, if you think about click and collect in France: the learnings you will gain from a global team perspective to your local market team in France is going to become critical now that Kroger have pulled the trigger on click and collect in such a big way now in the U.S.

As you’re looking to start your program — other than Amazon — are there some retailers that might be easier to get started with than other?

Lynn Ryan

That’s a good question. Wow. If you’re talking U.S., you have to play with Amazon. And they tend to be one of the more difficult retailers, just because their model is very different from the model that you’re probably used to in a physical store. But you need to start there. And the good news is that there are a lot of people, including Simpactful, but others as well, that have expertise in how to win at Amazon. Are they easier to get started with? You just have to look at the traffic and the stats for the U.S. In the U.S. you’re certainly going to want to play with Walmart.com; you’re certainly going to play with Amazon. And I think by market, you have to just look at the market. Do that evaluation of who the key customers are. You may have a good relationship with one or the other that will allow you to get started and to start learning. But you can’t ignore the big ones. You can’t ignore Tmall, for example in China. You can’t ignore Tesco or Amazon or Acado in the U.K. So it’s a mix, I think, of where you have the good relationships and can get started. But also the realities of looking at the market and figuring out who is shaping how things go. In the U.S. for example, Amazon definitely is driving a lot. And so playing with them. And they also have the traffic. So playing with them is a requirement. And I think you have to look at it market by market to make the determinations.

 

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