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L2 encapsulates the power of digital at Emerson Group's Industry Day


PHILADELPHIA — Yesterday we learned how digital is transforming the platform of commerce from value to efficiency, where people no longer make purchase decisions based on price but rather on how much time they save.

Today, we learn how digital is disrupting everything else marketers and merchandisers hold dear.

"Digital is not just impacting what's happening online, it's impacting what's happening off-line. It's fundamentally changing the way people are interacting with brands," opened Evan Neufield, VP intelligence, L2 Inc., a subscription-based business intelligence service that benchmarks the digital competence of brands. "A lot of the notions on how we interact with customers are actually being turned on their head by digital," Neufield shared with attendees of Emerson Group’s 10th annual Retail Industry Day held here late last month.

For example, advertising in today's digital market isn't what it was cracked up to be in yesterday's analog market. "The way you reach customers has fundamentally changed. TV advertising, print advertising, all of these things are seeing retrenchment as digital becomes a more effective means in reaching consumers," he said. "[Digital] is especially effective in reaching the all-important millennial generation," Neufield added, important because they recently eclipsed baby boomers as the largest demographic with the greatest buying power.

Not only is digital supplanting traditional media, the platform has created an entirely new venue through which brand marketers can reach consumers - influencers. "Increasingly, consumers are looking for help to sort out what they should pay attention to and what they shouldn't pay attention to," Neufield said. "Online, people are turning to influencers as the ones who add that personal touch to the transaction process."

Digital is also a platform that supports greater personalization, which is what consumers have come to expect. "What consumers want is what Amazon gives them," Neufield said. "Amazon is really a personalization engine. ... Every person who goes to an Amazon page sees a different page based on what they've bought in the past [or] based on their search behavior," he said. "When we looked at over 100 brands across several retail categories, we saw that only 13% of brands are actually personalizing their site's homepage."

And with digital, communication goes both ways. Marketers can learn as much about their consumer's wants and needs based on search terms and browser activity as their consumer can about their products. "How traditional marketing worked in product development, if you wanted to know what the consumer was interested in, you had to ask them," noted Jane Fisher, associated director, client strategy, beauty sector, L2 Inc. "If you think about how this works today, every day consumers are already telling you what they're interested in. They're voting with their browsers."

"Your consumers are coming to you everyday and telling you all about themselves," Neufield added. "Are you mining that data to get a competitive advantage?" he asked.

The presentation from L2 Inc. was part of the Emerson Group’s 10th annual Retail Industry Day, hosted in late September to a packed room of hundreds of merchants eager to discover how to better proposition their products for tomorrow's ever-evolving consumer.

This week Drug Store News will be featuring content connected to the Emerson Group's 10th Annual Retail Industry Day.

The first presentation emphasized the importance behind connecting with people, including employees, colleagues and consumers, in an effort to get at the heart of business with CNBC's Marcus Lemonis. 

After Lemonis, marketer Colleen DeCourcy, chief creative officer for Wieden+Kennedy, took the stage. She discussed how to keep catching the kind of lightning in a bottle that makes brands spark.

Yesterday, DSN summarized the presentation of Musab Balbale, VP and general manager for Walmart e-commerce, who sees how digital will transform the shopping experience from an exchange of goods for money to a shopping experience defined by time-saving efficiencies.

Following L2 Inc. was Michael Dart, a private equity partner with global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and co-author of "The New Rules of Retail," a guide to succeeding in the modern retail environment.


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