L2’s Chad Bright focuses on data’s potential for retail

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L2’s Chad Bright focuses on data’s potential for retail

By Mark Hamstra - 06/21/2018
The world of digital commerce has opened up opportunities for creative new partnerships among retailers, CPG brands and other parties, according to a speaker at this year’s Digital Disruption Innovation Summit in Schaumburg, Ill., presented by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation in partnership with Walgreens.

Chad Bright, sector leader for big-box stores, department stores and CPG companies at New York-based data benchmarking firm L2, said several areas exist where retailers can build a foundation for working with their suppliers to grow their e-commerce business together.

One area is through the effective use of data analytics to drive personalized experiences. Many brands are falling short when it comes to collecting even the most basic data points from customers online, such as gender and age — “very simple data points that can really drive and fuel a lot of that personalization,” he said.

The data that is captured also must be used effectively, he said.

“You can do all the data capture in the world, but if you’re not actually putting that to work and really giving consumers that personalized experience, it’s really all for naught,” Bright said.

It also is important to provide content for consumers through websites, social media and other digital channels, and ensure that the content connects to commerce.

Citing the 2018 Adobe Consumer Content Survey, Bright said 48% of consumers visit a brand’s website when researching a purchase, versus 40% who check out the product in-store. Thirty-eight percent look to reviews from family and peers; 22% visit social networking sites; 19% visit video channels; and 18% visit online blogs, forums and news.

Retailers and CPG brands have a particular opportunity to partner on trade spending that yields secondary search results for brands on retailers’ websites, Bright said. Consumers who are seeking solutions online often are directed to the websites of retailers, but once they are there, brands can capitalize by providing compelling content, he said.

“Brands have to think about how do you develop that content to really appeal to those consumers now that are looking to Google for how to actually do things,” Bright said.

Less than 20% of the brands that L2 examined in its recent Content and Commerce Intelligence Report were classified as “leaders,” meaning they had compelling inbound marketing and content, and they were able to translate that into product sales.

Bright suggested that retailers and brands look for inspiration outside their own categories, citing home electronics company Sonos as an example of a company that “is doing a fantastic job” combining content and commerce online.

Brands winnow marketing platforms
Meanwhile, Bright said that brands are becoming increasingly selective about where they advertise. For example, the number of websites where big home care product brands serve impressions fell precipitously in the 12-month span ending in October, with Procter & Gamble down 68%, Kimberly-Clark down 92% and S.C. Johnson & Son down 93%.

Many brands are shifting their online focus to retail websites — Amazon and Walmart in particular — and away from media websites, he said.

“We’ve seen over 200% growth in the number of impressions that are landing on a retailer site, while media sites — traditionally where the majority of those impressions have landed — have declined by 40%,” Bright said, referring to the home care category. “The challenge is that they’re all going to Amazon and Walmart.”

Many of the digitally driven partnerships that have cropped up in the past year have involved logistics, particularly as Instacart has inked deals with food retailers at a rapid pace in the wake of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market.

“I think retailers continue to look for ways to partner to go head-to-head with Amazon,” Bright said.

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