Does Creativity Eat the Algorithm in eCommerce?  

When it comes to channel planning for eCommerce, we have a tendency to dive straight to the bottom of the funnel to move quickly towards a search, click and buy stream. Getting as close a proxy to the transaction is the name of the game and that often leaves a constricted canvas for creativity to come into play. This week at Cannes, an interesting panel discussion challenged the status quo and asserted that creativity has a major role to play across the transactional journey.  

Emerging platforms like social shopping and brand stories, as well as great advancements in discovery tools within ecommerce platforms, has unlocked new opportunities for brands to develop discovery. The end result includes increased dwell time which in many cases, leads to bigger baskets and returning customers.  

What makes the use of creativity so fascinating is that while media costs can be unpredictable through market conditions, content creation like SEO is more of a fixed cost that becomes an important part of attracting consumers to the brand from various touchpoints. When we gain a deeper understanding of what drove to a conversion from a content perspective, we are better equipped to drive discovery for upselling and cross-selling. Getting a handle on inbound traffic sources and prioritizing creative in those areas is a critical part of the ecommerce media strategy.  

For retailers with brick-and-mortar locations, the role of creativity has changed dramatically. Customers are spending more time on their phones checking reviews while in-store making their purchase decisions which provides retailers with new opportunities to enhance customer experiences. Retailers are beginning to leverage their online and offline footprints to deliver on full spectrum and cross-channel content to feed into the discovery part of the journey. An interesting example was the use of recipes as discovery content online and in-store with accompanying QR codes that generate shopping lists.   

The push to online shopping and supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic has impacted consumer behaviors and has loosened brand loyalty. A panelist from Walmart Connect suggested that over 50% of consumers were open to trying different brands over the past two years. This shift has presented major opportunities for challenger brands to insert themselves through creative content and the use of several digital channels to drive awareness.  

When it comes to storytelling in the context of ecommerce, marketers need to adjust to our shortened attention spans. Finding shorter ways to reinforce the overarching story and creating micro-moments through every touchpoint is the way forward.  

The future is exciting in this space. Agencies continue to drive creativity in commerce while providing the attribution that CMOs demand of their investments. Retail media networks continue to emerge providing brands with new opportunities to connect with shoppers through horizontal discovery capabilities. While we head into a possible recession and face high inflation, the need for pervasive creativity throughout the customer journey will be more important than ever.  

IAB Canada looks forward to our eCommerce event taking place on September 28th. Register here.