In the Ecom Experts, we focus on e-commerce thought leadership and insight by conducting short interviews with industry leaders and influencers who, through their unique experience and category leadership, have gained special perspectives on the growth and direction of online shopping. Meet Mayur Gupta, Global Head of Marketing Technology & Innovation at Kimberly-Clark.
What two or three things are the most critical to a brand’s success online?
I call these the 5 Cs of modern marketing (you can read more on at inspiremartech.com)
CONSUMER Obsession — A mindset and underlying philosophy that puts the consumer and even more importantly, the human, at the center of everything you do agnostic of functions and channels. Building an ability that provides the consumer with the best product at the best price that best meets his/her emotional and functional need at a time, moment and touch point of his/her choice. If brands are able to do this, they would organically be able to sell more products to more people more often for more money – a philosophy we practice consistently at Kimberly Clark.
CONVERGENCE— Break the traditional silos and drive convergence across organizational functions, whether it is sales, marketing, technology or finance because the ultimate consumer experience is delivered at the intersection of these traditional functions. And this can only happen if you drive convergence within.
CONTEXT, CONTENT & COMMERCE — If enabling the consumer to "buy the best product at the best price that best meets her needs at a time, moment and touch point of his/her choice" is the ultimate strategy for any brand; converging Context, Content and Commerce is the way to "execute" that strategy. Content without context is literally dumb because it is not relevant to the consmer’s needs and will not change their behavior. However, if you use context to inspire content, a "commercial" behavior becomes an organic output. Easier said than done because underneath this requires a data-driven mindset and culture.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing that brick and mortar retailers can do to drive online purchasing?
The change has happened, it's no longer just "happening". Retailers need the belief that he/she lives in a digital world and they need to market and sell in a digital world and no longer do just "digital marketing". A realization that we are no longer in an era of the retailer or the eTailer or the brand but in an era of the consumer. The consumer sits comfortably at the center of the entire ecosystem, has full control and most importantly has choices that they are executing at their own will, at a time, location and touch-point of their choice. The consumer wants to engage on his/her terms and expects value in return and an immersive experience. All of this means that selling online is no longer an option or an alternative sales channel for retailers, it's a necessity and for the entire business model itself.
Break the silos between offline & online — Adoption of online does not mean an end to offline but it's a convergence of the two to the point where you could not differentiate one from the other. It's a digital world which is still physical.
Ultimately, it's all about the consumer. In other words, put the consumer at the center instead of the channel or the product or the technology. It's a shift from a multi-channel strategy to an omni-channel strategy that delivers seamless experiences that change consumer behaviors and inspire participation.
What should retailers/ manufacturers know about how consumers shop online?
The consumer’s "context" in real time or just in time to make an impact and add value to their life. Three simple facts about him/her:
* Who is the consumer?
* What do they want (to meet both her emotional and functional needs)?
* When and where does do they want it?
What was your “aha moment” that online sales would be such a growth driver?
When at the age of 3 years, my elder daughter ordered a pair of socks accidentally using the GILT app on my wife's phone. Nobody knew about it until it was delivered to our home and we could connect the dots. It was the biggest joke around but most importantly it taught me what it meant to be selling and marketing in a digital world and why it was so different from doing "digital marketing".
If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the ecommerce landscape, what would it be?
Stop looking at e-commerce as a "sales channel", rather as a part of a broader seamless and omni-channel consumer experience; a goal that is only accomplished when we stop isolating marketing from sales. e-commerce cannot be isolated from marketing, it has to be part of an integrated experience planning and vision.