Image: Hans Splinter/Flickr Image: Hans Splinter/Flickr

Like all successful marriages, this union faces complications and compromises. One challenge is that the relationship has become one-sided. E-retailers are aggressively focused on outperforming their competitors fiercely battling it out in price wars, however unfortunately, this has left brands caught in the crossfire, as retailers choose to neglect the opportunity to convey any other attributes that make brands and their products attractive, focusing mainly on price. Andrew Watts, explains.

Brands without their own e-commerce platform have limited influence on how their brand and products are portrayed.

Behavioural science – Just why do customers shop online?

The truth is, the current e-commerce status quo that minimises brand engagement and prioritises sales is fundamentally flawed. Brands face two distinct challenges: firstly, how to make their products stand out on e-commerce platforms and secondly, how to create effective marketing to drive consumers to purchase their products when the digital purchase journey is unpredictable and not based on traditional linear behaviour. In this piece, we will look at how brands can tackle the first challenge.

To understand consumer behaviour, brands and retailers can look to heuristics – the hardwired shortcuts people use to make purchase decisions, regardless of brand, category or channel. There are 128 heuristics and working with Durham University Business School we have identified the nine most relevant to purchase decisions.

We call them Sales Triggers. These provide a framework which makes behavioural science usable, shaping strategies and marketing activity that help brands and retailers sell.

Building richer online shopping experiences informed by shopper behaviour

We have learnt this through our work on a digital shop in shop for Samsung. Featured in over 50 electrical retailers’ e-commerce platforms, we designed and built immersive content to clearly demonstrate the key features of the Samsung TV/AV range, simplifying consumer choice and guiding them through a considered purchase. The results have been impressive and have driven significant online sales.

Testing the waters

Brands and retailers cannot afford to get into a relationship which will not be mutually beneficial.

To avoid such a scenario, e-retailers can run test and learn marketing campaigns with brands. By taking this strategic approach, retailers can assess two things -how people are responding to the brand on their e-commerce site and how they can tweak the marketing partnership to react to consumer behaviour on their sites. By having this intelligence, retailers can work closely with brands to identify the right Sales Triggers to inform more effective marketing and sales activation.

All great relationships grow through testing and learning. There is a massive opportunity for e-commerce platforms and brands to form a new partnership that identifies mutually beneficial marketing opportunities based on understanding the key Sales Triggers that drive purchase. We call this approach Brand Commerce and it’s a key strategic building block in the next stage of e-commerce development.

Andrew Watts, is the founding Partner at KHWS, the Brand Commerce agency