It’s a Journey Not a Destination

The new rules of retail Focus beyond the purely transactional when it comes to conversion. The pandemic, and the real-time innovation in eCommerce that it spawned, has shown how to integrate commerce seamlessly into the broader brand experience, creating new opportunities.
“Your brand equity, the equity you’ve built in the physical world, transfers over to the virtual world. Fans that love your brand find it even more special when they can buy products and engage with you in the metaverse”


EVP | MediaLink

Social commerce

As the pandemic persuaded people to take new paths-to-purchase, 34% of consumers purchased through social in the last year, according to OMD and OCG. Both Creative eCommerce Grands Prix used often-ignored social platforms to reach customers. ‘Raising Profiles’, from The Big Issue and FCB Inferno London, used LinkedIn to connect magazine sellers with professionals. And AB InBev and Draftline Bogota’s ‘Tienda Cerca’ sold groceries, including beer, through WhatsApp.

Social commerce brings ease, but also entertainment. According to WGSN CEO Carla Buzasi, shoppable livestreams will be mainstream by 2023. “Shoppertainment really can’t be ignored as a sales channel,” she says. “Not only does it bring moments of joy, it also gives us a way of disconnecting with the bad things that are happening in the world.” Postmates won a Bronze Lion in Industry Craft by turning a book into a path to purchase. The ‘Don’t Cookbook’, created with Mother LA, was filled with absurdist illustrations and recipes. But, instead of following them, consumers could scan a QR code to get the dish delivered. Much more delightful than an app.

Jeff Miller, Global Head of Strategy at Snapchat, tells us how Cheetos stole the show on Super Bowl Sunday with a unique and contextual experience using Snapchat AR, and how this has helped them to break through the noise with other brands on social media. Catch up on this session On Demand

Bootiques | Boots

Ogilvy London

Silver Lion winner in Creative eCommerce

Make it easy

The opportunity for frictionless retail has never been greater. Evolving tech means brands can set up virtual pop-up shops anywhere. Creative eCommerce Lions Jury President and R/GA's Global Chief Creative Officer, Tiffany Rolfe, describes this as ‘distributed commerce’, where some of this year’s Lion-winners saw commerce being enabled on platforms such as Waze that haven’t historically been set up for it. “Commerce doesn’t have to be this extra step where you go somewhere else,” says Rolfe. “ You don’t have to go to a dotcom or an app – it can be woven in.” Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza, with Ogilvy Sao Paulo, turned music tracks into a marketplace in its Creative eCommerce Bronze-winning work ‘Shopping Inside Songs’. When a musical instrument was heard in a song, listeners could click through to buy it. In ‘Bootiques’, which won retailer Boots and Ogilvy London a Silver Lion, every ad – from OOH to TV to social – was shoppable.

The pandemic has exacerbated the attention divide, as consumers are more easily distracted than ever. The Baymard Institute analysed data from 41 different studies and found that, in 2020, the average cart abandonment rate was just shy of 70%. Yet brands who can link purchase into events or everyday moments can avoid being abandoned. However, don’t let convenience become pedestrian. “Find the unique digital experience for the brand,” advises Brent Smart, IAG Chief Marketing Officer. “Having a bit of stickiness or friction in the experience is ok if it makes it different, memorable and worthwhile.”

Commerce as brand expression

Brand building isn’t limited to bold ad campaigns, even commerce can help signal a brand’s purpose and personality. “Creativity has a role to play in all the different phases of the customer journey,” says Maria Mujica, VP at Mondelez Latam and Creative eCommerce Lions juror, pointing to TBWA RAAD, Dubai’s Bronze-winning work for KFC ‘Shift+K+F+C’, which gave consumers the ability to order fried chicken via a keyboard shortcut. One simple line of code told the gaming community that KFC was their kind of brand. “You don’t expect to find creativity in payments,” says Mujica. “But that’s inspiring for the industry.” Commerce can go beyond the transactional. In ‘Buy With Your Time’, its Gold Direct Lion-winning work with Memac Ogilvy Dubai, IKEA embodied its brand purpose – to create a better everyday life – by offering discounts based on the number of minutes it had taken customers to travel to the store.

The global eCommerce industry is growing constantly; the Creative eCommerce Lions have grown by 12% each year since launching in 2018. Brands should be open to trialling transactions on unconventional platforms, such as social and livestreaming platforms. Take advantage of consumers’ growing tech literacy and make something memorable.

Every point across the customer journey is an opportunity for brand building. It doesn’t matter what product category your brand is in; you don’t have to be edgy to experiment. In the Brand Experience & Activation Lions, the awards were mostly evenly spread across product categories, but FMCG companies were the big players, with 52 shortlists and 15 Lion wins.

Brands are already starting to shift how they view digital commerce. We’ve seen a shift in the type of work entered into Creative eCommerce Lions with a huge increase in work around social behaviour and cultural insight. By approaching online retail as a branded experience, brands can bring convenience while also sending a message about who they are and what they stand for.

To discover more insights and content on this theme, watch this selection of films On Demand on Cannes Lions Live.