The Future of Commerce with Richard Kelly

October 16, 2020

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The marketing landscape has completely changed over the last six months and so has most peoples working lives. Richard Kelly, CEO of tech company Adimo, has seen first hand how brands have been impacted by the pandemic. We caught up over a zoom call to chat about COVID’s effect on grocery eCommerce and get an insight into what the future holds. 

After it’s acceleration during the lockdown, can you see the grocery eCommerce trend ever slowing down?

Firstly, in my eyes it surprises me that we still use the word eCommerce, it should now be automatically assumed that Commerce is digital. I think as technology digresses the line between the two will become harder to differentiate. In grocery itself though, first of all, you have the spike in demand that resulted in 2x the growth expected, this was effected massively by retailer capacity. For example, Ocado who had to shut down their website and had a waiting list of a million shoppers but in cities that had the capacity they saw a 10x increase in growth, which to me is just staggering. I think the thing to consider is, because of the growth we now have a much bigger addressable market for the retailers, so its worth a lot more and also the consumers have higher expectations. This makes the retailers more competitive against each other, which intern gives a better customer experience, leading to referrals and customer loyalty.  


How can brands take advantage of eCommerce trend? 

This goes back to the stuff that we here at Adimo have been talking about for ages now, convenience. I’m a big believer in the ‘Jobs to be done’ framework, you always need to go back to the question, what is the brand’s job? A great example of this is when we worked with Carnation, through integrating the technology we found that recipes performed best by far. Looking into it a little closer we found that dessert recipes with five or fewer ingredients that took under 20 minutes to make were doing particularly well. For me that showed us what the job of that product was, it’s not just a tin of condensed milk, its a shortcut to a quick family dessert. Thus the recipe was helping the product to do that job. So I think if brands look at what job their product does and align their marketing too that so that it’s utilitarian, then it takes a lot of work off the persuasion side of sales. Shortening the cycle. 

Another is to be as available as possible. Wherever your brand is seen it should be made shoppable. All marketing and advertising are designed to create purchase impulse, and consumers should be able to act on that desire. Most of what we do is integrated with marketing itself, but our innovations such as shoppable packaging are what brands should be doing going forward. Why rely on marketing to create those impulses when they exist, they are just generic. They can be easily funnelled to your brand by saying, we are easier to buy than anything else, all you need to do is tap your phone against the packet… 

What sort of trends do you see appearing in post-pandemic marketing? 

This is an interesting one, I think the ads that we see at Christmas will set the tone for the next two years. I think there are trends that will continue like better targeting, but at a higher level, I think we’ll start seeing marketing getting more creative to make up for the loss of spontaneity and excitement over the past six months. On a more pragmatic note, Price could become a big trend in the coming year. With many out of work and with their jobs at risk, they are going to become more price sensitive. Value is going to play a much bigger role but at the same time again, convenience.   

What should brand marketing teams be mindful of when planning for the year ahead?

I think planning for the year ahead will be challenging not only for marketing teams but for wider teams across the brand too - because who knows what will happen next. There are time scales for production and getting messaging right, but by the time you’ve done that the mood might have completely changed. So I think rather than try to plan too far ahead, I think the key is to make changes to elements that influence customer decisions and allow them to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing market.   

COVID-19 has been very sink or swim for brands as they try to adapt... are there any brands that have impressed you in the way they've shifted focus during the pandemic?

I’ve been impressed by the turnaround of brands in terms of their supply chains. If you look at all the panic buying that has taken place at the beginning of the pandemic, it wasn’t the best behaviour from some of the public, but I can understand their fears. So I think the challenges that brands faced keeping factories open, and logistics running smoothly in the face of fluctuating retailer demand should be applauded. I think it terms of marketing it has been very difficult for brands to get the right message out in recent months. But there are a number of brands who have adapted well in my view. A prime example being Heinz launching a D2C site where shoppers could purchase bundles of their products and have them delivered. 

With COVID -19 leaving the future for brands and consumers so uncertain, Adimo are here to support every step of the way keeping convenience at the heart of eCommerce.  


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