Me-commerce? Really? Another cutesy industry term in order to share a new trend and point of view?
Hell yes (but let me explain why).
The pandemic radically accelerated two massive changes for marketers; the first being time spent online with almost 70% of Americans reporting they spend at least 1-2 hours more each day in digital channels. The second being the rise of e-commerce sales, achieving 10 years of predicted analyst growth in the first three months of the pandemic. Then Apple and Google decided to add to the fun with their announcements of IDFA and cookie deprecation.
This quickly forced marketers to solve three important challenges:
- How do I break through all the digital noise and capture consumers' attention?
- How do I create a digital shopping experience that guides consumers?
- How do I capture our own first-party data in the wake of consumer privacy changes?
Enter Me-commerce, the solution to all three challenges that is so simple it’s silly.
Now every time a brand takes stage at an industry conference, you will see a diagram of the consumer at the center and you will hear how they are “consumer-centric” or “consumer-first,” but are they really? Oftentimes their targeting is still based on inferred data, their ads are still pushing products, and their CTAs still say “buy now” or “shop now.” I will go on record saying this is not putting the customer first.
[Reaching consumers wherever they are: Everywhere Commerce: Back in Action LIVE at the Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit]
Me-commerce is the act of putting the consumer's experience and needs above the brands — but good news for brands, it also delivers higher ROI.
Let’s break down how by answering the questions I listed above:
How do I break through all the digital noise and capture consumers' attention?
Me-commerce starts with a CTA that is completely about providing value to the consumer
- “Find the right (x) for you”
- “Which (x) personality are you?”
- “How well do you know (x)?”
CTAs like the above answer the call of “Is it valuable to me?” “Does it help me?” “Does it entertain me?” This approach demolishes engagement rate metrics when compared to other CTAs. These are examples of providing genuine value to the consumer in return for their time and attention. Using trivia to test their knowledge, a quiz to get a recommendation or personality match, an interactive article that allows them to choose their own adventure while reading it are all ways to still accomplish your marketing objectives in a way that is completely consumer-centric.
How do I create a digital shopping experience that guides consumers?
The pandemic took us out of stores and into a world of needing to become top gun digital navigators, searching endless pages of products to find what we are looking for. We missed that ability to ask a store associate where something was or which was the better product or if these pants fit my shape well. Let’s be honest, scrolling two pages of thumbnail size images of jeans isn't a fun consumer experience and too many options leave you with fear and doubt about if you are making the right choice.
So let’s help them along with a guided selling experience. These often come in the form of a product recommendation quiz that asks the consumers a few questions about what they are looking for to narrow down their consideration set, eliminate decision fatigue, and increase confidence in their purchase.
How do I capture our own first-party data in the wake of consumer privacy changes?
Guess what? If you’ve taken my advice on the first two strategies above then you are already solving this last challenge. Let’s go back to the jeans example. You created a “Let’s find your perfect jeans” product recommendation quiz. In order to match me to my jeans you might ask me questions like “Do you want high rise or low rise?” or “Do you want a boot cut or tapered?” and then you might show me various color images of jeans and tell me to pick a color and voila, you probably now have enough info to give me some recommendations.
You could stop there but all you have are my jean preferences; you haven’t actually gotten to know me. So you might throw in one or two more questions that help you understand my broader interests and needs, such as “How do you describe your overall style?” If it’s during the holidays, you might ask me if the jeans are a gift for someone else or for you?”
This data is a category of first-party data many are calling zero-party data, when a consumer willingly and explicitly provides you information about their interests, motivations, and needs. This process of data collection builds trust and transparency between brands and consumers because they know who they are giving their information to and why, and most importantly they receive value back in exchange for doing so.
This not only allows you to use that data to improve and personalize the consumer's experience, but you can also use this data in aggregate for better audience targeting, consumer insights, product innovation, and more.
In summary, making it about me improves results for you.
—Pam Erlichman, CMO, Jebbit