Disruption is a buzzword in the retail sector and beyond, but often not much extra thought is given to the ‘how’, ‘why’ or ‘what’ it will affect.
One rapidly developing trend is the rise of direct-to-consumer brands and the impact that can have on the multi-brand ecommerce retailers which used to be their only real source of distribution.
To my mind there are five disruptive Ds caused by mobile’s increasing dominance in the ecommerce journey between consumers and brands.
The model has changed – on web, the winning formula used to be to keep the user on your site for the longest dwell time.
On mobile, however, consumers don’t have that kind of patience – the only commodity worth valuing is time, meaning the major drivers are efficiency and user experience.
The best mobile products that succeed deliver a short, sharp experience to their user base, allowing them to dip in and out at will.
Never have consumers been so willing to give up so much data so freely under the impression and expectation that it will improve customer experiences.
The repeated use in mobile means there’s far more to learn about every user, which enables more efficient marketing.
More so, in-store apps that connect the bricks-and-mortar journey to the online profile provide brands with the complete picture of their customer.
While this isn’t something being done especially well today, companies like Demandware founder Stephan Schambach’s venture NewStore are focused entirely on solving this omnichannel journey.
Brands have struggled to surface online against retailers because the latter are so scientifically brilliant at search engine optimisation, pay-per-click, and the other traditional necessities based on the web.
“Looking for Hunter Boots on the web and you’ll be directed to House of Fraser, Nordstrom and the like. But on mobile, you’re more likely to engage in some of their eye-catching creative campaigns utilising Pinterest, Instagram, and canvas on Facebook, driving you directly to their site to convert”
But while the web user’s starting point is often the Google search bar, on mobile it’s a homescreen of social media and messaging apps.
Look for Hunter Boots on the web and you’ll be directed to House of Fraser, Nordstrom and the like.
But on mobile, you’re more likely to engage in some of their eye-catching creative campaigns utilising Pinterest, Instagram, and Canvas on Facebook, driving you directly to their site to convert.
All these changes start to make emerging brands realise they can do a lot of this on their own, and cut out the retailer middle man, maximising margin.
The appeal of owning the data, building a fanbase on social media and therefore owning discovery and creating a simple experience geared towards efficient consumer dwell time start to erode the value of what the multi-brand ecommerce retailer once offered as its core USPs.
Beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury is a textbook example of this. It has the fans and the online presence, so it dominates its own channel first and foremost, and worries about retailers second.
So this leaves us with one major last hurdle – the ecommerce retailer has always had a huge advantage here; expertise in logistics isn’t easy to come by.
But mobile has disrupted this too, and with companies popping up every day solving last-mile delivery, even this USP won’t last long.
Right now, there’s a lot that needs relearning thanks to mobile’s increasing dominance; the ones who will win are those that will put mobile at the heart of their business, and relearn quickly.