On 16th May 2017, E Fundamentals introduced Return on Intelligence at the My Digital Shelf summit; their approach to helping brands increase their online sales with eCommerce analytics. Led by Scott Kipling, the Customer Success team are not just committed to optimising brand’s online execution, but also helping Sales & Marketing teams understand what they need to do to win in eCommerce.
With 20 years commercial experience of working in P&G and a strategic consultancy working with the likes of Nestlé, Unilever and Coca-Cola Enterprises (now Coca-Cola European Partners) Scott has seen first-hand the changes that the industry has gone through and the changes that still need to be made. After having worked alongside the biggest commercial teams in the FMCG sector, here he shares some insights on what the modern day eCommerce teams need to know in order to sell better online.
1. What is the most common challenge that manufacturers have when it comes to eCommerce?
Every manufacturer is at a different stage of their eCommerce development and journey. However one common thing I have seen time and time again is that eCommerce isn’t prioritised until senior management’s mindset is changed to think of it as far more than just a 6% share channel, or whatever it currently is for that manufacturer. The winners realise the disproportionate growth opportunity eCommerce represents, recognise the need to get on the front foot of working with market disruptors and grasp the importance of ROPO (research online, purchase offline) even if they haven’t been able to tangibly quantify the benefit yet. If your company is deliberating whether eCommerce is a priority channel or not, then your competition are already stealing most of your growth potential now and for the future.
2. What common mistakes or assumptions do you come across from brands and manufacturers who can’t put their finger on why they are under trading online versus offline?
Unfortunately I have seen many who treat online as a bolt-on afterthought to their in-store strategies and plans. They need to start with understanding how the online shopper’s needs and behaviours for their category are different to the in-store category shopper. This then needs to be included in the upfront thinking in all category strategy, channel strategy and business planning cycle work. Additionally, manufacturers need to understand what their competition are doing, as most likely, their competition’s earlier prioritisation of eCommerce means that their plans will be resonating with the online category shopper and they will have disproportionate value share online at the manufacturer’s expense. That then brings me to data and insight. All throughout my career I have experienced what gets measured and tracked gets done. Manufacturers who don’t have online metrics on commercial scorecards can only expect an uphill battle when trying to get cross-functional managers to recognise the need to support winning online.
3. What do the eCommerce teams see as their biggest blind spots today and what can they do to overcome it?
Many manufacturers have defined what success looks like online for their brands; they know their perfect e-store blueprint of what great looks like on their products and category, but measuring it and tracking it has been a real challenge. There are increasing amounts of data available in eCommerce, but the last thing people want is another boil the ocean data source where you have to go through everything SKU by SKU, line by line. Uptake will be low and limited to specialists. To get people to want to use the data and insights you have to be able to show them what is relevant to their job role in a way that is easy to understand and whatever you show them must be actionable. These were critical must haves when we designed E Fundamentals along with providing our customer brand’s data in context, so they get a full category view and most important of all, everything we show you helps drive sales and profit growth.
4. What problems are businesses typically most interested in solving quickly and why?
Most businesses have spent the past couple of years focusing on fix the basics (product name, image, description etc) and haven’t been able to move the needle and this is a cause for frustration. We try to help our clients have a concerted push on fix the basics across the first couple of months by driving users to exactly where they need to take action and work with them to root cause issues. For most, the resulting work is a short sharp mix of batch processing fixes with retailers and improving content in the Product Information Management provider. Once through the initial work, users trust that the system will alert them to any fails in the future through our exception based reporting. This then frees managers up to focus on other value adding fundamentals in the E Fundamentals framework. Although fixing the basics is very important as it is difficult to get the shopper to engage further without the basics in place, we only see fix the basics as being 10-15% of the sales growth opportunity when working with the E Fundamentals framework.
5. Can you advise what eCommerce teams can be doing to improve their internal way of working?
Define clear cross functional roles and responsibilities. Map out the eCommerce work both internally and externally and identify who needs to do what and when. Make sure this has senior management sponsorship, then is fully shared and understood within the wider organisation and going back to an earlier question, that there are relevant online KPIs on commercial scorecards.
6. In your opinion, who in the organisation should be responsible for making eCommerce work and how can you help those businesses achieve that?
Absolutely everyone in the organisation needs to believe that eCommerce is a key channel to win in now and in the future. Teams need to realise that you can't work in silos anymore because your shopper isn't shopping in silos; to deliver a solution and to enhance the shopper’s journey requires optimising every touch point. This is why our insights are contextualised within The 8 Fundamentals framework and we’ve ensured that our data is easy to understand and easy to act upon. This is because we don’t believe you should have to outsource anything or even recruit analysts, but instead build knowledge and key capabilities within your teams so they can deliver consistent success and be even better at what they do - and enjoy it!
se your shopper isn't shopping in silos; to deliver a solution and to enhance the shopper’s journey requires optimising every touch point. This is why our insights are contextualised within The 8 Fundamentals framework and we’ve ensured that our data is easy to understand and easy to act upon. This is because we don’t believe you should have to outsource anything or even recruit analysts, but instead build knowledge and key capabilities within your teams so they can deliver consistent success and be even better at what they do - and enjoy it!
7. What is the best eCommerce team structure you have seen?
I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer. What is key is having the right team structure and capability for your current and next phase of eCommerce development but then to acknowledge that this will need to change and evolve in the future.
Get in touch
To find out more about E Fundamentals and the tools available to help you effectively implement your eCommerce strategies, visit ef.uk.com or get in touch with Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.