Connected moments that matter to achieve growth

Shoppers are voting with their wallets, and buying from brands that demonstrate meaningful engagement across the entire customer journey, says Michelle Whelan of WPP’s VMLY&R Commerce

People are spending money where it matters to them most. Take Gen Z and Millennials – over 50% are purchasing via social commerce.

Although sometimes daunting, the explosion of spaces and places opens the door to exciting opportunities.

The secret sauce of success, in my view, is to understand the value of the omnichannel shopper, beyond the single channel shopper. You need to intimately understand their needs, and know when and where to dial up functional, emotional and social value.

Here are few trends we’re seeing today.

Purpose across the customer journey to the shelf

Conscious consumerism is on the rise. People want brands to demonstrate they truly understand their values all the way to the shelf.

One brilliant example is Unilever in India. Smart Fill stations in-store allow shoppers to fill any empty container (from competitors’ products too) as packaging for Unilever-branded detergents. It’s working: 150 litres are Smart Filled every hour, with a 57.2kg plastic reduction per day. Unilever tapped into the growing power of purpose from product inception to the supermarket shelf.

Modern-day creativity to get closer to people

Creativity, supported by technology and data, has transformed opportunities for growth. Creativity is delivering more personalised and relevant experiences across curated platforms with a remarkable ability to connect and unlock communities – from Gen Z’ers in Meta Shops and gamers on Fortnite.

Many companies are asking for creativity that truly understands the different moments important to people in their journey. For example, will TikTok’s unique ability to connect trigger product interest? Will QR codes lead to a memorable experience? Is the call to action authentic and appropriate? Does it enable a seamless purchase? These are all questions that should be front and centre for every brand.

Corona is getting it right. This iconic beer cornered the market in Mexico by creating a new, innovative payment method. Latin American football stadiums are hard to secure from pickpockets so fans leave their valuables at home. Social behaviour was impacting the brand’s in-stadium sales. The solution was to turn team jerseys into digital wallets, allowing passionate fans to support their teams while allowing Corona to capitalise on this key consumption moment. RFID tags embedded in jerseys meant fans could purchase a Corona with just a tap of the badge. In-stadium sales volume soared by 35% in the first week. And the work landed a clutch of awards, including Cannes Lions.

Growth comes from all moments that matter

The more relevant we are to people in moments that matter, and the more people we reach, the more opportunities there are to grow. People don’t think in silos – they expect brands to behave consistently, in engaging ways, no matter the channel. They expect to be able to browse or buy whenever and wherever they choose.

“The future is all about the past. It’s connecting with people just like we used to before the internet – finding those human connections. Now we have so many more tools: we can use data and find people in all kinds of channels. As a brand, we can follow consumers wherever they are. But creating the human connection is the most important thing. Everything else builds around that,” commented Lilia Fusa, Colgate’s eCommerce Channel Lead, UK & Ireland, at a recent event.

I couldn’t agree more.