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Interview

Interview: Retailer, shopper, and economic trends: Ecomm data and advice with Andrea Leigh, Founder and CEO, Allume Group

As retailer earnings come to a close, that means it  must be time for another Ecommerce Intelligence Quarterly trends report from Andrea Leigh and the crack team at ecommerce educator and strategy advisory Allume Group. Andrea joins the podcast to lay out the latest retailer, shopper, and economic trends and lays out some actionable advice to fight the headwinds and take advantage of the opportunities she sees in the data.

Transcript:

Peter Crosby:
Welcome to Unpacking the Digital Shelf, where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age.

Peter Crosby:
Hey, everyone. Peter Crosby here from the Digital Shelf Institute. As retailer earnings come to a close, that means it must be time for another eCommerce Intelligence Quarterly trends report from Andrea Leigh and the crack team at eCommerce Educator and Strategy Advisory Allume Group. Andrea joins Lauren Livak and me to lay out the latest retailer, shopper, and economic trends and discusses some actionable advice to fight the headwinds and take advantage of the opportunities she sees in the data. Andrea, thank you so much for coming back onto the podcast.
You know we always love having you here. I know you just recently released your latest eCommerce Insights Quarterly trend report or EIQ for the cool kids. You have a lot to talk about today.

Andrea Leigh:
I do. Thanks for having me, Peter.

Peter Crosby:
Of course. The state of consumer shopping as always is changing super rapidly. In the midst of the interesting economic environment we're in, I think it's more important for brands to understand what's going on out there and how they may need to shift some of their approaches or strategies or tactics to make sure they're keeping up and hopefully ahead of their competitors. Why don't we start with you just telling us what you are seeing in the latest trends.

Andrea Leigh:
Just a little context on our report, it was born a while back when clients started asking, "Hey, can you come in and give us a quick recap of what's happened this quarter?" We had so many requests for it that we just started producing it into a quarterly report. We look across the ecosystem and we look at inflation and demand, eCommerce penetration. We look across the three retailers, and then we lay out some eCommerce shopper and manufacturer trends based on what we're seeing in the news and with our clients and a lot of the thought leaders that we follow and engage with in the ecosystem. If we want to dive right in, we kick off with inflation and demand.
What's really interesting here, and Jason Goldberg did a really great year to date video recap on YouTube, which I encourage everyone to check out where he really breaks this down, but basically we are seeing some revenue growth in retail year on year. However, it's all just due to inflation. It's all due to increased prices at retail. Inflation hit its high back in the May-June timeframe, but we're still tracking in the eight to 9% range. Still pretty high. In our report, we have a lot of suggested further reading and other reports to read, but there's this great payments report on consumer sentiment and 49% of consumers are dipping into savings to cover everyday expenses.
It's something more than 70% of consumers that are worried about how they're going to pay their bills and living paycheck to paycheck. Really a dire situation for shoppers right now. And then as a result, retailers and brands. If you look at the retailer quarterly sales and growth, again, revenue by quarter starting to flatten out post-pandemic and settle a little bit. We've definitely seen a little bit of a shift to eCommerce, which we'll talk about in just a minute. But growth really slowing for the retailers coming out of the pandemic boom. What's interesting is that we did see a big movement to eCommerce as a percentage of total business overall for the industry.
We went up to about 16.4% during the peak of the pandemic and settled back down to 14.5%. We started before the pandemic at close to 12% eCommerce penetration and now we shook out at 14.5. We got two and a half extra points, which is actually a lot. I mean, that's more than we would've gotten during that timeframe, a lot of analysts say, but it did definitely settle back down. Now, there are some categories that performed a lot differently. I mean, just in looking at our own shopping habits, we're buying more groceries online, more fashion online. I do think that there's more to come.
We're starting to see a lot of physical store locations close in some of the major cities, which is going to drive some of that business online. I think especially in the fashion and specialty sectors, we're going to see more shift to eCommerce in the future as they figure out what they're doing with all their stores. We did gain some eCommerce penetration. And then grocery, of course, there have been a lot of really sticky behaviors in buying groceries online.

Peter Crosby:
Well, certainly I would say that there's a lot of tough news in there, but some glimmer of bright spots, but it does seem to me to underline these winds are going to blow for a bit. Figuring out where it is you're going to lean into in response to those trends will be interesting.

Andrea Leigh:
The glimmers of hope and the real exciting stuff comes in the shopper and eCommerce trends and looking at some of the manufacturers and how they're managing some of this change, because I think there are some really good nuggets of information and some hope on the horizon.

Lauren Livak:
That's the plug to listen to the end of the podcast when we talk about what you can do. It does seem dooms day, but there are some things you can do.

Andrea Leigh:
Absolutely. We've got some great strategies that we've seen manufacturers use to really be productive and experience growth in this period. We'll share some of those at the end.

Lauren Livak:
Andrea, to your point about the shopper trends, you focus on eCommerce, manufacturers, and Amazon, right? What are some of those interesting nuggets that you're hearing from the shopper side?

Andrea Leigh:
Probably the biggest one is we're calling it shopping edited. People are still shopping, but maybe being a little bit more choiceful and purposeful in their shopping behavior. The biggest one we're seeing is brand switching and a reduction in loyalty. NielsenIQ put out a report and Morning Consult put out a report, they're pretty different, but somewhere between 40 and 70% of shoppers are reporting that they have already switched to lower priced brands. That's a big number. And then we're still seeing sales shift to groceries from dining out and about a third of shoppers are postponing big ticket purchases. I think that's interesting.
It presents some opportunities for manufacturers, we'll talk about it more at the end, but about making sure that you have a lot of choice in your assortment for shoppers and room for them to trade down, because the brands that are really successful right now do have those types of choices for manufacturers. We're starting to see that. And then the other thing that's really interesting is this rapid change in terms of product discoverability. Where is product discoverability happening?
If you look at this report by Sense and eMarketer, the ranking of where shoppers are discovering new products, number one is social media, number two are retailer websites, and number three are third party eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon. And then numbers four and five are retailer physical locations and traditional media. And that has completely flipped in the last few years. I think that's really interesting and exciting and presents a lot of opportunity for brands to really go where their shoppers are, from both an advertising and an organic content perspective. And then just a really big rise in the impact of influencers.
I think this goes hand in hand with increased online video consumption. As shoppers are engaging more with online video, they're experiencing more and interacting more with influencers. Influencers now outrank friends and family in terms of who shoppers trust most for product recommendations.

Peter Crosby:
Oh my gosh!

Andrea Leigh:
I know. I think about the YouTubers that I follow and it's really true. I mean, if you just look at your own behavior, you're more likely to go to YouTube for a product recommendation now than you are to go to friends and family. It's so much more efficient. You're going to get a pretty thorough review of the product. I thought that's pretty interesting and that also presents some cool opportunities for manufacturers and advertisers

Peter Crosby:
I've been seeing a lot about how TikToks' game is just getting better and better and advertisers seeing great results from that network. Do you think part of it is coming from that increased influence, or is that just sort one drop in a mighty ocean?

Andrea Leigh:
I mean, I think TikTok's a part of it and it's certainly capturing a lot of the younger generation. Advertising on TikTok is really tricky. You have to ensure that the content's really engaging, or you have to be working with influencers that can ensure that they have really engaging content. Because if you look at the shopper, they're more passively looking for products on TikTok versus if you're running searches on YouTube and maybe more purposefully or intentionally looking for products. The messaging for those shoppers has to be a little bit different.
But I mean, just online video consumption is up so much. Later on, I think I have some stats when we talk about manufacturers about where they're shifting their media dollars. Basically, it's all going to online video.

Peter Crosby:
Well, let's look at all of this data that you've laid out and these shifts. What are you seeing? How are you seeing the retailers respond to all of these inputs from the broader world and from what shoppers are doing?

Andrea Leigh:
I think the biggest one is just the huge growth we've experienced and continued to experience in retail media platforms. If you look at the e-com retailers there, pretty much everyone has a retail media platform now. If you rewind two years, we were not in this place. This happened so quickly. I think the most recent one that I read about was Piggly Wiggly launching a retail media platform on there. I love Piggly. I'm from Wisconsin, so that's a brand that's close to my heart, but definitely not a national brand with a huge draw.
Retail media growth has been huge for a couple of reasons because we know that the shoppers online, we just reviewed where they're discovering new products, they're there and they're primed for those advertisements. But also as business has shifted online, we talked about the retailer growth flattening out, but all of the retailers, except Amazon actually, are experiencing much higher growth in their eCommerce businesses. Walmart and Target are still growing double digits in eCommerce and Amazon's down a little bit year on year this last quarter coming off of their huge pandemic boom.
Ship to home and buy online, pickup in store, whatever the click to order method is, it's more expensive for retailers to service those orders, and so they need a new revenue stream to help offset some of those increased costs. If you're doing 1% of your business online, it's not very impactful to your bottom line. But if you're now doing 10 or 20% of your business online as a retailer, that's pretty impactful. You have to cover those shipping costs and picking the orders and all of those things. It's a monetization play for the retailers, but it's also a great opportunity for the brands to get in front of the shopper where we know they're discovering products.
Retail media is a big one. We're also seeing just a reckoning of investments where the retailers are getting a little bit more surgical about where they're placing their bets, even Amazon, as most of them are overstocked. I think I heard on the last Walmart earnings call that all the overstocked inventory they had was stuff they wished they'd never bought to begin with. Actually that might have been a quote from an article. I can't remember if it was an earnings call or the article, but I was like, that's a pretty big statement for Walmart to make.
Amazon ran a second Prime Day to try to get rid of that glut of inventory. But I mean, all these retailers ordered to demand levels that were happening six months ago and then things slowed down with inflation. They're working through this glut of inventory, which is...

Peter Crosby:
I'm sorry to interrupt. I've been seeing some takes out in the media that the second Prime Day was about moving up holiday shopping, which goes counter to the it's inventory they had from this past season. Are you thinking that's just trying to put lipstick on a retail pig?

Andrea Leigh:
I think it's lipstick on a retail pig. I mean, I think it was to get rid of the stuff they didn't want so that they could clear not necessarily physical room because they have too much physical room, but so that they could clear P&L room for them to acquire the inventory they needed for holiday.

Peter Crosby:
Got it.

Andrea Leigh:
We're seeing these overstocks. Amazon is really interesting. They've been really streamlined toward their services side of the business. That's actually growing significantly year on year, while the online and physical stores component of the business was actually down year on year the last couple quarters. By services, I mean AWS advertising, streaming services, et cetera. And now they're starting to rent out their warehouse space and offering fulfillment services to other retailers and to sellers. I think that's really interesting.

Lauren Livak:
Sorry. Real quick on that piece, do you think that that is going to change now any of the relationships the brands are having with their Amazon partners because they're not focusing as much on that side of the business? Do you think it will really affect the brands in any way?

Andrea Leigh:
Well, I think that's a good question. I mean, I think that Amazon, they need the partnership with the brands in order to continue to command the ad dollars. They're going to still invest in that business as much as they need to to keep the ad revenue growing. I would imagine they're going to continue to get more sophisticated with their ad products and particularly with demand side platform as we approach a cookieless world, but Amazon can still use their audience data and they have a huge audience. I think they'll keep focusing on that business, but I don't think it's their main focus.
For brands, I think that means maybe looking at investing in some of your other retail partners that are really focused on the eCommerce side of the business. I think we're starting to see Kroger and Walmart and Target do some really interesting things in monetizing the audience and advertising and even with some of the fulfillment, et cetera. I mean, I think that means it's time to make sure we're really diversified.

Lauren Livak:
I think that's a great point. I think you're seeing some brands starting to realize that. I was just having a conversation with a brand today and they're like, "We can't have all of our eggs in one basket. How do we think about prioritizing? Where should we look?? I was like look at the ones that are building the partnerships that are best to work with and are really investing in it. I think we're starting to see that a bit, but hopefully this will be a good catalyst to help brands continue to do that.

Peter Crosby:
I think I've been seeing that Amazon is a technology first company, and where they're putting their money in terms of their work with brands, and this is maybe a somewhat myopic view based on the part of the industry we come from, but they're investing a ton in the technology platforms that allow them to collaborate with brands on content and things like that. But they don't do much. You can't reach a human being at Amazon very often. I think you see that in a lot of the ways they approach their HR issues. The amount of turnover I saw in their warehouse side and things like that is close to 85% turnover or something like that.
Billions of dollars lost in that turnover and it's because they've tried to automate it completely and they don't back it up with conversations. I think that's part of it is that they're trying to solve these problems with technology and that takes time.

Andrea Leigh:
I think they're also going through a little bit of an identity crisis. They were a retailer first for so long and now the retail part of the business is less than half. I mean, that just happened in the last year or two. I think it's like, what are they? Are they a services company? I think the change in leadership probably helped accelerate some of that, but is also contributing a little bit to the identity crisis.

Peter Crosby:
Anything else on the retailer side?

Andrea Leigh:
Yeah. The last thing I would say is around this ultra fast delivery and quick commerce. We're seeing some of these partners such as Instacart really start to pivot some of their services to brick and mortar. At grocery shop, Instacart's booth was all full of stuff that they're offering for in-store experiences. I think it's because as some of the demand shifts back to brick and mortar, there's not as much demand for some of these companies. Also, most of them don't have very sustainable business models in that delivering something in 15 minutes to an hour is really expensive and is hugely subsidized by investor funding.
I think that was really interesting to see Instacart pivot. They're working on some in-store stuff that I think is really cool, these things called Carrot Tags. Have you guys heard about this? You can go into the store. These are all services and software they're selling to the stores. I want this technology. You go into the store. You have your app. You search the product you want and then it lights up where it is in the aisle.

Lauren Livak:
Oh, that would be amazing.

Andrea Leigh:
Right? Peter space.

Peter Crosby:
No. The amount of time I spend wandering aisles in a grocery store.

Andrea Leigh:
Yeah, talk about real shopper value. I mean, I would even pay for that app. That would be incredible. My local Kroger, which is Fred Meyer here is enormous. I mean, it's huge. It services the whole north side of Seattle. You can spend a lot of time walking around looking for which. And then if it's not in stock, you can get it shipped to your home. You're right on the app. It's knowable. That's actually what I think the future of commerce looks like. It's this more seamless integration of the online, in-store experience, but in ways that improve the convenience element for the shopper.
I think we're just going to continue to see little features and things like this happen and it'll be the slow transition. Before we know it, we're just completely omnichannel shoppers.

Peter Crosby:
Is that your term of choice, Andrea, is omnichannel versus multichannel? Where are you in that debate?

Andrea Leigh:
Okay, I like omnicommerce.

Peter Crosby:
Omnicommerce.

Andrea Leigh:
I like it because shoppers don't understand what channels are. That's an industry term, and they know what commerce is. I prefer omnicommerce, but I think they both mean the same thing.

Peter Crosby:
I know. I appreciate that, because we've been trying to figure out. Nothing feels right anymore. They all feel a little dated and not descriptive enough. Thank you. I'm going to store that away and think about it.

Lauren Livak:
Andrea, we covered the retailer side. We covered the shopper side. How about from the manufacturer side? What are brands seeing in terms of trends that came up?

Andrea Leigh:
We did a survey on LinkedIn a few weeks ago asking this very question. There are lots of trends that are happening right now and how do you boil it down. 40%, which was the leading answer, cited profitability. Profitability being a really big concern area right now and it's partly due to in... They have increasing cost of raw materials and of doing business, but then also the retailers are putting more pressure on them to spend in retail media and have lower costs and things like that. Profitability was a pretty big concern. And then the other was around supply chain. That was a close second, supply chain challenges.
It varies and it's different for each manufacturer. Some of them are still struggling to get product that they need. For some of them they can get it, but it's really expensive. Some of them don't have the right inventory of the right items necessarily. And then the last one was change management. This was really interesting. Kantar did this study. They did a survey and they're seeing five to 50% decreases in media spend in traditional media. All of that budget is shifting toward basically online video, but also social, eCommerce, influencers, other digital media. That change management around those shifting media budgets is huge, right?
You used to plan your media whole year in advance and you would buy across these channels and you had certain ways that you measured it in traditional channels, and now it's mostly shifting to online video and retail media that have more of an iterative approach to them. You can't plan your year's worth of online video.

Peter Crosby:
Nope.

Andrea Leigh:
You can't do that. I mean, trends change on the week around here. I think that change management is really hard. And then with retail media, the interconnectivity with the retail business is the only way that it can be effective. You don't want to advertise stuff that's out of stock, and your right advertising needs to tie into your promotional strategy and all these things, which also there's less connectivity in traditional media. That change management I think is really hard for brands as well.

Lauren Livak:
I think the video component is interesting, especially with Netflix now having their paid ad tier, the lower monthly subscription, where I'm sure a bunch of other streaming platforms are going to start thinking about that, right? That's a totally different way of thinking. Netflix never had commercials and now majority of streamers are using Netflix. How are brands going to utilize that, how you plan for that? That's a totally new factor to think about in all of their planning.

Andrea Leigh:
I wish we could show this chart. I just posted it to LinkedIn this morning, but it's 66% increasing budget in online video, and then video is listed on here a few different ways. Video streaming, eCommerce, influencer content, TV streaming, all these things, they're video based. I read some social media report and it's more than half of our time on, for example, Instagram now is spent on video.

Peter Crosby:
Wow! Andrea, I don't know whether you have the answer to this, but when we talk to brands, a lot of them are frustrated about the lack of transparency or data sharing of much of any kind from retailers to them so that they can improve their merchandising and really understand their key retailers, customers, consumers better and better. Because I feel like it will only take a couple of retailers who are in the innovative space to start shifting and opening some of that up to make it really tough on others who don't. But are you seeing any signs of that environment warming up at all?

Andrea Leigh:
Well, I mean, a little bit. Amazon now has the Amazon Marketing Cloud, which is interesting. I'm not super familiar with it, but we're actually about to do a micro-learning on it and hopefully leverage the flywheel folks because they're pretty heads down into it. This is really the advertiser's ability to query anything that they want essentially, I mean, non-identifiable information. But it really depends on the advertiser to figure out what they're looking for. They've opened up their data, but they're not being very prescriptive or helpful in terms of what you should be looking for, what would be useful.
It would be hard for an advertiser to just jump into that pool without some help or without some guidance. I mean, I think Kroger's really well poised to do it because they had Dunnhumby and 84.51° and they have such rich data through their loyalty program. And then now with their foray into eCommerce and rumored to be severing... Maybe they actually are severing ties with Instacart and bringing some of that delivery in-house. They have the capability to do it. The timeline, I don't know, but they do have some really rich data and they have a retail media platform that's growing really fast. And same with Walmart.
I think that there are some retailers that have the potential to share more data and really capture more of the retail media dollars. Everyone wants to spend it on someone besides Amazon. There just aren't large enough audiences on some of the other platforms yet, but there will be.

Peter Crosby:
That would be super exciting if we reach that tipping point where that starts to happen because it's in everyone's self interest to understand the consumer more is that need for collaboration between brands and retailers continues to grow. Andrea, you hand these EIQs over to your customers and you tell them all this stuff, just like our listeners today, although I'm sure with more depth and specificity for them. I'm sure their next question is, okay, Andrea, so what do we do about this? How do you modify what you teach your brand executives and leaders and people who are on the front lines every day to do with this information?

Andrea Leigh:
Well, the answers are different for each brand, but I think a lot of what we do, at least in our live workshops, we have an e-learning suite where learners can go achieve e-com strategy certifications on their own on demand. But when we go on site with brands and we teach courses, we're often workshopping a lot of these topics to help them figure out what are the right answers for them. But I can give you a few cliff notes of what some of those answers look like based on where things are in the current landscape. I think the first suggestion and answer is around the importance of giving customers choice.
We talked about how inflation is changing shopping behavior and shoppers are less loyal and they're trading down and all of these things. Really taking a look at your assortment and making sure that the shopper has some choices to trade down. Because if you look at Nestle and P&G, just both released their earnings and they were better than expectations, and I think it has a lot to do with their assortment strategy. There is room within their portfolio for a shopper to trade down and still buy from the brand. What you don't want to be is to pigeonholed in a place where there's no room for the shopper to trade down. Maybe looking at what's in your innovation pipeline.
I don't know how fast some brands can get things to market, but making sure there are some choices there for the shopper. Even when there aren't, I think there's a couple of things brands can do. The first is just reinforcing that value messaging in some of the branding and marketing. Every brand has some component of value that they stand for. Ones that maybe are more value oriented, just maybe need to talk about it a little bit more. I think that can be really effective. And then I think the other, and this is more in the beauty or fashion space, is focusing on these small splurges. We know that shoppers are postponing big ticket items, like a third of shoppers are postponing big purchases.
But Estée Lauder has this thing called the lipstick index and they say when things get tough, women buy lipstick. It's cute. It's cute. It's like, where are the small splurges that you can present to shoppers to help them feel excited about shopping and about commerce that aren't going to break the bank? How can we position some of our products in that way and how can we position the marketing and branding in that way as well? I think that giving the customer choice and that focus is something that we've seen Nestle and P&G do. The next one is really not being too shortsighted. An example of this might be the sustainability movement.
It's not dead and brands that are still continuing to focus on some of their longer term initiatives are the ones that are going to win in the end. It's just like during the pandemic when we saw brands really struggle with supply chain and so many changes in their business, and how can you continue to focus on some of your long-term plans. Because at the end of this thing, we will come out of the inflation and we will be in a different place. The brands who've continued to make progress on their long-term goals are the ones that are going to be ahead. Sustainability is just one example, but the shopper sentiment surveys are all pointing that that is still an important thing for shoppers.
This was an interesting stat in the fashion space, 42% of shoppers have thrown away clothing they would've liked to keep because they couldn't get it repaired and 60% strongly believe that stores should offer repair services. Sustainability can be revenue generating as well. It's just getting creative. It's thinking about, how can I continue to engage in this initiative? And then maybe even in a way that's creative to my bottom line. What kind of ESG or environmental, social, and governance initiatives can help your bottom line? How can you plant some seeds now? How can you start at least setting some goals and communicating those even if you don't have the finances to act on them right now.
Don't be too shortsighted. I would also say on retail media, this is where we just have to spend smarter. Gone are the days where there's so much growth on Amazon that we can just continue to spend at an increased rate every year. We have to start be more surgical about where we decide to invest and we have to put the dollars where we want the sales to flow. If our business on Amazon is less profitable than our business on Walmart.com, maybe we should shift some of that investment to Walmart to try to drive more shoppers there. Putting those dollars where you want the sales to flow.
And then we're definitely seeing brands get more involved in goal setting and thinking about what they're trying to accomplish on each retail media platform. It isn't just an automation game anymore. It isn't just load up a bunch of keywords and spend against them. We really have to be thinking about, where is our shopper? What products are going to resonate with them? What competitors are we concerned about? And then what are our goals? Are we trying to drive profitability or awareness, repeat purchase? What is it we're trying to do? And then developing our strategies accordingly.
Some of that means doing more test and learns to figure out where you can pull back some of the spend and figuring out ways to do that. Making sure we have choice in our assortment, not being shortsighted, spending retail media smarter, and then I would also say going into vendor negotiations with the retailers this year, just be really prepared, because you're going to want to try to claw back some dollars. The argument being if you're increasing retail media spend on these different platforms, it has to come from somewhere else. It can't just come from your pocket.
Maybe there's an opportunity to pull back some trade spend or some other areas that you've been spending, but you have to be really prepared to have that conversation. We use this thing called the FIRM framework when we teach our courses, and that stands for find your data, so get prepared, isolate your point of leverage, figure out what value it is you drive for that retailer, and get really comfortable with that, relax and go slow, don't rush to close. Make sure to continue to pull all of the data and dot all of the I's and cross all of the T's. And then lastly, make asks of your own and identify the easy gives that you have that you can give to the retailer.
Vendor negotiation time is the time to bring in all the asks cross-functionally across your organization, not just focusing on trade spend. There's usually some more mutual wins that can happen there. I think just being really purposeful about those vendor negotiations this year, being really prepared.

Peter Crosby:
These are all amazing. We're in a place where lots of companies across lots of industries are pausing hiring or really trying to consolidate tech spend and things like that. Is there that kind of situation with manufacturers and do you have recommendations of how to make your investments in either people or partnerships be more productive?

Andrea Leigh:
Well, first, there's definitely a movement toward taking strategy in-house and not using agencies as much for strategy and instead using them to support execution. I mean, I think agencies have always supported execution. This is the trend we jumped on with our company. We're helping upskill and educate folks within organizations so they can build their own strategies. They should build their own strategies. I definitely see the brands bringing strategy in-house. I think the most efficiency can happen when consumer brands approach retail with a digital first mindset. I don't think a lot of them are just there yet.
What I mean by that is instead of having this sidecar team that does eCommerce and then everyone else doesn't focus on eCommerce or doesn't think about the digital shopper, the shopper is starting their shopping journey online in more than 60% of occasions now. Even if they're not buying the product online, they're starting the journey there. We have to be thinking digital first in everything, in the assortment strategy, in the product development cycle, supply chain, media, all of these things. These brands that are still operating e-com with a sidecar team I think are hitting a little bit of a ceiling in what they can accomplish, and they're starting to run into some inefficiencies.
There's some duplication of efforts and they're having to work with too many agencies. It's just getting really complicated, as eCommerce is a growing part of the business and just all of the digital investments becoming a growing part of the investment structure. I think we're seeing more brands try to bring that back into the organization. We're calling that distributed digital or distributed eCommerce where there's not a separate team anymore. They're putting it into the organization. A key part of that is making sure that there's someone in your senior leadership that has some experience there.
So that when the really important decisions are being made and projects are being signed off on, that there's someone advocating for that. I think there's some cost savings and efficiency that can come from adopting a more digital first mindset and org structure. It's hard to quantify, but I think we see less redundancy when brands take that approach.

Peter Crosby:
Crisis opportunity, the old Chinese proverb. Unfortunately, we've been through enough crisis I think for one lifetime already, but here we go again. But they are the moments where more dramatic shifts, more silos can be busted, more shifting into the digital first thinking can happen across a company. I hope people are able to take advantage of that with the right leadership and the right mindset and the right information and advice. Andrea, thank you so much for bringing that to us and we really do appreciate it.

Andrea Leigh:
Thanks for having me, Peter and Lauren. It was great to see you both.

Peter Crosby:
Well, we do have a little announcement at the end here. Insanely, Andrea has agreed to come back and do this every quarter until she's sick of us. Prepare yourself, listeners, for every quarter to have really one of the best prognosticators and followers of trends in the business to our DSI audience. We are really grateful.

Andrea Leigh:
Thanks, Peter. Thanks, Lauren.

Lauren Livak:
Thanks, Andrea.


Peter Crosby:
Thanks again to Andrea for joining us. Congratulations to all of us for getting to hear from her each quarter moving forward. Become a member to get all the latest content and updates from the Digital Shelf Institute at digitalshelfinstitute.org. Thanks for being part of our community.