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    Interview

    Takeaways from the Q3 Allume Group EIQ Report, with Andrea Leigh, Founder & CEO, Allume Group

    Every quarter, the ecommerce education consultancy Allume Group consolidates the output of expert conversations, annual reports, and the latest data to create their Ecommerce Insider Quarterly report, or EIQ. It’s chock a block full of the most current insights into the present and future of ecommerce. Andrea Leigh, Founder & CEO of Allume Group rejoins the podcast for her takeaways from their Q3 research. 

    Transcript

    Our transcripts are generated by AI. Please excuse any typos and if you have any specific questions please email info@digitalshelfinstitute.org.

    Speaker 1 (00:00):
    Welcome to Unpacking the Digital Shelf where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age. Hey everyone. Peter Crosby from The Digital Shelf Institute. Every quarter, the e-Commerce Education Consultancy Loom Group consolidates the output of expert conversations, annual reports, and the latest data to create their e-commerce Insider quarterly report or EIQ. It's Chale Block full of the most current insights into the present and future of e-commerce. Andrea Le, founder and CEO of Loom Group joined Lauren AK Gilbert and me to share her takeaways from their Q three research. Andrea, welcome back to the podcast. It's time for your Q three trends and all things happening in e-commerce. We are so delighted you join us every quarter to dig into all this data and conversations and articles. It's amazing. Thank you.
    Speaker 2 (01:05):
    Well, thanks for having me, Peter, and Lauren
    Speaker 1 (01:08):
    Every time I learn a new buzzword, so we'll see what it is this time. All right. You've got, coming up is shopper, retailer and manufacturer trends. So let's just dive right in with shopper. What are you seeing?
    Speaker 2 (01:20):
    Yeah, so our big trend here is around forfeiting friction, and so this is really thinking about how that shopper out coming out of the pandemic and returning to stores and having experienced the convenience of shopping online is really pulling at the retailers to provide them with frictionless experiences. And there are a lot of points of friction in the shopping experience, as I'm sure we can all attest everything from searching for products online or looking around in the store to adding things to your cart and checkouts and payments, and so the shoppers really pulling for those frictionless experiences. And so what we, can I
    Speaker 1 (02:13):
    Ask you, oh, sorry. No, finish your point. Finish your point. What
    Speaker 2 (02:15):
    We've been seeing this last quarter through some of the conferences and grocery shop and talking with a lot of our retailer clients is this focus on technology and innovation to help present a more frictionless experience for the shopper.
    Speaker 1 (02:33):
    I was just wondering how is this demand surfacing? Is it in shopper complaints? Is it they're voting with their feet? What's sort of driving that understanding out there?
    Speaker 2 (02:45):
    It's a great question. I mean, from my POV, it's really about where we're seeing a lot of the adoption of the tech. So if you think about a couple of the technologies that have really taken off over the last couple of months, one of them being generative ai. And so if you look at what's happening with chat GPT, there's a great, and we have it in our report, but there's a great influencer, his name is, he's Future by Fauzi, who shows how you can use the Instacart plugin on chat GBT to you can tell it to make a meal plan for you for the week with some dietary restrictions. You can then tell it to organize it into a schedule and create a grocery list, and then you can actually tell it to go to Instacart and add everything to your cart. And when you think about the amount of friction that would've existed in that experience of meal planning for the week and then organizing a grocery list and going to the store, the consumers are definitely voting with their technology adoption in terms of adopting some of the technologies such as Chat GPT to make it easier to find products and add them to your cart.
    (04:02):
    That's just one example. Another example that we saw really take off this last quarter is some of the image search technology that's existed. So Google Lens, they're in the billions of users right now per month, where you can just take a photo of a product on a shelf or something you see at a friend's house or whatever, and then it'll take you to a Google Image search result, which is now one filled with products that you can buy in Google Shopping. And so that's kind of on the upstream, just on the search and discovery side. We're also seeing a lot of technology that consumers are showing preferences for a little more through the checkout process. So Circle K has now adopted, this is in-store imaging technology for checkout, so it's not scan and go, it's like you just set your stuff on the image machine and it images everything and gives you a faster checkout. And so I think all of these technologies that consumers are pulling for from the retailers are helping with having a more frictionless experience for shopping.
    Speaker 1 (05:21):
    Also, the digital shelf is really changing underneath our feet.
    Speaker 2 (05:25):
    Well, it's like there's more than one digital shelf now. I mean, I think that's the thing, and we've been hearing this loud and clear from some of the brands that we talk to in share groups and clients and things, which is that it's not just about the retailer digital shelf anymore. It's about the whole, there are all these other digital shelves, there's image search results, and there's whatever generative AI turns up on your products, and now there's a TikTok Digital shelf as well. And so there's just a lot of digital shelves to pay attention to. I think if we think about what the takeaway is for manufacturers, you have to figure out where your, I mean, it's still about meeting the shopper where they're at. You have to figure out which of these your shoppers are using and how you're going to focus on them, which ones you're going to focus on and where you're going to place your betts. And I think what we've been hearing from manufacturers is just really challenging. You can look at services. There are great services that exist to help you monitor the digital shelf on an e retailer website, but not as many. That'll help you understand what's happening in Google image search, which totally looks like the Wild West for consumable products right now, or in TikTok shopping or whatever generative AI turns up on your products. So it's a lot of complexity. It's a lot of digital shelves to manage. It's about figuring out where your shopper's at
    Speaker 3 (06:44):
    Outside of delivery and checkout from a frictionless experience or a connected brand experience. Do you have an example of a brand who's doing that well or an example of what the expectation of the shopper is? And the reason I ask that is because we're in this every day, so we can sit here and say, okay, well, the shopper wants to do this, this, and this because we're sitting in our bubble, and that's how it fits into our journey. But from the shopper perspective, experiencing a brand, what is that from discovery of maybe on TikTok to actually going and scanning the product out of Circle K? What does that journey look like for a shopper?
    Speaker 2 (07:23):
    Well, I mean, I think if you just compare, there's this great example the of Clorox, well, that we use with Clorox. It's not a great example. There's not anyone that we've seen doing it super well across all of the digital shelves. To be clear, it's hard, but there's a great Clorox example where you're looking, if you were a shopper looking for this prenatal vitamin, this rainbow light, prenatal vitamin, and you want to know the ingredients. So you take the traditional path, you search Google, and we show a video of this in our live presentation and in our deck, you go to search Google for the product, you get Google shopping results. You click on maybe the Amazon one, you go to Amazon, you scroll through all the images, there's no nutritional panel there. You scroll down the page and eventually you get to a text block that has all of the nutritional information, but it's kind of all strung together in a big long text string. It's really hard to digest that information versus if you run that same search on TikTok, the first result is a woman who reviews prenatal vitamins and she's got the nutrition panel on a green screen behind her, and she's not only just showing you what the ingredients are, she's pointing to the ones that you should care about, and you can get that information in three seconds.
    (08:45):
    I think that the takeaway there is meet your shopper where they're at. We know that for Gen Z, more than half of product research is happening on, and that's kind of the latest. I think you posted that, Lauren. I did. I did. You posted that. I'm like, I remember reading this research study. It came from a friend mine. That's for referencing. Yeah, that was you. So yeah, more than half of the searches are happening on TikTok. And if that's where your shopper is, you have to have content there to give them the answers that they need about your product. And that old way, I mean, if you compare those two, there's no contest, right? It's so much faster to get the information from short form video. So I don't think there's anyone that's doing it magically. Well, I think the landscape has changed so dramatically in the last, even just six to 12 months that it's super hard to keep up. But again, I think it's just about figuring out where if your shopper's on TikTok, you've got to have some content there that helps answer their questions.
    Speaker 3 (09:44):
    I just love that example because I think there's so many different facets of what frictionless means. It's discovering, learning, understanding, also purchasing, taking home. And I don't think that's always considered when we talk about connected or frictionless. I think a lot of times we think of the end delivery checkout experience, but to your point, people are trying to find that information and if they hit a roadblock, they're going to switch to another product or they're going to see a recommended product and click on that. I just think for brands it's important to call out that it's every single step from the first time you see the product to having it in hand. That's so important.
    Speaker 1 (10:25):
    Andrea, all of this connected shopping and changing digital shelf definitely affects the manufacturers. They need to think beyond individual channels to create an omni-channel experience. In this sort of shifting environment, what are those trends that you're seeing from manufacturers trying to respond or God forbid, keep ahead of some of these trends?
    Speaker 2 (10:47):
    Yeah, it's a really good question. I mean, I think the big thing, the big takeaway that we've seen manufacturers embrace is that there are a lot of new areas of responsibility for them right now than there used to be, right? So everything from, they're responsible for the management of more than just that digital shelf on the retailer platform. Now they're really having to focus on everything from the discovery phase to the actual activation on the retailer website, and then also that post-purchase experience as well. And so I think really there, it's like how do you think about the frictionless experience from a discovery perspective? How do you measure that? How do you get metrics around that to help you understand what's happening? And you're looking across sometimes a lot of different channels, social media and search and digital advertising and all of these different places that shoppers might be interacting with your product.
    (11:58):
    And then you have the activation piece, which is what's happening on the retailer website. And we're also seeing more and more manufacturers start to think about the post-purchase experience as well. So that's like some of the more traditional stuff. How do you mine the user generated content and reviews and understand what's happening there, but also how do you get your consumers more involved in that product process? So if you think about just looking at the discovery piece for example, there's this brand that kind of came out of nowhere called K 18. I don't know if you've heard of them, but they're a heat protectant. They're a serum, a heat protectant for your hair. And they did this K 18 hair flip challenge to win a Sephora gift card, and it went completely viral on TikTok. And the hair flip challenge was use the K 18 and then you post a video of yourself flipping your hair, which is awesome, which is awesome.
    (12:58):
    And it was hugely successful for them. They got millions of followers then. But I think it's also worth noting that it wasn't just like a viral campaign. It's like a really good product. And so if you search TikTok for the product, you get some videos that show, well, you get this one video that I think is really compelling where there's an influencer that reviews you protectants, and what they do is they take the top five bestselling heat protectants on the market, they put them on a cotton swab, and then they light them all on fire to show you which one actually protects your hair from
    Speaker 1 (13:35):
    Heat. Oh my gosh. Talk about testing.
    Speaker 2 (13:37):
    Yeah, I mean, that's content that,
    Speaker 1 (13:39):
    That's so smart,
    Speaker 2 (13:41):
    Right? It's content that as a consumer, you would never trust it if the brand was giving you that information. But because a third party is doing it and it's hands down, K 18 wins, they show all the Q-tips and then they line them up next to the products. And so I think thinking about what messages and value propositions are going to resonate with the shopper has to be part of that influencer strategy. But this is a great example of a product that did all things well. So on the activation side, their digital shelf is excellent. And of course they only have a handful of products. It's really a lot easier than some of the manufacturers we work with that have thousands. But then if you look at them compared to some of the leading the more brand leaders in the space, there are a few really key differences. Some of the brand leaders are talking about the product in a very technical way as opposed to K 18 that came in using more accessible language about the product. The other leading brands, you have to actually, if they're leave-in conditioner heat protectors, we actually have to rinse them out.
    (14:59):
    They're not leave-in conditioners. This one is so you don't have to rinse it out. So there's one less step that you have to worry about. And it's also, it's a really e-com. well-designed for e-comm product, the serum is actually in a bottle that's about three inches tall, so not a lot of water that's having to be shipped around the United States. So it's designed well for e-commerce. And so they kind of took all the things that people didn't like about the leading brands and built a product around that. And I think that speaks really well to the post-purchase experience, really understanding what shoppers are saying about the product and innovating around that. So it's a great example of a product that did all three phases really well and paid attention. Andrew,
    Speaker 3 (15:45):
    One thing I want to mention there that I think is important is the accessible language. I've actually seen some people using AI to identify what are the more accessible words that you should be using versus all the technical words that if you're a brand you're using, because those might be the ones that are on the claims or those might just be the ones that you've chosen. And I've seen a lot more brands move towards, okay, what is my consumer saying about it? Or what are the suggestions for the words that other people should be using? So that's a big trend I've seen in a place where I've seen AI helpful in that. And I don't know if you've seen any examples of that
    Speaker 2 (16:22):
    From other brands. Yeah, I think there's absolutely, there's some really interesting stuff happening in that space. And there's a company called, I think it's called Lilly ai. So they'll actually look at, they'll take the image of the product and they'll generate, I think there's a lot of services that do this, but they focus a little more on I think, fashion and they'll generate all of the search terms that a shopper could possibly use to search the product, which I think is important as a mistake. We always see, and probably you see this too in working with brands is they know their products so well. So when they think of what people are searching for, they tend to think more technical terms. And that's not always how the shopper knows the product. The shopper might be using more layman's terms or more accessible language. Maybe they're not searching for a heat protectant, they're searching for a leave-in conditioner. I mean, shoppers don't always know exactly the right words and they don't always even know what they want. Or they might be searching by a need state like dry hair or something like that,
    Speaker 1 (17:23):
    Or don't light my hair on fire,
    Speaker 2 (17:25):
    Light my hair on fire, burnt out hair. Exactly. So that's a good example of one that did kind of all the pillars well, of the discovery, the activation, and the post-purchase. Another great example of one that did post-purchase really well is a bear product, which is Elk Seltzer hangover relief. And I had a chance to chat a little bit with AJ Sharma about this one, who's the VP of Commerce for Bayer. And what they did is they were looking at a lot of the customer reviews on the traditional Alka Seltzer and discovered that people use it for hangovers. So that's an insight. You think that people are using it for indigestion. I mean, I suppose a hangover also may come with indigestion, but really
    Speaker 1 (18:16):
    I've not heard, I've not that, but yes, go ahead.
    Speaker 2 (18:21):
    So they were reading their reviews, and some of them are, I mean, some of the reviews say, hangovers no more best hangover here, great for hangovers. If you look through some of the review content, hangover comes up quite a bit. So they were mining that information then that post-purchase experience, they were listening, they were paying attention what the shoppers were saying. And so they launched an ACA Seltzer Hangover Relief, which is a very specific ACA seltzer that has, I don't exactly, I'm not an expert on the product. I don't exactly know what's different about it, but it does have aspirin and caffeine in it. So maybe that is like those are two added things that just kind of make it even a little bit more appropriate or helpful in that need state. And that product has been highly successful for them. It's already showing up at, it's already showing up with almost 2000 reviews on Amazon, and it's got the popular brand pick tag. And that's from them listening and not just reading the consumer reviews, but watching social media and seeing what people are posting on TikTok. There's a ton of TikTok videos about Seltzer being a great hangover here. So I mean, when you search Hangover here on TikTok, one of the things that comes up is Al Seltzer people saying to use Al Seltzer. So great job of looking at the post-purchase experience and listening, doing some social listening and mining user generated content, and then using that to inform product development.
    Speaker 1 (19:58):
    So really it's brands are really starting, and they've always focused on the parts of the consumer journey, but it feels like there's a different level of intensity or creativity slash data slash whatever that's feeding maybe better results within these parts of the shopper journey. We're able to drive more out of that attention. Am I picking up what you're putting down or where am I making
    Speaker 2 (20:27):
    It? Yeah, I think there's a heightened awareness of it and an increased ownership of it. And I think it's happening because particularly for some of the more established brands, I think there are new entrants that are joining these online marketplaces like Amazon and seeing a lot of success, like digitally native brands coming online, reading the reviews on the top selling items, creating products that address those concerns, really getting in there and being successful. And so I think part of it is out of necessity, more established brands are having to figure out how can we be more nimble? How can we observe what's happening? How can we involve the shopper in the product development process? Those are the new focus groups are what you're reading on social media about your product. And then I think from an upstream perspective, it's really about how are you making the information available to the shopper wherever they're at.
    (21:31):
    So going back to that prenatal vitamin example. So I think it's like they're paying attention to all these things and they're putting, they're implementing strategies across the discovery activation and post-purchase. But I think the bigger challenge for them, what we're hearing is sometimes internally, how do we execute on that? So it sounds great, yes, we should own all those phases of the shopper journey, but if you're a digital commerce team at a large brand, that's hard. You don't have resources for that, you don't have processes for that. You don't have technology for that to measure that or look at that. So it ends up being pretty one-off and difficult to repeat at scale. And so I think that's where this idea of enrollment versus alignment comes in. How are the brands able to support this internally and how can they prioritize to support that whole connected commerce experience?
    Speaker 1 (22:39):
    Andrea, what did you mean by enrollment versus alignment? Sorry.
    Speaker 2 (22:43):
    Well, it's like you can sign people up to do stuff, or you can sign other teams up to help you do things, but I think if they're not really aligned with your objectives,
    Speaker 1 (22:52):
    Got it.
    Speaker 2 (22:53):
    You can't have one without the other. You have to have both. You have to, and this came out of a share group. I think it was, I want to say it was SC Johnson that gave me that enrollment versus alignment, but I might be misattributing that. But yeah, the idea of you have to actually have resources to sign up to work with you and partner with you on, for example, developing an Alka Seltzer hangover product because you observe that you have an insight that this is a product that your company should make. So you have to be able to sign groups up for things, but you also have to drive alignment within the organization that they're the right things to do. And so I mean, I think that's where we're hearing the brand's focus a little bit. I think that some of the things we're seeing them do are thinking about this idea of do we have the right org structure in place to do this? Do we have the right functions to support our objectives?
    Speaker 1 (23:57):
    Right, the right cross-functional incentives, shared goals. Yeah.
    Speaker 2 (24:02):
    Yeah. I mean, it's like, well, there's a whole list of things. Do we have the right org structure? We are seeing more brands move to a more democratized e-commerce model, which to us means instead of having e-commerce sit in its own team off to the side, those functions that are starting to get parked back within the organization, which helps with driving alignment, and it also helps with being able to access resources from the broader organization. So we're seeing some org shuffles. I think that's probably the most common question I've gotten this year is how should we support for e-commerce? Lauren's laughing, she hundred percent's my number one question, what's the right org structure for me? And there's no right, there's no right answer. There's no right answer. It depends. I mean, it depends what your organization's good at. We've talked to companies where everything is democratized and that's working really well for them.
    (25:02):
    And we've talked to companies where everything's democratized and it's a hot mess. It's too soon they didn't have the right footing yet or the right the other things in place. So there's org structure, there's accountability, and do people have goals around these things? Are we holding teams accountable for 'em? There's talent questions around do we have fungible talent? Are people able to work on digital and physical retail? There's also this having a culture of continuous learning. If you're going to try to work on an influencer strategy to develop TikTok videos on the nutritional content of your prenatal vitamins, that might be something new you need to learn. We've talked to a few manufacturers just at grocery shop who are all experimenting with TikTok shopping because TikTok just launched shopping and they're all excited about it, but they're not sure they're doing it the right way, so new.
    (26:06):
    And so we've got a call with a bunch of 'em in a couple weeks so they can try to learn from each other to figure that out a little bit more. There's learning and development, which is like that's the role we play at our organization is to go in and try to help with some of that. There's data and tools. And then I think there's this, maybe even the most important thing is this cultural element of flexibility and being interested and willing to take risks. And I think that's the one where that's the hardest one. I mean, it's hard to change culture. You can put new metrics in place and hold people accountable, but I think it's really hard to change culture. And I feel like everyone was just kind of getting comfortable with e-commerce in some of these organizations. And now we have social commerce and an image search and new digital shelves.
    (27:05):
    And so it was funny, I was on a call, I was presenting this report to a client yesterday on a call, and someone in the audience said, well, how are we going to, there's too many digital shelves and these are too many places. It's too complex. How can we possibly organize around this complexity? And I was like, well, that's what we all said about Amazon 10 years ago. We all said, how are we going to do this? This is crazy. There's so many inputs to be focused on. But I mean, it was, people corralled it and they figured it out, and technology providers found some solutions to help 'em look at it and measure it. And that'll happen here too. It'll just take some time.
    Speaker 1 (27:46):
    Yeah, I totally agree. I feel like it will take some time, but I feel like there's something very interesting because, well, I hope it's interesting. I'm going to say it and then people can decide. But if I think back to the last decade of the digital shelf, which was all about growth at all costs, there was money flowing to try things and acquire companies and just experiment a lot. And through necessity required by Covid, they had to build new capabilities on the fly, which was amazing and necessary to innovate. We're in a different moment now, which is in some ways the risks are bigger because I'm seeing it out there. People are having to choose where they cut deep and then they're having to choose where they're going to double down
    (28:53):
    Because this thing has to get profitable. When you have as clear an objective as that, then you start making, and it forces alignment because there's just less room for error. And my hope is that I think it's proven out by history that that's where some of the most interesting risk-taking and innovation happens is in those moments of scarcity and where more of the silos are broken down because there isn't a lot of extra dough flying around or, well, I'm just going to sit over here and I can still get my objective done. It just doesn't work that way right now, is what I'm sensing. And so I don't know what you think about that in this moment.
    Speaker 2 (29:44):
    Yeah, I mean, I think the shopper's just changing so fast.
    (29:48):
    TikTok wasn't even on the scene a couple, two, three years ago in a meaningful way, and now they're going to become a shopping destination and of Gen Z's starting their searches there. And that's just an example of one technology like AI and image search. And there's a lot happening right now, and the shopper is gravitating toward all of these new technologies because they reduce friction. And so I think the brands are all kind of scrambling to catch up. We scrambled for a while during covid to reorient within a lot of our organizations to reorient more around digital commerce. And I feel like I would say most brands would probably say they achieved that because of what you just described, Peter. They had to, you have so much business going through this one channel, now you have to figure out how to get it right. You have to align the resources. You don't have, it's do or die kind of a thing. And I think that we're entering another one of those, if you were looking at it on a graph of change or entering into another one of those periods where there's just going to be a lot of change,
    Speaker 3 (31:06):
    Andrea, for the brands that have really embraced that change and have more of a democratized team, how are they being successful? And the reason I ask that is because I feel like there's fewer organizations that have gotten to that level of maturity. And the question I always get is, well, how does that work? Because then who's owning it or how is it working within the organization? So are there any tactics that you've seen in the organizations that it's working really well that brands could learn from
    Speaker 2 (31:42):
    On the evolution? And you guys have probably seen this too, eight, 10 years ago, we were pretty lucky to find brands that had directors of e-commerce. That was a new role. Some brands are, everyone's on, its a maturity continuum, but most commonly you would find an e-comm director, and sometimes they had a small team that would be content writers or folks that are focused on setting up items in digital catalogs. And then I think fast forward to today, and I would say almost every brand I talk to has not only an e-comm director, but probably a vp. And most of the big ones have global VPs now. And the global VPs I think are in that position that you're describing, Lauren, where they're kind of the center of excellence and almost like a referee, maybe a referee is the wrong word. They're doing a lot of
    Speaker 3 (32:39):
    Quarterback.
    Speaker 2 (32:40):
    Yes. Yeah, they're quarterbacking. They're bringing the different global teams together and Oh, you're working on that. Well, so this other team, you guys should synchronize, or, oh, we already have a service provider that does that, or a vendor, maybe that vendor can do that globally. And trying to find efficiencies. Because to your point, Peter, I think so many of these, the e-commerce business for a lot of brands has grown really quickly, and for a lot of them, it's not super profitable. And so they have to figure out how to get more efficient. And I think that starts at the top with someone looking after those inefficiencies, but also looking for the growth opportunities as well. And so now I think for a lot of the big organizations, we're seeing global e-comm VPs, sometimes even SVPs, often reporting into not just into chief revenue officers or CMOs, but sometimes reporting directly into the most senior leadership of the company.
    (33:48):
    But those folks don't always have huge teams. They're operating as a center of excellence. And now what we're starting to see is there's a new team that's popping up, and maybe these teams have always been there, and I have just never talked to them, but they're focused on innovation and transformation, and those are the ones that are working on TikTok and image search and AI and running all these experiments across all of these new modes of shopper discovery. And so that's a role that I haven't seen as much until recently. Again, maybe it's already always existed, but I think that sounds like a fun job.
    Speaker 1 (34:30):
    It does. It's
    Speaker 3 (34:31):
    Like the little, I've seen it in an incubator kind of structure. So a lot of organizations had that small incubator team that could go do those more capability, innovative focus. I think now they're getting much more spotlight because I think there's a lot more technology to back it. And I think that the OR shopper is using more technology and looking for more innovative ways to shop. So there's more of a need for those teams. So I would agree that I think I am seeing them more on the spotlight where they work kind of smaller and out to the side and a testing environment where people are like, oh, let's see if this could work. Now they're more forefront because brands are like, how do I differentiate myself? How do I figure out doing something different to attract the new shopper? So I totally agree with you, Andrea. I've seen a lot more of that in organizations
    Speaker 1 (35:22):
    And also since that experimental money is precious money. It may not be a lot compared to obviously what you're spending on your entire funnel, but it's expensive money in that you only have so much of it. And if you just spread it out among teams and say, go try a few experiments, you're not getting really getting the learnings and you're also not sure the quality of those experiments, the data that comes out of them and having best practices applied to your experiments, I think make for more efficiency and hopefully better results that can then be duplicated out through the rest of the organization.
    Speaker 2 (36:01):
    Yeah, I would agree with that, Peter. And I think by putting them all under one person or one team, you also get to compare them all with one another. And even though the results won't be apples to apples, you can say, well, this initiative had a good return on our time versus this other one, which maybe we will try that again in three months or something.
    Speaker 1 (36:22):
    And we know that all of this is cyclical, economies are cyclical, like org structure is cyclical. And so it could be that five years from now, those innovation positions will become annoying. And why are they, you know what I mean? Who knows? But for the moment, I think, and I've seen it in other industries, even not retail, but more sort of older industries that are taking, and private equity companies that buy them are bringing in this innovation person to rapidly drive change and output. And I feel like that's what's happening right now, and it makes perfect sense. And then we'll see what happens five years from now. But it's going to be an interesting five years for sure. And I would say on the technology side, help is coming. I mean, I don't want to over promise on ai, and we all keep hearing about it, but there is an unlock happening that will take a year, 18 months for it to really start to filter out in a way that's usable and effective, and also that can be understood in terms of its risks to the organization. But then when you talk about earlier, you talked about, oh, there's too many channels and there's too many personas and too many AI can really, really help solve that. It's not to say that you don't need to be careful, but I feel like, I don't know, am I overpromising, Andrea on that front?
    Speaker 2 (37:49):
    No, it seems like it really could. I mean, that's the idea behind it is it can take unstructured data and make it structured. I mean, if you go back to the meal planning example, that's what AI is good at, a lot of things, but that's something it's really good at. I think it's figuring out how do you leverage that in your organization and through what mechanisms and finding vendors that can help implement some of that to help you look across it. But I think this is a continuation of a many years theme now, which is I think even in the beginning of e-commerce becoming really meaningful during the pandemic brands realized they had to start developing a relationship directly with the shopper. I don't mean D two C, that's way to do it, but being able to communicate directly to the shopper, how do you write a good Amazon detail page?
    (38:41):
    How do you make sure that you're giving the right information? Now, the brand's responsibility, because the retailers aren't owning that in the same way that they used to because it's digital. And so now that 60, 80% of purchases are digitally influenced, a lot of that's happening on social too. And there's no retailer at all anywhere there. I mean, I think Instagram and TikTok would like to be retailers, but that's just not where we're at. So it's really the brand has to develop these capabilities to have a relationship with the shopper, to communicate with the shopper, to understand where the shopper's at. And those are all new skills.
    Speaker 1 (39:19):
    They're new skills, and so much of it involves listening, not talking. And that's where I think data comes into play, because it can really do a lot of that listening for you in a way that you can't scale. So yeah, exciting times. Andrea, thank you so much. As always, a quarter's worth of incredible smarts and research and conversations that you've had, and you come here and sum it up for our listeners, and we're super grateful.
    Speaker 2 (39:48):
    Thanks for having me, Peter and Lauren, and it's always great to chat with you guys.
    Speaker 1 (39:52):
    And can I put you a bit on the spot and tell me if we should do it another way, but I think last quarter you were generous enough to allow us to put your report up on the partner portal in the DSI site. Do you think
    Speaker 2 (40:02):
    We can pull that off? Absolutely. We will do that.
    Speaker 1 (40:04):
    That is so great. Thank you. Thank you.
    Speaker 3 (40:07):
    Perfect. Thanks, Andrea.
    Speaker 2 (40:09):
    Awesome. Thanks you guys.
    Speaker 1 (40:11):
    Thanks again to Andrea for all the wisdom. Their reports are also available in the partner content section under the resources tab on our website, digital shelf institute.org. Become a member. While you're there, why don't you, thanks for being part of our community day.