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VMLY&R Commerce’s Jacquelyn Baker explains how marketers are leveraging e-commerce strategies this holiday season

“The concept of retail media is not new—it’s been around for about 10 years. But…the space has transformed dramatically in the last 24 months,” she said.
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Jacquelyn Baker

· 4 min read

The e-commerce landscape is busy. From social media platforms updating their shopping capabilities to the changing DTC landscape to the growth of live shopping, it can be hard to keep up.

We sat down with Jacquelyn Baker, VMLY&R Commerce’s chief experience officer, commerce, to chat about how marketers are leveraging e-commerce strategies this holiday season and into 2023.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Do you think there are any brands that are navigating this new e-commerce space particularly well at the moment? Who are they and why?

I feel like Procter & Gamble is doing a great job with that. It’s probably not a surprise: P&G, they always do great with everything. But the reason that I think it is a little surprising is because anytime you have a vast organization, it is very difficult to upskill new capabilities and push an organization into a new direction. Given their scale, they’re doing quite well, considering how difficult it is to shift your entire business model. One could argue that they are the founders of legacy-shopper marketing. And so I'm increasingly impressed with their ability to ebb and flow and sort of evolve with the future, when I think for them, it can be very easy for them to be sort of handcuffed to the past because they wrote the rules for that.

I also think there are brands that were digitally native vertical brands that have done a great job of transitioning to this new reality, like Harry's.

To what extent are your clients interested in and experimenting with retail media networks? What sorts of successes and challenges do they experience with them?

JB: I call it the hot-button issue in the industry right now. The concept of retail media is not new—it’s been around for about 10 years. But coming out of Covid, [due to] pandemic acceleration, the space has transformed dramatically in the last 24 months. It feels like a new retail media network spins up and launches every single day. Now you have just an explosion of different channels and touchpoints and capabilities.

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It feels infinite, but media dollars are still finite. The rules of the road are still being defined as the industry evolves. There [are] more choices and more opportunities for various investments on behalf of brands than ever before, but not necessarily [an] increase in actual spend dollars...It is just a very complex and ever-evolving space that everyone is trying to solve and figure out sort of simultaneously. That’s what I spend most of my time consulting clients with, honestly. It’s kind of the question on the table every day all day.

MB: How have social media platforms and, specifically, their live-shopping capabilities, changed e-commerce marketing strategy for brands?

JB: They have changed the conversation for brands. Now brands are having to create testing strategies and carve off budget to test these things. It’s actually been a topic for a couple of years, because livestream shopping is so big in the east, right? For years, it’s been “look to the East, and it's going to come west.” To a degree, it’s here, and it’s something that can be done. But the reality is the North American consumer is just really not adopting it. And we’ve even seen retailers lean kind of heavy into it, and then walk their plans back…It’s because for whatever reason, that level of combining shopping with retail-tainment in the social space is just not taking hold with the US consumer the way that I think everyone expected it would by 2022.

Now, is it going to continue to evolve, and this space will continue to grow, and consumers will get more comfortable, and it will become more of a staple as more brands test and learn and figure out what works and what doesn’t? Absolutely. I have no thoughts that it’s going away anytime soon. I just don’t think it’s exploding the way that, even a year ago, the industry at large would have expected it to.

Together with mntn

Connect to the TV future. What do you get when you combine the accuracy of digital reporting + prestige television? Results. See why marketers are flocking to streaming TV—and how MNTN Performance can help you make the most of this rising ad channel. Learn more + request a demo.

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