This year I had a great opportunity to attend the eTail Connect West conference in San Diego. Conferences are a great opportunity to discover more about what’s on the minds of leading strategic marketers. And because the pace of digital retail is so frenetic, these eTail events can be very valuable.
Every year I come back from eTail events with lots of thoughts and ideas on the driving forces that are changing the space. Here are a few of my observations from the show related to what’s on marketers’ minds:
Broadening Definition of Partnership: At the risk of sounding like a broken record (after all, regular readers of this blog hear us talk about this a lot) many retailers are intrigued by a broader definition of partnership — one that encompasses but is not limited to affiliate marketing. Many of the retailers I spoke with were exploring new-for-them avenues of partnership including collaborating with other major brands, and influencer marketing. This is incredibly exciting because it serves to broaden our category and enable brands to explore more avenues to outstanding revenue growth.
Travel and Retail Partnerships: Many of the retailers I spoke with were very intrigued by the opportunity to collaborate with travel brands to create joint programs and promotions. For many such brand leaders, travel is an exciting partner vertical because holidays have such marvelous emotional elements that inspire and stimulate shoppers. One told me that travel associations are particularly interesting because retailers struggle with creating loyalty to the brand in a world of transparent pricing and everything being available with just a few clicks. The right travel brands, she said, can help them build brand by association.
Amazon Weaning: Many retail brand marketers spoke to me about the need to drive more people to their brand sites versus depending for Amazon for so much of their volume. Partnerships can be an extremely valuable tool for this kind of strategic objective because it places brand messages right at the moment of consideration. We’ve seen time and again that the right message and offer can guide more consumers to brand sites.
Internationalization: The universality of the web makes it possible to reach and connect with billions of people, not those in the US. Many of the brands I spoke with are intrigued by the opportunity to sell overseas, but a bit reluctant to take on the challenges because of the complexity of financial systems and laws. One guess on which country most people are interested in: China. But that said, there is also strong awareness of the fapaio tax system and the need for help navigating it. At Partnerize, we win many businesses in part because of the comprehensiveness of our payment solutions for China.
These days retail marketing is tough. But I am excited by the strategic chops and inventive nature of the marketers in the space. They make my job of finding powerful solutions to real business problems much more exciting and rewarding.