The People Problem: a Lunch and Learn with Loblaw Digital

In April we were invited by the team at Loblaw Digital to lead a lunch and learn at their new headquarters in downtown Toronto! We love sharing knowledge within our industry and the community and were more than excited to lead a discussion with their team because together we are…

…Transforming the Way Canadians Shop

Loblaw Digital is responsible for building and operating the digital channels for Canada’s largest and most successful retailer, which includes:

  • Loblaws Click and Collect, an online grocery experience
  • JoeFresh.com, an award-winning fashion retailer
  • Joe Fresh Apps, for iPad and iPhone
  • beautyBOUTIQUE.ca, that allows Canadians bring #bringBEAUTYhome

Loblaw Companies Ltd – the umbrella company of Loblaw Digital – is publicly traded and the largest food retailer in Canada. Loblaw’s brings in $30B in revenue from 1,000 corporate and franchise supermarkets in 22 regional segment banners, with over 135,000 employees across the country.

I took this opportunity to bring Demac’s unique perspective and our latest eCommerce insights, including trends and stats from our own customers, to share with the entire Loblaw’s team (see the full slides here).

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The Future State of eCommerce

The biggest challenge that all eCommerce businesses will face is a “people problem”. All the industry talks about is how fast things are growing, or what new technology is coming, or something else glitzy. But this doesn’t help us.

The Future of Sameness

Technology is out-pacing what businesses can actually digest. Start-ups and SaaS providers are looking to democratize commerce technology, aka “make the obvious things easy and everything else possible”.

Technology will only get easier for retailers to buy, implement, use, and replace. What will this mean for the types of people and skills that they will require? At Demac we’re still laying the groundwork for companies through technology that will help them in the near term future. Look at physical retail stores – tablets aside – nothing much has changed in decades.

Focus less on tech and more on people.

Omnichannel – what does that even mean?!

A term coined by a researcher at Forrester, and misinterpreted by many to mean selling in-store inventory online. The industry missed the point; omnichannel refers to the screen or point of interaction in front of a person (the customer)!

Social Channels

Is social driven discovery the strategy that will allow the rest of us to compete with Amazon? Do customers even even shop through social channels like Facebook or Instagram? People are going to these social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter – with different experiences in mind.

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All of these platforms are being commerce enabled, and as the numbers in our eCommerce Benchmark Report for Q1 2016 show, are actually driving traffic to merchant websites. People get inspiration from their friends, who find different things for them! Social platforms have become the digital homes for these influential friends.

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In our retailer data from Q1 of 2016 we found that social commerce sales are driven through marketing ingenuity. People who are being really creative on these platforms, are able to effectively market and sell to customers.

A lot of companies made the mistake of automating conversations across channels. Customers don’t want that, they want real human interaction. YouTube has such a great ROI and is a good example of solving the people problem. It’s laborious to do properly, but the more creative it is the better, and it forces brands to made something original! Not just repackage the same content and blast it across channels.

Personal Touch!

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What people want is real human interaction. Back in the 1990’s everyone knew their local merchants really well, on a personal level. There was a real conversation between retailer and customer. Suddenly though it became super-anonymous when the big-box retailers were created.

Want to sell more products? It’s all about conversation, and human beings who buy more are having real conversations.

The Lunch and Learn Presentation:

Lunch and Learn: Matt Bertulli @ Loblaw Digital from Demac Media

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