The worlds of creativity and commerce continue to converge this year. CMO leads have echoed the same notion over my last three years: Give consumers what they want, not what you want to sell; show them you care through purpose or empathy, and create unique ideas to connect with consumers through meaningful experiences. More commerce players and offerings are flooding the marketplace than ever before with companies like Roundel, Pinterest, Facebook, and Google showcasing more ways for consumers to learn and buy brands within their ecosystems.
Some of the best commerce work being awarded at industry festivals is more stunt-focused vs. truly solving a business problem. I expect the creative e-commerce-focused categories to become more and more competitive and outcome-based as we see the rise of shoppable solutions from the platforms and media offerings from traditional retail partners. Commerce is a broad term that can come to life through a simple piece of creative content or an end-to-end consumer experience.
Three key trends to consider as you build out your brand’s commerce roadmap:
Ecosystem Hacking
Many of the ideas being awarded are built to deliver a creative solution that would disrupt or hack a marketplace platform.  The ideas are designed to increase the visibility through voice or search results on the platforms to make the brands more productive in the future.  One example is a cereal brand that is building promotional offers to win on Amazon Prime Day and use increased traffic to capture new consumers via voice on the platform.  Another is a cocktail brand that developed an e-commerce cocktail experience pack designed to educate consumers on JD.com about a new usage occasion for the brand.  One can imagine the next set of creative briefs will be focused on how to use creative ideas built against the nuances of unique marketplace needs.
Designed for Tribes
E-commerce provides marketers with a broad canvas to develop unique offerings and experiences.  The ability to build from the campaign idea through the product offering at a micro-targeted level is becoming more and more expected from shoppers.  A beauty brand developed a limited edition lipstick and creative content designed for the female gaming community.  From creative look to the lipstick names, this execution was spot on for this segment and sold out in one hour.  Similarly, a pet retailer developed the first ever pet commerce website.  The first of its kind, the experience leverages device cameras to assess pet happiness and then apply machine learning to recommend the right products.  The visual experience was also designed for the visual parameters of dogs that can only see in shades of yellow and blue.  Not only is this a perfect execution for dogs and pet owners, it also provides a service to the owner in guiding decision-making in a world where we are challenged by the overwhelming paradox of choice.
Creative Experiences that Change Consumer Behavior

Consumers are looking for seamless experiences that make their lives easier, save time or educate them about their passions.  Other recent work I’ve seen applied the basics of user experience to link this to also driving behavior change.  An athletic shoe brand challenged consumers to earn points for pints; the more they trained for a local marathon, the more beer pints they could earn!  Not only is the brand helping consumers track their training; it is also enticing them with a payoff that inspires them to change behaviors.  In this case, consumers gained access to a unique pub pop up.  Another brand focused on harnessing data to educate and prepare consumers for the onset of the flu.  Brands of the future have to focus on becoming brands of service that benefit consumers and will eventually drive brand loyalty and purchase. 

In summary, the future of creative commerce experiences is bright and we are only at the beginning.  Brands will continue to need to navigate how fractured the commerce world is along with consumers’ desire for experiences that fit all the places they want to shop — on platforms or on a marketplace or at retail.com.  I do think commerce presents an incredible opportunity for CMOs to deliver on building brands for good that benefit both the greater world, as well as driving shareholder value.

This article originally appeared on MediaVillage.

 Author: Amy Lanzi, EVP Commerce Practice Lead, Publicis Media