Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The Future of Ecommerce: Kudzai Mubaiwa, Head of Performance Media, Performics @ Spark Foundry

In a new series, ECA is talking to the heads of ecommerce at agencies and brands to find out what the industry’s leading players think about the future of the ecommerce industry. Next up is Kudzai Mubaiwa, Head of Performance Media, Performics @ Spark Foundry.

Covid-19 accelerated many trends, what behaviours do you expect to continue post pandemic?

There will continue to be high expectations for faster, more efficient and personalised digital experiences. Shoppers will no longer accept anything other than a seamless experience onsite or in-app, 24 hr delivery and free returns that are also hassle free. But on the other side of this, consumers are also now more educated and realise that this need for ‘everything right now and fast’ comes at a cost to the environment. Shoppers are starting to show more sustainability-led shopping behaviours, this will only continue to increase

How important is personalisation in ecommerce?

Consumers are spending more time online discovering and trialling new brands and products. For brands, acquiring these new customers whilst also retaining loyal, high value customers has become more challenging in an environment where consumers have so much choice. This is where personalisation that goes beyond the basic tactics to focus on more dynamic and real time personalisation becomes vital to success. Consumers are more aware of it and now also expect to have these personalised recommendations

What are the challenges around the increasing amounts of data being generated by brands – and the need to surface it in real-time across multiple touchpoints?

Brands have to trawl through massive amounts of data, often housed (and duplicated) on multiple platforms, owned by different internal business units, or run on outdated platforms. It’s a lot of data, messy and hard to navigate. They have the mammoth task of unifying all their data sources, getting the right insights that will in turn drive the best strategies to meet overall business objectives. Without these clear insights, brands can easily fall into a dark data abyss by going too granular that you actually achieve nothing, or not granular enough that the data used doesn’t deliver its full potential.

How is DTC continuing to disrupt the market?

DTC brands have basically forced traditional brands to think more about developing a relationship with their customers and they have done this successfully by focusing first and foremost on what the customer wants. They are not tied down by traditional platforms and are willing to test and learn to find out more about their customers, what works and what products or service to adapt and change.

And marketplaces?

The same focus on personalisation and putting what the customer wants first is driving the growth of marketplaces. Those adjusting and focused on putting sustainability first are certainly leading the way. 

How important is sustainability and ESG in a brand’s ecommerce strategy?

Concern for the future and impact of global warming are higher than ever and sustainability searches on Google increased significantly during and post COVID lockdowns. Brands now have a responsibility and obligation to be transparent about their credentials and future ambitions in this space. Consumers can be quick to ‘cancel’ brands that are not putting sustainability and ESG at the core of their entire supply chain, and also quick to support and purchase from those that are authentic about their strategy moving forward.

What platform or technology are you most excited about at the moment when it comes to ecommerce?

One of the areas I would love to see more development is in the Virtual and Augmented reality spaces. Being able to try on and see what a product will look like before buying it online would change the buying experience completely. This is also not just to be isolated to fashion and beauty but can also spread to other verticals such as education, recruitment