CommerceNext 2023: Navigating the Evolving Marketing Landscape
June 22, 2023

CommerceNext 2023: Navigating the Evolving Marketing Landscape

The CommerceNext Growth Show is a community of marketing leaders, and trailblazers who focus on the future of digital commerce and share the latest strategies for ecommerce growth. The topics are always relevant and speakers are always forthcoming on the strategies and tactics they’re testing, optimizing, and where they’re winning. Conferences like this save marketers time, money, headache, heartache, and is a show that’s worth adding to your calendar. 

In this blog post, we'll highlight some key takeaways from some of my favorite sessions and explore how brands are adapting their strategies to meet the changing needs and expectations of their customers.

Panel: Shifting Marketing Mix in Response to Measurement & Targeting Challenges

With privacy laws and the evolving use of data, marketers are facing new measurement and targeting challenges. The panel of experts delved into the shifting marketing mix and shared best practices for effectively reaching target audiences. Angela Hsu, CMO at Overstock, emphasized the challenges of ecommerce loyalty and the need to focus on getting customers to come back. Doug Jensen, SVP Go-to-Market Analytics & Activation and Learning Center of Excellence at The Estée Lauder Companies, discussed the trend of acquiring more first-party data and creating authentic relationships with shoppers.

Q&A Session with Gen Z:

The Gen Z panel provided valuable insights into the shopping habits and preferences of this generation. Clay Lute from Todd Snyder highlighted how Gen Z finds a middle ground somewhere between online shopping for its accessibility and in-person shopping for its personalization. Another panelist expressed a preference for in-store experiences when shopping for beauty products, suggesting that recreating this experience online would be a game changer. This thought led to an internal discussion on how concierge commerce solutions, where brands connect shoppers with product experts to create tailored shopping experiences is already happening for some skincare brands like U Beauty, REN Skincare, and even in an adjacent category with hair products and Olaplex. Someone has to tell Gen Z! Scream it from the rooftops! 😂The panel also emphasized the importance of meeting customers wherever they are in their buying journey, taking omnichannel strategies to the next level. Think: TikTok App, IG DMs, Reddit, SMS, etc.

How Solo Brands Unlocked Profitable DTC and Wholesale Growth:

John Merris, CEO at Solo Brands, shared insights into how their customer-centric approach unlocked profitable direct-to-consumer (DTC) and wholesale growth. Merris emphasized the significance of owning the customer relationship and delivering an unparalleled experience from start to finish, or search to post-purchase. His overarching message was how at the very center of everything they do is their customer. He even went so far as to say that they IPO'd literally for their customers; giving them the opportunity to play a role in the success of the company.  The session once again reiterated the importance of meeting customers at every touchpoint along their journey (which seemed to be a strong thread for the conference).

The Power of SMS and Personalization: Brooks Brothers' Approach to Customer Loyalty:

Andrea Silva from Brooks Brothers discussed the power of SMS and personalization in accessing and engaging younger demographics. The session highlighted how SMS provides a direct channel to connect with customers in a personal and on-demand way. I mean, you’re literally in their pocket! 📲 The conversation touched on the collection of first-party data through SMS and the potential for brands to respond to customers with human interaction. 

We know this to be true over at Humankind where brands like Taylormade, Saucony, and Olaplex are leaning into SMS to create meaningful relationships with customers. The coveted SMS space is used for people that are closest to you; because who do you text; your friends, your family, and now Brooks Brothers. I got a kick out of that. 

The integration of AI optimization in messaging strategies was also explored; emphasizing the need to balance automation and human touch. An interesting transition in topic happened here when Andrea said “we obviously don’t have a person there responding”  to which I pondered, what if you did! Brands like Murad, NEST, and Love Wellness, are all actually responding with humans! And the benefits to this are innumerable. 

They chatted a bit about AI optimization in the messaging/ copy arena, which many martech orgs are adopting. Finding ways to improve speed to go live, improve accuracy, data, and messaging. It wasn’t until a later session on Day 2 where Jenna Flateman Posner the 

CDO at Snipes said “they’re [Snipes’] using AI to free up humans so the humans can do more of the things they’re really good at.” The sentiment was music to my ears to hear it put that way, because that’s exactly what Humankind is doing; using automation and AI to empower the humans, but still keeping the human as the tip of the spear to connect with customers and build meaningful relationships. 

Humanizing Customer Engagement and Discovery in an AI-Driven World:

Rick Egan, VP Performance Marketing at Overstock, addressed the challenge of humanizing customer engagement in an AI-driven world. While the session focused on AI-driven improvements to product description pages (PDP), attendees were keen to see how AI can complement human expertise to enhance customer experiences, but the session didn’t really get there. The broader discussion underscored the importance of leveraging automation and AI in a crawl, test, walk, test, run, test, fashion.


CommerceNext 2023 provided valuable insights into the evolving marketing landscape, with sessions highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced by retailers today. We thought the event was great, we’ll be back next year. Get in touch with us if you think Humankind and our platform enabling 1:1 text-based relationships between shoppers and experts sounds right for you. Purpose built for conversational commerce. Humankind equips agents to delight, convert and retain customers through hyper-personalized, expert recommendations. 

Let’s chat soon.

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