Nike, Wayfair, Oath Execs Reveal the Importance of Experience, Mobile Innovation

“We all know retail is in the midst of a serious tech renaissance. But what does that mean for marketers today?” Sarah Martinez, VP and industry lead of retail at Oath, asked during a discussion on retail innovation. Oath is a Verizon platform that helps brands reach advertising goals.

An installment of Advertising Club of New York’s Vertical Series, aimed at shifts within the retail market, examined that question — specifically focusing on innovation through mobile experiences.

An industry overview was first presented by business intelligence platform PSFK founder and editor-in-chief Piers Fawkes. Following that, Martinez moderated a panel featuring executives from Nike and Wayfair who shared how their brands are navigating the ever-evolving retail landscape.

“From personalized experiences to new quality ad formats, there are some revolutionary new technologies available to connect brands more meaningfully with shoppers,” Martinez said after the panel. “In today’s ever-evolving retail landscape, it’s so important to bring brands, marketers and agencies together to talk about which technologies are and aren’t working, which buzzwords are fads and the innovations that are here to stay.”

Martinez said personalization, brand loyalty and technologies like AR and VR are of vital importance.

“Today’s shopper wants enhanced multichannel experiences, whether in-store, on desktop or on mobile. It’s estimated that by 2020, half of all retail e-commerce sales will be made on mobile,” she explained. “Mobile technology today has to drive the full-funnel experience from the very beginning with app install, connecting the dots between each consumer touch point along the path to purchase.”

Martinez noted that the most innovative marketers are putting the consumer first, “leading with shopper’s passion points.” She continued, “New ad formats are enabling brands to engage with shoppers on mobile in that multichannel fashion more than ever.”

She added: “The best advertising vehicle for trusted brands” is premium content on mobile platforms. “Premium content has a huge impact on brand perception, so when it comes to innovation through mobile, prioritizing premium content is key.”

During the panel, Ron Faris — GM of Nike’s s23NYC Digital Studio and global GM of the brand’s SNKRS app — said that in his world of “sneakerhead fanatics,” the feeling of pride of purchase for a consumer is critical.

He added that a 1-to-1 feeling with the consumer is important. When demand outweighs supply, for example, it is critical that the shopper feels “recognized.” That is to say, it’s not just important for brands to pay attention to how many purchases have been made for a consumer but to stay attentive when they perhaps aren’t able to buy a product. This capability for a brand to “recognize” its customers, the GM explained, can be unlocked by putting data to use.

“The experience is the story,” Faris said.

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