4 things I learned at dmexco this week

4 things I learned at dmexco this week

Lenia Karallus
Retail Consultant

Lenia works very closely with our clients, helping them to define their eCommerce strategy and identify performance improvements within their current eCommerce set-up.

Lenia has a strong background in strategy and analytics, working for a wide range of retailers including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Belstaff and Anya Hindmarch. Prior to joining eCommera, she worked as a strategy consultant at Javelin Group, a retail-focused consultancy based in London. She has extensive international experience, including in China, Germany, Turkey and India, and speaks German fluently.

With 50,000 people expected from all over the world, we really couldn’t afford to miss dmexco. And we weren't disappointed - everyone was there - from Facebook and Google, to Hybris and Sitecore, not forgetting our German Dentsu Aegis Network colleagues. But it wasn’t just about meeting and chatting to all of these people. There was also lots to learn – from how to deliver a great cross-device customer experience, to how to create content snippets for short-attention-span customers, to how to tackle gender inequality issues in the industry. Although the sessions were too short to really get into the detail of the topics presented, we still managed to take away lots of new insight, tips and interesting food for thought. Here are some of the key outtakes from the event:

1) Content marketers can’t afford to ignore augmented reality

With an uptake of 50m users within four weeks, Pokemon Go provided clear proof of what an enormous impact augmented reality (AR) is going to have on the digital industry in the near future. Augmented reality is defined as a content layer on top of reality - a huge opportunity for content marketers that is only going to grow in value. And according to Ambarish Mitra, CEO of Blippar, these are the key drivers behind this trend:

  • Mobile continues to grow and looking through the camera lens is the most used smartphone feature
  • Sight is the primary human sense and AR is responding to this sense
  • Products are becoming more and more a media in themselves – with AR, a layer of content can be added to the physical product. Max Factor is using AR and products as media in a really smart way, by enabling AR to be triggered from a product barcode with informative content and shade selectors

2) Transparency, mentoring and being proactive are key to driving gender equality

Inequality in pay and opportunity for women is still a big issue in the industry, but this is broadly recognised today. So the female executives who debated this issue at dmexco suggested that we need to now “walk the talk” - start acting and improving, rather than continuing to just talk about it. According to the panellists, being transparent about pay and executive representation, getting mentoring (especially from male mentors), and starting to take the front row seat are all key in driving change. We also got a reminder to just say “yes” when an opportunity comes our way and to worry about how to deliver it and do the job afterwards.

Join eCommera and Retail Week on 28 September for a live Twitter debate around inspiring and promoting the careers of successful female retail leaders, as part of the Be Inspired campaign.

3) There are three key questions to consider to deliver successful innovation

Our very own Matt Gee, Isobar’s Head of Digital Transformation, added an important aspect to the innovation debate. According to him, we have to ask the following three questions in order to create successful retail innovation:

1) Does the innovation create a better experience for our customers?
2) Does it differentiate the brand?
3) Does it create value for the brand?

If these three criteria aren’t met, then we should refrain from further investment.

4) Innovation can happen throughout the value chain, as demonstrated by Nestle

We also attended the highly anticipated talk by Nestle CEO, Paul Bulcke, on how he and the team continue to transform the 150-year-old company into a digital leader. The room was packed and we were happy that his thoughts are very much in line with Matt Gee’s understanding of value-creating innovation – a useful confirmation of our approach to innovation.

Nestle sees digital as an opportunity and is using digital innovation as a value creator. And in order to innovate, the organisation needs to be open and outward looking. Further, innovation should focus not only on designing new products and services, but also throughout the whole value chain.

In order to digitally transform the company and create a platform and culture that drives digital innovation, Nestle launched their Digital Acceleration Team programme. This programme brings together 18 young employees from different functions, from across the globe, to work on digital topics and ideas together for 8 months in the Nestle headquarters. Once they return to work in their local offices, their learnings and digital mindset spread and multiply in the local office. This is accelerated through reverse mentoring, where the participants mentor senior managers as high as executive vice presidents and teach them about digital topics and innovation.

So far, Nestle has run seven Digital Acceleration Team programmes. And the drive for digital innovation doesn’t stop there. In Germany, for example, Nestle has created a digital challenge whereby entrants can win a €100,000 prize if they come up with a digital innovation and realise it within 100 days.

Early investment in digital transformation has resulted in Nestle being a digital leader and creator of new products and services that create value for the customer and the brand. One example is Milo champions, a wristband for children which is connected to an app through which activity and nutrition can be tracked, rewarded and compared, helping parents to encourage their children to adopt a healthy lifestyle.


If you'd like to find out more about our innovation offering, visit us on stand 25 at Internet Retailing Conference on 12 October, where we'll also be running a workshop alongside Asda around how to innovate and make your customers love you.