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Published on June 06, 2024 | By Joanna O’Connell and Xian Wang

The following is an excerpt from the white paper Connected Commerce: A New Advertising Paradigm available for downloading here.

As many in the marketing community continue to cling to the decades-old concept of the “purchase funnel” to build their media investment strategies, consumers continue to challenge conventional wisdom in how they search, engage and buy. The long-held notion that consumers follow a structured process of discovery, engagement and purchase is showing distinct structural cracks in the era of omnichannel retail, influencer-driven commerce and shoppable advertising.

For example, soon-to-be published research from Omnicom Media Group reveals that nearly half of social media users report they’ve used influencers in their purchase journey. For brands and retailers, this has ushered in a new paradigm that sits at the nexus of advertising and commerce.

Connected commerce empowers brands to move at the speed of modern commerce—through closed-loop planning, activation and measurement—that addresses the full consumer purchase lifecycle. It represents a consumer-centric approach to media investment that’s fueled by deeper brand-retailer partnerships, powered by first-party data, that brings shoppability to consumers wherever advertising exists.

A Roadmap for Your Connected Commerce Journey

Shifting your marketing approach to match this moment isn’t going to happen overnight. Nor need it. Developing a roadmap for your journey—with the relevant strategic partners and tools in place—is necessary to pave the way for success over the long term, particularly when navigating a complicated ecosystem that’s still immature.

As you map out your path, there are several core areas to consider:

1. Develop an understanding of your own consumers’ purchase journeys. Insights into your customers’ most common paths to purchase (and repurchase) will help shape future decisions, from media-investment decisions to creative strategies to product innovations.

Your retail media network partners are a rich source of data that can be used for more than targeting and measurement. To begin building your own consumer journey maps, lean into these partners’ data capabilities to understand how your customers traverse retailer touchpoints on the journey to buying your products.

2. Close the gap between shopper and brand. Shopper marketing has long served as CPGs’ in-road to help influence purchase in retail environments, but as retail media networks have grown in scope and importance brand marketers have begun to lean in as well. However, it’s still common practice for these functions to sit in siloes, with separate internal teams and often disparate agencies managing disparate media investments. This disconnect limits efficiency and performance, and creates a disjointed customer experience. Bringing these functions together from a media investment standpoint to create connected commerce has myriad benefits already discussed. In more tactical terms, it means moving to a model of:

  • Holistic planning: developing the right comprehensive media channel and retailer mix and taking a taking a more unified approach to audience development to meet your goals.
  • Integrated activation: bringing focus to points of connectivity and continuity across partners for better insight and optimization opportunities.
  • Consolidated measurement: focusing on integrating reporting across stages of the purchase journey with an eye toward understanding the correlation between day-to-day media KPIs and large business performance indicators.

Additionally, prioritize incrementally testing to understand the causal impact of your media investments.

3. Match the moment through connected creative executions. Media is an important lever, but not the only one. It’s still common for creative development and execution to be siloed by “shopper” versus “brand” marketing. This approach breaks the consumer’s experience as she discovers, engages with and makes purchase decisions about brands and products.

Bring together your creative approach, from ideation to template development to real-time optimization, to gain richer insight, improve the consumer experience and uplift marketing performance.

4. Innovate consumers’ shopping experiences through commerce-enabled ad solutions. While still relatively new, certainly in the United States, the shoppable advertising experience is something brands need to consider as a longer-term opportunity. Younger consumers are getting more comfortable with this style of engagement, and it also enables brands to bridge the long-standing shopper-brand divide.

Social environments—where influencers and social platforms are embracing commerce enablement—are a clear option. But connected TV (CTV) also presents a compelling new medium for direct consumer engagement, as QR codes have become repopularized.

Consider the upside in going one step further: Look for partners who enable end-to-end shoppability of your products directly via ad units.

Joanna O’Connell

As chief intelligence officer for Omnicom Media Group, the media services division of Omnicom,  Joanna O’Connell uncovers and translates marketplace signals into strategies that will deliver better business outcomes for Omnicom clients. View all articles by this author


Xian Wang

Xian Wang brings a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of digital commerce business models and market trends to her role as VP, Retail Insights at Omnicom’s Flywheel digital commerce practice, where she is responsible for global strategy, product and research for the retail insights business unit. View all articles by this author