Collective commerce: One passion. Many shoppers – by Liquid Retail‘s Nyka Miglani

By Nyka Miglani, shopper marketing and e-commerce strategy leader

The start of the football season is just around the corner and fans are gearing up to cheer on their favorite teams. Although we may be supporting different countries, but as football fanatics, we are a collective.

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After the shake-up caused by the lockdown, people have come back with a renewed focus on their overall wellbeing, with happiness, mental health and physical fitness being at the forefront. And as a result of mandatory isolation, it saw the return of introspection and the importance of establishing meaningful connections.

While some of the changes have been positive in terms of self-awareness and self-care, it has also, as seen in  recent months, contributed to inflation and an economic burden on shoppers. As a result, brands must drive even more value and find ways to influence buying in today’s challenging environment. However, relying heavily on promotions to retain or grow the shopper base will not be beneficial in the long term. If anything, this will only erode value.

Here’s where collective commerce comes into play. There are thousands of collectives that exist – sports fans, gamers, vegans, animal lovers, sneakerheads, gym nuts…the list goes on. The majority of these people don’t even know each other. But they are still connected via a common interest; and they are all shoppers in one way or another. So, how can brands synergise their interests and capitalise on this opportunity?

The concept of activating brands during key events in order to drive affinity and boost sales has been around for a long time. However, the tendency is to invariably focus on the event, or the celebrity(s) associated with them. What if brands were to shift the spotlight to the people that make up the collective? For example, when it comes to football, nothing brings people together more than the World Cup. Campaigns tend to start by focusing on the players or the participating countries, when, in fact, the effort should be to make it about the shoppers – the fans, the collective. Make them the celebrities. Give them a platform and become the conduit for their voice.

The current and upcoming generations are unique in the sense that they can get information anytime, anywhere. They can also broadcast every thought and emotion at the push of a button. They are hungry for experiences but even more so, for expression. In our hyperconnected world, people are in constant social contact and yet, isolated. While inclusivity is key, enabling personalisation and sharing is crucial for success.

What brands need to be cognisant of, however, is to remain authentic. When a campaign focuses on the product or brand ambassador(s), or both, it is what shoppers expect to see. In the case of collective commerce campaigns, attention should be paid to not be too contrived. Even with a campaign developed by the concerned brand, it should still ‘feel or appear’ organic.

Brands are more likely to win if they drive collective commerce by engaging, starring and involving a relevant collective target group and inspiring them to buy, thereby enabling their participation to contribute positively to the collective’s shared enthusiasm or interest. Collective commerce should, therefore, have content tailored to engage with shoppers – and perhaps even provide the option for it to be shared or amplified by them, while also ultimately resulting in purchase. By identifying the drivers or passions of the collective, it will provide brands the tools to design ‘inclusively exclusive’ campaigns and activations that will resonate more strongly with the target shoppers.

The key formula: A collective of passions + a collective of shoppers = collective commerce.