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    December 17, 2019
    9 minute read

    Most Innovative Ecommerce Companies in 2020 | Salsify

    by: Carol Krol

    Shopping today bears little resemblance to the process of decades past. Customers traverse digital and physical buying channels continually and have high standards for the must-have information needed to make buying decisions.

    With the rise of the digital shelf, brands shaping the future of ecommerce have led through agile innovations that give customers memorable product experiences, consistently blurring the line between in-store and online. Here are five brand manufacturers that are changing how we shop online.

    1. Coty Experiments With AR, BR, and VR

    Coty is a global beauty company with 70-plus brands under its umbrella, including Covergirl and Wella. Much of its current experimentation involves infusing its brands with new technology designed to enhance customers' experience and change the way customers shop for its products. This innovation includes testing augmented reality (AR), blended reality (BR), and virtual reality (VR).

    The brand's Magic Mirror, launched at its Bourjois boutique in Paris, France, enables customers to virtually try on lipstick by holding the desired lip color while standing in front of the mirror. The user's lips then instantly change color in the reflect.

    Coty's AR-enabled Smart Mirror helps its Wella customers test different hair color shades before committing to a complete dye job. It also launched a multi-sensory fragrance discovery experience, which utilizes VR to help shoppers explore Coty's luxury fragrance portfolio and find their perfect scent match.

    "When we set out on this project, our aim was to create a future-facing retail experience that merged the physical and digital worlds to help users navigate the rich and complex world of fragrances," said Elodie Levy, senior director of digital innovation at Coty. "The result provides shoppers with an incredible experience that marries art, science, and technology."

    Video Source: Holition on Vimeo

    2. Clorox Acquires Agile D2C Brand

    Some well-established brands have seen success from strategic direct-to-consumer (D2C) acquisitions, which allow them to strengthen engagement and loyalty.

    The Clorox Company acquired D2C vitamin brand Nutranext in 2018, which recently launched the wellness brand Objective. This online-only brand relies on the attributes and data it collects online and through surveys targeting specific customer segments. This strategy allows them to deliver enhanced content experiences that align with customer needs.

    Objective's ability to function autonomously within the larger organization has allowed it to remain agile and pursue new technology. It also allows The Clorox Company — which traditionally relies heavily on brand marketing for its consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands — to empower Objective to test and adjust their approach based on its data continually.

    At the heart of Objective's business model is fostering a close relationship with customers who have shifting needs and customizing the value it creates for them.

    3. Mars Leverages Personalization and Data

    Technology is an integral part of digital transformation at Mars, which has enabled its expansion into a wide variety of new categories, including personalized health and pet services. Aligned with its focus on personalization, Mars announced a majority stake in Foodspring, a D2C sports nutrition company based out of Berlin, Germany.

    "We're moving from a one-size-fits-all food company to what is specifically right for 'me,' [creating] a global targeted nutrition business that is all about data, AI, and personalization," said Sandeep Dadlani, chief information officer at Mars, to Path to Purchase IQ.

    By combining data analytics, AI, and automation with design-driven principles and techniques, Dadlani has helped develop an approach that lets Mars adapt its business practices and consumer strategies at a much faster rate.

    The model is based on identifying issues and problems through a user-centricity mindset, solving the problem with data analytics, and then scaling the solution with automation.

    4. Coca-Cola Tests New Delivery Channels

    Coca-Cola is known for its innovative products, marketing campaigns, and strong brand loyalty. As it continues to expand its digital presence, the company is testing how it can best appeal to customers online. Coca-Cola partnered with Amazon to enable voice-enabled shopping for its products. It also works with goPuff, a convenience store delivery startup, to deliver drinks within minutes.

    "In the last five years, this world has turned completely upside down. We're doing a lot in this space," said Chaly Jo Moyen, senior vice president of strategy, planning, and decision science at Coca-Cola. "Because beverages are heavy, and people love to have them delivered to their home. We see this as a great growth opportunity."

    Coca-Cola has also updated its Freestyle soda fountain app that allows users to customize drinks and engage with brand content. It now features a new operating system with Bluetooth connectivity as well as not-yet-activated features like audio capability and optical sensors.

    Video Source: Coca-Cola on YouTube

    5. Rubbermaid Establishes a Central Source of Truth

    Having a single source of truth has positioned Rubbermaid for the future of shopping. Rubbermaid transformed digital data by implementing product experience management (PXM) for over 6,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) and 25,000 digital assets, including images and documents across numerous verticals.

    "We don't have to worry about whether our site has the product information needed to meet the demands of modern commerce," Jim Smith, senior marketing communications manager at Rubbermaid Commercial Products.

    This central source of truth has given Rubbermaid the ability to activate its digital assets. It empowers this storied brand to become an innovator in ecommerce, driving demand for other retailer channels for the brand.

    The Future of Ecommerce

    These well-established brand manufacturers have each given us a peek into the future of shopping. For some, this means interactive in-store experiences that blur the line between online and in-store. For others, this means using advanced technologies like AR and VR — or acquiring agile and innovative D2C brands.

    Each has also transformed by emphasizing centralizing product information and customer data to compete in an ever-expanding marketplace. These brands share one other important commonality: a keen focus on putting customers first and responding to customer needs with cutting-edge innovations.


    Want to learn how your brand can stay on the cutting edge of the ever-changing world of eCommerce? We recently surveyed over 1,000 consumers to uncover the latest insights into what drives conversions, brand loyalty, and more. Watch the webinar to see the results and hear our actionable tips about how to leverage these findings.


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