How A Group of Martians are Using Omnichannel Experiences and Voice Technology to Impact eCommerce

Blending the best technology with some of the smartest humans to create an eCommerce experience that meets customer needs.

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You probably weren’t expecting to deal with Martians in the world of eCommerce. But that’s probably only because you’re not familiar with The Mars Agency.

For those not in the know, The Mars Agency is an independent agency that combines the best of technology with the best human intelligence to provide solutions to businesses throughout the world of retail and eCommerce. And one of the Martians who leads the charge at Mars is Amy Andrews, the SVP Business Development & eCommerce.

Through her work helping brands such as Nestle, Campbell’s Soup and others, Andrews has been able to keep tabs on all of the trends in eCommerce and also help those brands find ways to optimize their eCommerce activities to connect with customers.

“There are a lot of different options to buy online,” Andrews said. “As you’re scrolling through, Instagram you can shop now. We’re moving toward a world where we are one click away from a purchase in any environment. So that’s really what my team focuses on for our clients — how do we help them market and ultimately sell more online?”

As eCommerce has evolved, achieving that goal has become more complicated. And in today’s world, thanks to COVID-19, understanding the online marketplace is more important than ever. So in order to counsel her clients, Andrews has been paying attention to consumer behavior.

“I think people are forming new habits, and even new preferences, so it’s definitely influencing how we’re advising our clients and where they should invest,” she said. “I think what will be interesting long term is… there will be a lot more interesting marketing opportunities, especially as you think about all those new users either to a retailer or to a brand.”

Every consumer is different, and they are all adjusting to this new reality in their own ways. Businesses are the same, and each has its own unique challenges. As a result, the only way to serve those businesses appropriately is to come up with a custom approach, and that’s one of the main things that Andrews has been focused on recently.

She explained that as businesses pause their marketing, shift their focus, prioritize manufacturing or make other adjustments, The Mars Agency has the be there to guide them every step of the way, making suggestions and pointing to data that could be useful during the transition. The biggest challenge of this approach, though, is that there are so many unknowns. No one is certain when things will change again or how, so being nimble and open to thinking about things differently is the best strategy right now.

“I think all brands can do this and adapt and pivot and do so relatively easily,” she said. “The big question before the crisis was just how quickly should each brand, based on their category, be moving into this space? And a lot of brands were over-invested in eCommerce because they felt that that was going to be the future. So they’re a bit of a step ahead. And that doesn’t mean that other brands can’t catch up but, I think COVID has been a kind of internal tipping point for a lot of organizations to think about how they’re treating eCommerce and maybe prioritizing it a little bit differently.”

So how exactly will the eCommerce experience change in the coming weeks, months and years for Mars clients? There’s no way to predict the future, but Andrews does believe that there will be more of a focus on creating experiences that can move from in-person to online. Creating that omnichannel experience for shoppers will be an important way for brands to move away from how they used to do things in order to thrive in this new world.

“Trying to rethink things like [sampling] that have been really traditional vehicles to encourage trial, how do we think about that in a new way?” Andrews says brands need to ask themselves. “Either if that’s a re-plan in terms of, what do we do with those dollars and invest them in something else? Or what I think is maybe more creative and exciting is, how do we think about sampling in a new way? Or how do we think about demos in a new way? And that’s where we really see the in-store and the eComm world kind of colliding, and really creating some of these omnichannel experiences.”

The move to online and omnichannel is daunting for many, but that’s why Andrews and her team of Martians are around in the first place. For more than 50 years they have been finding the best way to blend new and exciting technology with humans who care in order to bring out the best in their customers and also help those customers impact that bottom line. The Mars Agency was built for these changing times, after all.

“In the marketing and advertising world, we’re one of the few independents who’s left,” Andrews said. “I think that having that independence and having a lot that entrepreneurial spirit has allowed us to really adapt as the industry has adapt and, in most cases stay one step ahead. We talk a lot about our Martians and we really think that there’s a balance between, our people and our technology. So, over the years we’ve, of course, as most industries have invested more in technology and data, and all of that, we’ve also really balanced that with our Martians and having, what we say is the latest technology and the smartest humanity.”

Listen to Amy’s full interview on Up Next in Commerce, here.

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