(un)Panel Reveals On-Brand, Collabs, and Influencers Are In the Mix


The (un)Panelists have spoken. Over the course of two nights in San Francisco and Los Angeles, 40 brand and retail practitioners came together to share and debate: what makes a great customer experience. With three brand spotlights and two (un)Panel Discussions, we reached consensus on a few customer experience topics:

  • On-brand Extends Across the Entire Experience
  • Measuring Is (Still) In 
  • The New Marketing Mix is Stretching Your Brand 

On-brand Extends Across the Entire Experience

‘On-brand’ typically conjures thoughts of brand voice through copy and even colors. Applying this concept in the context of a customer’s experience means that brands must also make choices in the vehicles put in place to serve the shopper. The use of chatbots sparked one of these debates. While the use of chatbots was embraced by the group, specifically as a great way to reduce some of the noisy (I.e. WIsMOs) requests, particularly during peak seasons. Equally as important — continuing to provide a personal touch, by taking advantage of the opportunity to engage with shoppers in the 1:1 context of customer service.

Measuring Is (Still) In

Cliche alert: Putting your data to work is not an aspiration, but a mandate. During the brand spotlights, each brand leader showcased data and insights derived from customer engagements, not simply top-line revenue and lift. From shoppers re-purchasing items to subscription products per shopper over time, retailers have strengthened their measurement muscles and capabilities. #KPI4eva

And maybe most notably, the changing marketing mix was on display. While the DTC Revolution is having a moment, the power of brand extends beyond the label and even beyond the enterprise. The (un)Panel found a clear consensus in two areas demonstrating the new ‘extended enterprise’. First, while the approach to influencer marketing can be debated, it is clearly a core part of the marketing mix. Second, working with fellow brands to acquire customers, either via direct collaboration, or look-alike social targeting has also moved into the mainstream.

For brands and retailers to win shopper attention and retention, the evolution is clear: apply your brand across your entire experience, measure your success and progress and tune your marketing mix by extending your brand.

The (un)Panels are providing the true voice of retail today, live from the brand and retail leaders. We’re (un)Paneling in Austin on Wednesday, February 19th, join us for a fantastic evening or sign up to the waitlist for the next set of unpanels.

This article originally appeared in the Zaius blog and has been published here with permission.

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Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. Starting in the early 2000s, Steve achieved eBay Power Seller status which propelled him to become a founding partner of VisionPros.com, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. Four years later through a successful exit from that startup, he embarked on his next journey into digital strategy for direct-to-consumer brands.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify, where he helps brands to identify, navigate and accelerate growth online and in-store.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the top-rated twice-weekly podcast eCommerce Fastlane. He interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, that assist Shopify-powered brands to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue and to build lifetime customer loyalty.

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