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Advertising Week has become a fixture on the New York conference calendar in September, attracting brands, marketers and technology providers as well as retailers and celebrities. This year there were more than 100,000 attendees, 350 sessions and 1,200 speakers. KWI’s Chief Customer Officer, Frank Weil, curated and emceed the Retail track on day one of this four-day conference. With a focus on retail and direct to consumer (DTC brands), Advertising Week’s Retail track featured sessions on modern commerce in the digital world and sought to understand how retail evolved the ways brands sell, and how has it changed the way consumers buy.

We heard that many DTC brands are finding that they’re able to reach more customers at lower costs through platforms like direct mail, their own physical retail stores and wholesale. The definition of DTC has clearly evolved with one panelist even saying that “DTC is more of a mindset.”

Holiday marketing starts the day after July 4th. Two thirds of people who do their holiday shopping will return to the places they’ve shopped before. This means retailers must act early to attract new customers. Panelists recommended leveraging campaigns aimed at Back-to-School and stressed that Amazon created Prime Days in July for this very reason.

Lead with performance marketing and wrap brand into it. Marrying passion and performance in online and local advertising means maintaining a consistent identity and personalizing the marketing message. In the DTC session, one panelist stressed that you can measure performance but proving the efficacy promise up the funnel is hard to do. Until you’re profitable, invest in performance marketing.
Digital-first shopping has arrived. For the first time ever, the annual OpenX / Harris Poll reported that a majority of holiday shoppers plan to spend more on digital channels as opposed to in store.

Other Key Data from the 2019 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report

  • Shoppers are optimistic about where the economy is headed, and this is expected to fuel increased holiday spending. Millennials are leading the way, planning to spend 15% more this holiday season than the average U.S. consumer. 
  • Mobile is accelerant of the shift toward digital-first shopping. Shoppers expect to spend 1 out of every 5 dollars this holiday season via a mobile device. 
  • Everyone shops online – not just Gen Z and Millennials. 50% of Baby Boomers plan to split their shopping evenly between online and in store. 
  • Consumers shop whenever and however it suits them. 69% of shoppers make online purchases at work. 8% of consumers will use a smart speaker or voice activated assistant to help with shopping this year. 
  • Advertising works. 39% of people, and 55% of Millennials say an ad has reminded them to make a previously researched purchase.