Recap: GROW LA Retail Conference

Brand Strategy, Industry Updates, Marketing Strategy, News & Events
March 2, 2023

There’s nothing like connecting with like minded people, discovering new brands, and learning about unique success stories IRL. In a post-pandemic world, the days of congregating in musky hotel lounges are kind of over. We came across GROW a few years back, and sponsored one of their in-person events in 2021. It’s safe to say that their events have come a long way.

Fast forward to 2023, their small but mighty team has set the stage for the future of retail conferences. The curated – and highly vetted – experience is created with the new era of founders and marketers in mind.

I recently attended their Spring conference in Los Angeles. Here are my top five takeaways for e-commerce brands looking to stay ahead of the game in 2023.

Storytelling Is The Future Of Marketing

Whether your brand is big or small, you’re competing for the same eyeballs as Nike or Sephora.

Consumers are overwhelmed with content, and brands that develop engaging ways for their customers to identify with their story or products are much more likely to stand out. Storytelling humanizes the brand and allows people to relate to it on a deeper level. By creating a compelling narrative, a brand can differentiate itself from competitors, build trust and loyalty with customers, and ultimately increase sales.

Jake Karls, co-founder of Mid-Day Squares highlighted that “storytelling is the vehicle to grab the consumer’s attention today”. Brands need people to opt in, and ultimately want to be a part of the conversation. 

If I show you a picture of a chocolate bar that’s vegan, gluten free – you’re going to scroll by it because it doesn’t matter to you. It doesn’t have meaning. If I tell you a story about how our machine broke down, and it caused this whole domino effect of problems, you’re involved – you’re part of that story. That makes you feel like you’re buying a product that you actually care about, and that you are a fan of.

Jake Karls – Mid-Day Squares

Double Down on CRO 

There’s more to conversion rate optimization than making minor adjustments to your product detail pages. As more and more businesses invest in CRO, those that don’t risk falling behind.

From leveraging post purchase surveys, to compiling reviews and making sense of social listening reports, applying customer insight or feedback is one of the countless ways that brands can drive meaningful impact to better meet customer needs, stay competitive and maintain market share.

Through CRO testing, brands can gain insights into how their customers behave on the website, what they like, and what they don’t like. This information can be used to inform other marketing efforts, such as content marketing and social media.

Content Marketing (In Context)

Content has and continues to evolve, and it’s no secret that brands are finding it hard to keep up. Brands need to take a strategic approach to creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Need a little motivation? Compile a list of all of your content, and categorize it by product. Then walk through your website as if you were a customer, and pay attention to where people might get stuck. 

The meaning of content in context can vary depending on the brand and the audience it’s trying to reach, and making updates by adding (or removing) content accordingly can help brands to attract, engage, and retain customers. 

Building Meaningful Partnerships

Pay-per-post is out. Sliding through a content creator or public figure’s DMs is in. The space between brands and “influencers” has become increasingly gray, and brands need to develop authentic relationships that last. 

For canned-water company Liquid Death, a viral campaign with Tony Hawk is just as valuable as a gifting opportunity with a YouTube personality who speaks to a niche market. In either case, their most successful partnerships are born when there’s a mutual understanding of creative control, and the expectation is rooted in freedom of expression and trust. 

By working with the right ambassadors and influencers, brands can reach new audiences, generate high-quality content, and build trust and loyalty with customers.

Growth at all cost is over 

Finally, efficiency was a recurring theme that can’t be overlooked. Brands can, and should, be leaning more into profitability by reducing expenses, increasing efficiency, focusing on high-margin products and services, pricing strategically, and increasing customer retention. 

By focusing on retaining existing customers, who are often more profitable than new customers, brands have the opportunity to emerge stronger on the other side. This can involve improving customer experience, offering loyalty rewards, and developing targeted campaigns. One panel highlighted that looking at lifetime value (LTV) based on sales channel or product can offer insight into where to invest in your expansion plan. Think: segmented and aggregated. 

In conclusion, there has never been a more exciting time to be in digital, and brands have a unique opportunity to engage customers in a way that hasn’t been adopted industry wide. The rules and status quo are out the window, and those that are looking to stay ahead of the game in 2023 should focus on storytelling, post-purchase insights for CRO, building meaningful partnerships, and evaluating existing infrastructure to lean more into efficiency.

See you at GROW NY on July 11th 😉