The Hare and the Tortoise – an eCategory Strategy for eCommerce success

Once upon a time, there was a hare and a tortoise who were part of the same CPG company.

The hare’s team was fast paced where technology defined its rules. The tortoise’s team was slower paced, focusing on building relationships and known processes.

The hare represented eCommerce and digital teams while the tortoise represented the traditional bricks and mortar team.

The rivalry and frustration between the hare and tortoise teams had become legendary at the CPG company. For years, they competed against each other but without either team gaining ground over the other.   

Let’s look at the detail…

The eCommerce and Digital team worry about missing out on the latest craze – Retail Media, Social Shopping, AI, content automation.  This team face the challenge of investing in the right areas and struggle with different eCommerce channels. The speed of change is overwhelming and there is a perception of spreading budget too thin and focus too wide.  This pressure can lead to questioning the understanding of the interconnectivity of the different functions necessary for success. 

On the other hand, the Commercial team having relied on traditional functions to drive sales for bricks and mortar retailers, also feel the squeeze. Fear of pushing boundaries leads to a sense of stagnation and creates a catch-22: desperate to generate growth but fearful of incurring costs or creating channel conflict and resorting to unsustainable promotional mechanics that can damage brand identity and margins. In addition, having to cope with legacy systems make it difficult to become agile enough to survive the competition.

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, both teams raced towards success but neither gained ground over the other until they realised neither could be successful without the other.  Agreeing it was best to combine forces meant a rethink on how to adapt and stay ahead of the competition.

Both teams worked together developing new strategies combining technology innovation with customer centricity, creating a new way of doing business: leveraging the shopper experience at the centre of their strategy, using data analytics and automation while maintaining relationships, offering convenience and accessibility and delivering quality products and services.  All without sacrificing either brick or click!  Success! 

Back in the ‘now’, commercial teams within CPG companies are under immense pressure; the global pandemic’s effects have rapidly changed the industry. Despite shortages, rising costs and other major issues, shoppers have continued shopping as if nothing has changed, leaving commercial teams to tackle these challenges.  Many CPG companies are having a difficult time, not only meeting consumer demands, but also logistical needs. This requires clear direction from senior leadership and quick decisions from commercial teams – a daunting challenge amidst a rapidly changing market.

At Quantic, we believe that shoppers shop to satisfy consumer needs.  Shoppers do not exclusively shop online; they simply use online channels when it gives them the convenience, value, choice, experience or expertise they need. Commercial teams need to recognise that people will always interact with a brand however and wherever is most convenient. With that in mind, we advocate for eCommerce Strategy to be anchored in robust consumer and shopper understanding.

eCommerce is evolving quickly and brings innovative ways of looking at how we serve our shoppers. It’s not about relying on a single channel for success, but rather considering each subchannel as another route to reach our audience. Commercial teams across all departments can work together, and benefit from each other’s expertise.  What may resonate with one group might not connect to another and having a variety of options allows us to identify and focus on the ones that work best. That’s why eCommerce is such an amazing opportunity: it provides flexibility to understand which channels drive shoppers’ engagement and find strategies that bring everyone closer together.

Channel-conflict and cost concerns should no longer be obstacles to real growth. With up-to-date systems and an agile approach, companies can evolve quickly enough to continue in the race; if not, they risk being left behind. Now is the time to innovate boldly and create sustainable business models that are designed for success. 

And our hare and tortoise story continues …

The race went on, however, when they got closer to their goal, neither team crossed ahead of each other – instead they arrived together as one unified force!  The hare and the tortoise teams had learned from each other during their journey towards success; embracing different approaches towards innovation while maintaining stability through consistency. This gave them an edge over those still trying to figure out which path would lead them to success: there is no digital versus bricks and mortar solution but rather a truly omnichannel approach for businesses to thrive in today’s environment.

Commercial teams have to move quickly to stay current and ahead of the competition. Ancient wisdom, like that from The Hare and the Tortoise tale, can provide essential insight for teams facing this challenge. It helps us recognise that focused effort, no matter how small, still has the power to outpace flashy opponents. If this timeless message resonates with your team, we can help you converge into the future of commerce and build a strategy that your team can apply today, while remaining adaptive to changes tomorrow. 

One thought on “The Hare and the Tortoise – an eCategory Strategy for eCommerce success

  1. Hi Camila,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post on eCategory strategy for eCommerce success. I was wondering, what are some of the key challenges that CPG companies face when trying to implement this type of strategy?

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