Understanding the Consumer-centric Path: The Future of Digital Commerce [VIDEO]

Kelly Downey, VP, Strategic Growth Channels, Unilever, John Saguto, VP, Pet Specialty Group, Nestle Purina, and Erin Nelson, CMO, Bazaarvoice shared their insights around the future of e-commerce during a panel discussion at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference. The panel, moderated by Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky, covered a range of topics including the power of discussion and social sharing, the importance of being “consumer-centric,” and the power digital has on e-commerce conversion rates.

Erin Nelson kicked off the panel by talking about the power of discussions and social sharing. John Saguto talked about his experience leveraging the power of social sharing to drive sales, create conversations, and ultimately a groundswell for Nestle-Purina in a collaboration with Westminster Dog Show using Foursquare. Saguto described this as an experiment in developing the social and emotional connections and meeting consumers where they are and then following them from their experience online to their offline purchase.

Downey stressed the importance for Unilever in being relevant and available to consumers where they are both offline and online. “That’s where we’re headed with Dove in particular. We’re adding a ‘buy it now’ piece and delivering it in social places, apps, online, collaborating with Bazaarvoice, and in the online space we’re directing people to Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Soap.com, etc.,” she said. “We really have to be relevant to the consumers where they want to be, not where we want them to be.”

The panelists agreed that the big challenge in the social space is trying to understand which social platform to use and with which categories of consumers. Erin Nelson encouraged marketers to use social media to gain psychographics and behavioral insights, but cautioned them against focusing on one type of social media channel. “Any given channel might be incredibly right or wrong for your brand. Each one of these platforms can serve very different purpose,” Nelson said.

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