Peeping into the Growing E-commerce Trend
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Peeping into the Growing E-commerce Trend

Lana Pawziuk, Director, Digital and eCom COE at Canopy Growth Corporation
Lana Pawziuk, Director, Digital and eCom COE at Canopy Growth Corporation

Lana Pawziuk, Director, Digital and eCom COE at Canopy Growth Corporation

Lana Pawziuk currently works as the Digital and eCom COE at Canopy Growth Corporation. She is responsible for leading Canopy’s digital marketing and e-commerce services team. Lana has over 15 years of expertise in a variety of areas, including digital marketing and technology, e-commerce, team leadership, and the delivery of performance-based campaigns. Prior to Canopy Growth, she worked as a National Marketing Manager at PwC Canada, where she was responsible for developing and executing the marketing plan for Campus & Experienced Recruitment and Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. Lana also spent over a decade working in creative agencies in digital strategy and account roles.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce accounted for more than 21.1 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. How has all this buzz around e-commerce inspired well-known brick-and-mortar retailers to up their online game?

Between the buzz around e-commerce and the pandemic, it’s become imperative that traditional retailers offer an online shopping experience – whether delivery or pick-up or both.

The consumer journey almost always starts online, with research and comparison shopping, and to be present at this stage, you need a solid online experience that is optimized for SEO. You need to be at the consumers’ fingertips when they are searching for a product or service that you offer.

More and more we see first purchase offers online, and investment in trying to convince consumers to share their experience and purchase again (email journeys following up on your purchase, asking for reviews, sharing a coupon via a referral program) and often to purchase on repeat (subscriptions and loyalty programming). To do this well, you need to know your consumers (zero party through to 3rd party data) and leverage what you know about them to make the most compelling communication and offer you can.

I recently read about an Amazon style shop that mixes traditional in-store shopping with a digital experience in-store to help you discover new products and styles that match your criteria. I think we’ll see more fluidity between online and offline over the next year.

How do you leverage e-commerce at Canopy Growth Corporation to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace?

E-commerce is a critical channel for us, and it will continue to grow in importance, whether through our own e-commerce or collaboration with third-party partners. After more than a decade of operating an e-commerce business for our medical company, Spectrum Therapeutics, we saw an opportunity to enter the recreational market in 2018 but had no idea that each province’s regulations would necessitate a unique model. On a recreational level, we currently operate e-commerce in four provinces throughout Canada, our retail network offers shop online and pick-up in-store, and our e-business with third-party partners accounts for a good portion of our Canadian revenue. In the States we operate Shop Canopy, our CBD ecommerce store, and we have several other ecommerce businesses like BioSteel and This Works. All these businesses have a hybrid approach of owned and partner ecom and traditional retail.

Both North American markets require a significant amount of backend infrastructure and front-end targeting to ensure that we only show and sell products to consumers that are legal in their region. We’re constantly on the lookout for new partnerships and distribution channels for our products, as well as observing consumer trends, analyzing consumer behavior and channel performance to inform our product and channel strategy.

To overcome the struggles of scale, traditional DNVBs are moving beyond DTC as an operational model. Instead, “direct” will increasingly become ethos: an approach to marketing and retention steeped in the value and feel of one-to-one relationships but no longer governed by manufacturing and distribution ownership. Please share your views on this evolution.

New modes of distribution make it “easier” for manufacturers to participate in e-commerce without having to own every step of the process. Obviously, it’s not necessarily “easier” – companies, especially in regulated markets, may have to employ a different distribution model by state or 3P partner. More and more, we see drop shipping or distribution hubs as key components of an e-commerce model.

At Canopy, many of our brands were born digitally due to the nature of the market we are entering. We leverage both owned e-commerce and 3P e-commerce and will continue to explore new ways to introduce our brands and products to consumers in both the digital and physical world. 

What are some of the challenges that exist today in the enterprise data solution space?

Canopy ingests a lot of external data sources as often as it’s made available to us by our partners. Inventory, sales, and velocity make up the backbone of this data. We also look for ways to get deeper with data partnerships. Right now, we are working on approval for a huge project to marry the sales and financial data with marketing data so we can understand the impact of our efforts and make decisions about where to invest media, against which brands and products, to target consumers based on 1st party data and available inventory.

The key challenges we face are competing priorities for the resources required to make data accessible to different teams in a way that it can be easily actioned without IT.

What are some of the trends that would have a massive impact in the next 24 months? Please elaborate.

As a marketer, if you’re not thinking about how a cookie-less future is going to impact your marketing, you should be. Having a CDP and or a consent management tool is critical. Understanding what consumers have opted in to, protecting their data, and also leveraging it to make their experience more personalized should be in every marketer’s near-term roadmap.

  ​Between the buzz
around e-commerce and the pandemic, it’s become imperative that traditional
retailers offer an online shopping experience – whether delivery or pick-up or
both. 
   

 

Accessibility is not a trend but table stakes in digital and e-commerce. There are many tools to help companies keep up to date with accessibility. At Canopy, we are evaluating the tools we currently have and whether we have the right tool that digital marketing and IT teams can leverage in tandem.

I would be amiss not to mention the NFTs and the Metaverse. In the next couple of years, we’ll see more brands trying to play in these spaces. When execs suggest we need to do something in this space, I reply we will when there is a good fit – luxury or exclusivity and brand/product – and not until we have the right insight to back up an investment, even if it is to test and learn.

What would be your piece of advice to your fellow colleagues and peers?

Invest in your data, the architecture of it, the tools you have available to leverage it, and the partnerships you could create to enhance it. Also, you should constantly be curious – test & learn – and evolve your methods of developing personalization at scale. 

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