As shoppers flock back to stores, many retailers continue to invest heavily in digital capabilities, including at-home delivery, in-store pickup option, launching their own marketplaces and retail media programs. 

However, digital initiatives are still struggling to fit into the agenda of some brands. Chris Perry, co-founder of the eCommerce education startup firstmovr, mentioned that what’s at stake is not just the end customer. Merchants and buyers from physical retail stores are taking cues from the online world. “Target and Walmart are bringing in a lot of digital native brands into the physical store,” Perry says. “They also recognize these high growth digital brands as where the growth is coming from.”

At a recent online event by firstmovr, digital and eCommerce leaders from national brands shared experiences and strategies to get more aligned and better results for their digital efforts. 

“People think it’s brick and mortar versus eCommerce,” says Diana Haussling, VP/GM Digital commerce at Colgate-Palmolive.“The reality…we shop all the various modalities and channels.”

Haussling said that bureaucracy is among the challenges a brand may face. She suggested embedding e-commerce professionals within the organization to make it part of the company’s DNA rather than a discrete function. She added that internal advocacy among the decision-makers to whom you should be ‘selling’ your ideas is necessary.

Tiffany Tan, Head of eCommerce Growth Accelerator at The Clorox Company, says that while risk aversion may be part of a company’s culture, there is an opportunity to flip the script. “Metrics will tell you pretty quickly if you’ve made the right call. eCommerce actually has mechanisms that inherently modify risk.”