On Thursday, Rachel Bogan, partner on product management at Work & Co, stopped by the Digiday+ Slack for our latest town hall. We discussed Work & Co’s work in product development, choosing when to compete with Amazon, bots and more.

We hold Slack town halls every two weeks with change-making digital media, marketing and retail executives. In between, we have editorial chats and group discussions on industry topics. Become a member of Digiday+ to join us.

Here’s what you missed from our chat with Bogan.

You can’t win against Amazon
“You’ll never win against Amazon if you want to compete on price or logistics, but I do think that consumers are hungry for more streamlined and inspirational, easy-to-use [user experience], shipping, returns, ease of search — that is a baseline Amazon has set that clients cannot ignore. But they [brands] can create really performant, yet beautiful and useful retail experiences that will set them apart.”

Brands should sometimes choose their own platforms over Amazon
“Our client Aldo is a great example. A big part of our work together was to elevate the brand and merchandise their products in an inspirational context. That requires a certain amount of brand control, which they don’t have if they distribute exclusively on Amazon. We also want to give customers a reason to shop on their properties. That is core to their business model. Products serve the end customer — but also the business.”

Digital cannot stand alone
“Several of our clients have found that customers are a little shy about interacting with digital displays, et cetera. But what is incredibly powerful is using those [virtual reality and artificial intelligence] as sales tools. So, the most typical scenario would be, you request to try on a shoe, the sales associate brings it over and then hands you this awesome device with related looks/products. [Amazon Books] also brings that idea in — incorporating customer reviews alongside the books. The idea that digital stands alone is not realistic. You have to intermix digital and analog — and sometimes it means a human brings you over to the device, or you bring elements of digital in, in other ways.”

Brands should experiment more
“We are seeing a lot of clients experiment with chatbots in practical ways — like how an ‘assistant’ can complete a complex task, like a booking flow. I think they should put more money into testing. These technologies evolve really quickly, and a real investment is expensive. I also thinking that test-learn mentality is the right one for a brand that wants to make a splash in the digital space. You can’t be fearful — just ship it.”

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