Omnicom’s Cannes strategy starts with purchase-path research showing just how much has changed

Omnicom, never known for being shy about commandeering attention away from bigger matters, plans to hit Cannes Lions next week with a raft of partnerships and announcements that push it deeper into investing across social, influencer, retail media and e-commerce, all with the aim of advancing KPIs from media metrics to sales metrics for its clients. 

The holding company is basing many of its moves on the findings of recent research that shows how the connected commerce experience, when organically blended with entertainment and social media, is eroding the traditional sales funnel model, as evidenced by changing consumer patterns that show an accelerated path to purchase — and laying waste to conventional wisdom around the purchase funnel. 

The research is a followup to earlier work laid out during the Consumer Electronics Show which identified influencers and creators as having an outsized effect on consumer purchase habits. 

The end game for Omnicom is determining how this all impacts the ways investments are made for its swath of clients, since established norms and ways of thinking are being shown to be outdated. 

The research was conducted among 1,000 consumers through OMG Signal in April, said Joanna O’Connell, Omnicom Media Group’s chief intelligence officer. And it uncovered significant change in consumer behavior, showing that four out of five shoppers aren’t following a classic linear path on their shopping journey — skipping phases from discovery to purchase, bouncing around in and out of the funnel.

Specifically, the research showed that 56% occasionally skip, while 24% frequently skip, going directly to purchase.

“The process of commerce has changed so much,” said O’Connell. “If you look at big online retailers like Amazon, they’ve become these meccas for consumers to be able to just to research and buy within the span of two minutes. We found in this research that people are spending significant amounts of time with these big retailers.”

Influencers are also having a major effect on consumers, especially younger ones. The research uncovered that 42% of purchases inspired by an influencer were spontaneous. Nearly half of all Gen Z and Millennial respondents reported going through the entire purchase journey based on a single influencer post.

“From a commerce standpoint, a big part of the story is you have influencers that will actually influence net new demand, creating net new demand, where a consumer may not have necessarily thought they were going to buy something, but makes a spontaneous purchase … It’s a collapse of the purchase lifecycle.” 

Further, when the study asked Gen Zers and Millennials who’ve used newer forms of shopping experiences, like a Tik Tok Shop or an Amazon Live, the percentage of people who were likely to use it again in the future was “really high,” added O’Connell. 

So what’s Omnicom doing with all this information? The holding company issued a connected commerce white paper recently, whose bottom line recommendation to clients was: “You need to collapse shopper and brand,” said O’Connell. “Collapsing shopper and brand to create more connected data, more connected consumer experience, how it works in planning and activation and measurement, is a necessary leap forward. And Omnicom is here to help.” 

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