Alison Weissbrot
Oct 7, 2020

Havas Media Group launches global e-commerce practice

The group, called Havas Market, will help clients navigate the evolving path to purchase.


Havas Media on Wednesday launched Havas Market, a global e-commerce consulting practice dedicated to helping clients approach the changing retail landscape. 

E-commerce is exploding in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, growing 44.5% year over year to more than $211 billion in Q2, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. 

But marketers have been grappling with the shift to online shopping since well before the pandemic. As retailers such as Target, Walmart and CVS launch online retail media networks, and more brands create direct-to-consumer shopping experiences, there’s an opportunity to help clients navigate an increasingly complex ecosystem. 

“We’re understanding our clients’ internal organizations and helping them structure the way they retail holistically,” said Jess Richards, EVP, head of commerce at Havas Media, who will lead Havas Market in North America. 

Havas Market pulls together more than 50 retail experts across the globe to help clients strategically tackle retail challenges, from launching direct-to-consumer sites, to social understanding commerce, digital shopper marketing or paid search and SEO on platforms such as Amazon.  

The overarching goal will be to get clients to think about retail through the lens of the shopper experience, Richards said. 

“In a lot of instances, we see that the decisions being made are isolated: We have a retailer relationship over here, or we want to drive sales on this site,” she explained. “The reality is, we should look at it from the viewpoint of the customer's shopping experience.”

The global team, called the commerce accelerator group, will be headed up by leaders in each market, who will support agency teams and come together to pitch clients on commerce-specific work. Services will span consulting and strategy, retailer relationship management, shopper marketing, performance media, content, user experience and analytics.  

“One of the biggest industry challenges right now is having sales data come through disparate systems,” Richards said. “We're bringing that together for a holistic view on where sales are coming from and how brands should optimize.”

The global commerce practice also opens up new budgets to Havas Media, as traditionally siloed channels such as shopper marketing move online and merge with performance and brand advertising spend. The agency is currently working with up to 10 clients on retail-specific engagements. 

As the agency builds deeper relationships with different online retail partners, it will push them to share more data and insights to better understand how client campaigns are performing. 

“I want this group to be at the forefront of driving change as it relates to how brands think about retail,” Richards explained. “I want us to change the way we partner with retailers to not just be on a transactional basis, but to create better customer experiences."

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