Elephant Room on navigating pure play brands and COVID's impact on ecommerce

By Ruby Derrick | 19 October 2023
Adam Sharon-Zipser.

Ecommerce began as a slow process with clunky payment gateways and was an overall weak experience for customers, Adam Sharon-Zipser, founder and MD of ecommerce performance agency Elephant Room, told AdNews. 

The emergence of more pure play brands -- those going direct-to-consumer -- are now writing their own narratives and escaping the shackles of traditional physical retail, he said. 

Elephant Room is trying to navigate that landscape. 

There's no hard playbook and the agency is still very early in the category, said Sharon-Zipser. Direct-to-consumer brands require agency support across technology, email and performance marketing.

The agency works to support brands on communicating their stories and products to the right audiences.  

Sharon-Zipser said COVID was a boom for the ecommerce space.  

“A lot of these brands were doing well and then COVID took them into the future with the stimulus and the higher intent,” he said. 

We work to equip these brands with the right resourcing to handle that kind of growth and how they can maintain what the new normal looks like post COVID.” 

Elephant Room is placing an emphasis on media performance in the current climate, says Sharon-Zipser, in which it will be working alongside brands to help them understand the incremental benefits and uptake for how performance media is contributing to their success.  

What the agency is finding, he said, is that because media performance is a significant cost centre for businesses -- and many have invested heavily in their technology stack -- is that they’re failing to appreciate how media contributes to their success. 

“You see that problem from a buying and measuring perspective. That's where we're pushing a lot of our efforts to demystify and clear up that confusion,” he said.  

The Elephant Room team has seen a 300% growth in the business over the last two years, with the team also doubling in size. 

The agency has attributed two reasons for its ability to attract talent in the current climate. Firstly, its built a totally remote working culture.  

Sharon-Zipser said most of the agency’s staff are predominantly based in Sydney, but its started accepting, hiring and growing talent in key hubs like Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra. 

“That has allowed us to have conversations with people we wouldn't usually have conversations with,” he said. 

Elephant Room also has a flexible and remote working policy in which opportunities are given to the team to work remotely around the globe for a certain period throughout the year. 

Earlier this year, job candidates in the advertising industry pushed back against agency demands for more time in the office, according to industry insiders. 

Flexibility including working from home (WFH) was a key demand, rating ahead of salary. 

Sharon-Zipser said the journey hasn’t been easy, but the perks are ticking the boxes for now.  

Elephant Room is about to invest heavily on two main practices in the ecommerce sector, he said.  

The first is a measurement stack where the agency will work with brands to gauge how data can be used to activate their channels and improve customer experiences. 

“This will involve meshing point of sale data with brands' online data, and giving them the opportunity to properly measure how the customers are growing and engaging with that brand,” said Sharon-Zipser. 

“How are they different between online and offline? The customers that we acquire from offline, are they eventually coming back to online?” 

The other side, said Sharon-Zipser, involves the agency pushing owned media, email marketing and SMS marketing.

“That's the main narrative right now - a very large investment in email marketing services and retention,” he said. 

For Elephant Room, its trying to find and own a niche in a tight category, notes Sharon-Zipser.

"We're breaking some paradigms with branding and communication and how brands use social media platforms to elevate them," he said.

Nowadays, said Sharon-Zipser, there are some great brands that are doing powerful things that are eco sustainable, as well as talking to the right audiences and being hyper-fragmented and personalised.

"Customers are buying into that because they want to buy into a story, not just buy into a good product anymore," he said.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus