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Selling Through Senses: How Sonos is Using the Digital Experience to Connect With and Sell to Customers

Dmitri Siegel, the Vice President of Global Brand at Sonos, discusses the importance of the experience you create on your platforms

After years working with big brands and thousands of skews at companies like Urban Outfitters and Patagonia, Dmitri Siegel was excited to join the team at Sonos to focus on selling a few premium products, and doing it really well through the digital experience.

But just because there were fewer items in the inventory, didn’t mean that the job was without its challenges.

For example, Sonos sells an exceptional sound experience. But how do you demonstrate that to people who are simply clicking onto your site and or listening to something through their subpar cellphone or laptop speakers? How do you sell them on the premium quality when they don’t have the product in their hands to hear it for themselves?

“The core benefit of Sonos, sound, is invisible,” Dmitri explained. “And if you’re listening on a laptop or on a phone, you’re not going to experience the quality of sound that we go for and that we create. But really, I think every product has that challenge. I like to think that Sonos is more complicated and more difficult, but I think you always have to just be really, really rigorous and relentless about what the value is for the customer and then illustrate that in words and pictures in a very slavish way.”

Through a very meticulous style guide and brand design, Dmitri and his team have found ways to work through that challenge. But those brand and website designs didn’t just fall from the sky. In fact, one of Dmitri’s first big projects with Sonos was a major rebranding effort. Unlike many traditional rebranding efforts, the marketing team and the website team worked together to make sure that everything that the marketing team wanted to sell was actually sellable and visually appealing on the website.

“So often those are two separate projects and maybe even two separate teams where you have the brand design team that goes and comes up with this really cool, hip, exciting brand identity, and then you have this web design team that’s like, ‘I can’t use any of that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to get that to work on the web site,’” Dmitri said. “We have a really good team that is really collaborative, and we all had the mission that in the end, we want you to see an advertisement, go to the web site, and have it be totally consistent. We don’t want these disconnects where the ad sells you something and then you get to the web site and you’re like, ‘I thought this was that kind of company, but it’s this kind of company.’ And so that process was really digitally driven.”

With the website and design figured out, telling the story of the product and selling that story to eCommerce customers was all that was left. In today’s world, there are any number of metrics and data sets to look at to measure your success in that area. But the one that Dmitri focuses on is margin per session.

“I like per session because it corrects for traffic, basically,” Dmitri explained. “And then I like margin because it motivates you to sell the high margin stuff and sell the high quality stuff. Those are generally your best products and the things that bring people back and make them more high value customers.”

For Sonos, Dmitri explains they are selling a premium product, and so for him getting the most out of those metrics always goes back to his first point — you have to provide and sell a premium experience on your site, across mobile and everywhere you interact with your customers. And you also have to adapt to their needs when they change, which is something that has happened across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In times like these, Dmitri says that every brand has to reevaluate what they are doing, the messages they are sending and what success means to them. A business needs to sell to stay alive, but it also needs happy and satisfied customers, who maybe aren’t as focused on the things they once were. It’s important to be empathetic to that reality, and adjust accordingly. If you can do that, the future will be bright.

“I think every brand has to kind of start over, and every action you take as a brand is going to be evaluated in this new reality,” Dmitri said. “People are asking, ‘Do I need Sonos now? Do I need to travel now? What do I actually care about now?’ And I think that’s an incredible, almost once-in-a-lifetime experience. And anybody, especially young marketers and brand people going through this right now, this is going to be the proving ground for the future. The greatest brands of the last century were defined in the world wars, and the brands that figured out how to endure the Great Depression and those disruptions. They didn’t do it by disappearing. They weren’t created by going off radar. They figured out how to stay in the public consciousness and to be relevant, even when people felt so horrible.”

From an eCommerce perspective at Sonos, that means working with your partners, developing relevant, human-focused experiences and delivering products people need or want that will make their lives better.

As we make our way through these times, a new normal will emerge, and eCommerce will be at the center of many people’s lives. Dmitri believes that there will be constant adaptation happening, and he also thinks that the future of eCommerce lies in social media and utilizing that platform to its fullest potential, which hasn’t happened quite yet.

So there is much to look forward to on the horizon, and Dmitri is planning on keeping Sonos ahead of the pack through it all.

To hear more from Dmitri, listen to his full interview on Up Next in Commerce, here.

Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce

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