Inside Mission North’s Commerce & Supply Chain Practice: Smarter, Safer and More Sustainable

Commerce supply chain logos

Our mission:

To make moving things smarter, safer and more sustainable.

Our goal:

To help support the transformation of commerce and supply chain, benefiting consumers, businesses and the environment.

Our current clients include:

We have also worked with:

How we help our clients:

On the Way Toward an Inflection Point and Complete Transformation

Commerce and supply chains are undergoing massive change. In 2021, global e-commerce sales in 2021 amounted to $4.9 trillion, while e-commerce in the U.S. reached $871 billion. The multi-trillion dollar supply chain industry, meanwhile, is making headlines like never before as it comes under increasing strain with disruptions and delays becoming the norm.

We are at an inflection point for both of these industries as changes in consumer buying behavior intersect with global upheaval. People around the world are waking up to just how foundational commerce and the supply chain have become to our economy and our daily lives. The pandemic-fueled changes in how and where we shop and our expectations around delivery are major stories to which everyone is paying attention.

Aside from the exciting technologies, one of the reasons we are drawn to commerce and supply chain is that we all have experienced the satisfaction when we receive an order either on-time or even early as well as the frustration when a brand’s online shopping experience doesn’t work well, our package is delayed or the returns process is hard to navigate. In our Commerce and Supply Chain practice, we also care deeply about data privacy and want to help ensure that companies are transparent and communicative about how they use customer data.

To stand out, companies need insight-driven, audience-led communications strategies, brought to market by industry experts, content creators and media makers. At Mission North, we have extensive experience working with technology companies building the future of commerce from offering brands an innovative way to help customers save cash on purchases like Cardlytics; to improving how software is bought and sold like G2; and to building the infrastructure for e-commerce’s first trillion dollar year like fabric.

We also have deep roots within the supply chain with clients including Stord which is bringing the cloud to logistics, Orbital Insight which is analyzing patterns of life and Narvar which is building better return experiences for customers.

<split-lines>“People around the world are waking up to just how foundational commerce and the supply chain have become to our economy and our daily lives.”<split-lines>

Brand Building in a Competitive, Noisy and Fast-Moving Environment

Building technology brands amid all this disruption and even confusion is no small feat. Our clients are at the very top of their industries and partner with us to achieve significant goals around revenue growth, customer acquisition, fulfilling talent needs, gaining investor awareness and general brand building. We help our clients own categories like cash-back advertising or headless commerce as well as create brand-new categories like the cloud supply chain or the post-purchase experience.

Our clients often need to communicate highly nuanced messages to specific audiences, which require an integrated communications strategy rooted in analytics and brought to life through storytelling. To be sure, capitalizing on significant news moments, financial milestones or other corporate events are also opportunities to raise awareness and reinforce corporate narratives. Ultimately, it’s all about brand building in a competitive, noisy, fast-moving, short-attention-span environment. Our clients are leading this (r)evolution with world-changing products, forward-thinking customers, visionary teams and investors, and a modern approach to communications.

<split-lines>“Ultimately, it’s all about brand building in a competitive, noisy, fast-moving, short-attention-span environment.”<split-lines>

What We’re Monitoring in Commerce and Supply Chain in 2022 and Beyond

There are four main buckets of trends that we’re watching closely: 1) the continued shift to digital, 2) personalization, 3) automation and 4) data privacy. We are particularly curious about whether e-commerce continues to skyrocket or whether, once the pandemic fully recedes, there will be some kind of a resurgence in brick-and-mortar stores. Will Amazon continue to dominate in e-commerce or will there be a new playbook that emerges for brands to compete?

We also wonder about the continued fallout from Apple’s app tracking transparency (ATT). Will Apple’s shift in its privacy and data collection policy help to reshape the digital advertising and marketing landscape? Looking across supply chain operations, we’re keen to track what kinds of sweeping change will come to current manufacturing and logistics processes and how increasing automation and AI will be involved in that transformation.

We constantly keep an eye on companies who improve how we make, receive or buy products to create a better, more sustainable economy. On the supply chain automation side, we’re interested in Third Wave Automation, which automates forklifts in warehouses; VulcanForms, which is scaling additive manufacturing; Locus Robotics, which develops robots to improve warehouse operations; and Outrider, which is automating yard operations. On the commerce side, we see a builder of checkoutless stores AiFi; Faire, a one-stop shop for wholesale; and grocery and retail delivery service Instacart.

<split-lines>“We constantly keep an eye on companies who improve how we make, receive or buy products to create a better, more sustainable economy.”<split-lines>

Taking a Campaign Approach to Communications

We believe that brands must be authentic, transparent and values-driven. Their communications programs need to be audience-driven and channel-agnostic. Every company should conduct an honest assessment of risks, including examining issues around reputation, product, regulatory compliance and security. Deliberate, consistent and differentiated content is critical, and brands need to embrace a campaign approach to communications.

This more strategic approach means less living press release to press release in favor of creating a longer-lasting campaign that maps back to the overall messages companies are trying to communicate. Those campaigns can include news moments, but should span thought leadership content, speaking engagements, social and earned media. Campaigns must be reinforced by proof points, whether that’s data, customer success, product innovation, corporate momentum or unique points of view. The humans behind those campaigns should, ideally, be interesting, ethical, surprising and, crucially, willing to commit to the ongoing work of communications.

Working closely with our clients, together we can arrive at a playbook to establish and then cement their commerce and/or supply chain leadership. We’ll use a combination of business momentum, meaningful earned media, strategic digital content, and partnering with influencers and customers to validate the impact of our clients’ technologies and strategies.

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