Judges Spotlight January 12, 2021

Webby Judge Sarah Hofstetter on the Future of E-Commerce

We asked Sarah Hofstetter, President at Profitero and new IADAS member about how digital creators should be thinking about e-commerce, and the state of the industry.

The Webby Awards judging academy, IADAS, is made up of some of the world’s most brilliant leaders, thinkers, and innovators creating work for the Internet. They also are on top of how current cultural norms and trends continue to expand the possibilities for where digital work can go.

This year the Webby Awards announced a new suite of categories to celebrate Software and Platforms. To help judge these new categories, we’ve welcomed powerhouse leaders in this field to our judging academy. Here, we talk to one our jurors, Sarah Hofstetter, President at Profitero and Co-host of Brave Commerce, to dig into some of the trends and work she’s excited about this year.

1. What surprising trend or emerging technology are you most excited about in the e-commerce space? 

The most surprising is the diversity of the eCommerce shopper. Regardless of age, geographic location, household income, eCommerce has become a primary way of shopping for most goods and services. This is true for even impulse purchases like milk, beer and snacks. I wouldn’t call it an emerging technology, but the idea of digitally-led purchases, whether it’s products bought online and shipped via cardboard, picked up curbside or delivered last mile is one of those trends that’s here to stay.

2. How have you seen creatives become more involved in considering the software that powers “the idea” in recent years?

Data-driven creatives, certainly, which are still few and far between. It represents a fantastic opportunity for creatives who are looking for insights you can’t find with traditional market research tools. Google used to be the de facto way to understand consumer intent over the past decade, but when shopping, it’s now the search bar on retailer websites.

3. Having spent time in the agency world what questions do you wish digital creators were asking about e-commerce?

Agencies frequently tend to mirror the organizations that they support, so in companies where eCommerce is departmentally segmented far away from marketing, it’s hard for digital creators to think through today’s path to purchase — which is now radically different from even a year ago. But for more modern companies, where eCommerce and marketing are in lockstep, ideally with commercial teams as well, you can really close the gap on the new path to purchase.

4. What specific project or service caught your attention on the Internet recently? Why?

Other than Dionne Warwick on Twitter? I have to go back to my love of OREO. Even since I left the team, they’re continuing to kick butt in making a 100+ year old brand relevant and modern. Their #ProudParent work earlier this year was incredibly moving, demonstrating both understanding and empathy.

5. What’s your favorite app or site that other people haven’t heard of?

I love Supercook. You basically enter the products you have in your fridge/pantry and it spits out recipes of meals you can make based on what you have, sourced from tons of recipe sites. It’s been helping me when I’m in a pinch now that my grocery shopping has been more considered.

Sarah Hofstetter, President of Profitero and co-host of the BRAVE COMMERCE Podcast, a show that tackles what’s relevant in eCommerce today for the world’s biggest brands She has been a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences since 2018.