At this week’s “Winners and Losers in a Digital Age” conference, L2 Cofounder Maureen Mullen spoke about how brands communicated digital competence in their earnings reports. Digital, e-commerce, mobile, online, omnichannel and multichannel were the most frequently mentioned topic words in the annual reports, with “digital” and “e-commerce” in the lead. And none of the studied brands referenced television or TV in the reports, suggesting the mediums’ waning influence.
Unsurprisingly, Burberry mentioned the term “digital” 65 times in its earnings reports, more than any other brand. Walmart is communicating its digital leadership aggressively as well, closely trailing Burberry with an average of 55 mentions of e-commerce.
While repetition of digital terms may be dismissed as “just words,” they can be effective. For example Walmart’s e-commerce business grew by 30% in Q1 2014, surpassing Amazon’s 22% growth. Walmart now receives 50% of its revenue from click-and-collect, maintained with programs such as Walmart To-Go and free shipping with ship-to-store. Perhaps, the retailer’s claim to be “positioned to win at the convergence of digital an physical” and “defining the next generation of retail growth” is not an exaggeration.