5 E-Commerce Marketing Trends to Watch
Each new year brings new trends, behaviors, technologies and consumer demands. Most importantly, it brings new opportunities. To seize these opportunities, retailers and e-commerce professionals must not only remain one step ahead of their competitors, but their customers as well.
Let’s take a deeper look at some key trends shaping e-commerce marketing in 2017, and their impact on your business and how you engage with customers.
E-Commerce Agrees That Segmentation Isn’t Personal
Segmentation has been a great way to simplify and understand the value personalization can bring to a brand. However, it’s not personalization. In order to create the truly personalized experience customers crave, brands need to be able to scale this experience at a one-to-one level with each individual customer. This is only possible through a combination of individual shopper insights, rich product data and deep learning algorithms.
Relevance is king in the new digital economy. It’s simply not enough to deliver slightly personalized customer experiences. Customers don’t want to be treated like segments; they want to be recognized as individuals. Brands that can understand each individual customer’s preferences and intent across every shopping experience will boost performance KPIs and, more importantly, build brand loyalty and affinity. Customer experiences need to be agile, responsive, intelligent and contextually relevant at each moment of interaction.
AI and Deep Learning Make 1:1 Marketing a Reality
E-commerce continued to outpace offline purchases this holiday season. In 2017, there will be an increased importance on creating seamless cross-channel customer experiences. In fact, research analyst firm Forrester predicts that 58 percent of sales will be driven digitally by 2020. This is a critical indication that retailers must unify the customer experience and understand each customer’s journey and touchpoints.
To succeed at delivering next-generation individualized experiences for customers, marketers will embrace artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning-driven solutions, which unify and analyze data around each individual shopper’s touchpoints. AI and deep learning provide a means for individualizing each customer interaction at a scale unattainable by more manual or rules-based solutions — and they do so in real time. Without these technologies, the dream of true one-to-one marketing is fundamentally impossible.
Voice Transforms Consumer Engagement
It’s no secret voice search is quickly weaving itself into the very fabric of mainstream consumer engagement. Device integration and consumer adoption have surged and show no signs of slowing. Alexa emerged as the media darling of CES 2017, and similar voice assistants (Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, etc.) are driving new headlines every day. This trend is further evidenced by the fact that 20 percent of all Google mobile queries in 2016 were voice searches.
It’s clear that voice search has quickly become a critical requirement for brands and a key means of engaging customers in 2017 and beyond.
For retailers, the real challenge is not deciding whether they need a voice search strategy (they do), but realizing that integrating voice search isn't as simple as cutting and pasting a voice-enabled front end to their existing site search function. To make it an effective and relevant engagement point, retailers must understand customer expectations and how best to deliver a successful voice-enabled search experience.
Traditional Retailers Adopt Amazon’s Virtual Inventory Strategy
With e-commerce capabilities entrenched on both desktop and mobile devices, implementing a virtual inventory across retail floors, back rooms and warehouses is a high priority for retailers. In 2016 alone, a number of traditional retailers, ranging from Walgreens to Wal-Mart, announced they were significantly scaling down their brick-and-mortar locations. In order to find the perfect balance of in-store and online availability, retailers need to move products between locations quickly. This minimizes overages and enhances product access. Through virtual inventory, retailers will be able to more effectively fulfill as many purchase orders as possible, in the preferred manner of each individual customer.
Kurt Heinemann is the chief marketing officer of Reflektion, a unified engagement platform.
Kurt serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of Reflektion, the artificial intelligence-driven customer engagement platform for top retailers and brands worldwide. Kurt is an innovative and dynamic marketing professional with a track record of success communicating a company’s unique value proposition to potential customers, partners and market influencers through strategic and creative means.