E-Commerce Marketing in 2020
Five years ago mobile commerce was something that only venture capital firms were talking about. Big brands and big platforms hadn't made their move. Similarly, Facebook targeting didn't even creep onto the marketing agenda until three years to four years ago. Now Facebook is one of the most sophisticated channels for brands, with Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Tinder (swipe right for new shoes?) stepping up their own advertising offerings.
At the same time, e-commerce has seen tremendous growth over the past four years, with the share of U.S. retail sales occurring online growing by 50 percent (from 4 percent to 6 percent). That growth rate is likely to accelerate as mobile device usage grows and consumers across the world gain comfort with e-commerce.
Given this rapid expansion, predicting specifics of how people will shop in the 2020s is difficult. What channels will rise and flourish? Will retailers move to more of a subscription model? Will the world run on magic?
We don't have any great answers for those questions, but we do have ideas about the tools that marketers will need to confront whatever new challenges arise. Together they will make up the "marketing brain."
Preparing for What's Next
We're approaching a golden age for marketers. Every day, consumers provide clues about what interests them and how they want to hear from their favorite companies. For retailers, however, effective marketing is still as hard as ever. Data is fragmented across dozens of marketing tools and channels, and sifting through it is a manual and time-consuming process.
Some retailers are already relying on advanced techniques that incorporate predictive analytics to learn more about their customers. For example:
- Customer lifetime value: How much will a customer spend over time?
- Predictive shopping affinity: What's a customer likely to buy?
- Lifecycle marketing: When and how often is a customer likely to make purchases?
- Contact frequency and channel affinity modeling: How often and by what method do customers like to be contacted?
For marketing to truly take a leap ahead, brands first must be able to organize and draw meaning from the wealth of data in front of them. These data sources will only become larger and more complex as time passes. To prepare, companies are investing in three missions: