The E-Commerce Ecosystem: The State of Cross-Device Digital Shopping
E-commerce is shaping up to be one of the biggest areas of monetization this year. According to a recent analysis by Statista, the value of goods sold online in 2018 is estimated to reach $460 billion in the U S alone. And while e-commerce has enjoyed significant growth over the past few years, new innovations have created even more opportunities across the ecosystem; new platforms like voice, new devices like smart speakers, and the continued dissolution of the border between online and offline shopping are driving growth in this sector. Consumer goods companies, brands, retailers and other advertisers need to ensure they have a full picture of consumer behavior, and especially which digital touchpoints influence and drive revenue growth. In our first report for 2018, we’re excited to share some of our latest research on consumer behavior, and especially how it relates to the path to purchase — i.e., what consumers are doing as they research, browse and purchase goods online.
First, we explore the profile of the shopper. While online shopping is a nearly universal activity, developing profiles of specific sub-segments of the overall user base according to age, gender and, most importantly, various behavioral attributes is a vital part of any marketing or engagement strategy. And context is key. Data around the time of day, day of the week, and the apps, devices and services consumers use is necessary to develop a holistic picture of your target consumer today, and when to best engage with them in the future.
Next, we dive into consumer behavior on a granular level. We present an analysis of path-to-purchase funnels, which are useful tools for anyone invested in media spending and programmatic buying. Today’s consumers not only use multiple devices, they also spend time across a variety of apps and web services in a liquid fashion. Understanding how different types of digital brands, content and services direct consumers toward e-commerce conversion points is a vital component of any monetization efforts. Even more important is identifying which factors influence a consumer along his or her buying journey; unsurprisingly, social media platforms and communications apps play a major role here. All too often, I’ve watched brands overlook the importance of time, place, previous activities and other attributes that influence the likelihood for consumers to research and buy products online.
Lastly, we share our insights and takeaways about the value of data-driven storytelling to truly illustrate and understand target consumers and how they behave. For brands and advertisers, we hope this provides a useful way to kick-start new thinking about how to create messaging that resonates not only with the target consumer at all points along their consumer journey, but also can identify and drive engagement with new audiences and expand opportunities across screens and new platforms.