Alegria Adedeji Senior content writer
Posted 27th January 2020

What 3 top retailers are focusing on in 2020

Topics: Ecommerce trends

As we enter a brand new decade, it’s easy to forget just how far retail marketing has come in the last 10 years. We’ve moved from a time brick-and-mortar being the sole option for shoppers, to the rise of online-only stores and now shoppable social media apps. It’s not surprising that we’re all wondering what’s next to come. How much more can we innovate the customer experience? How can retailers succeed in a world where customer experience is the new competitive advantage?

We may not have the answer to many of these questions, but as this decade starts we decided to speak with some of the most exciting retailers in their sectors to learn where they think the industry is headed. Here are 3 key things we discovered chatting to marketers from FootAsylum, Loaf and Sarah Chapman for the Customer Trends 2020 download. 

Customers will take even more power back from marketers 

During his keynote speech at Lifecyle19, our CEO Ivan Mazour spoke about the art of “giving customers [back] their time”. As the number of notifications that consumers receive daily increases, this means they have less time on their hands to focus on all of these touchpoints. In short, they will only give attention to the brands that create experiences that don’t feel like a ‘waste’ of their time. 

There are many ways this can be achieved, but one particular topic came up a lot in all our conversations with marketers: ‘data’. As retail marketers you’re aware that data and insight are the key components in creating the timely and relevant customer journeys that keep shoppers happy. But Javier Falco, founder of Mi Cuento noted “….a growing share of consumers [will be] taking active actions to protect their data, beyond what is already in place”. 

This may seem unsettling at first read, but this presents an opportunity to learn from your customers what they want, or don’t want from you. Consumers will have increasing power over how their data is used which means that as marketers, every interaction needs to work as justification of your access to it. This means that overall brands will work to create customer experiences, as not to lose insight on their customers.

 

Specialist tools will trump catch-all solutions in buying marketing tech 

As the retail landscape changes, so must the tools marketers use to ensure successful campaigns. Currently, there are a myriad of platform options for any marketing team, all hosting a range of differing acronyms that highlight a problem they can solve. And while this would be great for more general marketing, the specificity of retail is part of what makes it so challenging. 

Louis Adamou, Ecommerce and Technology Strategist for Loaf agrees, he notes “Those that focus on functionality will find it difficult to achieve cut-through in a crowded market…..functionality is important but for its own sake, is meaningless”.

Having a tool that doesn’t have your specific needs in mind means that you’ll fall foul to disruptive customer journeys and an inability to truly learn about your customers. In short, you’ll have a faulty marketing stack. 

 

AI will slowly become an assistant to marketers and more of the heavy lifting 

A lot of challenges marketers face centre around a lack of insight to super being more personalised, and often, what these personalisation changes look like at scale. Without insight and an advanced-but-actionable- strategy readily available, campaign building for marketers is more often a robust team working to execute multiple campaigns, so not having the time to focus on making all of them personalised or a reliance on stakeholders to change code, redesign assets and approve more dynamic additions to the campaign. 

AI will be able to identify the right audiences and predict customer behaviour, allowing marketers to be more adaptable in their campaign approach focusing on the strategic aspects of the role. Anysley Peet, Head of Ecommerce for Cox & Cox, noted this when sharing his thoughts on Personalisation and AI in tandem. “…We are expecting to see an improved performance in terms of revenue generation via AI ….[it] allows us to test and evaluate performance and be more flexible across our marketing campaigns”. 

While there have been whispers of AI versus the marketer, it’s clear that with a platform that focuses on the specific industry pain-points, AI works alongside the marketer to empower them with more learnings about their customers, which campaigns are impactful and how they can increase spend amongst their consumer base. 

 

Conclusion

2020 will see the start of new changes that will shape the decade going forward. 3 key themes to look out for (and potentially get behind) are: 

 

  • Customers taking control of their data and time: as the number of notifications across devices increase customers will limit, beyond pre-existing legal precautions, how much data they share and which brands they see as adding value to their time. This means, however, that customers who share their data expect and want highly engaging marketing from you. 

 

  • Specificity will trump functionality when choosing a marketing tools: as the options for marketers continue to grow, a focus will be not only on the features that a platform offers but whether those features, and the platform as a whole, was created with a focus on the specific needs of retail marketers. 

 

  • AI as an assistant to marketers: the use of AI in marketing campaigns will increase and allow for marketers to be more flexible with campaign execution and use learnings to become more strategic in how they approach their marketing messages. 

 

For more in-depth predictions including the future of multichannel and what Brexit will mean for using customer data, download your copy of the Customer Marketing Trends 2020.

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