As the world of e-commerce continues to be dominated by emerging technologies, RTB House set out to predict the top trends we’ll see this year, perhaps even in the next few months.
Marketers shouldn’t expect any slowdown in the adoption of e-commerce technology. The digital trends we predicted last year (chat assistants, web apps and machine learning in display advertising) are already in wide use. Upcoming tech trends promise to bring us closer to the holy grail of realizing customer journeys that are fully cohesive, And that may be happening on on rapidly-maturing platforms such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Fulfilling Complete Digital Transformation
Offline, in-store shoppers are still in the majority for most retail brands, according to Retail Dive Consumer Survey, in which 62% of respondents said they choose traditional stores over e-shops.
But there’s a key difference from earlier retail environments—retail stores are increasingly becoming digitally transformed, offering highly connected and personalized services to their guests. The e-commerce giant Amazon bought Whole Foods and opened pop up stores worldwide.
These new-style retail stores are employing the same personalization techniques, machine learning, and data collection points that e-commerce marketers use.
Consumers have come to expect a deeper shopping experience, so typical floor sales and discounts are not enough. Brick and mortar players will have to digitize their physical infrastructure and begin implementing new store features and formats based on customer convenience, with a strong digital flavor.
To keep up with the competition, e-commerce brands with retail stores will need to trend towards connecting their physical spaces with their digital infrastructure.
Nearly half of all shoppers would like to have their previous online search results be accessible in an offline store to make their visit more efficient and accurate. Showrooms and pop up stores without proper digital marketing and customer support may leak revenues. Personalized messages and product recommendations are crucial in today’s customer journey and retargeting campaigns present relevant offers to the most promising clients.
Last year AI disrupted the world of digital services and machine self-learning processes are delivering outstanding results. With these technologies in hand, the future belongs to brands that can use them to match customer’s expectations efficiently.
Go Omnichannel Or Go Home
According to Google, 85% of online shoppers start a purchase on one device and finish on another. We use smartphones, tablets, and desktop screens, and in the near future, maybe even our TV screens and VR headsets. Consumers use these screens to find products and services, compare prices, and check reviews.
Browsing for information is part of the shopping process, and this can happen on any digital medium. Marketers know they need to be on all of these channels, but dividing budget per device can be a huge challenge.
Since allocation is no longer linear, brands have to think of overall user experience and omnichannel investments. For example, social display can bring stronger visibility, while regular RTB campaigns convert that visibility into action. In retail stores, beacon technology in combination with personalized content and integrated retargeting campaigns can lead customers from the desktop, to their smartphone, to a final purchase in-store. Because businesses are supporting an average of nine customer contact channels to deliver a multichannel experience, a multichannel approach is more important than ever before.
To maximize this strategy, brands must be aware of the full potential of every channel, monitoring every device category. Tracking ad performance in terms of conversions, clicks or other metrics will help to decide where to place their budget in future efforts.
AI, VR, AR, Acronyms, Oh My!
Juniper Research forecasts that by 2021 more than $12 billion of global ad spend per year will be spent on digital assistants. It’s not surprising considering the fact that almost 40% of millennials use Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant on a daily basis. They are similarly willing to have a video chat or use a chatbot before they make purchase. It shows a shift in online shopping behaviors and enables marketers to seek for new ways to approach their target audience.
The role of artificial Iintelligence (AI) is evidenced in all industries, but the truth is that there is still a lot to improve and achieve in this field. Data-driven marketing based on deep learning (the most promising subfield of AI) now can help estimate user basket value. However, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) also offer novel possibilities for daily interaction with consumers.
This process isn’t restricted to just following the client—for example, the IKEA app which enables an augmented reality tool to digitally move furniture into the room. The idea is as simple as it gets. Sophisticated technology in the service of daily situations can bring a brand closer to the customers and turn them into loyal advocates.
Lots of Room to Grow
In the world of e-marketing, we’re observing rapid changes and reception of new technologies that extend beyond the digital screen. As the e-commerce industry gets more deeply intertwined with retail, we expect to see technologies that enable cross-platform and offline-connectivity to dominate the headlines.