Key Marketing Trends For Online Retailers in 2019

Today’s e-commerce landscape is more competitive than ever with consumer expectations at an all time high.  As a result, retailers are working tirelessly to provide a seamless shopping experience across platforms. For maximum effectiveness, retailers must find innovative ways to reach shoppers, personalizing the experience and provide enticing calls to action in order to nurture consumers down the funnel, leading to purchase.  With so much evolution occurring in the space, we have broken down key trends, challenges, and strategies for e-commerce success in 2019.

Key Trends

Artificial Intelligence - When looking at the data, we know that consumer engagement spans platforms and devices.  A customer may be introduced to a brand via a programmatic display ad, engage with their products on social media and then make their final purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.  In this process, AI can be used to create an accurate customer profile to aid across marketing efforts. Data garnered can then be used for creation of personalized content and lead to educated budget shifts across platforms.

Omnichannel - Marketers are moving to an omnichannel approach for a more fluid process to optimization.  By doing so, all the platforms work together to optimize to their main KPIs, adjusting strategy and budget with performance.  

Custom Content - Using custom content to meet users in their exact stage of the buying journey, whether it be branding and preliminary exposure, or the consideration phase, works well when layered with an omnichannel approach.  Following with dynamic retargeting, users can be moved down the funnel to conversion.

Key Challenges As A Result Of Evolving Marketing Trends

The main hurdle faced is simply keeping up. Rather than to try to stay ahead of all trends, retailers should concentrate on what works most effectively for their business and refining their strategy.  Many marketers are also too focused on manually accomplishing goals instead of utilizing technology for efficiency. This often results in misguided concentration and costly mistakes, taking away from business growth opportunity.

Common Digital Marketing Mistakes And Ways Retailers Can Overcome Them

One of the most common mistakes is not focusing on the entire buying journey and meeting buyers at their specific stage of the process. Brand messaging at every interaction should include a tailored call-to-action to continue to move consumers down the funnel, leading to purchase and post purchase nurturing. By leveraging A/B testing for messaging in combination with AI, data-driven decisions can be made to segment audiences and create more effective personalized messages.  This strategy helps both branding and path-to-conversion.

Leveraging platforms that offer dynamic A/B testing, such as Facebook and Google, can be incredibly helpful for the retail sales life-cycle. Both platforms dynamically present creative to the audience based on behavior providing key conversion performance data, leading to more educated budget shifts and campaign adjustments.

Another misstep is not properly understanding various attribution models as they apply to the campaigns and their goals.  When properly utilized, the information garnered can be useful to make optimization decisions across platforms to aid in an omnichannel strategy.  

How Retailers Can Address Digital Marketing Technology Changes

Platforms are finding new and creative ways to enable the audience to be part of the story and engage with the content in new ways.  Using emotion to connect with the audience through engaging visuals and video is prominent. Products such as Snapchat’s AR lenses, Facebook’s Instant Experience, and Google’s visual search create an authentic experience with lasting impressions.

While many retail marketers may not be experienced in all of these strategies, the best approach is concentrating on a specific marketing area in which they excel and outsource others for optimal results.  By leveraging outside resources, retailers are able to access expertise and analytics that can help propel their brand and sales as well as maximize ad dollars.

Digital retailers have a wealth of tools and opportunity to be successful in the digital e-commerce space.  For optimal effectiveness, they must meet buyers throughout the buying journey and continue to nurture through the process.  This includes dynamic personalized messaging across platforms, omnichannel marketing strategies, and custom content creation.  By focusing on their areas of strength instead of tackling all trends, retailers can effectively compete and drive success.