With ecommerce sales surpassing $4 trillion this year, staying ahead of emerging technology and trends is essential to staying competitive online.
As technology advances, so do consumer expectations for the buying experience. Shoppers have an overwhelming amount of information at their fingertips.
Brands need to understand and implement the strategies that will allow them to stand out and connect with their target customers.
In this article we’ll reveal some of these key strategies:
1) Revolutionizing the customer experience with artificial intelligence
Digital technology has been expanding at a rapid pace. Artificial intelligence (AI) is at the forefront, boasting impressive tracking and analytics capabilities which help marketers make smarter decisions, drive more revenue, and increase customer acquisition.
Advances in machine learning (ML) have been equally important to marketers and advertisers alike.
With the ability to quickly and efficiently analyze a near infinite number of datapoints, marketers are more and more often turning to machine learning to better understand the impact that different touchpoints of individual shoppers and even entire audience segments have on the buyer’s journey.
Another impressive and still-growing technological breakthrough has been in augmented reality (AR). This technology combines digital information with a physical environment in real time. In the world of digital marketing, recent advances in AR have opened the door to completely unique, customized shopping experiences for consumers.
Whether it’s enabling shoppers to view furniture in their homes or allowing them to try on clothes in a “virtual dressing room”, AR is yet another opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Automation is another game changing technology for marketers, allowing them to efficiently optimize their time by automating tasks that used to require manual effort.
Marketers can trigger personalized emails when customers make a purchase, abandon a cart, interact with the brand on social media and more, all through automation. These personalized emails can lower customer acquisition costs by 50%, boost revenue by 15%, and increase spend efficiency by 30%.
2) Video marketing strategies to increase engagement
93% of marketers have landed a new client from a video on social media. So how should marketers, who are likely to feel slightly intimidated by video production, be approaching video creation?
First, it’s important to understand that a full-fledged production crew is a thing of the past. In 2020, entering the video marketing space can be as simple as creating short, informal videos to showcase your brand’s products. These videos can then be used on YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, and most other channels you’re advertising or marketing on.
Advertisers wanting to take advantage of YouTube’s capabilities can do so via video display ads, YouTube TrueView video and discovery ads, or TrueView for Google Shopping ads. All of these ad formats allow marketers to promote engaging, story-driven content to their customers in an unobtrusive way, promoting brand awareness and building trust.
For marketers looking to increase conversions, TrueView for Google Shopping ads overlay YouTube videos with featured products from the already successful Google Shopping format. With one click, customers are directed to the products in the video and can purchase them without any in-between steps, significantly reducing friction.
And for those advertising on social media or Amazon, both channels have plenty of additional opportunities to leverage video, whether it’s in-stream video ads on Facebook, or Enhanced Brand Content videos on Amazon product detail pages.
Even your own website and email marketing database offer plentiful opportunities to take advantage of video to enhance your user experience, answer frequently asked questions, offer product tutorials, and so much more.
3) The rise of multi-touch attribution
We live in a digitally dominated world. Consumers are constantly bombarded with brands and products on their social media channels, Google searches, webpages, TV screens, podcasts, phone apps, etc.
For marketers paying to advertise on these different mediums, it’s important to understand what touchpoint(s) actually lead to a conversion.
That’s easier said than done.
While most attribution models can identify the first time a customer saw or interacted with your brand, this doesn’t tell you what happened next.
Did the customer research competitors and decide on your brand? Or did they completely forget about you until their next touchpoint? How can you accurately understand and optimize your sales funnel if you don’t know what path your consumers are taking?
Marketers using last-touch attribution assume that the last touchpoint is the only impactful one that leads to the conversion. And while it may play a big part, this assumption disregards the efforts of a multichannel, cross-device strategy.
If your team is putting in the time and effort to align your advertising and marketing across email, social media, paid search, organic search, and Amazon to create one consistent, unified experience, don’t lose your momentum by immediately dumping your budget in what you see at the top or bottom of the funnel.
Instead, adopt a multi-touch attribution model to take into consideration every touchpoint in the buyer’s journey. This will allow you to make data-driven decisions about how much to invest in advertising formats at each stage of your buyer’s journey.
4) Keeping consumer trust amidst privacy concerns
Transparency and honesty are the keys to keeping consumer trust. 76.3% of consumers feel moderately or significantly concerned about their data when they interact with brands. If consumers don’t trust you, your audience becomes unreachable.
Whether or not your brand is affected by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), you should be working to ensure you are compliant to these consumer privacy regulations. With many other states proposing similar requirements, more widespread adoption is inevitable.
If your brand relies on consumer data to personalize ad copy, ad placements, email copy, and more, prioritize your customers’ comfort. Make it clear when you’re collecting their data and why.
Demonstrate how collecting their data will benefit them and their relationship with your brand.
5) Reduce friction with social proof
When considering multiple products, shoppers want to know that the product they choose will live up to their expectations. Who better to trust than past customers? If your product has zero reviews, getting just five reviews can increase shoppers’ purchase likelihood by 270%.
The first step to reducing friction is adding FAQ’s, pictures of your products, sizing charts, product tutorials, etc. to your website.
These will give your shoppers a 360-view of what they’re purchasing. These not only add credibility to your brand and product, but show that you care about your shopper and want to provide them with as much information as possible throughout their buyer’s journey.
The second step to reducing friction is displaying user-generated content. This includes reviews, ratings, testimonials, and live sales notifications.
Shoppers want to hear about the product from other customers. Showcasing the success of your product or brand will convince shoppers you are the right choice for them.
This concept is known as “social proof”, and the more often you’re able to include it on your website, landing pages, in emails, in your checkout process, or anywhere else you’re interacting with consumers, the more likely you are to build trust and close the sale.