This article was originally featured in Total Retail
Digital commerce has emerged as a winning business strategy since 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe. While a number of retailers such as Nike and Williams-Sonoma successfully reached consumers without being able to physically interact with them, most retail brands had to find new and innovative ways to connect with their customers. A key marketing strategy rose above the rest: e-commerce marketing. E-commerce in 2020 alone increased 11 percent from 2019, making it safe to assume that consumers are making the permanent switch to online shopping as a go-to source. Some brands were prepared to handle these changes; others were not.
Brands must adapt and forge ahead into this new, heavily digital landscape. Staying behind the curve simply won’t do — this new era of digital conversation calls for bold moves and innovative transformations. Here are three things marketers can do to boost e-commerce marketing success.
1. Develop a robust one-to-one personalized marketing strategy.
Traditionally, when a customer walks into a store, she’s greeted by a salesperson, whose job is to give her a personalized, welcoming experience. Even as we start to see in-store shopping slowly begin to reopen, consumers are still diverting to online shopping, meaning that retailers must continue shaping their digital presence to mimic that personalized experience. In fact, 74 percent of consumers feel frustrated when content isn’t personalized. Therefore, it’s important that digital marketers move toward more personalized, one-to-one experiences online. But how?
Luckily, innovative tech such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have risen to the challenge. AI enables businesses to have greater insight into audiences and traffic and allows them to deliver hyperpersonalized experiences on a large scale. Building out individual creative variations, either through a product team or in-house, can be costly in both time and money. As brands make critical decisions on promotional spending, they should consider the use of AI and ML to develop this personalization at a level consistent with consumer demand.
Take, for example, a Fortune 100 sports apparel company that implemented a one-to-one personalized strategy to boost e-commerce sales. By pairing audience data, such as gender and interest, with website data, like product search and cart history, this brand was able to quickly and efficiently scale personalization across demographics and realize significant production cost savings.
2. Understand the full customer journey with an omnichannel presence.
An essential piece of a personalized marketing strategy involves meeting consumers in the right channel, whether that be social, email, display, native or a combination. Consumers have become accustomed to flipping between apps in seconds, requiring marketers to overcome any hesitations and offer a seamless and relevant digital experience through an omnichannel personalization approach.
The key to a successful omnichannel personalization strategy is presence — no matter where customers are interacting with your brand, you should be there alongside them. By leveraging an omnichannel presence, you’re able to see trends and better understand the individual customer journey and tailor your messaging accordingly. All good marketing should ultimately achieve personalized interactions that directly relate to customer needs in that exact moment.
3. Choose a partner that’s focused on the future.
A business with a complete view of its audience has a significant advantage over competitors. Retailers developing an omnichannel personalization strategy should be diligent in choosing an innovative data partner. The use of third-party cookies has decreased significantly in recent years — with complete extinction looming in the near future. As this change evolves, it’s critical for marketers to choose an automation partner focused on what happens after third-party cookies phase out.
As we continue to shift back to normal, brands with significant e-commerce marketing strategies will be at an advantage. Leveraging an omnichannel personalization strategy and investing in a partner with eyes on the future will guarantee that any business looking to step into the innovative age of e-commerce marketing will be ready to lead the way.