Seventeen years ago, few people had heard of ASOS and Net-A-Porter, and Farfetch was still just a twinkle in José Neves’s eye.
It was the beginning of the noughties, and Christmas shopping meant waking up at the crack of dawn, wrapping up warm and battling the elements in order to get hold of the right gifts for loved ones in time for Christmas Day.
Oh how things change. From interactive gift-guides to next-day delivery to click-and-collect, today shopping is more fun than frantic—and with French label Céline finally entering the ecommerce sphere this month, luxury brands are also quickly catching up.
But, whilst the fact ecommerce is developing at such an unprecedented pace is no bad thing, how can retail marketers stay on top what’s expected of them (and the industry at large)?
Aside from keeping a close eye on the latest facts and figures to emerge from sources such as the ONS, retail marketers should also listen to what their peers have to say—after all, they’re the only ones that really know exactly what’s demanded of you.
It’s for this reason that, for our latest ebook, we asked 15 ecommerce marketing experts what they think will be a big trend or innovation in the coming year. Listed below are three things that came up. To read the full ebook—featuring predictions from Moss Bros, Papier and teapigs— you can download it here.
Customers to take a front seat, thanks to the GDPR2018 will be the year the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in the UK, shaking up the ecommerce landscape for everyone involved.
Designed to strengthen the protection of personal data, the regulation will make it imperative for retailers to be crystal clear about how they’re going to use a customer’s data, and ensure consent is freely given by a customer before they can be marketed to.
Whilst this could be seen as a limitation for data-driven marketing, we actually think it could pose a unique opportunity for brands to build a more symbiotic and trustful relationship with their customers, thus paving the way for even more tailored, powerful marketing messages.
As Ivan Mazour, Founder of Ometria, predicted:
“2018 will see retailers split into two categories—those which are able to provide perfectly relevant marketing and communication experiences, and whose customers will trust them with their data so that they can in return receive these experiences, and those retailers which have not yet reached that level, and which will find their customers refusing to share data and be marketed to.”
The democratisation of artificial intelligence
Will 2018 be the year that artificial intelligence really goes mainstream? Our ecommerce astronomers think so, and we think they’re right.
No longer just a buzzword, AI is slowly but surely becoming a fundamental part of any retailer’s marketing strategy—as brands realise they can’t afford to miss out on the money and time-saving opportunities machine learning has to offer.
As Nicola Downes, Head of Marketing at Biscuiteers, put it: “The buzz seems to be around the extensive and ever reaching capabilities of AI for 2018, something which is increasingly relevant for small and big brands alike.”
This was a point echoed by Samantha O’Neill, Head of Digital Content and Communications at Fenwick, who in her prediction commented: “As AI technologies continue to improve, we’ll start thinking about how CRM and customer targeting can be further refined to ensure we only show the customer what they really want to see.”’
More discerning choices to be made when it comes to influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has steadily been gaining momentum over the past couple of years, starting out as a niche term adopted by PR agencies and marketing teams before transforming into a household phrase used by everyone from your little cousin to your great aunt.
But while there’s no doubt this type of marketing will continue to thrive in 2018, we’re expecting to see retailers take a slightly different approach to it this time around.
Firstly, we expect there to be much more regulation when it comes to influencer marketing, which is likely to impact the way in which brands and influencers present their work.
As Stephen Bardle, E-Commerce Adviser at the Department for International Trade, commented in our ebook: “The industry will continue to flourish, but advertisements will start to be flagged/tagged as paid promotions.”
Secondly, we foresee retailers making far more discerning, careful decisions about who they work with in the coming year, and the sort of partnerships they form.
This was a point raised by Sarah Dawson, Head of Online at Astrid & Miyu, who, within her prediction, commented that—instead of “purely looking at the statistics involved”—retailers need to “focus on brand image and have longevity…”.
We couldn’t agree more.
Want more predictions?
These are just three of the themes to have surfaced from this year’s “Ecommerce Marketing Trends” compilation. From cross-channel personalisation to next-level content marketing, to check out the rest of the predictions, you can download the full report here.