RTB House’s for e-commerce
As the world of e-commerce continues to be dominated by emerging technologies, we 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 e-commerce technology adoption. The digital trends we were predicting this time last year (including 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 realising customer journeys that are fully cohesive, perhaps on rapidly maturing platforms such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Offline store shoppers are still the majority for most retail brands, according to a Retail Dive Consumer Survey, where 62 per cent of respondents said they choose traditional stores over e-shops.
But there’s a very key difference from traditional modes: retail stores are increasingly becoming digitally transformed, offering highly connected and personalised services to their guests. The e-commerce giant Amazon bought a whole chain of grocery stores and opened pop-up stores worldwide, but it doesn’t mean that we’re facing an offline rebirth.
These new retail stores are employing the same personalisation techniques, machine learning and data collection points that e-commerce marketers are familiar with. 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 digitise their physical infrastructure and begin implementing new store features and formats based on customer convenience, with a strong digital flavour. 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.
According to research by cloud computing firm Salesforce, nearly half of all shoppers would appreciate if their previous search results could be accessible somehow in an offline store, to make their visit more efficient. Showrooms and pop-up stores without proper digital marketing and customer support may leak revenues. Personalised messages and product recommendations are crucial in today’s customer journey, and retargeting campaigns present only relevant offers to the most promising clients.
Last year showed us how artificial intelligence (AI) disrupted the world of digital services and that machine self-learning processes produce outstanding results. With these technologies in hand, the future belongs to brands that can use them efficiently to match customers’ expectations. Their search history and needs are their most valuable uniqueness, and the key to their heart is meeting them on any platform, in any space, personalised with AI-based solutions.
According to Google, 85 per cent 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 real-time bidding (RTB) campaigns convert that visibility into action. In retail stores, beacon technology in combination with personalised content and integrated retargeting campaigns can lead customers from the desktop to their smartphone to a final purchase in-store. As brands continue to average nine customer contact channels (according to Dimension Data), a multichannel approach is more important than ever before.
To maximise this strategy, brands must be aware of the full potential of every channel, monitoring each device category. Tracking ad performance in terms of conversions, clicks or other metrics will help to decide where to place more or less budget in future efforts.
Juniper Research forecasts that more than $12bn of global ad spend a year will be spent on digital assistants by 2021. It’s not surprising, considering the fact that almost 40 per cent 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 behaviours and enables marketers to seek for new ways to approach their target audience.
The role of artificial intelligence has already appeared 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, new screens such as VR and AR offer novel possibilities to be part of the day-to-day of people’s lives.
This process isn’t restricted to just following the client. For example, the Ikea app enables an AR tool to digitally overlay furniture on a room. The idea is as simple as it gets. Sophisticated technology in the service of daily basic situations can bring a brand closer to the customers and turn them into loyal advocates.