5 Digital Marketing Trends in Online Retail To Watch in 2017

By Netmera

By Kaan Bingol - Co-founder and CEO at Netmera

Digital marketing has evolved in parallel with fast-growing technology. Online retailers have more tools and technological advances than ever to leverage customer satisfaction and monetise their marketing activities. Among those, of course, is big data — that often-heralded game changer for marketing and online retail. More on that later.

Related Read: 5 Trends That Will Change Online Retail in 2017

There are multiple streams of data available on every digital interaction customers have with you – so what should you do with it?

Online retailers and marketers should keep abreast of the latest trends to differentiate their products and services, and stay one step ahead of their competitors. Here are some insights and trends in online retail that digital marketers should focus on in 2017.

1. The line between apps and mobile websites is blurring

Last year, Google introduced us to a couple of initiatives that bridge the gap between apps and mobile web. 

First we were introduced to App Indexing, which allowed mobile apps to be easily found through deep linking in Google Search.  With this implementation, it is possible to route users to the content even if they haven’t installed the app.

In addition to App Indexing, Google has launched a range of other tools:

  • Progressive Web Apps (PWA). These enable webpages to function like mobile apps.
  • Android Instant Apps. These allow users to use only the features they want without installing the entire app.
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). These remarkably speed up content load times on the mobile web, resulting in a mobile web user experience getting very closer to native apps.

These initiatives use appearance, feel, and functionality to give users a very similar experience on a webpage as when they use an app. Such features include:

  • the ability to send push notifications.
  • enabling hardware access such as camera, location and microphone.
  • enabling shortcuts to the devices’ home screens.
  • having offline accessibility that runs in the background and tracks users’ activities.
  • ensuring lower data usage.
  • having highly responsive layouts.
  • providing fast load times.
  • the removal of many steps to access certain types of information or features directly from a website.

As the significant differences between apps and mobile websites are diminished, this will take the barriers away from multiple-channel campaigns for the digital marketers. It’s never been easier to communicate effectively with users on every platform.

2. Web Push is Here, Too!

Web push notifications are more good news for organisations that don’t have mobile apps, or that have trouble engaging users through their current apps. 

For marketers, it is also a great alternative to engage customers. Last year Google announced that they will penalise sites that use mobile pop-up ads, and lower the rank of sites on which content is not easily accessible.

What can you do with web push? Web push notifications allow you to notify customers about special offers, encourage people to visit your website, and inform subscribers about new events, new arrivals, and the publication of new content.  

You can also remind those who have abandoned a basket or a checkout to complete a purchase. You can use personalised notifications and recommendations to drive engagement more easily, more efficiently, and more effectively.

3. Enriching Marketing Campaigns with New Technologies

With the level of competition, it is getting harder to please customers. It is crucial to communicate with them with interesting content. Luckily, the rise of technology enables us to attract our customers. Why not use the benefits of augmented reality, virtual reality, location intelligence (geofencing and beacon management), or live stream technologies in your marketing campaigns to stand out from your competitors?

Send your customer’s phone a welcome message when they enter your store. Let them “try” clothes without physically wearing them, or offer them a 360-degree video for real-time experience and draw your demanding customers’ attention.

The challenge is to offer functions that genuinely offer an improved user experience. It’s not enough to rely on novelty. In the short term, a flashy new technology might attract some eyeballs, but if the proposition is no more compelling for it, people will drift away.

So always keep in mind that gimmicks wear off quickly. Make sure you actually provide a service or a functionality that improves the customer journey, makes the path to purchase easier, or encourages conversion and retention.

4. Making Use of Big Data

There is no doubt that big data has been one of the most popular topics among companies and digital marketers for several years. Big data technology has become more user-friendly, so it’s becoming easier to utilise. As a result, more than 75% of companies are currently investing or planning to invest in big data by the end of 2017.

Big data brings digital marketers so many opportunities, and maybe one of the most important ones is personalised customer experience. With the availability of large quantities of personal data from user preferences, behaviours, and previous interactions in social media platforms, marketers can turn this information into tailor-made campaigns.

Online retailers can target shoppers with products and offers that they know have a good chance of appealing. That can significantly increase click-through, conversion, and customer satisfaction.

Data analysis is also a very important component for marketers to analyse customer behaviour and customer journey to build more effective campaigns. And data visualization tools put the cherry on top! Marketers should use data visualization to see the big picture and to have stronger analytics. These analytics can help discovering hidden patterns and making accurate decisions for future marketing activities.

5. Omnichannel Campaigns

Shopping is not a single channel experience any more. Their purchasing journey can start on a smartphone, take them into a physical shop, continue with a purchase on a laptop or desktop, and end with a rating on an app or a post on social media. It is very important that customer experience is consistent across all of your channels and campaigns.

Consumers expect to receive a compatible experience whether they’re in a store, visiting a website, using mobile apps, reading an email, or engaging with social media. Therefore omnichannel campaigns are becoming an inevitable part of marketing.

The single customer view (SCV) is an aspiration that’s incredibly hard to realise. But as far as it’s currently possible, all of the data received from a specific customer from multiple channels should be integrated into a single profile for that user. That will offer them a more frictionless experience.

Needless to say, user engagement and retention is the ultimate objective for marketers. Communicating with customers using attractive, unique and personalised campaigns and analysing these campaigns will increase customer satisfaction, which will directly inspire loyalty and boost sales.

The marketing messages you send will be all the more effective if they correspond to the customer journey. If you tailor your communications to each stage of the customer journey, your shoppers will feel understood, and that you’re doing them a service, rather than simply trying to sell to them.

Digital marketers have to make sure they have the most effective marketing strategy for the products and services they offer. Knowing who your customers are, and how, when and why they shop will set you in good stead for running successful campaigns

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