Being back in person at tradeshows is an unmatched experience. The energy of everyone together, seeing the different booths and presentations, and talking directly with experts and professionals in the field is unlike anything else. So much in the digital marketing industry is happening so quickly. After attending ShopTalk, I have four key takeaways regarding new and evolving marketing trends that are changing our industry.
Data-Driven Insights on the Changing Consumer
Everyone acknowledges that there have been major shifts in consumer behavior over the past 2+ years. Multiple trade show panels have focused on conversations around the importance of building a strong first-party data strategy to combat the cookieless future, building a tech stack to gain a deeper understanding of the consumer, and how to offer customers a seamless online-offline experience that is localized around the world.
An enormous amount of talent is currently working on how brands can use first-party data in a smarter, more effective manner. For example, Google is working to grow and scale loyalty programs, which will reward customers for sharing their data to help brands navigate the cookieless world.
Leading with consumer insights rather than focusing solely on strategic execution will separate successful companies from their competitors. Actionable data insights will help brands better understand the evolving consumer behavior and better anticipate and serve customers’ expectations. The future of collection, as well as measurement, is consented data.
At NetElixir, we specialize in identifying, targeting, and winning your high-value customers — brand loyalists who drive 3-5X more revenue than average customers. A successful strategy for the cookieless world relies not just on an omnichannel growth strategy, but targeting and engaging the right customers at the right touchpoint with the right message.
New Shopping Trends
Social commerce, live shopping, and the metaverse surge are emerging as new e-commerce shopping trends. Brands need to provide seamless and personalized experiences across all touchpoints — from in-store to the new metaverse reality.
Live shopping, whether conducted through a social media platform or directly through a website, is gaining momentum. Coresight Research said that 24% of live shopping viewers under the age of 45 make a purchase during the stream. Live shopping creates unique moments for customers to interact immediately with brands, influencers, and other shoppers to get to know products better.
Just as live shopping on social and other digital channels have evolved from home shopping channels like QVC, TV is seeing its next step as well. Google is pushing YouTube as the next television screen, as YouTube Live Shopping will complement livestream shopping across other channels.
Roles are changing: keep in mind that macro-influencers drive brand awareness, but micro-influencers drive conversion. Customer relationships require consistent branding across all touchpoints and channels. Window shopping has translated to online window shopping (as nearly 70% of shopping carts are abandoned), but Google may be taking that one step further. Google is working on creating a form of window shopping from the SERP to cement a relationship between themselves and shopping.
Shoptalk conversations understandably gravitated around the metaverse. Every business is trying to figure out how the metaverse works and how to incorporate it into their brand strategy. As the metaverse evolves, shopping will too. As avatars will need to be clothed, brands have an opportunity to sell virtually to customers and further their branding to whole new worlds. NFTs driven by authenticity, creativity, and scarcity have been constantly gaining momentum and will continue to influence and impact the digital space.
Increasing Emphasis on Sustainability
Employees, customers, and regulators are pushing for transparency and authenticity when it comes to the environment. This is an urgent issue that’s shifting from a nice-to-have pushed by marketing to a critical initiative owned by everyone. Customers can tell when companies are green-washing and they will not hesitate to reject an inauthentic brand and find one that truly aligns with their values. Customers want to know how brands are supporting the environment so everything from a brand’s packaging labels to product detail pages can share the story of sustainability initiatives.
ShopTalk announced their Atlis Awards which rewards brands for their sustainability efforts. According to ShopTalk, “The retail industry has a pivotal role to play in making the world a better place by setting new standards for sustainability, customer health and wellness, and diversity and inclusion. Customers are looking for it, employees crave it, society requires it. Shoptalk wants to shine a light on the retailers and brands that are creating innovative and scalable programs, achieving high impact and measurable results, and generating awareness for their efforts so that the industry can advance.”
While a growing group of consumers is actively demanding businesses to do more, the question remains: are enough businesses doing enough? I personally am not convinced. We all need to do much more, now, to make a sizable impact.
Retail Media Networks
Marketers are moving their budgets from social and search to retail media networks, which offer a privacy-first approach to customers. Retail media networks are expanding the walled garden landscapes that will continue to arise in the cookieless future.
While brands have the opportunity to build their own networks, larger questions loom: how many networks are too many? Will these networks be able to get the needed traffic to build and maintain long-term growth?
While new solutions arise amid transitional times, such as what we’re going through with the cookieless world and digital innovations, many of those solutions may not be lucrative or feasible. Innovations will continue to change the landscape in unforeseeable and unpredictable ways. And I, for one, am excited to see what comes next.
I will leave you with a quote that, despite its age, still resonates with us:
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates