The Only Constant is Change
The change and volatility of 2020 aren’t going anywhere.
In 2021, marketers will continue to face unpredictability and upheaval as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates change.
However, one thing is for certain: the importance of digital marketing has increased for all brands who want to connect and drive sales with consumers.
Digital is not only the most affordable mass medium, but it also has the broadest precise reach. As such, it is often (but not always) the best way to reach your target audience and deliver a strong ROI compared to other available marketing options.
People have embraced digital commerce (whether the transaction happens online or in store) and it has accelerated faster during the pandemic.
What’s in Store for 2021 and Beyond?
To get a diverse perspective on the future of retail, we spoke directly with many of the smartest voices in the digital commerce world. We’ll share even more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can download the report here or read on for excerpts from our initial conversations.
Yuni Sameshima, CEO and Co-Founder, Chicory
Online grocery has grown since March at the pace experts projected would have taken five years. In the immediate future, online grocery will focus on consumer adoption and retention as more consumers flock to online grocery, particularly as restrictions and safety protocols persist. Brands and retailers will need to nurture long-term behaviors beyond temporary restrictions to prolong increased adoption. Further out, we expect to see more retailers with more e-commerce capabilities. We may see more one-hour click-and-collect services, local micro-distribution centers, or so-called “dark” stores.
Risa Crandall, VP Strategy + Sales, aki
The future of retail is thinking of online as a part of the shopping experience. Discovery happens more and more online. The role of brand content is to drive commerce forward. It might include online cooking classes with a QR code to add items to a shopping list or online cart. It might also include QR codes in Connected TV (CTV) to drive shoppable personalization at scale.
Hunter Poole, Sales Leader, Acorn, The Influence Company
The most exciting thing? Retailers are finally getting on board to support technology and allow more integrations with their platform. The more retailers get on board, the more opportunity to create seamless shopping experiences across channels and platforms. The more retailers eliminate barriers (i.e., login walls / no add to cart experience) for shoppers, the more overall digital commerce generates.
Rich Butwinick, President, MarketingLab
The convergence of shopper marketing with digital commerce has accelerated due to COVID-19. What once was viewed as separate marketing disciples are now, for all intents and purposes, one. Call it digital shopper marketing or digital commerce, or just marketing. Today’s marketing must be rooted in deep shopper insights designed to inspire and influence a purchase decision or create a behavior change at a transaction point. The points of transaction can be anywhere from a retailer web site, a retailer e-commerce platform, a DTC site, a social feed or a physical shelf.
Mark Fleisch, SVP, Head of Partnerships, GroundTruth
2020 shined a light on how valuable mobile location data can be. During the pandemic, many advertisers shifted from driving in-store sales to driving digital commerce. Location data proved to be very valuable in driving both. A recent research study found that location-based audiences were 25% more likely to buy online from the same retailer. Using this insight, brands can reach and monetize their most loyal shoppers, even if they aren’t physically going to the store.
Kris Beutel, Sr. Director Product Marketing, Inmar Intelligence
Everything is going to change, and everything is going to stay the same. The ways retailers deliver on convenience, value, and personalization are changing at a speed we’ve never seen before. This acceleration is partially due to COVID-19. But the hybrid in-store and online model was already growing quickly because it delivers shopper convenience. As omni-channel marketing expands in ways we can’t even imagine yet there will be more opportunities to use digital.
Debbie Levin, Sales Director, Pacvue
For the first time, Prime membership surpassed 50% of the US population. With a massive captive audience, Amazon has solidified its position as a necessity for any brand. Amazon is the only company for which eMarketer estimated higher 2020 ad revenues than they had forecast pre-pandemic. However, online grocery is also poised to continue rapid growth. As shipping delays and inventory concerns grip brands trying to sell on Amazon, the distributed shopper model of Instacart offers an enticing option. Other retailers and e-commerce platforms will follow suit in 2021, using Amazon’s model as their playbook.
The SellCheck Take
No doubt there is an accelerated digital shift. We’re saturated with data showing changing shopper habits, shifting media investments, and webinar roundtables pondering the new normal and what lies ahead. What’s often skipped in the metrics and discussions is the importance of quality content. In the rush to follow the shopper, it’s easy to forget the importance of the quality of the conversation once the brand and shopper meet up. Optimized content for conversion marketing tactics performs, on average, 30% better than non-optimized.