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PREDICTIONS 2022: Strategy & Innovation

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In the latest in our series of ecommerce and multichannel predictions for the year ahead we bring together industry views on strategies and innovative practises to consider for 2022. 

There is a revolution underway in personalised marketing

“With just one more year until the third-party cookie is phased out for good, there will be significant pressure on many retailers and brands to choose alternative methods to personalise campaigns and target customers effectively. 2022 will be the last chance for marketers to get ahead of the game and switch their strategies towards gathering first-party data. By harnessing first-party data, retailers and brands will be able to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and, as a result, provide them with offers, deals, recommendations and messaging they’ll value.

The pandemic has massively accelerated the move towards shopping online, and retailers and brands will need to continue to adapt to the changing landscape, including shifts in consumer preferences. Data from Wunderkind reveals that email remains the dominant channel for consumers, with 57% saying it’s the most convenient for communications with a retailer during the buying journey. This is followed by text messaging (26%), with a further 49% suggesting the immediacy of text messaging is beneficial to them. In the new year, eCommerce and marketing professionals will need to remain flexible when it comes to preferred marketing tactics and tech tools, and must do everything in their power to give the customer added value at every stage.”

Wulfric Light-Wilkinson, General Manager EMEA at Wunderkind 

Content is king

“Providing the right content at the right time in the buyer journey is more critical than ever. The number of channels available to consumers is extensive. Marketers, therefore, need to make sure their content is consistent and distributed in a clear and timely way to build consumer loyalty. According to this year’s Customer Experience report, 83% of marketers, however, claim to struggle when creating content that can be rapidly released across all their digital platforms. Harnessing technological solutions such as Digital Asset Management and Product Information Management can enable marketers to tailor and distribute content across multiple channels. This will enable them to build meaningful connections with their consumers and plant the seed for increased loyalty.”

Tom Bianchi, EMEA CMO at Acquia

The elimination of third-party cookies will force marketers to rethink data sources

“Google made major waves when it announced it would be eliminating cookies, which track users across the web, and devices, producing third-party data which is used to target consumers. In 2022, the marketers who depend on third-party data, from cookies and other sources, will need to consider and prepare for the inevitable “death of the cookie.”  The retailers who prioritize first-party data sources from customer journey data, CRM platforms, POS systems, retail apps, affiliate marketing programs, etc. will be well-positioned. For the brands that use a mix of first-party and third-party data, they will face a myriad of challenges as they lose access to cookie data. The bottom line: brands will realize just how important it is to “own” their customers.

Tracey Ryan O’Connor, Group Vice President at Qubit 

Brands embracing direct to consumer (DTC) strategies will come out on top

“Spearheaded by the likes of Nike and Adidas, sporting goods brands have served as a case in point for the benefits of online direct to consumer (DTC) strategies for some time. According to McKinsey, the rapid acceleration of DTC  sporting sales by the end of 2021 is expected to condense six years of progress into just two years. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that brands from other sectors like Nivea and Unilever have followed suit and launched their own DTC ecommerce sites.

Brands already know how to deliver boutique experiences in-store, but the shift to ecommerce means they now need to replicate this online. Going DTC offers brands the opportunity to present themselves exactly how they want to be presented, to control their own messaging and cultivate a unique user experience to rival a flagship highstreet store. If done in the right way, DTC strategies can bring brands closer to their customers, building stronger and longer lasting relationships. In 2022, those who take the leap into DTC will come out on top.”

Jack Wearne, CEO, Ve Global

2022 will be the year that retailers focus on enhancing their omnichannel strategies, as more consumers find a balance between in-store and online shopping. 

“Today’s consumers are now seeking more personalised experiences, and more meaningful interactions with brands. AI and AR powered virtual try-on (VTO) experiences will be a key factor when providing these engaging shopping experiences, particularly within the beauty sector.

“AI and AR solutions are a vital tool for brands looking to speak to the modern day consumer in impactful ways. These technologies have become particularly essential as shoppers prioritize brands with sustainable business practices and seek out safe, hygienic product testing experiences. Additionally, AI and AR-powered virtual try-on experiences offer a sustainable alternative to traditional product testing experiences, enabling brands to offer product try-on in a fully virtual environment. This minimises the product waste created during beauty testing and helps brands reach their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals. VTO solutions also provide shoppers with the ability to try-on a plethora of different looks within seconds with hyper-realistic results, making it a more future-fit option that helps customers make more confident purchasing decisions, minimises product waste and prioritises consumer safety.

“AI and AR solutions are a crucial part of any brand’s digital transformation strategy when looking to compete in the year ahead and beyond.”

Alice Chang, CEO at Perfect Corp

First-party data is more important than ever before.

“It’s the end of data as we know it, but that’s not the end of the world. Changes in the way data works – such as Google’s decision that Chrome will stop using third-party cookies entirely by the end of 2023 – will reshape the online economy. Fortunately, brands and marketers have time to create a robust first-party data solution tailored to their needs.

“The key is setting up your channels to support data collection and learn as much as possible from the people that matter most: your customers. There is more than enough information available to first parties to create unique, personalised experiences and messages which connect with them.

“One important element of the first-party data equation is consent. Customers need to volunteer their data to your brand, so it’s in your interest to offer them something they value in return, such as personalized offers.”

“One often-overlooked way of gathering valuable first-party data is through service. When a customer comes to you looking for service, there’s a good chance they’ll offer data and even online reviews, and these can make a huge impact on a brand’s marketing strategy.”

Jennie Gerum, chief marketing officer,  Voyado

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