The next best thing to a crystal ball: here are the data-based predictions that you can apply to your marketing plans now.
If there’s one takeaway from 2020 that businesses need to learn, it’s that you really never know what will happen. Yet those businesses that were agile enough to adapt to changing demands and circumstances were able not just to survive but thrive.
That was the case for many e-commerce businesses. The successes had the advantage of digital tools like the Remarkety platform. It empowers businesses to tap into the 5 key marketing trends for 2021.
1. The spotlight is on e-commerce
For many retailers, the main story was always about bricks-and-mortar, as they considered their stores their main source of business; site sales were secondary. But now, e-commerce has emerged from the shadows of business and taken center stage.
Online sales have been growing every year, the rate of acceleration in 2020 was much faster due to the impact of the pandemic. Even when stores reopened after lockdowns eased up in areas, many felt it safer to do their shopping via screens rather than in-person.
As a result, e-commerce came into its own as the main event for retail during 2020. About midway through 2020, IBM’s data showed the digital acceleration impact of the pandemic was the equivalent of about five standard years, as reported in Techcrunch.
By the end of the year, though, the acceleration effect was considered to be even greater. McKinsey data shared by ZDNet estimated it to be the equivalent of 10 years.
McKinsey found that a full ¾ of American shoppers adopted online channels due to coronavirus. Their priorities in shifting allegiance away from their usual stores and brands “were value, availability and convenience.”
Even when the pandemic will finally be a concern of the past, those three core concerns will continue to drive e-commerce business. The ones that will be most successful will know how to meet their customers on their own terms, which brings us to the next prediction.
2. Mobile strategy will be critical for e-commerce success
Mobile devices are predicted to be used in nearly 73% of all e-commerce sales in 2021. That makes sense given that nearly half the entire world’s population and over ¾ of the people in the United States use smartphones.
The average person spends over four hours a day on the phone screen, according to VoiceSage.
People are using their phones more for everything, including shopping and buying online.
As a result of the ubiquitous smartphone, SMS marketing blends seamlessly with consumer habits. That makes it possible for marketers to be in touch in a way that’s less invasive than a call and more immediate and likely to be read than an email by capitalizing on a device already in hand.
Customers are not only shopping on their phones but proving very responsive SMS marketing. That’s because nothing is more immediate or draws more clicks.
Text messages arrive faster than emails. That makes them ideal time-sensitive messages not just for the day of the message but for the hour. Businesses can use it to let customers know they should be looking for new product offerings, new videos on social media channels, or some more detailed communication to come in an email.
Most people find text messages irresistible, literally. In fact, 90% say they open their messages within 3 minutes, and 82% say they open every message that comes in. Customers are also much more likely to click on links in SMS, which boasts a 19% rate in contrast to the mere 2% of links within emails.
3. No more either/or in an omnichannel world
While SMS is an important part of an e-commerce’s marketing strategy, it should still work in concert with other forms of communication, including email and ads on social channels. That’s because customers not only have their preferences but will often switch from one to the other.
A Facebook or Instagram ad may be what first grabs the customer’s attention, but it may take an SMS message for them to start putting together a shopping cart. That cart may be abandoned on the phone but may be picked up later if they can access it easily on their desktop.
In a survey by HBR (Harvard Business Review), 73% of respondents said they use multiple channels during their shopping journey. The challenge is to keep all those things together while maintaining coherent and consistent communication.
That’s where a solution like Remarkety’s really makes the difference. Retailers who use Remarkety’s service can seamlessly link up their SMS to their email and social marketing campaigns to be able to reach their customers on their preferred device and in their preferred channels.
Its cross-device recovery feature will also retain the carts that customers set up on one device even when they switch to another, making it easy for them to just click to finalize their purchases without hunting for their selections again.
4. Predictive analytics and effective automation
In 2021, the businesses that succeed will send out automated messages driven by real-time data that adapt to the constantly changing needs of the consumer. That means having the tools in place that can act on behavioral triggers, which indicate a customer’s level of interest as well as the data on the individual’s taste and spending pattern.
Customers don’t just want to look for what they need to buy, they want sellers to understand what they need and point them in the right direction. They’ve come to expect that from the suggestions delivered by the likes of Amazon and Netflix, which crunch through the data they have on the individual in context of millions of other data points on their customer segments.
You need to have the technology in place to read and automatically act on those signals, and that’s what Remarkety does for its clients. As explained in The significance of AI and ML in Effective Product Recommendations, AI uses shoppers’ past purchase history and browsing behavior to show them products they are more likely to purchase.
While smaller businesses typically don’t have the resources to work through their own predictions with big data, Remarkety does. Remarkety has aggregated data from thousands of stores, so it already knows which action should trigger which message.
It’s not just about what for who, but even the when. This is what IBM called “micro-moments.” It explained that with customers always accessible with devices in hand, it becomes “especially important to understand the person and the context in which they are shopping.”
One message does not fit all, and so you also need automation. Automation determines the right timing, the right channel, and the right message.
Automated messages can personalize the content, the cart contents, the links, and the recommendation, delivering the right combination to the right person. Whether the goal is to reactivate an inactive customer, offer a complimentary product to one they’ve just purchased, or get them to revisit an abandoned cart, Remarkety allows you to begin with its default setting and then recommends how to fine-tune it over time.
5. Embracing data privacy regulation
Businesses don’t just run on data but on customer trust; respecting customer privacy is one of the ways businesses earn that trust. While businesses may have seen privacy regulations as impeding their targeted marketing efforts, they are now learning to see the value it offers in measurable returns for their business.
Last year Cisco released a data privacy study, that, as indicated by the title, From Privacy to Prot: Achieving Positive Returns on Privacy Investments pointed out the upside to investing in privacy protection. Harvey Jang Vice President, Chief Privacy Officer of Cisco, observed, “This study provides empirical evidence that investment in privacy creates business value.”
The study noted that whereas in 2019, less than half (40% ) of businesses surveyed acknowledged the business benefits of upholding data privacy, that number increased to 70% by the next year. If that trajectory remains steady, the overwhelming majority of businesses will embrace privacy as a business advantage this year.
The study offered concrete numbers to estimate the ROI on privacy: “Across all respondents, the average ratio of benefits to spend was 2.7, meaning that for every dollar of investment, the company received $2.70 worth of benefit. Nearly half (47%) of the companies are seeing greater than a twofold return, 33% are breaking even, and only 8% appear to be spending more than they receive back in benefits.”
While in the past online businesses relied heavily on third-party data for their personalization efforts, that route is largely being cut off by rules like GDPR, CCPA, and Google’s own resolution to phase out third-party cookies. One of the ways that businesses can be sure they are in compliance with all privacy regulations while still extracting the most value from their first-party data on customers is by using Remarkety.
It’s the best investment to make in both privacy compliance and personalized marketing. One the basis of permission marketing through opt-in from your customers it allows you to achieve actionable insight like the following:
- Identify which email or SMS text got opened and which led to a sale.
- Segment your audience by geographical location, age and gender, total spend, subscriptions to email and/or SMS, and more.
- Use automation to respond to triggers in real-time like sending out emails to recover abandoned carts and increase sales.
Remarkety’s analytics platforms integrate with your e-commerce to give you a clear view of your customers’ buying patterns and journey to purchase. With Remarkety’s advanced technology, your e-commerce will be positioned to meet the demands of the consumer in 2021, no matter what new surprises arise that year.