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Under the Tree for 2020: Retail

At DMN, customer experience is central to data-driven marketing. Many of these customers and their experiences occur along the journey to some kind of retail purchase. In 2020, brands and retailers will have a say in what new experiences will be embraced by marketers and customers alike.

Check out our top CX and mobile/video predictions. And stay tuned for data, privacy and other topics next week.

Media networks for big-box retailers As consumers continue to expect more personalized recommendations and site experiences, other retailers will compete in this space further monetizing their own platforms and/or helping their marketing partners find customers in publisher marketplaces.

— Anne-Marie Schaffer; general manager ? retail ? EVP, Merkle

Social commerce Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat have all launched shopping functionality in 2019. While these have been in various forms of beta and early stages this year, it will have a much larger impact next year when it is more widely available. Customers will be able to save their payment methods, shop brands they are already engaged with and complete the transaction all without leaving the app. This will effectively become another large channel that eCommerce retailers will need to consider when planning their marketing strategy.

— Harry Thakkar, partner, Avatria


ECommerce as an ad channel So many eCommerce formats have emerged – from Stories to shoppable posts across all different channels — and each one is designed to reach audiences at specific points in the journey. Understanding those nuances, and how these different formats can work together will become increasingly important in 2020. Building a cross-platform approach will help marketers avoid a siloed strategy and will propel the business in a competitive market.

— Wes MacLaggan, SVP of marketing, Marin Software


ECommerce companies are emerging as the new breed of publishers In 2020, this will further challenge traditional publishers for ad dollars. With strong first party data pools, logged-in user bases and clear relationships with consumers, commerce companies have the opportunity to build material ad businesses. While we’ve already seen companies like Target, Best Buy and Instacart look to follow Amazon’s lead, next year even more non-traditional large-scale apps such as Uber will make big moves to implement ad offerings.  The key blocker here will be having ad DNA and tech to capitalize on this opportunity quickly.

 — Justin Choi, CEO and founder, Nativo


Online merchandising for retail Merchandisers will play a central role in retail eCommerce in 2020. We believe the role of online merchandising will play a significant part in every retailer’s success next year. Online merchandisers will be critical as they become more data-empowered and able to be the bridge between marketing, optimization, IT and the customer. Merchandisers will be the part of the essential team that matches a customer’s brand or SKU affinity with stock and trading trends. This role is set to expand in scope and responsibility in 2020 as merchandisers become the heroes of every ecommerce team delivering both revenue and experience impact. 

Graham Cooke, CEO and co-founder, Qubit


In-housing, scalable content In 2019, we saw big-name brands like Citi and Walmart bringing more marketing functions in-house. As this trend continues, there will be a need for solutions that streamline the creation of content, so it can be developed quickly, but without sacrificing on quality, and so content is scalable.

Shachar Orren, CMO at EX.CO


“I need it now” backlash Buying almost everything online and one-click purchase is obviously here to stay, but in 2020 we will start to see a backlash against “I need it now” shipping. As consumers hear more stories from the warehouses, distribution centers and shipping hubs, will they decide they don’t really need that roll of paper towels delivered tomorrow? Amazon already offers slower shipping incentives, and perhaps in 2020 we’ll start to move from free two-day shipping to discounts for five-day shipping. To add to this, consumers are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint, and a younger generation values experiences over material things. Perhaps we also see some backlash against material goods and a move towards enriching experiences.

Steve Grimes, chief digital officer, AKA NYC


Brand and retail opposition to Amazon Nike recently announced they were pulling their products from Amazon. Nike was able to do this because their purchase of Celect, which allowed Nike to bring personalization to their own properties. Amazon used to have the advantage here, since you would have to log in to Amazon to peruse products, and then products would be shown to the user on a person-by-person level. However, brands are getting smarter about leveraging the vast first-party data they have and creating identity graphs that deliver the ability to personalize ads. Now, there’s now less need for a brand to hand over inventory to Amazon, and brands like Target, Wal-Mart and Kroger are even thinking about monetizing their own online digital inventory like a news publisher does.

— Kerel Cooper, SVP global marketing, LiveIntent


Decentralized, data-driven local events Retail brands with brick-and-mortar locations are increasing their investments in local, in-store events to drive sales, store traffic, customer acquisition, and participation in loyalty programs, and that’s a trend we see continuing throughout 2020. To manage and market these events across tens or hundreds of locations with limited resources, retailers are looking for technologies that help decentralize event marketing without compromising brand integrity. A headquarters team needs control over digital branding and visibility into event data, and the local teams need the flexibility to create and customize events that they know will work well in their markets. There is, and will continue to be, a growing interest in technologies that support this decentralization of event marketing and allow retail brands to effectively scale event programs.

Kevin Hubschmann, head of retail strategy, Splash


Sharing economy for retail spaces Whether it’s the “sharing economy” of retail spaces or a response to skyrocketing urban rents and overspending on real estate (or a little bit of both), expect to see shared retail spaces or multi-vendor “markets” growing in popularity. Retailers benefit from increased foot traffic, great brand associations, and reduced rent. Shoppers love one-stop shopping, increased browsability, and the bespoke feel. The market is open!

— Tom Buiocchi, CEO, ServiceChannel


DTC shift to retention Direct-to-consumer brands are growing mobile audiences much faster, but their total reach is still dwarfed by established retailers, according to Comscore’s Global State of Mobile, 2019. Expect to see more linkages between these two sets of retailers in 2020, as established retailers seek to acquire more digital acumen, and savvy DTCs ink partnerships to reach more consumers. Above all, expect both to shift their focus to customer retention as Mary Meeker pointed out that social ads are getting too expensive, making customer acquisition harder. An uncertain global economic outlook and regulatory roadblocks to third-party data will swiften this shift, and for the first time in modern marketing history clever lifecycle marketing campaigns will outshine the flashiest 30-second commercials, especially in terms of bottom-line impact.

— Mike Herrick, SVP Technology, Airship


PR beats influencers Brands will get smarter about influencers. Our data shows that traditional PR is still better at driving sales than influencers on average. However, as influencer strategies mature, brands that choose individuals closely aligned with their audience and messaging (instead of just a celebrity) will have stronger odds of success and resonation with their target market.

Mike Menkes, SVP, Analytic Partners

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