The retail ecosystem is changing at a fast rate, and so are customers’ shopping preferences. It is becoming imperative to not only keep up with what the customers want but also be a step ahead of them at all times.
Having prior knowledge about trends that will define retail marketing in the year ahead gives an edge to retail businesses. It enables smart decision making by helping brands connect better with their shoppers.
With that being said, we bring to you a list of the 5 biggest retail and consumer goods marketing trends for 2019.
While some familiar themes from previous years continue to evolve, new trends are also emerging. Read on to see what these trends are and how they can shape retail business this year.
1) Marketers will struggle to deliver personalization and privacy hand-in-hand.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool for delivering a more personalized customer experience. Currently, only 25% of retail and consumer goods marketers make use of AI in one way or other.
This figure is estimated to grow up to 70% (a 176% increase) in the next two years, indicating that personalization via AI will continue to remain indispensable for retail marketing.
However, customers’ data privacy cannot be put into jeopardy either. As brands try to win the trust of their customers, achieving personalization without a privacy breach will be the top marketing concern even though it won’t be an easy task.
Although 80% of retail marketers say that balancing personalization and privacy will be a priority, only 28% of them are completely satisfied with their ability to do this. It is evident that retail marketers need to work in this area, and fast.
2) The line between online and offline will fade even more.
Brands are realizing that both digital and traditional channels have their own unique significance when it comes to driving revenue. Customers want technology to make shopping effortless, but at the same time, they crave a personalized in-store experience. Consequently, brands will aim to reach a midpoint between online and offline channels. Marketers will need to understand that both of these channels play complementary roles in delivering a better customer experience. Online stores will enter brick-and-mortar retailing while brick-and-mortar stores will up their game in online sales.
In the end, marketers who can deliver a perfect blend of online and offline experiences with innovative methodologies will eventually win more hearts and boost more sales.
3) Data unification will be an area of focus.
Every business has a diverse customer base, which is why the preferences of their shoppers can be a moving target. Therefore, retail marketers make use of multiple data sources to meet customer expectations and better understand their preferences.
The average number of data sources used by retail and consumer goods marketers grew from ten in 2017 to sixteen in 2018, a 60% increase. Being able to efficiently unify all this data remains a big challenge.
Currently, only 49% of these marketers have a unified view of their customer data sources. Making efforts towards increasing this percentage will then be a popular marketing trend in 2019.
4) Real-time customer engagement will be a major focus.
Marketers have always struggled to make real-time customer engagement efficient and easy. The first step towards achieving this is in today’s omnichannel market is ensuring that conversations with customers are dynamic.
However, only 33% of retail and consumer goods marketers describe their conversations as dynamically coordinated, while 27% describe their channel coordination as ‘siloed’. The remaining 40% say that they end up broadcasting identical messages across channels.
All these figures point to only one thing – more attention towards how, where, and when customers interact with your brands is necessary. Focussing on real-time engagement will, therefore, be a decisive trend in 2019.
Social advertising, mobile apps, and banner ads have the highest rate of duplicate messaging. Marketers, therefore, need to revamp these channels and make conversations truly contextual.
5) Taking a stand on ongoing issues will be worth the risk.
Purpose-driven and social-oriented marketing will prove to be a widely popular trend this year, especially since millennials are the main target for most brands.
Retailers are becoming aware of the fact that young customers want to associate with brands that ‘take a position’ in society. As a result, brands are expected to no longer stay away from social, political, environmental and economic issues.
While most marketing campaigns usually take non-controversial stances, some retailers are willing to risk taking controversial positions voluntarily, if it can increase sales.
Marketing efforts should, therefore, be able to show how a brand stands up for causes that matter to its customer base.
As competition increases in the retail and consumer goods industry, marketing gets tough and survival even tougher. Knowing these trends and understanding their worth can go a long way in avoiding wrong policy decisions.