2022 feels like a gap year. We were all running with hopeful optimism but no clear path. Economic and social upheaval, inflation and looming recessionary woes are forcing a reality check. A much-needed sea change is upon us. So how will this impact commerce? We are seeing shopping trends normalize after a two-year disruption. If you have survived the last two years you doubled down on digital and found new ways to connect to your customers. But as the market becomes more unpredictable, fine-tuning is required. Commerce is changing and it will create both tension and opportunity. How will brands navigate? Here are some thoughts:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Digital is the fuel (even in the physical world)
Different shoppers want to shop in different ways and smart marketers will offer fully loaded omnichannel experiences. Digital isn’t just used to lure, it is used to maximize the experience, drive convenience and create opportunities to build both sales and brands. Drive up services, ship from store, and try before you buy are all examples of the new fuel. This will require partnerships, technology, and a new way of imagining the shopping journey.
2. Content builds brands and drives sales
Consumers are always shopping – or at least that is the opportunity. If your customer can shop anywhere at any time, then all content they see should inspire, educate and lure. Websites are content sites. Commerce sites are becoming media sites. Social commerce needs to become more strategic. Content needs to follow suit.
3. Stop the FOMO - It’s time to double down on what’s working
As budgets become leaner, marketers must start making choices. Where to invest will need more rigor. It is no longer about what is cool, or what “influences”. It is about what channels elevate the brands, and what media delivers clear returns in both sales and attention. You must develop a clear understanding of how customers and prospects discover and buy and invest there. The channels will vary greatly from one brand to another and during a recession understanding our fundamentals become critically important. Marketing with facts is in. FOMO and jumping on the shiny new thing are very much outdated.
4. Customer Experience has evolved beyond “making pretty websites”
Customer Experience design is maturing. CX is a discipline that solves customer problems. Versus exclusively focusing on design, CX should focus on creating value by serving customers. The starting point is understanding what creates true value and how to delight your customer. A recent survey from a global logistics company concluded that there is a gap between what brands believe drives value and what customers truly want and need. Great examples of CX investments made by brands include companies like L’Oreal which are investing in services like virtual try-on and salon booking apps. With this discipline, the future of brands is to create a culture of service. The big opportunity is to get this right. Feels like a low-hanging fruit and a great way to stand out.
5.Privacy will change the media landscape and will impact where brands spend ad dollars
Privacy changes are soon to be followed by a cookieless world. The first blow increased the cost of advertising on the big 5 platforms and it’s only going to get worse. Brands are going to need to find new audiences and retail media networks pose a great opportunity because of their strong 1P data sets. Outcome-based media vs shiny innovation will be what brands lean into during recessionary times and retail media networks have the ability to target precisely and often show direct attribution to purchase especially for categories like CPG. Quickly, retailer websites will become media sites with engaging content that is literally made to drive commerce.
6.The evolution and growth of e-commerce will require a combination of technology and marketing
Using technology to future-proof growth will be critical in 2023. This goes beyond innovations like live shopping and always-on customer support. It requires a look at new partnerships, new implementations and new integrations. Tech will help to make the customer experience better, faster and easier and offer a “wow” that elevates brands. Marketing will lay out the blueprint but winners will partner with the tools and teams that can make the blueprint come alive efficiently.
I’m excited for what these trends mean for martech platforms like Sampler. Driving trial is a great example of something that’s been proven to work time and time again for marketers, it’s also a great way to deliver an omnichannel customer experience to consumers, a unique way to gather data and feedback and an opportunity to reach a net new audience.
About the Author
Alexandra Panousis is a business transformation leader and a Director of the board at Sampler. With 20 years of experience as a CEO of large media agencies, Alex has a passion and track record of transforming and innovating. She is known for delivering growth by leading at the forefront of complex change and is a strong believer that technology is an enabler in the transformation journey. Alex loves to write about media, technology and marketing.