5 Retail Marketing Evolutions Over The Next 5 Years

14th June 2018
5 Retail Marketing Evolutions Over The Next 5 Years

Following on from Retail Global last month, we wanted to address a topic that seems to be getting a lot of attention across the internet…Retail Marketing.

The Future of Retail Marketing

How is retail marketing changing? In what way are consumer interests influencing that change? How will the interactions of data, data privacy, technology, and customer experience manifest in the next 5 years? After talking with dozens of top digital experts, we have made 5 retail marketing predictions that retailers should be thinking about.

1. First-party data will emerge as your most valuable asset

What would you say is your most valuable business asset? Is it your website? Is it your customers? Maybe your employees?

Within the next 5 years, your most valuable asset will indisputably be first-party which you’ve collected about your customers. Ironically, this data is largely dependent on your website, customers, and employees!

Each day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated in the digital world. First-party data is valuable because you own it, and you control how it is collected. Therefore, a greater emphasis will be placed on methods of data collection across your website, email program, mobile app,  social channels, and you’ll begin to find solutions to these questions:

  • Where do you interact with your customers?
  • How are you collecting data from your customers?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • How are you leveraging that data?

2. Consumers will demand control of their data

GDPR isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) change designed to protect the personal data of consumers. Today’s customer has become increasingly wary – and for good reason – about both the safety and application of their data once they hand it over to a brand.

Breaches, phishing scams, and hacking attempts are now commonplace. But even they aren’t the biggest issue relating to data capture and usage. It’s trust.

With so many brands taking advantage of the data they’re collecting (some willingly hand over via forms which include personal information, and some have browsing and cookie data collected without a clear understanding of what it is being used for), consumers are starting to seek greater control over what they’re sharing with data processors.

The answer? Be more transparent in how you plan to use data, use it only in the ways you say you will, and make consent mandatory, easy, and clear.

3. Location data will serve as the most accurate indicator of who we are

Where have you been? What have you done? Where are you going?

If these questions aren’t at the forefront of your personalised retail marketing approach now, they will be within the next five years. Location-based information will emerge as it’s own customer data point, enabling hyper-personalised shopping experiences.

Most individuals already allow foreground tracking for better experiences with most apps. This allows the collection of data based on where we go, such as; restaurants, stores, school, vacation, and the things we do like shopping, gaming, and viewing content.

Brands will begin to leverage this information to offer better incentives and more relevant messaging based on a customer’s location.

Companies will broker data to teach machines and algorithms

Everyone is talking about data science, machine learning, and AI marketing. But like humans, self-learning machines also have to be trained.

The application and usability of AI are dependent on the quantity and quality of the data upon which it runs. Looking ahead, we will see the rise of companies that actually broker data to other companies so that they can teach their AI systems how to analyse and act on insights. You’ll be able to lease big data; on the flip side, if your company generates a lot of first-party data, you’ll be able to anonymise that data and lease it to other companies.

Where is data now? The overwhelming majority of consumer data today is controlled by five companies.

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Microsoft

Soon though, these brands will no longer be the sole proprietors to decide what happens with data – and that will open the door for revolutionary developments in marketing and data analysis in technology.

Data brokering will provide new opportunities for companies with abundant data, and a new solution for companies with little to no data that need it to fuel their machine learning strategy.

5. Augmented reality will augment a lot…especially how we shop

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are already being applied in gaming, cinema/entertainment, healthcare, military, space/flight simulators, and many more scenarios across almost every industry.

These technologies will continue to create disruption in marketing and retail. Companies like IKEA are already using virtual reality to give shoppers a clearer and more realistic idea of how a product will look in their home (360° panoramic views, for example).

We’re going to see the online and offline worlds merge even more. The use of AR, for example, will allow customers to try on clothes virtually and see a 3D image of themselves wearing certain things with their dimensions. There’s almost limitless potential for the use of these technologies for other things like;

  • Displaying special sales or sponsorships, promotions, end caps, services, and other advertising in brick-and-mortar.
  • Using location data like beacons and geo-fences in-store.
  • Increased personalisation like offering clothing customers are likely to prefer based on the previous behaviour.

Each of these predictions is focused around the importance of data and how it’s used. Companies that recognise the value of data and who can pair that with the ability to prepare for these trends will be leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.

The value of data is continuing to skyrocket. It is today’s digital currency, and everybody wants some.

Data impacts every aspect of retail marketing and eCommerce today – the ability of machine learning solutions to effectively operate, our ability to learn about customers and to offer personalised experiences.

Written by Heath Barlow, Market Lead, Australasia, ‎Emarsys