The Year of the Customer – Ecommerce Trends & Predictions for 2014

customer intelligenceWith 2014 upon us many experts and companies are releasing their predictions and survey results on where ecommerce marketing is headed for the coming year. Econsultancy’s “Digital and Ecommerce Trends and Predictions for 2014” report has compiled various surveys and predictions of trends for 2014 and the one thing that is evident is that 2014 will be all about the customer. The areas that CMOs will be prioritizing this year are all interrelated and all lead back to the customer experience. For marketing campaigns this means that customer intelligence will become even more important. Here are 7 areas that the Econsultancy report finds will be significant this year for ecommerce marketing:

1. Customer Experience

Organizations are planning to work on understanding how customers interact with them across all channels and how to optimize the overall customer experience. The focus will be on the customer journey, identifying customer personas and mapping touch points. The ultimate goal with learning more about the customer is to improve service to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Mobile

2014 is set to be the year that traffic from smartphones overtakes desktop traffic for many sites. IBM reported that on Boxing Day smartphones drove 29.9% of all online traffic versus tablets at 28%. However, conversion rate from smartphones is low compared with desktop and tablets. So, companies will have to work on how to track customer interaction across channels and also make purchases from smartphones easier. The majority of smartphone users have reported that they have used their phone for ‘showrooming’ while shopping in store. In 2014 more retailers will likely adapt to this trend by making the in store experience more interactive by offering free Wi-Fi and better access to online product information, price comparisons and reviews.

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing has become an essential part of the marketing mix. It’s how companies can establish authority and gain trust and it’s also how to increase web traffic. Google is constantly changing it’s algorithm and is committed to providing its users with the best content, so traditional keyword SEO is being replaced by providing quality, unique and useful content. Aspects of content such as author rank and influencers are becoming more important to SEO as well.

4. MultiChannel/OmniChannel

In order to improve the customer experience companies will have to tackle how to join offline and online behaviour – store pickups and returns, e-receipts, digital ‘aisles’ via computer stations or associates with tablets, mobile promotions, etc. To map customer behaviour companies will also have to how to track customer touch points between various channels; from the customer learning about a product via social media, to visiting a product in store, browsing using the stores app, to doing product research on their smart phone, to making a purchase on their desktop, and then using social media again to talk about or review their purchase.

5. Personalization

Personalization is strongly linked to improving the customer experience. According to a recent IBM study, 90% of customers want better personalization. In response companies will have to customize marketing campaigns, content, and promotions to individual customers shopping behaviours and patterns. In order to deliver personalization companies must embrace big data.

6. Social

Social media has more and more integrated itself into the customer experience. Social media impacts many parts of the customer experience, from bringing customers and products together to communicating and providing customer service. 2014 will see companies continue to use social media to reach their audience, however trends indicate that it will be less about numbers and more about using data to identify and engage with influencers and more of a focus on using social media for lead generation.

7. Data

Data is integral to all aspects of marketing, and this year ecommerce marketers will focus on improving how data is used to provide insight, personalization and content. 3rd party data is also becoming more available through various platforms and can be used to provide marketers with additional insight and leads. Also, through the increased availability of cloud computing, data analytics is becoming more affordable for SEBs, which allows for them to compete with the larger players.

What are your marketing priorities this year? Do you have the necessary data tools to make the customer experience forefront in your marketing strategy this year? For a free readiness assessment, check out the tool in the button below.

Free Marketing Intelligence Maturity Calculator

Acknowledgment: Image of Bull Ring Shopping Centre, Birmingham (3) byDaniel used with permission under creative common license agreement.

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