Customers want you to know who they are — and what they want.
Econsultancy report: Digital Trends 2018 in Retail.

















There are many challenges facing retailers, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Retailers are witnessing first hand how companies who harness technology and data to improve both the digital and the in-store customer experience are thriving. 

The strength of online sales doesn’t mean that physical shops are obsolete. In fact, a 2017 US Census report found that 90% of all retail purchases in the US were made in brick-and-mortar locations. Furthermore, 43% of millennials prefer to research brands and products online before shopping in-store. 

One thing is for certain, omnichannel experience with data-driven marketing makes for a more personalised customer journey, which makes a difference when dealing with customer loyalty and the bottom line.
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26% of survey respondents say that customer experience — making the experience easy/fun/valuable is the primary way they will seek to stand out from the competition, ahead of customer service. .

Companies are prioritising data capabilities.

















Retailers that are seeking capabilities to help them to harness the vast amount of data they have at their disposal are adopting a more personalised and scalable approach to marketing. While in 2017 only 9% of retailers saw data-driven marketing as the most exciting opportunity, they’ve more than doubled that percentage for 2018, with 19% regarding it as the foremost opportunity for the year ahead.
The importance of improving data analysis capabilities to better understand customer experience is now a requirement for a complete customer journey. 
Circle Graph 69%

More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents rank improving data analysis capabilities as a ‘very important’ internal factor, putting this ahead of a range of other requirements.

Data leads to a better customer experience.

















While data from the US and the UK actually point to a net increase in store openings last year, few would deny that retail is a highly competitive environment where failure to move with the times can be fatal. 

This is why some retailers are prioritising strategy for digital trends and recognising that digital technology can reinvigorate the in-store experience and help them to avoid competing on price which is almost invariably a race to the bottom. 
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56% of respondents describe omnichannel marketing as a top three priority and a quarter (25%) of all retailers surveyed say that this is their number one priority for the year.

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Data leads to a better customer experience.

















Retailers are recognising more and more that a data-driven approach to marketing enables them to adopt one-on-one marketing at scale.
The onus is on retailers to develop capabilities that help them to harness the vast amount of data they have at their disposal. Companies are realising the importance of data for improving business culture and employee performance. Those that utilise data are seeing first-hand results for achieving success with both employee and customer loyalty.

37% circle graph

Looking ahead three years, the most exciting prospect through the lens of retailers is delivering personalised experiences in real time, cited by 37% of retail respondents compared to 36% for client-side respondents in other sectors.

Compelling content is crucial.

















Social media continues to play a major role in customer acquisition for retailers, with social channels driving three times more ecommerce traffic from non-customers than from customers. According to Taylor Schreiner, “social advertising is clearly a key part of a paid/owned/earned media strategy, especially if your audience is under 40.”

Despite knowing the importance of compelling content for marketing, some retailers operating in a sector that has been forced to embrace digital transformation even more quickly than others. Compelling content may not be the most exciting opportunity but it’s the most necessary in order to stay competitive.

Respondents in the retail sector are only half as likely as their peers to see the creation of compelling content as part of the customer experience strategy (7% for retailers, compared to 14% for other sectors).

Investment in personalisation equals retail success.

















Ongoing investment in marketing and retail-related technology is essential for brands trying to compete effectively in the modern marketplace. Retail is not just a digital-only game, but as the line between online and off-line channels continues to blur, any brand that neglects investment in integrated digital marketing risks a disconnect between themselves and the consumer. 

Bottom line: Personalisation is worth the investment. It is a potent weapon in the armoury for retailers seeking to reconnect with core practices that have been neglected in recent times. Harking back to the days when shopkeepers could address their customers by name and anticipate their needs, companies once again have the opportunity to treat customers as individuals and ensure that they feel personally appreciated.
Want to learn more about how these top digital trends can transform your CX strategy?