In February 2022, members of Croud’s Australian team attended eTail Australia, the leading global retail and ecommerce event. This year, there was quite some buzz throughout the event, as it was the first face-to-face networking event over the last couple of years.
We were delighted to sit in on various key notes from inspiring digital marketing leaders across a number of verticals, from beauty and fitness to partnership platforms and online marketplaces.
Of the many insightful discussions had across all facets of retail, here are five key takeaways from the event that all digital businesses should note in 2022.
1. “Retailers are the new publishers”
The days of “spray and pray” media investment are over. Solely pushing display ads across publisher sites has seen diminishing returns, and many industry leaders acknowledge the need for organic brand building for driving long-term growth.
Consumers increasingly expect trustworthiness in brands, and this is achieved by investing in content creation tailored to your audience – no sales gimmick attached. With the growing negative publicity the advertisement industry has faced in recent times, it’s critical that brands pivot their marketing strategy to focus on serving customers first. This means building an emotional connection and maximising engagement time on owned media, which will help your brand see incremental growth over time.This all sounds great on paper, but where does a smaller organisation with limited budget start?
Connect your ideas to your value proposition and consider building first-party data to really understand what your audience and searchers need. Start off on a small scale – it doesn’t have to be a magazine or podcast overnight. Then use search engine optimisation (SEO) as a ‘qualifier’, as the data needs to back the intuition. Lastly, let the SEO team collaborate with the wider public relations team at the ideation stage.
All of this isn’t to say that publishers are a dying breed. They still have their place in the market. There just needs to be a deeper value alignment with publishers if continuing to work with them, whether it be landing page takeovers or product reviews.
2. Think customer solution first, then let the tech follow
Like anything in the world, we are immediately drawn to the newest flashy toy. This isn’t any different in ecommerce, where we see businesses attempting to adopt the latest tech trends without much thought, whether it be augmented reality or virtual reality shopping experiences, rapid delivery or headless website structures.
However, it is important to assess whether one needs it first by exploring the core needs of your audience. You can approach this through real-time customer feedback loops and identify key pain points for your customer by bringing these data points together. Then ask yourself if the specific tech of interest helps to solve these issues.
3. Behavioural data segmentation over demographic segmentation
When adopting a data-driven marketing approach, focus on collecting data based on intent metrics rather than broad demographic segmenting. The makeup industry was discussed as an example at eTail Australia. In this industry, we can typically see more of the opposite sex purchasing for their partners, making intent metrics all the more important.
Once you have developed behavioural personas, you can think about conversion rate optimisation testing and personalisation. However, this first requires very structural and niche data collecting, whether it be tracking the different ways users are interacting with the top navigation, filters selected or even banner images served.
This, in combination with third-party data from user experience tools and qualitative data from internal focus groups, can be very effective in understanding what hypotheses you should build for A/B testing. Ultimately, it will also help you gain a better understanding of how your site should look and feel depending on the behavioural persona.
4. Don’t forget about the payment journey when designing a site
Payment is sometimes an afterthought when designing a site, but the checkout experience is as equally important as driving traffic to the site, especially when 80% of users abandon carts on average globally.
It’s important to ensure that any testing isn’t just limited to the top of funnel page experience, but is also right through to the final payment steps. This means looking at the finer details, including clickability on mobile, number of steps required, mandatory fields, local postcode, currency and an array of available payment methods. In the Asia-Pacific region, 47% of consumers are using digital wallets over traditional cards. Thus, it’s important when exploring payment platforms for your new site, to make sure usability and flexibility are front of mind.
5. Build a brand partnership program based on user journey stages
The days of coupon affiliate programs have evolved and brands are now teaming up with more partners with various objectives. However, it’s important to bring all of these partners together cohesively and understand how they complement each other in a cost per acquisition measurement framework.
We know social and blogger influencers can operate from a top of funnel awareness capacity, but we also know that aggregator websites can be used as a much later touch point when consumers factor in price. On top of this, we know that certain influencers and publisher sites have a more connected user journey than others.
However, there are now brand partnership platforms that can match your brand to relevant partners and map them out strategically to provide a clearer visibility on the full-marketing funnel. These platforms can help you take a more holistic approach to your brand partnership strategy.
From behavioural data segmentation to brand partnership programs, there were a number of interesting insights shared at eTail Australia that brands can leverage as they plan for the rest of 2022.
If you’re interested in connecting with our team following the conference, or would like to learn more about driving growth in retail, please get in touch. Also, if you’d like to learn more about Croud and our team, explore our Croud x eTail Australia landing page here.