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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 19, 2013

Ecommerce trends that may help brands connect

Back to school shoppers are expected to push more than $70 billion retail dollars into the US economy this month. That is a drop in the retail bucket, especially when we take holiday shopping forecasts into account. According to one forecast holiday shoppers could spend more than $600 billion. Our experts weigh in on ecommerce trends that may help brands connect.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: The back to school rush upon us in the US, and the holiday season will be here shortly. What trends are you seeing in the ecommerce space?

Kelly Ford, Vice President of Marketing, SundaySky: Online retailers will continue with last year's omnichannel initiatives, such as offering digital coupons that can be redeemed via any channel, as well as continued support for making purchases online and picking up in-store. This is especially key as consumers browse for the best prices on mobile devices before making an in-store purchase, as back-to-school shopping is heavily driven by promotions and bargains, and less by brand loyalty.

Our ecommerce customers with retargeted video ad programs will begin to move up the acquisition funnel this season. Based on their success with retargeted video ads, they will begin to target look-alike prospects based on lifestyle and demographic data to determine similar online patterns of a target demographic from their retargeted programs lower in the funnel. I anticipate we will see this emerging trend continue into the holiday season, as well.

Billy Nava, Vice President of Retail Solutions, TransPerfect: There has been an increase in the use of grid pages with multi-category and cross-channel items. Since the back-to-school shopping season isn't just about clothes, or accessories, or technology, but incorporates all of the above, retailers are finding ways to offer that full package. Instead of logging onto a retail site and only seeing clothes, now you'll see full outfits, with backpacks and notebooks included in the picture. Brands are tying in other products, channels and companies in the interest of mixing categories to make it easier for the consumer. The customer doesn't even realize this affiliate channel marketing is happening on the back-end - they just receive the goods they ordered - but this sort of multichannel partner experience is helping to facilitate a more convenient and all-inclusive shopping experience.

Jeff Zwelling , Convertro CEO: Consumers are looking for fast, economical and efficient ways to purchase back-to-school necessities both in-store and online. Based on the data we've collected from our customers, we know the majority of consumers browse products online, but then make the final sale in store. The main trend, given the customers' age group, seems to be mobile e-shopping, even in the form of mobile browsing followed by a later purchase on the home desktop or in-store. Therefore, it is essential that e-commerce retailers have the ability to track their consumers cross-device and cross-channel, as well as focus on personalized advertising and targeted discounts. The last minute shoppers in this instance are not the primary market, so e-commerce retailers need to start thinking about their back-to-school campaigns months in advance.

Kristina: How can retailers increase ecommerce engagement and conversions?

Kelly: Recommendation and personalization tactics can be enhanced by leveraging the most captivating online medium out there - video. Hearing your first name narrated in a video greeting is significantly more engaging than reading it within a static email.
Likewise, brands should consider "flipping the funnel" to approach prospects and customers in a more personal way, rather than starting at the top with generic mass awareness tactics. We see time and time again, from ecommerce to retail banking to travel brands, that more personalized, individual connections with customers translate to better engagement, higher profitability and deeper loyalty.

Billy: Brands can definitely benefit from leveraging social media to increase consumer engagement and ultimately drive more conversions. Promotion-based banners and emails have proven to be effective, and the use of Twitter and Facebook commerce is now a necessity. All of this helps brands create more cohesive retargeting based on past purchases.

Jeff: Audiences can easily tune out ads if they're not relevant. Personalization and good timing are key factors in efficiently increasing conversions.

You can read part of my chats with the ecommerce experts here.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: back to school trends, BTS advertising, Convertro, ecommerce trends, SundaySky, TransPerfect

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