5 cardinal digital marketing trends for Retail in 2019

Anvesha Poswalia, Senior Brand Manager – Digital, Asian Paints shares the digital marketing trends for Retail that brands need to keep an eye out for in 2019. 

1. Omnichannel will become more of a reality than a buzzword

With the “phygital” experience increasingly being an expectation of consumers, much tighter integration between the online and the offline world is inevitable. With retail stores becoming more digitized and some also moving up their products on e-commerce, a lot of online players have also begun to set up brick and mortar stores, in line with the user behavior.

While players like IKEA and Amazon set the bar too high, the key for retailers is to ensure that at least the information about their location, the key products they sell, major offers, etc. are available online and a website or a social media page is a hygiene if they are in the game for the long run.

2. Data will help personalize experiences, within the realms of privacy protection

 Brick and mortar retailers can have an amazing database of shoppers with their individual buying experience, and this can be put to great use to customize offerings, using digital tools. There are retail assistants available, that can analyze sales, inventory and customer information in real time and help make business decisions.

However, with increased awareness on data breaches and consumers being warier of sharing information in general, there needs to be a balance between protecting privacy and being relevant in terms of the communication.

3. Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality will play great roles in experiential retail :

Right from chatbots to answer queries on the website and direct people to the nearest store, to virtual reality helping consumers experience the product or service, experiential retail is definitely the way to go.

Gamification of the shopping experience will be on the rise, be it in the form of smart malls to increase footfalls for an impulse purchase, or by home décor brands to influence decision making at the store by helping the customers visualize the way the final product would look like.

Also Read: #SMTrends2019: 75% leading businesses are strategising to use chatbots by end of 2019: Sahil Chopra, iCubesWire

4. Metrics for sales measurement will be redefined :

It will be an incomplete picture to simply look at the sales per square foot or the sales per store.

With blurring lines between online and offline, retailers will need to combine online metrics like the correlation between uplift in sales and website traffic, increase in branded searches post a product/store launch, queries on social media, etc.

There are also interesting ad formats available, that can help track footfalls in the store, as a result of online advertising. Hyperlocal targeting to increase footfalls and sales will be on the rise and it will be interesting to see how newer and clearer metrics evolve to see the connection between the online and offline world.

5. It will not just be about “season sale”, but about “moment marketing” :

 Moment marketing has been talked about for more than a couple of years now, but emerging technologies are making it more of a feasible reality. With the likes of “visual search” gaining momentum, where you can simply click a picture of the product and find where it is available online, retailers will have to ensure that they find ways to list a majority of their products online as well, so it can come up in the search results.

Right from targeting people in the vicinity at the moment for relevant offers, ensuring the store address comes up for relevant voice and typed searches, the stage is set for moving away from waiting for the holiday shopping season to have a sale peak, because millennials and the generations beyond do not wait for the sale period to get what they want. It is all about here and now.

While these are some of the few trends that will gain momentum in 2019, what will be the most important for all retail players is to consolidate their database, find ways to make the experience seamless across different touchpoints, find all possible ways to have a presence online and most importantly, make things simpler for the shopper. Aspects like speedy complaint resolution and making payments faster and more convenient will be the hygiene factors, all other experiences come later.

Welcome to the world of the smart shopper, smarter retailer!