With a fresh year upon us, I want to share the four biggest technology trends every retailer should be paying attention to in 2016.
Personalization Gets Real
On-site personalization is poised to gain significant traction in 2016. In fact, 94% of marketers and 90% of agencies agree that “personalization of the web experience is critical to current and future success.” And yet three quarters of marketers reported being unsure of how to do it. Two evolving factors are making on-site personalization more realistic. First, many brands have invested in building comprehensive data collections and are putting big data to work. Second, the latest content management technologies have built-in capabilities that are making it easier and faster to deliver highly personal experiences, such as a shopping assistant, “find your own style” guide, and recommendations based on personal interests and activity. Looking ahead, personalization may indeed completely transform how we think about digital commerce altogether. Some are even suggesting that we may see an evolution of B2C into B2One — a scaled, efficient approach to delivery of exceptional one-to-one consumer experiences. By increasingly working to make better use of available data, companies can make life easier, better and more tailored to each consumer’s preferences.
Shoppable Content Mainstreams
Retailers have been using beautiful imagery to showcase product and inspire consumers for years, but something is changing — now that imagery can offer a more direct path to purchase. Shoppable content — such as “lookbooks” — combine rich media with one or more links to individual products that a consumer can click to instantly add items to their cart. Like that hat in the picture? Click, choose a color, add to cart. Wow, this hat looks great with that scarf — click, add one or both items to cart. Adding engaging, shoppable elements to rich media shortens the path to purchase and keeps a consumer’s attention longer. A recent article, Making Digital Content Shoppable, recognizes that “shoppable content can motivate browsers to make a purchase, and curated content on product pages can boost the value of transactions.” Take Neiman Marcus, which creates more than 150 digital lookbooks annually to showcase its designer collections. By connecting each image with their e-Commerce platform, they are making it truly easy to shop the look. The technology for shoppable content is finally accessible to marketers without the dependency on agencies and IT, making it quick to share new ideas and capture sales in the age of limited attention spans.