There are a variety of forecasts for the future of eCommerce in 2021 but the one thing we all know for sure – it’s booming. The convenience and ease of online shopping has prompted a surge in online purchase habits from consumers. Coupled with the pandemic, 2020 has seen some of the highest-recorded numbers for online activity and these numbers are still growing exponentially.
As more and more consumers move away from in-store experiences, they are looking for equal-quality online shopping experiences. Previously, the direct-to-consumer space was taken up by cheap razors and makeup samples. Today, even the most luxurious brands are making the shift to eCommerce to provide their luxury goods online. Here are six trends to look out for, so your business can be prepared to navigate this shifting consumer environment.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence
What better way to execute a rich online buying experience worthy of comparison to an in-store experience than through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies? Be ready for future online shopping to include an AI associate to provide a personalized shopping experience! Using past purchase histories and browsing behavior, these AIs will be able to make recommendations and offer a personalized online shopping experience. To support businesses, AI technology and algorithms will be able to analyze data to help you find the best channels, placements and times to advertise your products. Using trends, customer behavior and other customer data, AI will help boost return on investment (ROI) from marketing efforts.
Rise of Mobile Shopping
This one is a no-brainer for the future of eCommerce. Shopping done through mobile devices has continued to increase year after year as people turn to more quick, convenient purchasing behavior. Plan to have mobile shopping dominate a whopping 73% of all eCommerce sales by the end of 2021. What does this mean for your brand? It means your website and eCommerce platform should be optimized for mobile and be easily navigable by a user. Customers are not just shopping online, but they are also researching the products. Make sure that the mobile version of your site addresses any important product features, benefits, and possible questions that a consumer may have prior to making a purchase.
Adoption of Dynamic Pricing
A correct pricing strategy will have a dramatic impact on the overall success of your business. But how do you decide on where to price your product? Dynamic pricing allows you to stay competitive by serving different prices to different audiences in real time. This achieves a testing environment where you can analyze the results from the various pricing models and identify which one yielded the best outcomes. The best products don’t generate enough sales if they are not priced correctly. An investment into a dynamic pricing tool can help you achieve the optimal balance between perceived value and appropriate cost so you can have the highest return on investment.
The Black Sheep – Bitcoin
Most eCommerce businesses offer almost every imaginable payment method for their customers to use. In fact, limiting these options for a buyer can take sales right out of your cart and put them into your competitor’s. However, providing several payment options is a costly factor of running business as many of these merchants charge steep transaction fees. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin offer some relief to eCommerce shops by having more affordable transaction fees and other small benefits. Recently, Overstock partnered with a cryptocurrency platform to add Bitcoin as a payment method. Is it possible that we will see a rise to this new currency in 2021? The jury is still out on this one!
To stay relevant and competitive, brands need to think about the sustainability of their products and processes. Green consumerism is the growing appeal of eco-friendly products and companies to consumers. Customers want to see purpose-driven brands who take pride in “green” efforts. If you have portions of your business that you have streamlined, reduced your carbon footprint or participate in any green initiatives, do not be afraid to promote them. Make sure to advocate where your company stands, as about 65% of consumers are interested in buying products from green-sensitive brands. There are some easy ways to adopt a more sustainable business model such as switching to online-only receipts or adopting eco-friendly packaging.
Future of Ecommerce – The Aesthetics
The old downside to online shopping was that you couldn’t see, hear, feel or smell the product as you would be able to on the shelf in the store. This means that the practice of using imagery to convey exact product specifications is becoming of optimal importance. People want to see exactly what they are buying and not be surprised when the item arrives in the mail. By using bold, bright visuals, brands can highlight important product features while helping to educate the customer on their product. Consider switching out the old reel of product images to 360-degree virtual images or even videos to showcase your products. This visually pleasing approach should be site wide, and not just on your product pages. Your website should be as captivating (if not more) than your in-store experience.
Overall, the theme of the future of eCommerce in 2021 seems to be fine-tuning the customer’s online shopping experience to rival (or exceed) the in-store shopping one. Streamlining, improving, and remaining current all seem to be the direction of the booming eCommerce business. As more and more brands join the eCommerce bandwagon, customers will have access to millions of brands at their fingertips. This means you will need to be thoughtful, creative, and innovative enough to stand out from the competition. The right marketing team will help carry your eCommerce brand to success using multichannel strategies and a creative eye. When the difference between a sale and no sale could be as simple as the right imagery or as complicated as a new website, Strategic Marketing can help you navigate the complex eCommerce space and maximize your return on investment. Strategic Marketing is a full-service agency ready to assist you with all your eCommerce and business needs.
A Media Planning and Buying Agency Improves Your Chances of Campaign Success
Many companies place their own advertising media, and a lot of them take the proverbial spaghetti and throw it at the wall, trying a variety of media tactics without considering an overall strategy. What many don’t realize is the amount of research, experience, and time it takes to pull off a successful multi-channel marketing approach. This is where a strong media planning and buying agency will save you from the pitfalls of media planning and bring you from initial concept to provable success. A well-executed media plan will put your product, service, or proposition in front of the right people, at exactly the right time. This yields better results and return on investment (ROI) for your company. Here are some challenges that a media planning and buying agency will help you navigate.
So, What is Media Planning?
Put simply, media planning is the strategy by which you develop and deploy your paid messaging. This includes the timing, placement and audience for your message. Media planning is the careful research, analysis of channels and markets and strategic planning of how and when your paid content reaches your audience.
All of this, of course, must conform to any budget constraints and with strategic goals in mind. The ability to balance these variables and the available tactics is both an art and a science. A seasoned agency can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls in the media planning process.
Know Your Audience
Arguably the most critical aspect of media planning is knowing your audience. What appeals to them? What does their daily routine look like? When are they most likely to be online to see your ad or in the car to hear it over the radio? What kind of messages do they dislike? Creating audience personas and knowing them inside and out is a foundational piece of your strategy.
Insufficient information regarding your audience will wreak havoc on your return on ad spend. For example, the best possible messaging and timing will not yield any results if it is served to an audience that is not interested in that offer. A capable media planning and buying agency will conduct in-depth analysis of your target customer and apply prior experience to build a successful strategy to reach your audience. From effective calls-to-action to the latest consumer habits, an ad agency with this expertise will help you find exactly who your product or service should reach.
Timing is (Almost) Everything
When it comes to media planning, timing is everything. After finding your perfect audience, timing will be the key to campaign success and maximizing return on ad spend. There will be a time that you will need to make some tough decisions. When and how often would you like to hit your audience with messaging while still staying within your budget? Would you rather spend your budget in a couple of weeks to make sure your audience sees and hears your ad with great frequency? Or would you rather it spans several months or perhaps even the whole year?
Different times of the year may affect the amount of competition you may encounter and pricing of placements. Tweaking those times, or “flights”, on your own is tedious and requires a lot of legwork. A media planning and buying agency will weigh all the options and recommend flights that make sense for your budget while still optimizing for results.
Keep an Eye (or Two) on Performance
In multi-channel media planning, a variety of metrics must be monitored to ensure your budget is being spent appropriately. For example, tactics with bidding involved, such as Facebook ads or programmatic media, are subject to market forces. Depending on how you pace your budget, this may cause you to expend your budget faster or to simply get in front of fewer eyeballs than you originally projected.
Conversely, placing media with fixed rates, such as a negotiated television buy, gives you more assurances on the placement side but is subject to audience fluctuation. Ratings estimates are exactly that—estimates. A good media planning and buying agency performs the careful monitoring needed to ensure ratings and delivery goals are reached.
Optimization Isn’t Just a Buzzword
The most time-consuming aspect of executing a thorough media plan is measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns. There is a continuous cycle of research and analysis that is done on each campaign as they run and then an integration of what’s learned from them. Depending on the results, certain changes may need to be made to stay within budget, make sure you spend evenly, to lower bid prices or to maximize results.
These tweaks will optimize the campaign to better realize the goals you developed at the start. A media planning and buying agency will also have tools at their disposal to do the data research, but it takes more than software to read these campaigns. A keen eye for the marketplace and experience with various channels make agencies the perfect partner in ensuring campaign performance.
Choosing a Media Planning and Buying Agency
Now that you see the importance of hiring an agency to help you with media planning, how do you choose one? To start, you should have a firm grasp on your goals. Once your goals are clear, you can start with getting recommendations from agencies. Some agencies specialize in one vertical or media but not others. Many agencies are just digital buyers or play in traditional media. A full-service agency has expertise in both digital and traditional media.
Strategic Marketing is a full-service agency with over 28 years of experience. We strive to be a true business partner for our clients; we treat your business as if it were our own; we treat your money as if it were our own. We know that we’re successful only if you’re successful. To find out more, contact us today at 561.688.8155 and see how our agency help will improve your ROI on paid media.
In our series to celebrate Women’s History month, this week we will get to know a bit more about our Web Developer, Juliana Katz. Juliana is from Brazil and she brings many ideas to the table. With an interesting background, she fits like a glove in our ever-evolving team of professionals.
How did you get to the position you have today? Can you share your professional story?
I went to school for Media Communications with an emphasis in Advertising & Marketing, so it was a lot of theory, reading, and writing. However, I saw so many more opportunities for designers in the job market so I started to learn design. After I learned enough to do my homework, my classmates started asking me to do their graphics homework, too. That’s when I figured I would not be jobless after graduating because what I was learning was in demand. After graduating I got a job at an ad agency as a Junior Art Director. After that, I was offered a job with a company I interned with two years before. That was a great opportunity to get a 360-degree overview of digital marketing. It was a “learn-as-you-go” experience. While there, one of the projects I was in charge of was project managing the rebuild of the company’s new website that a third party was doing. That was a big challenge in many ways, but I learned a lot about web development, user experience, cybersecurity and the tech industry. After that, I felt confident enough to start building websites by myself. I produced many freelance sites before I had a portfolio good enough to apply for jobs as a web developer. In 2015, I switched from the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and I got a full-time job as a Web Developer in there before coming to Florida.
How hard or easy was it to get in the job market when you started?
Not too hard. To me, going to college was so crucial in my career because of the network of people and relationships that I built there. All my internships and jobs I attained was because someone was working at a company that needed someone with the skill set I possessed.
Was working in the Advertising and Marketing industry always on your radar?
I always knew I was going to do something related to business, and after taking a gap year after high school I decided that I wanted to work in the advertising industry and make commercials for the Super Bowl.
What are some characteristics of a great leader in your perspective?
From all the people that I worked for, empathy is by far the greatest quality my leaders could have. It’s so nice when the person you work for understands your strengths and weaknesses. The work flows easier.
Any life lessons that you learned in your career that you believe helped you to make it where you are today?
In my past experiences, I learned a lot from working in companies of different sizes and in different countries. And now I have the mindset “to always hope but never expect anything from anybody” and to make learning a way of living. Being self-taught and a go-getter is what has determined in where I am today.
Do you believe in the power of diversity?
We as human beings tend to like “the comfort zone.” But I have learned that I needed to be comfortable with the uncomfortable to do a great job. As soon as we start exploring other perspectives, we can see the existence of a whole other world of opportunities out there, and I think it’s interesting that we can explore and come up with unexpected ideas.
Do you think that the women in leadership make any difference in your organization?
Women that work here have many challenges every day. If it wasn’t for them nothing would run as smooth as it is. They are the knots that tie together this whole ship we are sailing on.
In this fast-paced market, people are always trying to do things better, faster and smarter. Can you share how you made a project more efficient and less expensive?
Managing all the websites we host with just one software is a time saver. In addition, I introduced a product called FullStory that is a tool that captures insights that help in our software development.
What’s your superpower?
Having the ability to be a central brainer is really nice. What I mean by that is that using the left side of the brain and the right side at the same time is part of my job. I can be in the creative flow of making a killer website design with lots of subjectivity and jump to a technical bug and function the same way.
Any advice for entrepreneurs or businesses that want to partner with Strategic Marketing?
It doesn’t matter if your brand is big or small. Your business is going to be taken care of the same way. And be patient because it takes time to make excellent things.
How does your career background contribute to your work at Strategic Marketing today?
The experiences I had along my career gave me the right mindset to be more mindful of my work and to know very quickly what is going to work and what will not. I believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s advice that takes you 10,000 hours to become good at something. That’s why I am always learning.
How would you describe your working style?
I am a team player. It took me some time to develop this skill, but everything I learned along the way was worth it. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t work on my own when I have to.
Any company run or founded by women that you would like to have as a client?
I listen to a lot of podcasts in my commute to work and one of these days I was listening to “How I built this” by NPR when I learned about how the cycling studio SoulCycle was founded. It would be interesting to work with Julie Rice. She is awesome.