The latest trends at Online Retailer 2019

Last week marked yet another occasion for professionals of the retail industry to come together for an unparalleled two-day event of networking and learning at the Online Retailer 2019 at the ICC in Sydney. With keynote sessions, workshops and hundreds of exhibitors on offer, we took the opportunity to get to the nitty-gritty on the latest trends in commerce this year.

Here are the top 3 trends currently transforming the commerce landscape:

Change in the market

This year, one of the biggest challenges emphasised by industry experts was the drastic change in the market. With the development of digital marketing and sales tools, as well as the surgence of social media, people are targeted by companies more than ever before. With all this noise going on around us, we have become experts in drowning out most of it.

We spoke with Sitecore’s Commerce Solution Specialist John Menagh, who outlined how businesses can try to get around this core issue: “What we’ve seen in the last two or three years is a change in who we’re marketing to. We’re marketing to a newer generation that are digital natives, which means that they are really good at ignoring things. The general way of marketing won’t reach them. What that means from a commerce perspective is we are now moving away from chasing and acquiring new customers, towards needing to retain those customers and grow them over time. That means focusing on experience. The experience of working with that brand.”

The key to improving the customers’ experience of working with a brand is personalisation, down at the level of the individual – which leads us to our second big trend in commerce.

Individualisation

This trend can also be known as personalisation, which has been around for years, but most people often think of personalisation in terms of segments. What companies should be looking to do now is personalising down to the individual – not just a segment or group they’ve been assigned to.

The funny thing is this is nothing new. Customer-centric and tailor-made solutions should always be at the centre of attention for business owners, as emphasised by Afterpay’s Director of Sales Fabio De Carvalho. The difference now is that with review platforms and social media channels holding more power than ever before, business owners can’t avoid the voice of the customer anymore. “People are wanting to be heard and listened to. Businesses need to actually work with their customers to better their business,” says Trustpilot’s Account Executive Rad Mitic.

But how can we personalise for each individual while still retaining efficiency? John Menagh has the answer: “Digitally, this is a data matching game. Through your IP address or email address, I know what you bought last year or last week or what you registered for. The really hard bit is combining all this information and analysing it quickly, in real time. You need a system that allows you to make real-time, data-driven decisions and then act on them – hopefully, in the session or immediately at the end of the session. Not a week later, not a month later, not part of an email trail – immediately.”

Digital meets physical

All of this talk about individualisation and a change in the market boils down to one thing: digital commerce must learn from the bricks and mortar experience. In order to deliver a more engaging experience that ultimately delivers on the brand promise, businesses have to interact and present themselves online in a much more one-to-one fashion.

Nicholas Kontopoulos of Magento, an Adobe Company, explained that evolving the approach to digital commerce is something many of their customers are already starting to do: “While most of them started with a strictly eCommerce mindset, which was very transactional, they are now recognising that they need to think about the end-to-end customer journey and also how they bring the physical and digital worlds together.”

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