Buzzwords, anyone? 2021’s top retail marketing strategy trends to anticipate
If we learned anything in 2020, it’s that predicting the future seems impossible. When unexpected events pile on as quickly as they have, we can’t hold on to the context, we need to understand what really causes them. But if you step back a bit, as some colleagues and I did over the break before the new year, you can regain some context. We might not know all the details, but we can sketch out the broad sweep of trends in retail, entertainment, and business that will shape the next twelve months. Here’s what we found.
Kirsten Allegri Williams
5 top retail marketing strategy trends in 2021
Overall, we predict that digital experience will only become more relevant to all aspects of retail and marketing, from consumer advertising to B2B ecommerce.
Even with news of a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s clear that consumers will again spend much of the year at home, experiencing the world through their screens. Even when the lockdowns end, we’re betting that many of the brand loyalties and digital habits acquired over the last 12 months are likely to stick.
As much as technology has improved the consumer retail experience, the truth is that today’s consumers are still obligated to re-introduce themselves to a brand at too many touchpoints. That’s why you’ll begin to see more emphasis on frictionless engagement, making the process of discovering, buying, and returning products significantly easier than it’s traditionally been. There’s a lot of room for innovation when it comes to streamlining the discovery to purchase process, and a targeted focus on frictionless engagement is what will help achieve that vision.
Optimization isn’t just perfecting what you’re already doing. It’s about constantly refining the whole process, including personalization, experimentation, content management and ecommerce, and introducing new elements based on what you’ve learned. To keep the preferences of consumers in sight during all these processes, retail executives are relying more and more on agile platforms – and that’s where an optimization-led mindset comes in. Adjusting to today’s environment means continuously building new experiences that can meet the expectations not only for consumers as they are today, but as they will be tomorrow. Moving fast has its benefits, but it can’t yield long-term results without dedicated optimization.
In a time as volatile as this, certainty is in short supply. But particularly as the DXP acceleration continues, brands do need to be certain about what consumers want from their shopping experience. Digital teams shouldn’t be in a position where they have to invest scarce resources in guessing. By anticipating how a customer’s needs and behavior evolve, it’s easier to deliver a platform that’s certain to engage and convert.
The retailers that will thrive in 2021 and beyond are the ones that make their digital experiences as integrated and personalized as possible. It’s no longer simple or sophisticated; it’s both. That means modular product offerings, an extensive partner network, comprehensive monitoring and support, and APIs that easily integrate with existing infrastructure. As teams continue to personalize their digital experience, success will come to the brands that can deliver a UX that’s sophisticated on the backend and simple on the frontend.
In difficult times, those who seek to serve all their stakeholders strengthen the foundation for the long-term success of their brand. Establishing an authentic connection with stakeholders is the key, and that’s where marketers can be of service, because they are the ones who know how to take stock of what’s trending in the larger culture, what matters to employees, and what fits with their brand, and then craft messages that are in the best interests of those they reach. Many of the challenges that made 2020 so tough will carry over into 2021, so those marketers with a “service mindset” will see their work have the biggest impact.
Read more about retail’s top buzzwords here.