If the past year was not a wake-up call for brands to adapt and optimize their marketing programs, nothing will wake them up. Yet, even for those that were slower to come around, or for those that have already pivoted but need to continue optimizing, here are a few places to start.
Invest the budget
Yes, budgets are tight after a tough 2020 for many brands. But there is a cost to doing business that must be paid in order to succeed. Stand still and refuse to invest the necessary budget and the return on that lack of investment is likely a loss in revenue and market share. There are no shortage of brands vying for your customers’ attention. And if those competitors are continuing to enhance the experiences they provide, there’s nothing keeping your customers from leaving to engage with them.
Clean up your data
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for brands to overcome is centralizing and cleaning their customer data. If the goal is unified customer experiences, you need a unified data set. Where does your data live? How can your teams access it? Are there restrictions in your data collection and activation?
These are all questions that must be answered before you can get any further in your commerce journey.
This sort of data-solution overhaul is a massive undertaking. Similar to the budget conversation, it would be easy to make the excuse that changing the way your data is structured is too big of a lift and too expensive, but again, the costs of doing nothing are significant. And it’s impossible to meet customers’ demands for relevant, personalized experiences without focusing first on your data.
Enhance those new features
As we mentioned earlier, many of the features implemented in the past year—curbside pickup, DTC channels, etc.—were done quickly out of necessity. These solutions were stood up on an expedited timeline in order to meet the rising baseline of expectations.
Now is the time to truly establish a plan and identify your goals within the market and how you want to leverage these new features to build out a cohesive roadmap for continued growth. Not only should you optimize the functionality of the features that have been added to your program, but a focus has to be on bringing these features together into a more cohesive experience.
Be ready for what’s next
The rate of change in marketing was already at a sprint, and the past year has sent it to a breakneck speed. While the previous tactics are areas you should be emphasizing today, we will also provide a few focal points to keep in mind that will likely be rising in prominence in the near future.
1. Headless commerce & PWAs
From a technology perspective, headless commerce has been a buzzword in the industry for the past few years. The ability to have the front and back ends of your commerce site working independently of one another provides a level of agility and adaptiveness necessary in this rapidly evolving world.
The strength of a web application is in the ability to engage a wide breadth of consumer wherever they are on any device, while native, platform-specific apps are much more robust in the features and functionality they provide.
Similarly, on the mobile side, progressive web apps (PWAs) are a tool you will likely hear more about in the coming months and year. The strength of a web application is in the ability to engage a wide collection of consumers wherever they are on any device, while native, platform-specific apps are much more robust in the features and functionality they provide. PWAs are intended to be the best of both worlds.
2. Asynchronous content
A rising trend during the stay-at-home times of the pandemic was removing the “live” aspect of the live experience. With people unable to come together for in-person groups and working around new routines, asynchronous content is becoming a more popular option. Just like how the DVR untangled us from thinking we had to watch TV live at a certain time, brands are finding ways to provide a events and experiences on each individual customer’s schedule.
Crafting a flexible ecommerce program
A new baseline for ecommerce has been set, but it won’t remain stagnant in this new plateau for long. Soon the baseline will rise again, along with customers’ expectations, and it’s up to brands to create programs that can grow and adapt with the baseline.
Ready to evolve your ecommerce program? Schedule a quick call with one of our commerce experts.