30 Jan 2015

Emerging Ecommerce Technologies That Will Change How We Market

robots-holding-hands-each-otherIt is sometimes very challenging to keep up with the break-neck pace at which new technology is being released. I find myself spending a lot trying to wrap my head around all the changes and I try to anticipate how new technology will affect how we market and how we keep a dialogue going with customers.

Here are some of the latest innovations that are sure to impact how we get our message out there and keep customers coming back in the coming years:

Beacon


A beacon is a wireless device that broadcasts a signal to mobile phones and tablets that are within a transmitters proximity. When a device – like a mobile phone or tablet – picks up on the signal from the transmitter, location-based actions can be triggered. Also, beacons can identify location with better accuracy than GPS can. Additionally, beacons do not need to be connected to wireless. Beacons are a great way to provide a more rich experience to in-store shoppers. Some intriguing applications of this technology are:

Instore notifications for relevant information & offers


Target Cartwheel and Walmart’s App Savings Catcher are the beginning of apps that create a more seamless online/offline experience. For example, Savings Catcher compares certain eligible items on your receipt against advertised competitor deals in your area, and you can get a Walmart giftcard for the difference. Just as in the web-world, offer apps tend to be very sticky and Savings Catcher is incredibly well aligned with Walmarts brand promise.

An interesting iBeacon implementation that I’ve been following is from InMarket, who has sensors set at a Giant Eagle and Safeway grocery stores. The way the app works is that when the app is installed on a users device who is in range of an iBeacon, offers or notifications are pushed right to their devices. The ibeacon can reach a user with their phone in their pocket. Apparently the app has features for mobile coupons tailored to user preference, shopping list reminders, and eventually mobile check out.

Combating ‘Showrooming’


Showrooming is when a shopper in a brick and store location looks at products, price compares online and buys online. Although how prevalent showrooming is is, contested, it is definitely a worry for retailers. Having a beacon in place creates an opportunity to get in front of a potentially showrooming customer with an offer.

Data Warehousing


As I personally reflect, I think one of the marks of 2000’s is having tons of data and well, drowning in data and having tons of different systems producing all different kinds of data. I think the future will bring centralization to data and we will be  connecting all the reams and reams of customer data in one location to have a full understanding of customers no matter what channel or digital medium their coming from. Although the technology is not exactly new anymore, how to approach this is a lively area of discussion in the industry:

However you slice it, getting data more connected is going to be a priority. According to the Marketing Intelligence Data Warehouse Forecast 2015 – 2020, “the global data warehouse market is predicted to grow by 8.3 percent in 2015-2020 passing a total market value of $20 billion by 2020” On the digital marketing side, one of the things that I am seeing is even free analytics providers like Google anlaytics are now allowing for some integration with third party data.

AMM in marketing


In a great introductory video by Maria Belottini on the topic, Belottini discussed the potential role of artificial neural networks (AMM), which seek to to imitate the principles/reasoning of human brains. AMM has the capacity to gather non-linear and classify data from different places and if data is missing, machines can recognize patterns and draw conclusions. The data can be analyzed, patterns can be identified, and targeted messages can be sent out. In my opinion, this one is a little ahead of its time for most ecommerce websites.

I recently watched a PBS documentary-  the ‘Persuaders’ – which interviewed marketers from the MadMen hayday of marketing, the time when TV first became a fixture in many households. The documentary discussed how at first, people did not know exactly how to leverage television and that is why early on, much of the television you watched was a guy in a suit standing still and reading off of a teleprompter.

The documentary concluded with that this is where we are with the internet, we are at that same awkward stage where we are making sense of all the new emerging. The documentary is from 2004, which is old in internet time but the message still still resonates today.