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28 Retail Marketing Predictions To Watch In 2018

January 19, 2018

2017 was the year where the marketer's role in retail changed drastically and retail businesses (both pure-play and omni-channel retailers) had to come to terms with a new playing field that required them to disrupt their own strategy at every turn. Amongst a very long list, this included understanding the next generation of customers, learning how AI can help them in their role, maximising sales during Black Friday and key shopping days, preparing for GDPR (in Europe), building personalisation into the core customer experience, implementing new solution providers to the marketing stack and experimenting with new technologies and tactics to see what works.

Senior executives and C-suites from leading retail and marketing technology companies share their views here on what they predict 2018 holds for retail and marketing:

    1. New Roles “Brands that are leveraging data science today are largely forced to do the heavy lifting themselves. That will change in 2018 - we’ll have tools that won’t just manage analysis; they’ll also prescriptively recommend and execute the best course of action based on a marketer’s desired outcome. Not only will the technology actually deliver on those promises, it will also be broadly accessible to all growth-oriented ecommerce brands. All of this will culminate in the marketing function shifting away from monotonous administrative tasks. Roles that are nearly entirely dedicated to operating software, for example, will start to be phased out - both in house and across the broader services industry. Marketers will be forced into - or more accurately, will finally be able to experience - roles that are increasingly strategic, creative, and above everything else: customer experience oriented.” - Agata Celmerowski, VP of Marketing, Klaviyo.
    2. Email, SMS and Push Notifications “Multichannel marketing - targeting consumers at each stage of their path to purchase through email, SMS, push notifications and more will cease to be an afterthought and instead become a baseline necessity for successful marketing in 2018.” – Joshua Neckes, Co-Founder, Simon Data.

    1. Visual Search “The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and particularly visual recognition will continue momentum in opening up new and exciting sales opportunities for retailers. For example visual search for products will grow particularly via mobile and the monetisation of eCommerce imagery via automated product tagging will bring new revenue streams in 2018.” - Alex Vaidya, CEO & Co-Founder, StoryStream.
    2. Multi-Format Video “Broadcast TV and digital will roll into a single, more aligned cross-screen video campaign strategy. Instead of television functioning independently of data-driven digital approaches, marketers will begin to integrate the big screen into more commonplace addressable tactics (desktop, mobile, social, native) to deliver relevant advertising experiences at the household level. I expect advanced marketers to test this in the first part of the year and for this to become more prevalent by the end of 2018.” - Jon Setty, Managing Director UK, Eyeview.
 
  1. Multi-Channel Personalisation “Personalisation will emerge as a must-have capability in retail brands to retain customers. Retailers will prefer to work with vendors with complete customer engagement and activation stack rather than with multiple point solution vendors to increase ROI, improve operational efficiency and to better customer experience.” - Anoop Vasisht, GM EMEA, Dynamic Yield. "The next level of personalisation will address real-time decision making and will help brands understand how a consumer's behaviour from pre, point of and post conversion can serve as a guide to more meaningful connections." - Tom Rolph, VP EMEA, Tapad.
  2. AI for Customer Insights “Utilising new AI technologies on mobile devices, passive data collection methods that increase user understanding; demographics, behaviour, interests and intent will drive personalisation at scale and increase relevancy and engagement.” - Henry White, VP Strategy at Pixoneye.
  3. Location Intelligence “In 2018, brands will place greater emphasis on location intelligence. By analysing historical location data and detailed behavioural patterns, brands will gain comprehensive insights into consumer preferences and habits which can be used for hyper-targeted campaigns.” - Gil Larsen, VP Americas, Blis.
  4. Email “The majority of email revenue will come from automated email programmes using different kinds of triggers such as price drop triggers, behavioural website and lifestyle triggers, abandoned product triggers and more.” - Jared Blank, Senior Vice President, Data Analysis and Insights, Bluecore.
  5. Ad Spend “Facebook (including Instagram) and Google will continue to drive the vast majority of ad spend for commerce, while popular platforms like Snapchat and Twitter that haven’t cracked the code on direct-to-consumer selling will refocus their efforts on branding and cultivating community.” Tomer Tagrin, Co-founder and CEO, Yotpo.
  6. Social Advertising “2018 is the year that social advertising grows up: more platforms will enter the market and formats like voice search will transform social ads.” R.J. Talyor, CEO, Quantifi.
  7. Mobile Marketing "The retailers and e-commerce companies that will see the biggest growth in 2018 will be those that are able to truly own their digital customer relationships. As the capabilities of mobile devices evolve and become more powerful, smart marketers will look to offer amazing new personalised experiences to customers and mobile users, while capitalising on the data these interactions produce. With more marketing budgets continuing to shift to mobile, businesses that master their ability to measure and act on their mobile data will have the ultimate competitive advantage." - Ran Avrahamy, VP Global Marketing, AppsFlyer.
  8. Mobile Wallets “Mobile wallets are known for making payments a breeze, but more brands will leverage wallets for non-payment activities, like coupon redemption and ticket scanning, all to bolster brand loyalty and customer retention. Tools like these market your brand proactively – you can reach the consumer directly, rather than them having to hunt through their phone to find your app.” Jack Philbin, Co-Founder & CEO, Vibes.
  9. Let's chat? “In 2017 companies were more focused on the information that chatbots provide to customers rather than their conversational skills. However, this year businesses will look at ‘the tone of voice’ to use chatbots not only in sales but also to deepen relations with customers and support the company’s communication strategy.” Szymon Klimczak, CMO, LiveChat.
  10. Conversational assistants “Whether via messaging platforms, smart speakers or email, marketers will be able to leverage new tools to have ongoing conversations with their customers. Brands who successfully deliver hyper-personalised content and product recommendations via these channels will build stronger relationships with consumers across the home, in-store and mobile.” - Andy Maury, CEO and co-founder, Automat.
  11. Digital Content "Channels like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are magnifying an age-old problem: the content crunch. It has become extremely challenging for brands to drive interesting, engaging content across all the channels modern consumers have adopted. Rather than out-sourcing content creation, brands will increasingly look to bring content – of all types – in house in 2018.” - Brad Rencher, EVP & GM, Digital Marketing, Adobe.
  12. Internet of Everything “We’ll see more adoption of technologies like NFC in 2018, as more and more brands recognise the benefit of integrating interactive tags into packaging and bringing connected products into the Internet of Everything (IoE) – a natural extension of the IoT. We’ll see brands and marketers reaching out more through the mobile devices that both millennial and Gen Z consumers already carry, as it presents the best opportunity to engage that audience.” Davor Sutija, CEO, Thinfilm.
  13. Influencer ROI “Brands and retailers will continue to increase investment into ​influencer marketing but will be under pressure to show tangible ROI from their efforts. The ability to link sales metrics to influencer activations will be of increasing importance prompting marketers to integrate direct purchasing capabilities into influencer activations.” - Eric Sheinkop, Co-Founder & CEO, desirelist.
  14. Flexible Payments “Retailers will use new innovations to make their online checkouts smarter. “Bill splitting” will start appearing in more online shops, where users can split the cost of their online purchases at the checkout point, saving them the hassle of chasing friends or family for repayment.” - Alison Sagar, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Consumer, PayPal UK.
  15. Online Authentication “This is the year of consumer blockchain applications, whether you’re aware of them or not. In 2018, we’ll start to see passwords dying out, as blockchain security and identity takes over for e-commerce and retail. #PasswordsRIP 1996-2018”- Alastair Johnson, Founder and CEO, Nuggets.
  16. Data Monogamy “Aggregated and anonymised big data, gained without user consent that has swamped the industry for the past decade will no longer be accepted. Marketers will have technology at their disposal to gain accurate user data directly from their customers through user consent, without going to a third party – we call this data monogamy.” - Henry White, VP Strategy, Pixoneye.
  17. Who owns the Data? “I think this year will see retailers and brands start to reclaim ownership of their data, and better understand its value and the benefits of building deeper and more effective relationships with customers. This will be fast-tracked by GDPR in Europe which should be seen as an opportunity to build a better customer experience, rather than a business impediment. I expect this means some businesses will start to fall out with Google and choose to be less reliant on paying for their customers many times over. But in an age when brands are fighting the ambiguity that digital channels create, it’s no surprise that there will be a refocus on targeted, relevant communications for a refined and engaged database.” - Peter Ellen, CEO and Founder, Big Data for Humans.
  18. Pooling of Data Assets Brands and retailers concerned about the walled gardens of Amazon and Facebook will continue to pool data assets to personalise content, increase profits and improve customer relationships while in turn achieving the scale similar to today’s digital giants and better connecting both online and offline data to understand the winding customer journey.” - Jonathan Opdyke, Chief Strategy Officer, Criteo.
  19. Artificial Intelligence for Marketing “2018 will also be the year when retail leaders finally embrace the critical importance of A.I. – and fast. Not as a shiny new gimmick on the periphery of core operations, but integrated into their business to deliver a better customer experience, revenue and profit. Taking a look at last year’s Christmas results, you can see that the retailers who aren’t there yet and are struggling to transform an outdated business model have suffered the consequences. There is a level of confusion about A.I. and a sense of panic at the speed of change in the modern retail landscape, but if customer-centricity and staying competitive are the goals, getting to grips with A.I. is easily done and is the fastest and most efficient way to drive positive change.” -- Peter Ellen, CEO and Founder, Big Data for Humans.
  20. AI-powered Customer Service “Phone trees and email customer service are on the decline. Social messaging and automated, AI-powered bots supported by seasoned social agents are in. Social messaging and artificial intelligence (AI) are ready and waiting for customer service leaders to use in the race to serve customers faster, better, and more efficiently than ever before.”- Joshua March, Founder and CEO, Conversocial.
  21. Consumers will trust AI to do their shopping “Smart assistants will continue to see an uptick in adoption and consumers will increasingly use them to recommend and purchase products for them.” Cassandra Girard, Vice President, Head Consumer and Travel Industries, SAP Hybris.
  22. No more returns? “Retailers will have to look closely at who they offer free returns to and will likely punish serial returners and set minimum purchase amounts for qualifying for free returns.” - Patrick Eve, Managing Director, ZigZag Global.
  23. Convenience “The future is not just fast but flexible, and convenient delivery is needed to match consumers’ increasingly mobile lifestyles. Our research indicates that consumers would be happy to pay some kind of premium for a more convenient delivery option. While people would historically have had to plan in advance for an event, that’s not the world we live in anymore.” David Saenz, COO, Stuart.
  24. Online to Offline “Many more e-commerce companies will begin to open up bricks and mortar locations in 2018 as part of a transition to small format retail spaces.” Mark Ryski, Founder & CEO, HeadCount.



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Predicting Where Retailers Will Focus Their Energy in 2017
November 28, 2016
Retailers Made Black Friday Irresistible for Consumers with Great Deals, Online and In-Store
November 22, 2016
C&S Charities Donates 1.7 million to Pediatric Cancer and Childhood Hunger
November 21, 2016
5 Ways To Convert Holiday Shoppers Into Loyal Customers
November 18, 2016
137.4 Million Consumers Plan to Shop Thanksgiving Weekend
November 14, 2016
Mandatory Bag Reuse Program Huge Success at Vermont Specialty Food Market
November 9, 2016
Top 25 retail industry websites
November 2, 2016
NOVEMBER 2016 MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
October 21, 2016
Members Supporting Local Food Sales
October 4, 2016
National Retail Federation Forecasts Holiday Sales to Increase 3.6%
September 27, 2016
ImageTek Labels Expands Digital Printing Capabilities With Jetrion 4900M-330
September 23, 2016
Meat Grinding Record Keeping Requirement
September 22, 2016
Halloween Spending to Reach $8.4 Billion, Highest in Survey History
September 21, 2016
Farrell Distributing along with Leunig’s Bistro & 12 local restaurants to raise money for the UVMMC Breast Care Center
September 19, 2016
Dick Barnes Recognized for Long-term Service to Vermont
August 29, 2016
Survey Finds Seven in 10 Small Retailers ‘Overwhelmed’ By Government Regulations, Mandates
August 23, 2016
Cabot partnership to help Food, Farms & Forests Fund
August 11, 2016
Vermont will not enforce GE Food Labeling Law
August 2, 2016
Woodstock Farmers’ Market Gold Barn Honoree
July 26, 2016
National Retail Federation Upgrades 2016 Economic Forecast
July 21, 2016
Back-to-School and College Spending to Reach $75.8 Billion
July 1, 2016
NRF Welcomes Appeals Court Ruling Against Disputed Credit Card Swipe Fee Settlement
June 30, 2016
Vermont’s earned sick leave law
June 16, 2016
2016 Scholarship Recipients Named
June 15, 2016
City Market considers next phase of expansion
May 26, 2016
Congressman Welch Honored as NRF Legislator of the Year
May 25, 2016
NRF Recognizes Legislators of the Year
May 16, 2016
#ShopNaked at the Woodstock Farmers Market
May 13, 2016
Walmart suing Visa over chip card
May 11, 2016
From Seeds To Sweets, Small Businesses Are A Winning Formula In Lamoille County
May 11, 2016
City Market Job Opening - Director of Operations
May 5, 2016
Sherman and Trombley of Stowe Mercantile are VRGA Persons of the Year
April 27, 2016
Americans to Spoil Mom this Mother's Day
April 11, 2016
The House passes a resolution honoring Bethany Berger
April 4, 2016
A Hannaford Supermarkets program surpasses 2 significant milestones
March 30, 2016
A Vanilla shortage?
March 18, 2016
Vermont Pickle on Local 22 & Local 44
March 10, 2016
Best Bagger 2016
March 7, 2016
Onion River Co-op partners with Mansfield Cooperative to save Underhill Country Store
March 7, 2016
14 Vermont businesses receive $14,000 to attend national trade shows
March 1, 2016
Bethany Berger takes home 2nd place!
February 26, 2016
Only ONE booth left!
December 4, 2015
It's Scholarship Time!
October 6, 2015
Gubernatorial Candidates to Judge Vermont Bagging Championship
July 22, 2015
Three Vermont Businesses named America’s Retail Champions
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Vermont Retail & Grocers Association
963 Paine Turnpike North
Berlin, VT 05602

Telephone: 802-839-1928
Fax: 802-839-1927
Email: info@vtrga.org