On June 1st, Retail Summits hosted the New York eCommerce Summit 2023, bringing together top minds in eCommerce from established and emerging brands, technology platforms, and agencies. The day was grounded in identifying the next big ideas in ecommerce covering key industry topics, including:
Omnichannel and Digital Strategies
Optimizing Operations and Supply Chain
The Impact of Inclusivity
Making Marketplaces Work
Approaches to Fashion and Beauty eCommerce
Understanding Top Technology Trends
Strengthening Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Across the breadth and depth of topics and expertise shared throughout the day, clear trends emerged as well as implications for brands to unlock growth in an increasingly complex and competitive landscape, summarized as follows.
Automated Intelligence with Purpose
Trend: It’s no doubt Automated Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic across all industries today and was a common thread across panel discussions. At the highest-level AI can accelerate and augment what humans can do. Today, and specifically for ecommerce, AI has several practical use cases including data aggregation (e.g., reviews, keywords, category analysis), content creation, demand forecasting and planning, ad campaign management and optimization (e.g., budgeting, bidding). At the same time, challenges still exist with AI. The technology cannot replace human relationships and ultimately success of the technology is heavily reliant on the quality of the data signals and prompts. With continued advancement of the technology AI will enable brands to differentiate, improve business strategies, and move faster.
Implications for Brands: To enable success with AI brands and marketers alike need to identify the why behind leveraging the technology. What are the pain points in the business? What tasks take up too much time? What is the task that never gets done? By understanding these areas of opportunity brands can establish purpose for AI.
Inclusivity Feeds Authenticity
Trend: In recent years, there has been a notable transformation in the way brands and individuals perceive societal norms, placing greater emphasis on uniqueness as a means of differentiation. This shift was a focal point of discussion among panelists throughout the day. They highlighted how modern consumers actively consider a company's values and purpose, demanding higher levels of authenticity and transparency. This is particularly relevant in relation to influencers, user-generated content, and charitable endeavors. Establishing genuine relationships and meaningful connections with brands has become increasingly vital in fostering trust, authenticity, and a sense of inclusivity for everyone involved.
Implications for Brands: Brands must exercise due diligence and do their homework to avoid blindly following trends. Whether seeking out a new influencer or content creator, aligning with a social cause, or launching a new campaign it is crucial to incorporate diverse perspectives to truly understand customer desires and effectively resonate with their target audience. Further, brands need to be intentional in all their efforts to embrace authenticity and inclusivity. For example, with LGBTQ+ Pride Month upon us it’s about more than just selling rainbow colored merchandise. Instead, they should demonstrate their genuine commitment by not only donating a portion of profits but also by openly communicating where and why these donations are being made, while offering avenues for engagement that extend beyond a purchase.
Investing for Impact
Trend: From omnichannel, to supply chain, and marketplaces to social influencers panelists consistently agreed that the cost of customer acquisition is at an all-time high. At the same time, the marketplace is being more conversative with budgets, with an appetite for opportunities to get to market quickly, show revenue growth (proof points), and move to the next, bigger thing. When it comes to technology, many brands have legacy platforms in place and continue to look to new, headless solutions to optimize experiences at a lower initial investment. Additionally, increasing payment options (pay with time), reducing checkout friction, and loyalty programs are all top of mind as brands seek to not only acquire but also retain customers.
Implications for Brands: Data plays a pivotal role in comprehending performance and the implications it has on investments in technology, media, and customer experiences. Consequently, it is of utmost importance for brands to prioritize clean and accurate data as their foundation. Investing in efficient data transfer between systems that align with the brand's objectives, goals, and, most significantly, their customers is now more crucial than ever before.
Bold Predictions & Big Ideas
Trend: The landscape of eCommerce trends is in a perpetual state of evolution, and during the discussions, numerous predictions were made regarding the future direction of the marketplace. Some notable points highlighted include the ongoing dissolution of traditional channels as they transition from physical to digital, a prolonged consolidation of brands, particularly within the direct-to-consumer sector. Additionally, the evolution of customer reviews, the significance of upholding authenticity in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, and the diminishing dominance of Google as search preferences shift towards platforms like Amazon and various social media channels were also emphasized. Moreover, in the event of a TikTok ban, there is a foreseen increased reliance on Meta (Facebook and Instagram) as an alternative.
Implications for Brands: As the landscape continues to change brands must seek out partners that are at the forefront of change and have the capabilities in place to navigate change and ambiguity. Across people, products, and partnerships Publicis Commerce is uniquely positioned to help brands in this space through commerce readiness and experience assessments, audience insight planning, customer relationship management, social shopping, and more.
Download the New York eCommerce Summit Trends Report here.