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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2018 holiday ecommerce may exceed $504 billion, analysts say

As the 2018 holiday season gets underway, Adobe Digital Insights predicts a significant uptick in ecommerce spending. ADI’s report, titled 2018 Digital Trends in Retail and published Nov. 8, 2018, projects $504 billion in overall ecommerce holiday spending. ADI researchers say the forecast reflects consistent 14.8 percent year-over-year growth.

ADI researchers advise retailers to optimize the customer experience by delivering real-time, relevant content and messaging on an ongoing basis. These capabilities will also help retailers manage holiday transaction flows and convert shoppers to buyers, they stated.

Scott Rigby, head of digital transformation for enterprise solutions, APAC, at Adobe observed a growing number of retailers are prioritizing advanced data analysis and real-time personalization. “More than ever before, brands are harnessing technology and data to reach customers in more personalized, meaningful ways at every step of their buying journeys,” he wrote.

Mobile, cross-border commerce

Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst at ADI, pointed out a growing number of consumers of all ages are shopping on smartphones, underscoring the need for robust digital advertising strategies. “If you are going to run advertising that brings people back to your site, you need to make sure that experience is mobile friendly, personalized and relevant,” Schreiner stated.

Schreiner additionally suggested that retailers cultivate data-driven cultures to enhance customer the experience. Data scientists and web analysts can help companies leverage browsing and demographic behaviors while maintaining compliance, he noted.

Additional insight from DesignRush.com recommends that ecommerce merchants use digital-first marketing strategies to attract consumers and “transform them into returning customers.” Following are some examples:

  • Prioritize Cyber Monday: This one-day event delivers the highest ecommerce transaction counts and revenue, delivering 88 percent of 18- to 24-year-old shoppers and 74 percent of the 54 and older demographic, according to studies.

  • Optimize for mobile: Websites need to load quickly and be provisioned for small screens.

  • Support cross-border commerce: Websites that are secure and functional enable consumers from all parts of the world to transact online at U.S. ecommerce merchants.

Social, relevant content

The ADI’s 2018 State of Digital Advertising report found an increasing number of retailers are using social media to attract customers and deepen customer loyalty. Schreiner noted this strategy has been shown to be effective with younger consumers. “[S]ocial advertising is clearly a key part of a paid/owned/earned media strategy, especially if your audience is under 40,” he stated.

Changing consumer behavior and competition from giant ecommerce retailers like Amazon is changing the ecommerce landscape and forcing many retailers to embrace digital transformation more rapidly than they had planned, researchers noted. “Interestingly, retailers in Asia are much more focused on social media engagement and brand-building/viral marketing than their counterparts in the West,” they wrote.

ADI researchers also expect emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and voice commerce, to play a role in future ecommerce payment schemes. While conceding that retail is not a digital-only game, researchers predict that emerging payment schemes that remove friction and make it easier to purchase products will increasingly win the day. end of article

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