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Creative Works Brand Strategy Digital Marketing

E-commerce sales are up – but where do marketers need to pivot now?

By Ian Darby, journalist

April 4, 2022 | 5 min read

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It's clear that 2021 was a boom year for many in e-commerce. Some 78% of UK e-commerce brands reported an increase in sales. That's a massive increase from 45% in 2020, according to new research from Mapp.

The state of digital marketing and UK eCommerce in 2022

The state of digital marketing and UK eCommerce in 2022

Yet changing consumer behavior, and the frequent shifts in and out of lockdowns, brought challenges too – including the opportunity to invest in better personalized experiences for customers, and data analytics to help understand their behaviors.

To guide advertisers as they look forward in 2022, Mapp, the insight-led customer experience platform, has created the State of Digital Marketing in the UK 2022 study. This analyzes how companies reshaped their digital marketing strategies throughout 2021, and then looks at their priorities for the year ahead.

To bring to life the insights from this report, Mapp has partnered with The Drum to host a webinar with Dani Bagworth, digital design and content manager for LloydsPharmacy and Ricardas Montvila, vice-president, global strategy at Mapp. They will join The Drum’s assistant editor Jenni Baker to explore the findings in more detail and offer advice for marketers on how to turn these insights into action.

Register here to attend the webinar on 14th April.

The report itself identified rising consumer demand as the key reason for e-commerce sales growth, with 46% of e-commerce businesses believing this was responsible. But the news for marketers and technology people was positive too, because a third of businesses also attributed the boost in sales to better marketing strategy, and a quarter to new technology or automation.

Growth in personalized experiences

Looking beyond this, Mapp's research identified a major issue in terms of e-commerce businesses struggling to identify their users. Less than one third are able to identify more than 21% of visitors to their websites, while 34% are in the position of only being able to identify less than 10%.

Moving forward, this lack of visibility could be further diminished by the planned removal of third-party cookies from Google's Chrome browser in 2023. Just 28% of UK e-commerce businesses have a strategy to address this.

On a positive note, a strong solution for advertisers looking for better knowledge of their customers lies in the adoption of personalized experiences. Brands have recognized this, and the picture for 2022 looks encouraging. Close to a third (29%) of UK e-commerce businesses want to implement personalized experiences in the next year. This is 16% more than in 2020.

New forms of dynamic content

The strong role that dynamic web content can play in building this personalized experience is important to a rising number of e-commerce brands. That's demonstrated in 72% of businesses using dynamic content on their website, a huge increase from 27% in 2020.

Advertiser focus in 2022 will be placed on progressing this to new levels. The Mapp report shows that 69% are planning to use other forms of dynamic content that they haven't yet implemented – with personalized banners and images top of the wish list.

The data analytics gap

The ability to use advanced analytics remains an issue for many e-commerce businesses. While 68% would like advanced analytics/insights built into their platform, just 14% are happy with the way things are.

A major barrier to progress here is lack of resources. Over 55% of respondents said that this was a primary obstacle stopping their company from doing more, with a shortage of talent being cited by many as an issue in delivering better customer experience.

Despite this resource problem, there are solutions that can help advertisers implement advanced analytics for future growth. This issue will be addressed by The Drum’s webinar panel with Mapp, alongside other key themes including personalized experiences, dynamic content, technology and automation, and success in a post-cookie world.

Because the discussion focuses on such big challenges and opportunities, it's one that no digital marketer can afford to miss. Register here to attend the webinar on 14th April.

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