E-commerce marketers – if you don’t know your customers, you’ve ‘got no chance’
E-commerce sales are booming – but with big digital changes afoot, marketers must find new ways to deliver value to their customers. Experts from Lloyds Pharmacy and Mapp explore what it takes to really know your customer in 2022 and where marketing strategies need to pivot to be successful.
The growth in e-commerce was rapid in 2021. Some 78% of UK e-commerce brands reported that sales were up last year, a huge increase from 45% in 2020, according to Mapp's State of Digital Marketing in the UK 2022 report. But as we move through 2022, priorities have changed and e-commerce marketing strategies need to pivot.
State of Digital Marketing in the UK 2022 report.
To identify where brands should focus their efforts, The Drum’s assistant editor Jenni Baker sat down with Dani Bagworth, digital design and content manager, Lloyds Pharmacy, and Ricardas Montvila, vice-president, global strategy, Mapp, to dig deeper into the findings to help marketers make sense of what this means.
The webinar covers emerging themes from the report including the latest automation and technology, personalized experiences, new dynamic content formats, and targeting and analytics in a post-cookie world.
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Marketing technology innovation
Following e-commerce growth in 2021, driven in part by the impact of Covid-19, Mapp's Montvila stresses the importance of blending an understanding of customer behavior alongside implementing new technologies that help to drive e-commerce platforms.
Lloyds Pharmacy’s Bagworth echoes one of the key findings from the Mapp report, which highlights that a third of UK e-commerce businesses also attributed the boost in 2021 sales to better marketing strategy. She says that Covid-19 conditions drove her business "to be smarter with our marketing, because we knew the need, but how could we then retain that user? We had the opportunity to reach far more people than we ever had before."
She describes how one digital innovation involved the development of a video GP app that helped people book an appointment with their doctor, and talk to them conveniently and safely from home.
The discussion moves into the area of providing e-commerce customers with a good personalized experience.
According to Montvila, this comes down to identifying individual customers where possible. He goes on to point out that if a brand is only able to identify 5% of its audience when they access its website, then the personalization will fall short because it will be based on what the individual is doing right at that moment, rather than over a period of time.
Dynamic content in e-commerce was the next topic to surface, and Bagworth focuses on the importance of providing relevant user recommendations while also looking forward towards new routes such as "developing loyalty with gamification". A key issue here, argues Bagworth, is pulling information together from various platforms to create a "truly interactive loyalty scheme".
A plan for a cookieless world
Targeting customers is set to become more difficult in 2023 with the removal of third-party cookies from Google's Chrome browser. Just 28% of UK e-commerce businesses have a strategy to address this, according to Mapp's research.
Bagworth says that Lloyds Pharmacy's work with Mapp is helping it to face the challenge by moving towards a first-party data strategy and "understanding the users and the consumers on our platforms. And better, what do they want from us and what can we provide them to help improve our service and their expense?"
She adds: "And we've seen some great data already coming out of it, which then helps us as marketers... [the loss of cookies] is going to make life a little bit harder, but it's not the end of the world at all. There are tools and software out there that will help us understand our consumers better."
Montvila adds that he's excited about the potential of a move away from targeting based on third-party cookies. That's because, he adds, "they're kind of meaningless in terms of actually understanding who your customer is, and their ability to spend a certain amount, or which categories they're interested in."
Where next for e-commerce?
The discussion moves to the challenge of having the best human talent available to understand and relate to the consumer behaviors that surface through first-party data. It also covers the importance of advanced analytics and insights in driving UK e-commerce growth, before each of the panelists give their concluding thoughts on where e-commerce brands and marketers should pivot next to ensure success.
Bagworth says educating people across the whole organization is paramount: "You could all work together to produce highly personalized, tailored experiences, that will mean your customers keep coming back. And this will ensure you've got the right tool set to make your world much more efficient in the future."
Montvila concludes with a final point on customer insight: "Unless you understand who your customer is, you cannot improve personalization, you cannot automate, you cannot target... You'll be automating the existing inefficiencies, and the average kind of customer behavior... so understanding customer behavior is the key."
You can watch the full webinar on-demand here.
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