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E-commerce Retail Marketing

E-commerce budgets are increasing, but where are marketers focusing their attention?

By Georgia Savage, Senior Account Executive

No Brainer

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May 27, 2024 | 6 min read

No Brainer recently published a report that found e-commerce budgets increasing, but where’s the investment growing? For our retail focus week, the agency’s Georgia Savage breaks it down.

A street sign that reads, improbably, 'E-commerce'

/ Mark König via Unsplash

At No Brainer, we recently released our 2024 e-commerce Trends Report, after surveying 500 marketing leaders on the trends shaping e-commerce in 2024.

We found that three in four marketing decision makers are increasing their budgets this year, underlining a sense of renewed confidence in the sector. Among the top service areas attracting investment are digital PR, SEO, and content marketing.

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The rise of purpose-driven content

Purpose-driven content is among the biggest focus areas for e-commerce marketers, with 18% of marketers putting it at the top of their list.

By integrating purpose-driven content into marketing strategies, brands can create stronger connections with audiences and set themselves apart from competitors. It’s not just about visibility anymore; it’s about building meaningful relationships that drive engagement and loyalty. Brands, now more than ever, are prioritizing content that both resonates with audiences and ranks high in search engine results pages.

Upskilling for the AI future

AI and ‘trusted’ content also ranked among marketer’s top investments.

The explosion of accessible AI software has unsurprisingly generated a huge desire to integrate AI into strategies to help enhance efficiency and reduce cost. But despite the growing prominence of AI, there is still a notable knowledge gap, with 18% of marketers admitting to a lack of understanding surrounding its implementation.

Around AI, brands revealed that in-house training and upskilling is a top priority for 2024 to improve technical capabilities among staff. This will enable them to leverage AI to understand user journeys, learn how their audience behaves online, and maximize conversions from the channels they are investing in.

But while the adoption of AI is hot on many marketers’ agendas, there is still cautiousness around its ethical implementation. It’s crucial for data leaders within companies to be in tune with the implications AI can have on data protection, privacy laws and copyright, not to mention the impact that AI-generated content can have on websites and user experience. Using AI in an ethically compliant way, to enhance (not replace) the skillset of current teams is a key takeaway from the data.

A shifting search landscape

Search engines are always shifting, but with the macro factors like the arrival of AI and cookie deprecation, marketers are bracing for even more change than normal. In our survey, many revealed that ‘search engine updates and volatility’ are key challenges to overcome in 2024.

Google’s March 2024 algorithm update has understandably brought this to the forefront. Thousands of websites saw rankings plummet overnight, largely due to the use of AI-generated, low-quality content.

Can we expect organic growth?

Regrettably, many brands still fall into the trap of exclusively investing in paid ads, and overestimating the efficacy of those ads due to their clear attribution chain. They also underestimate the impact of organic and earned channels. It’s up to marketing leaders to validate this traffic through analytics, but it’s often harder to work out the exact organic content that drives consumers to buy.

While large brands may lean towards last-click attribution models, a broader strategy is needed to understand your brand’s customer journey. This is why marketers are increasingly investing in AI tools and strategies that shed light on the influence of organic channels. And brands that aren’t yet prioritizing adaptation and innovation absolutely should be in order to keep up.

By aligning Digital PR and SEO strategies with purpose-driven content (backed by authoritative experts), investing in AI capabilities, and adhering to ethical standards, brands will stand themselves in good stead for effectively growing their online presence and building consumer trust for the rest of 2024, all while ‘doing business for good’.

For more deep analysis of the heroes and villains of retail in 2024, head over to our focus week hub.

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