Charting Tomorrow's Commerce Experience

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, January 9, 2020

While the retail space – and e-commerce in particular – continues to shift and grow at a massive rate, a few key things are set to change the shopping experience forever and we’re seeing them in full effect at CES this year. Here is a quick look at some of the top commerce trends and key areas in which brands can play. 

Transformation of Retailers into Retail Media Powerhouses 

The launch of Target’s Roundel in-house media company was just the tip of the iceberg for the new ways in which retailers are trying to understand their consumers and create a more seamless shopper journey. Walmart Media Group kicked off the week by announcing the launch of their self-service platform, Walmart Advertising Partners. Both are hosting client sessions at CES to gain their fair share of the media market. 

Retailers have the first-party and location data to truly be able to provide a customized approach to shoppers and build loyalty.  Imagine what they could do with the power of a brand’s first party data and their agency’s identity resolution capabilities, similar to what Publicis Groupe and Epsilon can offer through their combined services. Traditional brands and retailers will continue to reframe their partnerships to include real-time data sharing, which will inevitably redefine Category Leadership status. 



Servicing Expanded Audiences  

For the most part, marketers have been focused on capturing the hearts and minds of younger demographics like Millennials and Generation Z. With 2020 being a census year, it seems that the technology world is gearing up for the inevitable data revealing the aging population in the US. AARP’s Innovation Lab showcased a series of solutions designed to enable older generations to live longer, more easily and in their current home. Two notable wearables, E Skin Pajamas and Smart Belt Pro are designed to monitor for fall protection.  Procter & Gamble introduced the first razor ever designed to shave someone else. These devices open up a huge market for those that are aging or those that are in the business of caretaking for a loved one. Understanding how to harness these learnings to allow brands to guide changing need states is critical for future growth and will impact shopping decisions. 

Smarter Connected Solutions  

The smart home is has now elevated to a smart ecosystem that organizes, optimizes and reassures consumers at every moment.  Amazon brought this concept to life by elevating each of its connected experiences to speak to consumer needs states – the Entertainment Enthusiast, the Home Chef, the Work-At-Home Employee and the Busy Parent.  These experiences connect a multitude of devices that make consumers’ lives easier – freeing them up from the routine.  As marketers, we have to determine how to constantly be on the list with the consumer by providing more than product information but real services through these devices.  Consumers will shop with a set it and forget it mentality with the ecosystem as the gatekeeper. 

Voice is Everywhere 

Everything can hear you--your car, your mirror and even your shower head has now been enchanted by Alexa or Google Assistant. The number of partners for both has doubled and the battleground between them on the CES floor is tangible.  

Regardless of the ecosystem team, we as marketers have to harness every interaction to anticipate needs to stay on the mental shopping list. For example, Alexa cannot only hear you cough but also recommend a soup recipe along with the offer to add cough drops to your list. Our ability to shift brands from selling products to providing utility to the consumer is paramount as we see the tech players become the gateway to the consumer.  

The retail environment that we once knew has blurred the lines and data and technology has paired unlikely partners in a quest to better understand consumers. We’ll continue to see this brave new world transform beyond just transactional relationships with consumers as commerce practices shift to predict and service consumer needs. CES showed us that technology will enable a better, anticipatory shopping experience in the future.

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