Living in a society of the IT age is undeniably marked by several key factors such as a fast flow of communications, process automation and simplification, and digitalisation of relationships. From a sociological viewpoint, this has led to a profound reconfiguration of values that guide us in our everyday life. On the one hand, we are able to easily express our emotions ‘here and now’ via social media, but on the other hand TIME that we are invariably short of has become the most valuable currency. Are we different ‘now’? Yes and no. According to the theory of habitus developed by Pierre Bordieu, some behavioural patterns are part of our DNA, thereby determining our behaviour and reactions to specific stimuli in adulthood. In biology, this is called an unconditional response where process automation such as thumb sucking in children is innate. Therefore, marketing - albeit perceived as intangible - becomes a receptor that generates a specific response in communication with a consumer. But what does it actually mean?
The 2010s were exceptional in that they witnessed an unprecedented transformation of the global way of life, putting the entire retail sector under strong pressure. The primary objective was to optimise communication, logistics and retail chains in order to improve operational performance. The retail sector lacked important elements that would enable automation and real-time data analyses.
The modern internet is very different from its precursor. It is becoming an Internet of Things, learning our behaviour and creating networks of connections similar to human neurons. Thanks to their capacity, 5G networks that are being rolled out will enable sending and downloading tens of gigabits of data literally in a split of a second. In the future, highly-developed analytics, artificial intelligence and all sorts of algorithms will shape our communication ecosystem and an environment for the economic life. Many brands, including fashion brands, are already investing in the development of highly-integrated real-time systems that enable them to manage sales of each product irrespective of a distribution platform or channel. Thanks to advanced technologies, orders are being increasingly fulfilled within a couple of hours rather than days.
According to a 2019 report by the Chamber of Digital Economy and Mobile Institute “Omni-commerce. I shop conveniently”, nearly 57% of internet users shop online, up by five percentage points on 2018. Interestingly, 52% of online shoppers use mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets that are becoming an intrinsic part of our everyday life. Also on the rise is selling via social media that can already be fully integrated with retailers’ online stores.
What will the future be like? It will definitely be dynamic, so it is worth tracking new market trends.
Algorithmisation of an online life: a free choice or a biased recommendation?
User tracking, algorithms used to personalise content and create a need to have a product compatible with a profile analysis – that’s what our digital reality is like. Internet browsers, website positioning and engines indicating potential purchase categories all rely on artificial intelligence that learns our online behaviour. On the one hand, we get results we should receive, but on the other hand we are shown only a selection of resources and available content. Instead of experiencing more, we get to see biased materials putting us in some sort of a behavioural box, which is a cause for concern. Maintaining synergy of each element of the ecosystem will ensure its stability. Based on this assumption, it should be underscored that as technology advances, we, as a society, increase our awareness that helps us filter the information we get.
Key elements of an omnichannel strategy:
- Lead Generation – building a database, e-mail communication through a traditional newsletter and dynamic 1-2-1 messaging. Use of engines (marketing automation) to create an aggregated database.
- Social Media – careful content development and adaptation of communications to the expectations of addressees of our materials. We segment and appropriately profile groups of addressees depending on the criteria that are important to us.
- RTB Advertising – an online RTB advertising campaign, i.e. personalised ads that are consistent with our communication and the behaviour of the user who comes into contact with the communication.
- Brick-And-Mortar Store – use of such technologies as beacons and mobile apps. They enable verification of a customer’s shopping path and reveal the customer’s shopping profile, and - through push communication - send a dedicated offer based on the purchase history.
- Digital Media – ensuring a responsive website design that makes web pages render well on the screens of both desktop computers and mobile devices. This also includes text and multimedia messaging, and geopush notifications, as well as campaigns dedicated to mobile devices, SEO and ASO, and ongoing integration of content and touchpoints of users with a mobile app.
- Web pages – with customised content, starting from banners through to dedicated fill-in forms and additional materials.
- Loyalty programmes and CRM – creating a ‘reason to believe’ for the consumer so that the customer returns. A loyalty programme and an appropriate CRM system make it possible to quickly identify the user, browse through his/her purchase history, and to ensure top-quality customer service, including a superior post-purchase experience.