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Digital marketing trends in retail that drive sales and engage Shoppers

The retail landscape is constantly evolving, shaped by advancements in technology and shifting consumer behaviours. Staying ahead of the curve is vital and businesses need to leverage the latest digital marketing trends to remain competitive and relevant.

Expert advice from director-led performance marketing agency outbloom draws insights from industry research and their own expertise, identifying key digital marketing trends that are shaping the retail sector in 2024.

Digital marketing plays a pivotal role in driving sales and engaging shoppers in the retail sector. By embracing innovative strategies such as personalised shopping experiences, social commerce integration, omnichannel marketing, and more, retailers can stay ahead of the curve and thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Julia Symonds, Co-Founder and Lead Consultant at outbloom, says: “Customer behaviour is constantly changing in retail due to trends, external events, or simple curiosity. Many retailers must embrace what the latest technology has to offer to reach more consumers on digital channels to generate sales, boost conversion and encourage recurring purchases. With more ways to shop than ever before, retailers must innovate to meet consumers’ constantly evolving, lofty expectations.”

So, what can retailers and consumers expect to see in the foreseeable future? outbloom has curated a list of some of the emerging and ongoing trends that will impact the retail industry in the coming years.

1. Personalised Shopping Experiences

Personalisation has become a cornerstone of successful digital marketing strategies in retail. Today’s consumers expect tailored shopping experiences that cater to their individual preferences and needs. Retailers can leverage customer data and advanced analytics to deliver personalised recommendations, product suggestions, and promotional offers. By understanding their customers’ behaviour and preferences, retailers can create targeted marketing campaigns that drive engagement and foster loyalty.

2. Social Commerce Integration

Social media platforms have become powerful tools for retailers to connect with their target audience and drive sales. The integration of social commerce features allows consumers to make purchases directly from their favourite social media channels, streamlining the buying process and reducing friction. Retailers can leverage social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to showcase products, engage with customers, and drive traffic to their online stores. By tapping into the vast reach and influence of social media, retailers can expand their customer base and increase sales.

3. Omnichannel Marketing Strategies

In today’s omnichannel retail environment, consumers expect a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels and touchpoints. Retailers must adopt omnichannel marketing strategies that integrate online and offline channels to create a cohesive brand experience. Whether shopping online, in-store, or via mobile devices, customers should have access to consistent product information, pricing, and promotions. By delivering a unified shopping experience across all channels, retailers can enhance customer satisfaction, drive sales, and foster brand loyalty.

4. Interactive Content and Immersive Experiences

Interactive content and immersive experiences are increasingly becoming key drivers of engagement in the retail sector. Retailers can leverage technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to create interactive shopping experiences that captivate and engage consumers. From virtual try-on tools to immersive product demonstrations, interactive content allows consumers to experience products in a more engaging and memorable way. By embracing interactive technologies, retailers can differentiate themselves from competitors and provide unique value to shoppers.

5. Influencer Marketing Collaborations

Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful strategy for retailers to reach and engage their target audience authentically. By partnering with influencers who align with their brand values and target demographics, retailers can leverage the influence and credibility of social media personalities to promote their products and drive sales. Influencers can create authentic content that resonates with their followers, helping retailers to increase brand awareness, generate buzz, and drive traffic to their online stores.

Photo by The Nix Company on Unsplash

Only over a quarter of UK organisations have omnichannel connected in their organisations 

Traditional communication methods are still the popular with three quarters (76%) of businesses using Email and three-fifths (59%) using SMS, but only 7% of UK businesses are using digital messaging apps.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has set a gloomy tone for consumersacross the country. Whilst customers tighten their pockets, businesses are looking for ways to deliver relevant and personalised communications that keeps customers keen. Yet businesses are missing the mark, according to exclusive new online research from global cloud communications platform Infobip.

The research, commissioned with research company IDG, polled 215 organisations spanning across  retail & e-commerce, transport and logistics, telecommunications, financial and insurance and public sector industries. The research aimed to assess the integration of digital channels and how connected they are across differing departments within an organisation and how this informs the customer experience.

The research found that only over a quarter (28%) of UK organisations have omnichannel connected in their organisations, yet over 60% of UK organisations see the value in connected communication channels.

The results also found the following about channel use in UK organisations:

  • There is a slower adoption of newer digital messaging apps: Traditional communication methods are still the popular with three-quarters (76%) of businesses using Email and 59% using SMS but only 7% of UK businesses are using digital messaging apps; next year this figure is set to double (14%).
  • (66%) of data used in the different channels is customer information, yet only 6% of communication is personalised by behaviour or context.
  • Businesses are finding omnichannel difficult to implement: 61% of UK businesses see a lack of collaboration or connection between departments as the main challenges for implementing an omnichannel Customer Experience

With half (50%) of UK organisations in the process of selecting such technology now, and a third  (33%) planning to invest in having omnichannel messaging platform over the next 6-12 months, the research shows that having connected communication channels is of priority. However there seems to be difficulty in integrating this and using it. The main challenges cited for implementing an omnichannel Customer Experience is difficulty in integrating data with legacy systems (62%) and lack of collaboration or connection between departments (61%).

Almost half of UK and European companies (45% and 41%) have high levels of some digitisation within their organisation, and consistent with the Europe-wide finding, almost all (99%) companies in the UK have customer experience automation integrated into their business at some level. But only half of companies in UK and Europe are actively implementing omnichannel into their systems. There is still some way to go for businesses to achieve optimal omnichannel experience for their end-users.

Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer, at Infobip said: “Just like ourselves, our customers have an abundance of choice ranging from WhatsApp to Skype with their communication apps. While traditional communication methods are still going strong, to deliver effective and personal communication we need to tap into the digital messaging apps that our customers know, prefer and love. It’s encouraging to see we are recognising where our customers are and how we can reach them, this is informing where businesses are investing and funnelling their efforts. However, this can be a confusing task with legacy systems predating omnichannel methods. Partnering with businesses that specialise in supporting businesses transform their customer offering can lighten their load.”

Nielsen Marketing Cloud and i2c collaborate to deliver ‘complete omnichannel view’…

The Nielsen Marketing Cloud has announced an ‘insight collaboration’ with i2c – an innovative partnership between Sainsbury’s and Aimia – that concentrates on data-driven strategies and insights designed to influence shopping behaviour, build brand loyalty and enhance the shopping experience for customers.

Both parties claim that this collaboration will enable brands to acquire a ‘complete omnichannel’ view of customers across hundreds of key characteristics; as well as allowing marketers to harness the data gained in order to analyse, activate and plan their marketing campaigns across media; reliably analyse campaign results and improve the relevance of their customer messages.

Previously, the Nielsen Marketing Cloud and i2c partnered to support Carling’s national ‘Great British Moments’ campaign, which resulted in a 19 per cent sales uplift and a 4.1(X) campaign ROI attributed to this collaboration.

VP and managing director of Nielsen Marketing Cloud, Europe, Matt Bennathan, commented: “The collaboration of i2c and The Nielsen Marketing Cloud has proven the impact that data-driven programmatic audience buying can have on in-store and online sales for a brand. Our award-winning Carling campaign illustrated that.”

He continued: “The Nielsen Marketing Cloud has the richest UK data available and is a perfect partner for Nectar’s loyalty card data. We can programmatically engage digital audiences at scale and close the loop, providing strong, measurable sales results.”


Learn more about i2c here