Mary Meeker recently released her much anticipated Internet Trends Report. You can see the full 333 slides (!!) here, or check out the Coles Notes below for a summary of the key ecommerce-related trends and takeaways.
Technology Expertise Key to Becoming Market Cap Leader
The Technology sector represents the biggest share of market capitalization leaders with 9 of the top 30. Amazon – who poses the biggest threat to legacy retailers that can’t keep up in the digital realm – came in at number 2. Meanwhile, Walmart and Home Depot were the only two retailers to make the cut. Each has made significant investments in their digital strategy to stay ahead of the pack. Walmart made strategic partnerships with technology companies and redesigned its digital customer experiences, while Home Depot invested in a robust omnichannel strategy with digital at its core. Retailers and brands need to think of themselves as technology companies in order to keep up with the market leaders. We’re seeing more and more organizations introduce a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role in order to do just that. A CDO ensures there’s an overarching digital strategy across the company and that the right products, people, and processes are in place to enable agility and innovation.
Ecommerce Sales Show Solid Growth
Ecommerce sales show strong 12% YoY growth, compared to 2% growth at physical stores. This isn’t to say that stores aren’t still a key part of the shopping experience as ecommerce still only represents 15% of total retail sales. The takeaway here is that both channels are important and need to provide a consistent brand experience. The lines between the two channels are blurring as digital is playing a larger role in supporting physical store sales – whether it’s an app with in-store maps, self-serve kiosks at checkout, or reserve online to pick up in-store. To create a consistent brand experience across all these touchpoints, retailers and brands should eliminate the silos between B2C ecommerce, in-store, and even B2B channels. This requires separating your front-end presentation layer with a headless commerce approach so that your backend systems can be used across all channels. With this approach, APIs provide the freedom to pull in whatever commerce and content functionality you need across any channel to ensure a cohesive brand experience whether it’s B2C ecommerce, in-store, B2B, IoT, social etc.
Mobile Ad Spend Balances with Time Spent on Devices
Mobile advertising spend increased significantly, bringing it up to finally reflect the percentage of time actually spent on mobile. Google still has a significant lead in terms of platform revenue but Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Snap, and Pinterest are gaining share.
What’s driving the ad platform revenue share gain?
- Better targeting: Facebook allows audience customization.
- Integrating commerce into the experience: Pinterest offers shoppable catalogs.
- High-relevance: Twitter allows you to define a specific audience for a highly relevant Promoted Tweet.
Retailers and brands should maintain Google as a core part of their ad spend but also experiment with the more targeted ad features on the other platforms to see what resonates best with their customer base.
New CX Channels Show Solid Growth
When it comes to new customer experience channels, it’s important to be able to distinguish the fads from those that are here to stay. Voice has been around for a few years without widespread adoption, but it’s now seeing exponential growth with Amazon Echo’s base doubling in the last year. Meanwhile, wearables are also showing consistent growth with users doubling in the last 4 years. As more customer experience channels emerge, retailers will need an agile, API-driven approach to be able to quickly adopt these new touchpoints.
Image Sharing Ramps Thanks to New Platform Functionality
As online image and video sharing platforms enable additional functionality, usage continues to ramp. More than 50% of tweet impressions now include image, video or some other form of media. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are evolving to include commerce functionality as well, making them potentially lucrative platforms for retailers and brands. When expanding to these touchpoints, it’s important to provide a cohesive brand experience A headless CMS can be a good way to effectively support the content needs of these new channels and ensure a consistent brand experience.
More Agility & Better Brand Experiences
There’s a lot of great trends and insights within this report, and the ones above are particularly important for retailers and brands to be aware of and act on in the coming year. A consistent theme throughout is the need to increase agility and provide innovative, cohesive brand experiences. If you’re interested in learning how a headless approach can help you achieve this, download the Enterprise Guide to Headless Commerce Front-ends.