A new study reveals that 40% of retailers plan to hire for marketing analytics positions this year – confirming them to be the most in-demand marketing jobs. This statistic illustrates the increasing need for brands to efficiently connect volumes of customer data that will lead to greater personalization, relevancy, and ultimately, improved customer experiences.
According to the Shop.org/Forrester Research, Inc. study titled, “The State of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing & Merchandising,” improving the customer shopping experience is crucial for online brands. The study shows that 62% of respondents said that recommendations and personalization features will be a priority focus in the coming year -- including integrating capabilities to create different home pages and creating unique pages for their customers based on purchase history.
“Retailers continue to optimize the customer experience on their site and to that end have made investments in A/B testing, product detail page enhancements, and personalization mainstream,” Forrester Research Vice President and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said in a press release. “Going forward, however, we expect to see much more emphasis on checkout enhancements, as that is a key obstacle for direct transactions on mobile devices.”
As mobile traffic continues to surge, 87% of online retailers said they either already have implemented or are planning to implement mobile email optimization in 2013, and seven in 10 will optimize paid search for smartphones and tablets (71% and 73%, respectively).
Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell said in the release that as consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets in the U.S. reaches critical mass, retailers know that their marketing mix has to work optimally for all customer touchpoints.
“Email has always been one of most effective customer retention vehicles in the market, so it’s no surprise to see retailers investing to make email engaging and relevant for the increasingly mobile consumer,” Cantrell said.
What’s more, nearly three-quarters (72%) of online retailers will invest in integrating video on their sites this year. More than half of retailers surveyed (52%) said they will increase spending on Facebook marketing this year, while 31% will spend more on Pinterest, 25% on Twitter, 25% on YouTube, and 23% on Instagram.
Forrester surveyed 65 e-retailers – mostly multichannel companies -- in April and May about their marketing strategies. About one-third of respondents generate $100 million or more in annual revenue; the rest are smaller. On average, their total marketing budgets are $7.6 million annually, according to the report.