6 digital marketing trends online retailers will need to know about in 2017

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Being one step ahead of the game is crucial in e-commerce, and even more so in online advertising. Let’s face it, who wants to come up with exactly the same idea as their competitors?

With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, it may seem a bit early to start thinking about 2017, but this is never the case when it comes to the online world. Twenga Solutions knows that getting one step ahead is a game-changer in e-commerce, so that is why we have come up with our 6 digital marketing trends to keep an eye out for in 2017. Who knows, basing your marketing strategy around these points next year could revolutionise the performance of your business!

1. Live streaming to open new marketing opportunities

Live streaming got big in 2016 with the increasing popularity of dedicated apps such as Periscope. Facebook also created its own on-site livestream to engage fans, while Twitter took this a step further by allowing users to use a Periscope button to live stream, all without even leaving the app.


At first sight e-commerce businesses may dismiss this feature as too social for it to be relevant; however, it provides great opportunity to add a human element to a brand. We all know how important it is to make customers feel more connected to your business and tell a relatable story.

In 2017, why not try one of the following live streaming techniques?

  • Share events and conferences in real time
  • Reveal some company ‘secrets’ with a behind-the-scenes video
  • Explain your products further with a how-to video
  • Create demos and tutorials for new or existing products
  • Tell your customers everything they want to know with live Q&A sessions

2. The monetisation of mobile messaging apps

Mobile messaging is the last area that remains to be monetised from a social media perspective. Although an obvious choice would be to see paid advertising similar to that on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it is extremely unlikely to go ahead because it may feel like an invasion of privacy for users.


However, with the growth of mobile messaging usage, we should expect app owners to come up with an innovative way to monetise these apps in the coming year. When this does happen, online retailers will need to look for ways to make the most of this channel.

3. Social media buy buttons to stay


There is nothing new about buy buttons on social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter already offer this feature, but they have so far failed to gain much traction from customers. A lack of awareness from shoppers is a key issue and even when users do click, there is often a limited number of products to choose from.

Online retailers that have already joined the cause need not fear because social platforms have not given up yet! E-commerce platforms on social media are constantly under testing and social networks are also tirelessly raising awareness to gain the trust of retailers and users alike. Overall, the fact that this concept has not been taken down yet shows that social commerce still has promise in 2017 and we should keep an eye on this channel.

4. Smartphone usage trends require a multichannel strategy

It comes as no surprise that mobile usage in on an upwards incline. Bigger mobile screens, affordability, and a larger selection of retailers offering dedicated apps or mobile optimised sites are to thank for this. In fact, we now live in world where we no longer ‘go online’, but we live online. Should it be to look up the latest scores, watch a recipe tutorial or track a workout session, our eyes and fingertips quickly turn to mobile devices throughout the day.


Google hasn’t taken this trend lightly, constantly adding optimisations to its platform to improve user experience on these devices. A key example from 2016 is the launch of Price Extensions for mobile, a feature that allows online retailers to display price information before a user even clicks on an ad.

However, the rise in mobile usage is not as simple as creating a mobile-optimised site or a dedicated app. Because although smartphones are popular for social networking sites, chatting to contacts and browsing the news, retail conversation rates are low on these devices. Data from Monetate shows that in Q4 2015, global conversion rates for e-commerce sites were as low as 1.53% on smartphones, compared to 3.75% on tablet and 4.43% on desktop.

At this moment in time, consumers still prefer to use desktop and tablet for more detailed viewing but this does not mean that online retailers cannot develop their multichannel strategy in 2017 to conclude sales on devices with even smaller screens.

5. The future is in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR)

AR and VR have the potential to completely revolutionise the way consumers shop and online retailers sell. Going beyond artificially trying on different pairs of glasses or watches, VR in particular has the potential to allow consumers to put themselves in a real-life situation and imagine products in that context. For example, a camping store could create a visual representation of a forest where clients can look at the different tents on offer.


Of course, this helps consumers to better visualise their purchases, but it does not stop there. Retailers could also profit from such technology, by testing out different layouts of their store or even when imagining the different packaging options for their products.


While this may seem extremely futuristic, AR and VR are just around the corner! In fact, some UK prescription glasses retailers have had a similar concept in place for several years now, allowing their customers to try on glasses without ever leaving their home.

6. Data is not dead

There was a lot of talk about the use of data as early as 2015, yet this will be an ongoing trend in 2017. The increased use of data and how it will be used next year will contribute to concepts such as personalisation and how we can revolutionise paid search. Rather than humans manually defining rules, we will see more lead scoring and grading based on algorithms and machine learning.


What does this mean for online retailers? In paid search results, for example, customers will be first and foremost shown products that correspond with their wants and needs, which of course contributes to user experience. From a retailers’ perspective, clicks will be more qualified having a direct impact on sales.

With this trend, in particular, we can expect even more online retailers to turn to dedicated SEM solutions for e-commerce, without which it would be difficult to optimise paid search campaigns to such a high level.


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