2018 will be the year marketers look back on as the critical point that shapes the future of e-commerce, retail, and payments industry.
"Through 2021, IDC projects that retailers leveraging AI, AR, and IoT for employee and customer engagement will see customer satisfaction scores rise by up to 20 percent," said Alban Villani, general manager for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan at Criteo. "Retail and e-commerce businesses that wish to better engage customers will need to understand the great potential of these disruptive technologies."
Delivering the keynote at Seamless Asia 2018, Villani shared the four key trends that Criteo has identified as factors and market forces pushing the industry forward, such as:
Now, more than ever, in an era of mass consolidation, marketers will need to invest in owned systems that track unaided awareness and prospects across their own unique marketing funnel. While this advice isn't new, Criteo wants marketers to take it a step further and include their own owned payment mechanism to retain data ownership and control, using it only for retargeting purposes.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Voice-based search and chatbots powered by machine learning will become the new normal that eliminates latency in responding to customer queries in a new normal where instantaneous responses are the norm. Villani says that not all businesses are equipped for AI, from their budgets, risk profiles, and mindsets. That doesn't mean that a turnkey solution cannot be adopted during the trial phase. While the datasets at Criteo only presently allow the commerce marketer to apply machine learning algorithms, Villani anticipates that by 2020 the business will be applying deep learning at scale.
Admitting that the industry is at least three years away from deploying blockchain across an organization, Villani implores business owners to meet with as many qualified vendors that are industry-specific and walk through the expectations and requirements. He feels that when blockchain testing by the market leaders reaches the point of widespread adoption, the risk-averse majority won't have time to learn about the solution from scratch, and will be better equipped if they are fully aware and need only the deploy go ahead.
Unsurprisingly, having an owned app delivers 21% campaign conversions according to Criteo's data, four times more than the web version. The factors behind this include user experience, app navigation, CTA rewards, and more. Marketers that rely on third-party sellers will lose out and are better suited owning their app and subsequent digital stores. Villani also wants retailers in the same space to collaborate with publishers for anonymised opted-in data sharing.
"In doing so, large retailers are able to make connections that they would otherwise not been able to draw," said Villani.