He explains that, as we prepare for this next era of customer experience, there are three topics crucial for the future of marketing in e-commerce:
Ranally says consumers have moved from carving out time in their day to get what they need, from shopping that is routine, functional and trend-based to always shopping and shopping that is serendipitous and integrated into daily digital life.
“Consumers see no difference between online and in-store channels, preferring to mix the two across a range of new product categories as opposed to choosing one or the other in isolation.
“It’s all just shopping to them, and this requires us to rethink how we market to consumers,” he explains.
The omnichannel is no longer. “It’s not about having many different channels to accomplish many different goals, but about an interconnected experience that provides personalised and seamless benefits to the customer regardless of the channel, moment or mindset that they are in.”
Also, he says e-commerce helps people buy products, but discovery commerce is about helping products find the right people and personalisation is key to discovery commerce.
“People value personalised experiences - 82% of consumers are willing to share their personal data to receive a personalised product, recommendations, discounts, or services - if they know how their data is being used.”
People increasing spend more time online, and, with the line between online and in-store blurring, consumers are increasingly turning to creators for shopping inspiration.
This has seen live stream commerce take off. An already dominant form of ecommerce in China this format has expanded globally to offer people detailed product information and recommendations from trusted sources from the comfort of their own homes.
"We have seen a 90% increase in live shopping hashtags on Instagram year on year. From NFTs to cryptocurrencies new virtual economies have begun to form as the market for digital items continues to grow. Conversations about the virtual economy have exploded rising 85% on Facebook in that same time period."
“We are living in a creator renaissance where power is shifting from organisations to individuals across industries, across the world,” says Ranally.
“From 2020 to 2021, we have seen influencer hashtags grow on Instagram by 384% and conversations about influencer marketing on Facebook have grown by 147%. Really astonishing numbers!”
Consumers are turning to creators for different reasons.
“Entertainment is the most dominant motivation, but people also want to be inspired, learn new skills and stay up to date on the latest trends,” he explains.
This expansion of motivators is mirrored by the expansion of categories creators impacting on.
“Historically beauty and fashion had communities built around creators but now we are seeing more categories emerge such as food and beverage, wellness, home décor and even automotive,” he says.
This has transformed creators into authentic and trusted voices for shopping and inspiration.
“We found that 71% of Facebook and Instagram users have taken a shopping action as a result of seeing content posted by a creator.”
He adds that they are seeing significant growth in terms such as neurodiversity and body positivity on their platforms as consumers feel more connected to a brand that works with a diverse set of creators.
The foundation of what is happening today is going to catapult into tomorrow’s vision; the metaverse.
Elements of the metaverse, such as omni-reality, VR, and gaming platforms such as Minecraft, already exist in a limited capacity, with consumers increasingly embracing multidimensional technology as they crave more immersive opportunities.
“A Facebook survey showed 74% of people believe technologies such as AR are a way to bridge the gap between the online and offline world,” says Ranally.
Given that elements of the metaverse are already at play, he says brands need to see how everyday technologies are already adding value across the marketing funnel.
“Understanding these critical building blocks will allow you to act faster when new technologies come to the centre of consumer behaviour, allowing you to meet your customers where they are already,” he says.