Some of the top digital priorities for marketers, according to the Siemer study, were conversion rate optimization, content optimization, and content marketing, which led the pack with 39% of marketers identifying it as a priority. Targeting and personalization was high up on the list at 37% of marketers, along with brand building, social media engagement, and mobile optimization.
Another area of rapid growth is the “vertically integrated niche player,” which spans such companies as Nasty Gal vintage clothing and Fab.com. A majority of niche players exist in the digital realm only, and have amassed more than $1 billion in revenue in 2012. Additionally, the era of the flash sale site has not ended, as Gilt Groupe, Hautelook, and Beyond the Rack continue to attract loyal customers.
Nordstrom, which purchased HauteLook for $180 million in 2011, marked the beginning of a convergence of the in-store and online experience, which has led to growing need for “omnichannel” solutions that help companies optimize their marketing and purchase funnels.
Taking a cue from online retailer eBay’s GSI Commerce platform that integrates ecommerce with inventory management, traditional big-box retailers like Walmart will continue to experiment with technology to gain a competitive edge. Walmart Labs’ Mupd8 analytics platform extracts videos, images, location intelligence, and status updates from social media streams to help the retailer track key influencers and product resonance to put toward online marketing efforts.