Adobe Digital Trends Report 2018: Real Time, AI & CX

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Adobe has released it Digital Trends report for 2018, specifically looking into the changing landscape of online retail, as well as the way digital users are reshaping the space.

Despite predictions of doom and gloom for bricks-and-mortar, the strength of online sales doesn’t mean that physical stores are obsolete.

In fact, a 2017 US Census report found that 90 per cent of all retail purchases in America were made in physical stores.

Furthermore, 43 per cent of Millennials prefer to research brands and products online before shopping in-store.

This reinforces how critical it is that retailers deliver an exceptional and joined-up cohesive experience along the entire shopping journey.

These are some of the report’s key findings.

Retailers focused on customised real-time experience

The report found that the most exciting prospect for retailers is delivering personalised experiences in real time, cited by 37 per cent of retail respondents.

While there is huge potential for AI to play a major role here, investment in digital skills is being neglected, as less than a third (29 per cent) of respondents plan to invest significantly in digital skills and education this year.

Additionally, only around one in six (17 per cent) respondents cite the use of artificial intelligence as the most exciting prospect over the medium term.

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Retailers less concerned about mobile

Surprisingly, when asking retailers which factors will be most important for their digital marketing efforts over the next few years, “understanding how mobile users purchase” has slipped down the pecking order from the top spot in 2017.

Although the hype around mobile seems to have eased, a recent US Adobe study found that not only is the level of online spending predicted to rise, but an increase has been seen in the value of each smart device visit, with consumers moving away from laptops when shopping.

For reference, at the beginning of 2014, the average amount a US consumer spent during a smartphone retail visit was about one-fifth that of a desktop visit; it’s now up to one-third.

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Experience management, omnichannel marketing and content are among the top priorities for retailers in 2018

More than half of respondents indicate that each of these areas is a top-three priority and, in the case of omnichannel marketing, a quarter (25 per cent) of all retailers surveyed make this their number one priority for the year ahead.

What does it mean for Australian Retailers?

As the largest footwear retailer in ANZ, Accent Group can talk to how they have used digital to transform the customer journey from inception in the creative process to delivering compelling experiences across physical and digital including:

  • The need for retailers to become truly digitally led and prioritise personalisation
  • how they have digitised their inventory processes
  • their plans to bring the online store into their physical bricks and mortar experience
  • the competitive advantage that omnichannel retailers currently have but aren’t fully utilising

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