Retail Marketing Tomorrow – key takeaways


Missed out on our panel event Retail Marketing Tomorrow? No worries! We present you a brief summary of our event, with the essentials of each trend we discussed. The trends being:

  • How to bridge offline and online?
  • Personalisation and automation in digital advertising
  • The current state of privacy and data collection

If you want to know more continue reading or watch the full replay of the event.

We started with a keynote by Thierry Geerts (Country Director – Google). He discussed the evolution from desktop to mobile and the current move towards ambient computing. The new ecosystem in which all devices are connected and able to learn from each other.

He also mentioned the digital acceleration because of the corona pandemic, where we ‘gained’ 5 years of digital transformation since March 2020. Many companies were not ready for this change, e-commerce grew by 20% during this period and many companies lost business they could have won instead.

Finally, Thierry underlined the huge opportunity of the digital world where companies can have the best of both worlds to grow faster, digital businesses should offer personalised, seamless, and fast answers and solutions. All of this in a sustainable way, with respect for security and privacy.

In the second part of the session Hubert de Cartier (Co-founder and Project Director – Universem) presented 3 digital marketing trends in retail, which got discussed by our panel members.

Trend 1: How to bridge offline and online?

Hubert started by presenting some facts like eg nearly two-third of sales are digitally influenced, those shoppers are converting even more in stores since they are more informed, they will spend more. Consumers are looking for a good experience both online and offline. As a retailer you need to make this experience as smooth and easy as possible, so customers can easily switch.

Yannick de Bièvre (Marketing Director BeNeLux – MediaMarkt) added that bridging offline and online is currently one of the biggest challenges in retail. You need to understand online and offline, who are your customers and why are they following certain paths. You need to personalize every route a customer might take.

After that Lies Eeckman (Managing Director – Polestar Belgium) added the evolution towards our current omnichannel world. Today, a consumer doesn’t remember where he first saw an ad. The lines are fading, but you need to offer the consumer ‘wherever, whenever, however’ they want to receive information. You should also remember that digital and technology aren’t objectives on themselves, they are enablers to get us where we want to go.

Trend 2: Personalisation and automation in digital advertising

To start the discussion, Hubert explained the two perspectives that one should keep in mind. Customers want a personalized experience, but they also want easy and fast solutions to their problems. As a retailer you can differentiate yourself with your price but also with service and engagement with your customers. You need to meet your particular customer’s expectations.

If you combine human creativity with technology this will lead to better performances. Technology alone could already improve your performances by 20% but together with human input you could potentially add 15% extra.

Thierry continued this topic by talking about machine learning and how this is quite stupid on itself, but extremely performant all together. It is only performant by using the magic combination of man and machine. According to Lies there is a clear evolution, but she is not convinced that they (at Polestar) or marketeers in general should do everything by themselves. They should surround themselves with the best experts in each domain.

To conclude this topic Yannick pointed out that you need to be able to change and especially be able to sense change quickly. You can’t stay behind, if the customers change, your tactics should be adapted too. You don’t necessarily need to change your basic strategy but at least the way to achieve your goals.

Trend 3: The current state of privacy and data collection

If you look back in the past 5 years, privacy has changed a lot. With GDPR we now need explicit consent. Browsers are changing the game by controlling and being stricter with what can be tracked. Moreover, users want to have more privacy, they want to know what happens to their data and what will be their return.

Yannick added that the most important part of this trend is consent. People should be able to control for what their data are used for. Marketeers will be pushed to be more creative and make customers want to give their data to companies. Lies focused on the importance of trust as being key for having a strong brand. You need to build a true relationship based upon trust and this comes with transparency.

The panel concluded by reminding consumers to be self-aware of technology. Make sure to know all possibilities and opportunities, but also the threats. Pick a strong password, but fully use all the benefits of technology and make your life easier.

You want to know more about all your digital marketing possibilities in retail?

Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss the opportunities for your organisation!