The 2018 Digital Trends in Retail report, based on an annual trends survey conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, considers the most significant opportunities and challenges faced by digital retailers going into 2018.

The research is based on a sample of almost 600 senior retail leaders (manager level or above) who were among around 13,000 digital professionals taking part in the annual Digital Trends survey carried out at the end of 2017 and start of 2018.

The following sections are featured in the report:

  • Retailers focus on omnichannel
  • The use of data to enhance CX
  • Investment is the recipe for retail success
  • Actionable tips to help future-proof your retail business

Findings include:

  • Retailers prioritise omnichannel approach to help them differentiate through customer experience. Customer experience ranks first for retailers as a means of differentiation. More than a quarter (26%) of survey respondents say that customer experience – making the experience on our properties easy/fun/valuable is the primary way they will seek to stand out from the competition.
  • Companies recognise the need to master data capabilities in order to adopt a more personalised and scalable approach to marketing. More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents rank improving data analysis capabilities to better understand customer experience requirements as a ‘very important’ internal factor, putting this ahead of a range of other requirements.
  • There is a focus on real-time personalisation to enhance the customer experience Retailers recognise that the quality of the customer experience will increasingly depend on being able to serve up the most relevant content and messaging, with companies embracing predictive analytics to help them anticipate the most effective way of converting prospects into customers, and then meeting their needs on an ongoing basis.
  • Digital marketing budgets are on the increase, but investment in digital skills and investment is being neglected. While nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents plan to increase digital marketing spending during 2018, less than a third (29%) of respondents plan to invest significantly in digital skills and education during 2018. Furthermore, almost one quarter (24%) of retailers will be making little or no investment in upskilling their staff this year.

Econsultancy’s Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by Adobe, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape.