Every year as we approach the holidays, we share our most popular posts of the year. Here’s the list for 2021, touching on themes such as data privacy, TikTok, customer experience in the round, and digital transformation in FMCG and B2B.

Click through from the headlines if you want to read more. N.B. A handful are subscriber-only.

Thanks for reading!

25. Snug’s CEO on the CX of buying a sofa: “upholstery companies just didn’t listen to their customers”

Snug CEO Rob Bridgman explains how the sofa-in-a-box company provides a great customer experience, from product through to delivery and customer service.

24. FMCG brands are re-evaluating media strategies as consumers shift to online grocery shopping (paywall)

Media and commerce continue to collide in grocery and FMCG, with Tesco and Boots launching media platforms at the end of the year. With shoppers now turning to ecommerce channels as part of their everyday purchase journey, FMCG manufacturers are suddenly having to re-evaluate how they create and convert demand for their products and re-consider how and where they invest in brand advertising and marketing.

23. Diageo on D2C strategy, owning search and adapting to new consumer moments

For brands who primarily sold to or interacted with customers via a physical venue, the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown that it brought prompted an abrupt shift towards finding ways to interact with customers in the digital realm instead. At the Festival of Marketing: The Bottom Line in March, Benjamin Lickfett, Global Head of Digital Innovation at Diageo, spoke to Jon Buss, Managing Director EMEA at Yext, about how Diageo has adapted its approach to digital interaction during the pandemic to cater to new consumer behaviours and buying habits.

22. How FMCG brands are adapting products in response to the shift to ecommerce (paywall)

To capitalise on new consumer behaviour many FMCG companies are re-assessing their product portfolios, and expanding into new categories and channels. This article looks at the role of D2C; products for ‘at home’ activities; convenience and rapid delivery; designing products and content for online channels; and packaging innovation.

21. Death of the PDF? Not quite, but it’s great news for accessibility

Danny Bluestone, CEO of UX-driven digital transformation agency Cyber-Duck, highlights some key considerations for web designers and content producers after the UK government updated its content design guidance for open formats at the back end of 2020.

20. What is ecommerce-as-a-service?

Ocado Solutions, Next’s Total Platform, Zalando Fulfilment Solutions, THG Ingenuity – Nikki Gilliland gives a simple introduction to ecommerce-as-a-service.

19. How Allbirds has been successful in both the west and China

Breaking into the Chinese market is a notorious challenge for many overseas brands, despite the appeal. Here’s how D2C footwear brand Allbirds has adapted to China.

18. V-commerce: Will in-car payments be the next big thing for automotive?

Vehicle commerce continues to develop, with both automotive and finance companies making investments in the space in 2021.

17. Octopus Energy’s Head of Digital on creating ‘outrageously good customer experiences’

Max McShane, Head of Digital at Octopus Energy, spoke at Econsultancy Live in April about how the energy supplier strives to create ‘outrageously good customer experiences’ – and the successes it has seen as a result. Though the whole sector has since endured great upheaval on the back of rising gas prices, Octopus has recently secured new long-term investment and continues to innovate.

16. B2B marketing and commerce trends in 2021: what do the experts predict?

Digital transformation in B2B has been a big theme in 2021, so it’s perhaps useful to revisit our 2021 predictions piece, and discussions about content fatigue, automation backlash, simplification of the value chain, virtual events, personalisation, stock issues, and more.

15. Google makes a big commitment in its pivot to privacy: what marketers need to know

Google is “charting a course towards a more privacy-first web” and in March made a significant announcement related to its plans for 2022 (since delayed to 2023) when its Chrome browser phases out support for third-party cookies and the cookiepocalypse becomes impossible to deny.

14. Four trends in omnichannel beauty retail for 2021

With retail stores and salons re-opening in May, the focus for beauty was on getting back to business, and engaging consumers whose habits might have changed during lockdown. Here, we look at trends in omnichannel.

13. Customer experience trends in 2021: What do the experts predict?

From ethical design to investment across channels – how many of our 2021 CX predictions are still pertinent as we head into the New Year?

12. The state of digital experience transformation in Manufacturing [survey]

An Econsultancy survey, in partnership with Coveo and Sitecore, examines trends in digital experience transformation within the Manufacturing industry.

11. AirAsia is building the airline industry’s first super app. Should other travel businesses follow?

AirAsia CTO Pablo Sanz gave a keynote presentation at the World Aviation Festival Virtual in April on how AirAsia went about expanding beyond travel into complementary areas like healthcare, lifestyle and finance, and how these different ‘pillars’ interact within AirAsia’s super app.

10. How to improve customer experience when products are out of stock (paywall)

For retailers, the consequences can be much more serious than missed sales. Poorly communicated stock levels can not only damage revenue, but can also impact long-term relationships with customers, and even reduce brand loyalty. A useful read, given supply chain issues across 2021.

9. 10 brands getting creative with content on TikTok

TikTok promises a huge opportunity for brands to boost their reach and engagement, particularly with a younger audience – if they can successfully play to its strengths. Here are 10 brands doing so with style.

8. ‘TikTok made me buy it’: How the video-sharing platform is influencing fashion retail

TikTok has had a big impact on fashion retail in the past 12 months, with brands increasingly using the platform to both determine trends and drive sales. If you are of a certain demographic or a regular online shopper – it is likely that fashion brands often fill your FYP (‘for you page’), and that viral videos tempt you to buy the next ‘must-have’ product.

7. Apple blocks open rate tracking: what will it mean for marketers? We asked the experts

In June, Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection, part of iOS15 and designed to block tracking pixels – tiny, invisible images that download along with other images in the email, and record an open – so that users of Apple Mail can interact with emails without the sender tracking whether they have been opened.

6. What will Google’s multimodal search and MUM mean for SEO? We asked the experts (paywall)

We turned to Econsultancy’s storied roster of search experts to ask: what do MUM and multimodal search mean for our relationship to search and SEO? How could they change the game for marketers? And what potential opportunities and challenges do they present?

5. Ecommerce trends in 2021: What do the experts predict?

More predictions for 2021 to evaluate now the year is behind us.

4. Ashley Friedlein’s digital & marketing trends 2021 (paywall)

For the last 10 years Ashley has picked out the digital and marketing trends and developments which he believes will shape the industry and digital/marketing planning and thinking in the year ahead.

3. How museums are using immersive digital experiences (pre- and post-pandemic)

Some of the best examples of museums and galleries getting creative with digital experiences, both before and during Covid-19.

2. 15 useful examples of how to shout about your free delivery service

We take a look at 15 current examples, some via OVPs on homepages, others via product pages, email, and even as incentives after checkout.

1. 14 examples of augmented reality brand experiences

Within the context of marketing, augmented reality allows brands to offer unique and immersive digital experiences, and to engage consumers in a memorable way. Here’s a list of some of the brands to create AR-based experiences in recent times, and what they achieved from doing so.

Want more insight? Explore Econsultancy’s best practice and trends reports.