Performance Marketing 8 min read

4 Key Challenges For Retail Marketers in 2022

By QueryClick 14 January, 2022

There’s little debate that the recent pandemic and lockdown has left retail with unprecedented challenges to face in the aftermath.

In an effort to truly understand the impact of these changes – and specifically find out what is keeping retail marketers awake at night in 2022 – QueryClick undertook research in conjunction with Censuswide amongst CMOs, Marketing Directors and VPs, Ecommerce Directors and VPs, Heads of Data, Heads of Analytics and Performance Marketing Directors.

By reviewing the data, it is clear there are 4 key issues dominating their agendas as we move forward in 2022. We’ll dive into each in more detail in this blog.

Challenge #1 – Making a marked improvement in eCommerce experience

In fact, 60% want to see an increased focus on ensuring their eCommerce experience is fit for purpose in 2022 – a figure that rises to 78% for eCommerce Directors.

Unfortunately, the reality for many retailers is that they didn’t secure enough of the upside in online retail sales during the pandemic and need to claw this back in the new retail normal.

According to Mastercard Spend Pulse data for the last quarter of 2020 department store sales were down 10.2% at the same time that ecommerce sales were up 49%. However, data for physical retailers’ ecommerce sales for the period only showed a 3% uplift which means the gap of 46% went to other vendors including online marketplaces.

We believe strongly that retail marketers need to focus on improving their eCommerce experience through a combination of SEO related initiatives including:

The use of audience data in SEO strategies
Source: Performance Marketing Trends in Online Retail, QueryClick

Challenge #2 – Finding a way to mitigate the huge rise in paid media costs

53% of the respondents in our survey are concerned about continuing rising paid media costs.

Perhaps not surprising given that social CPMs are now 44% higher – Facebook is 33% higher – and Google CPCs 23% are higher than pre-pandemic levels.

However, the cost of this type of media is only one part of the equation. Being able to accurately measure its effectiveness is just as important and it is clear that this is a problem for retail marketers, with an incredible 50% of respondents revealing that they cannot confidently or accurately communicate the ROI from Paid Social channels.

This echoes the experience we consistently have with clients who are struggling to reconcile the data they are receiving from their own analytics with proprietary reporting from social platforms – for a range of reasons from inaccurate measurement to poor quality of data inputs.

The key to resolving these issues in 2022 is going to be putting in place the type of solutions that enable effective attribution of social spend.

Performance Marketing Trends in Online Retail Survey 2022
What’s in store for online retail in 2022? Download the report to find out.

Download a copy of our Performance Marketing Trends in Online Retail survey report which includes:

  • “State of play” assessment of retail marketing
  • Post pandemic trends that are influencing strategy
  • Trends in SEO and social for retailers
  • Impact of the death of the 3rd party cookie

Challenge #3- Finding an effective answer to the removal of 3rd party cookies

Since Google fired the starting gun on the removal of 3rd party cookies in 2020 retail marketers have know that they need to have a solution in place. And nothing much has changed here.

53% of retail CMOs flagged the removal of cookies as a hot button in our survey. Although Ecommerce Directors and Analytics Heads seem less concerned at 17% and 16%, respectively, it’s clear that having a solution for the problem is non-negotiable.

And on a positive note, as the graph below shows, 44% indicate that the change will have a positive effect on their business. This is the camp that QueryClick is firmly in too – and we see it as a great opportunity to break free of the shackles of a mechanism that has consistently shown to be not fit for purpose.

The impact of cookies removal on businesses
Source: Performance Marketing Trends in Online Retail, QueryClick

Combatting rising paid media costs through accurate attribution, 1st party data and budget re-deployment are going to be key here. You can find out more in our guide to Achieving Success in a Cookieless World.

Challenge #4 – Winning an increasingly competitive customer experience battle

One of the knock-on effects of the recent pandemic was a dramatic change in the retail landscape which left many traditional retailers forced to make the move into the online space.

Just to provide some figures that put this huge shift in the offline vs online balance into some context, across the market, online retail sales grew 36.6% YOY which is a remarkable increase in its own right. But when you then consider that retailers who had pure online business models like boohoo saw increases of 40% in revenues during the pandemic – while at the same time Primark, who had a more ‘bricks and mortar’ type strategy suffered a £1bn reduction in revenues – it’s clear to see how changes impacted differing retail business models differently.

In fact, our own retail survey research found that 69% of retail CMOs have concerns about customer experience.

And with increased pressure from direct competitors as well as social platforms and online marketplaces retailers have their work cut out to compete, making customer experience vital.

In fact, a staggering 88% of retail marketers questioned in our survey indicate they are finding it difficult to compete with online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Which also appears to be driving them to integrate them into their own strategies with 73% admitting that using these marketplaces was part of their future strategy.

Performance Marketing Trends in Online Retail

Download the full report today and discover what’s in store for online retail in 2022.

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