Raconteur’s Future of Retail report: PWAs, social commerce and search

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Staying relevant and competitive in an ever-changing, post-COVID retail landscape means being in touch with your customers’ high expectations and the latest industry trends. Two of the biggest “buzz topics” right now are social commerce and customer experience, but turning them into actual strategies can be challenging.
Raconteur’s industry-leading report, Future of Retail, is packed full of actionable tips, trend predictions, and tech insights to keep up your sleeve so you can achieve more growth. In the report, there are meaningful stories, infographics, and opinion pieces from key industry companies and thought leaders, including Productsup. We’ve picked out our three favourite tips and trends to share with you:

1. How to be truly digital-first with headless and PWAs

Ecommerce is continuing its shift towards a digital-first approach, and PWAs – progressive web apps – and headless commerce are in the spotlight in Amplience’s feature on page 5. “Looking forwards, 2021 will be the year of the digital storefront,” says the chief executive of Amplience.
There’s an appetite among retail players for ecommerce architecture that’s flexible, scalable, and offers a better customer experience. Many brands are going through a digital transformation, and they want to manage it with reasonable timescales and budgets.
Headless commerce is one solution as it separates the storefront from the back-end, giving brands endless customization options and the agility to sell and advertise across different touchpoints via APIs. And PWAs offer fast load times and app-like experiences without the need to build a native app – and they’re searchable via the web.
With growing customer expectations for coherent and exciting experiences, and with more purchases taking place on smartphones, combining PWAs with headless architecture can lower upfront investment and give brands the opportunity to take an iterative approach and show early gains.

2. What brands need to know about social commerce

This year, social has become an increasingly relevant communication tool, distraction technique, and shopping channel. During the initial UK lockdown 20% of all consumers indulged in social commerce, and this is just one of the impressive stats on page 6.
Shopping via the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube “injected joy back into the shopping experience,” says Julie Atherton, author of 2019 book Social Media Strategy. The article says brands should define their goals – discovery, engagement, or conversions? – and compare this to what different platforms, like Twitch and TikTok, can offer.
In his Q&A on page 21, Marcel Hollerbach, CMO at Productsup, talks about how it’s customers that make the rules, and how brands can meet their high expectations by nailing their social commerce strategy. Spoiler alert: There’s a huge need for strong, tailored product content.

“There are two things to love about social commerce. First, it reaches shoppers where they are. Someone can go from browsing their news feed to making a purchase in seconds. And because they already trust the app, there are minimal blockers. Social commerce makes shoppers’ lives easier. Second, it makes it easy for brands and retailers to get started online.”
Marcel Hollerbach, CMO – Productsup

3. AI-powered search: “The new weapon in online retail”

Your customers’ ability to search and find what they want is “the most critical factor” in every shopping experience, writes Attraqt (page 7). That’s the reason Google and Amazon invest heavily in AI-powered search.
Too many brands and retailers are using legacy search technology, leading to low relevant search results and difficulty in finding products on-site. This can end a customer’s journey with you prematurely, before they go and find what they’re looking for on a different website, search engine or marketplace.
Brands with large product catalogs can’t possibly hope to categorize every product perfectly or know every last SEO term. But AI can do the work for them, using algorithms and machine learning to produce more relevant search results faster. And by interpreting and learning from data on clicks and purchases, AI improves results for future queries.
Plus, the benefits are evidently there for the taking: investing in AI-powered search can mean up to 60% higher conversion rates, millions of dollars in revenue growth for the bigger players, and superior customer experiences.
And that’s not all you’ll find in the report.

You’ll also find stories and insights on:

  • Retail in a post-COVID world
  • Six predictions for retail by 2021, 2025 and 2030
  • Sustainability trends, like recommerce and secondhand
  • The importance of establishing trust with customer reviews
  • In-store technology and immersive customer experiences

“Consumers want convenience and speed, but they also want experiences. Think of Walmart’s drive-in cinema, Harrods’ pop-up stores or even the explosion of buy online pick up in-store. Retailers have been working very hard to create a stellar customer experience across all these touchpoints.”
Marcel Hollerbach, CMO – Productsup

Dive into the future of retail, and learn how to use the latest tech and trends to create engaging customer experiences and boost sales. Download the report for free here.

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