Online retailers need to improve their omnichannel marketing capabilities to capitalise on increased ecommerce revenues, which have been accelerated by Covid-19. That’s one of the key findings in a study by automation platform dotdigital, released today

The annual report – called Hitting the Mark also found that digital retailers across the APAC region (Australia, New Zealand and Singapore) are doing a better job with online user experience (UX), where they rate second only to the UK, and typically in-line with US brands, according to the report’s authors.

Among the key findings;

  • A third of etailers have adopted live chat
  • Brands are embracing new payment partners especially Buy Now Pay Later
  • Preference centers were missing in 66% of emails
  • Omni channel adoption is poor
  • and customer loyalty is not rewarded.

Aparna Gray, APAC Head of Marketing, at dotdigital said “It’s great to see APAC brands making significant progress in improving customer experience, however, currently they aren’t setting the bar high enough for a customer-centric strategy.  The ultimate customer experience – the one that exceeds customers’ expectations and drives sales – is created when brands combine customer data with omnichannel journeys and user experiences.”

“Brands are working hard to gain customer confidence and acquire data, but they’re stumbling at the final hurdle. Data drives relevancy which improves experience and keeps shoppers engaged. Retailers need to review their marketing operations to ensure they aren’t missing out on a large chunk of potential revenue in a market that is rapidly accelerating as a result of Covid-19,” Aparna concluded,” she said.

The report benchmarks the digital marketing tactics adopted by 100 ecommerce brands around the world, and indicates that brands in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore are making headway by tapping into customers’ demands for easily accessible communication But they are missing the mark when it comes to the basics when it comes to data use, personalisation, and integrated marketing communications.

This means retailers could be losing out on online revenues at a time when ecommerce demand is soaring due to the COVID disruption.

Consent management

Of the 100 global brands featured in the report, APAC scored the lowest when it came to providing consumers with clear data consent criteria.  The author’s say retailers need to work harder to make their Terms of Use and privacy policies more obvious at the point of subscription to improve integrity and customer trust – if a subscriber is well informed at the point of sign-up, they’re less likely to unsubscribe from marketing communications in the future.

Four out of five retailers in the region surveyed sent new customers a welcome email, but just 29% of brands optimised their welcome programme, meaning they are missing crucial opportunities to gather further customer information to power personalisation in future communications to drive conversions and improve sales.

Despite omnichannel experience being recommended by KPMG as a key investment for Australian ecommerce businesses to benefit from the upswing in online sales post-Covid-19,  few of the businesses surveyed utilised omnichannel marketing tactics, and APAC was especially weak on this measure.

According to the report,”We also found that omnichannel isn’t a well adopted tactic in the APAC region. On average, brands scored a mere 14%. While we did note some adoption of SMS, live chat, and push notification tactics, these channels were not widely adopted or utilized to their full potential.

Brands in APAC are also still over-reliant on email to reach customers, with just 10 per cent of businesses adopting SMS as a communication channel, with similarly low uptake of push notifications, missing the opportunity to communicate with the 24% of Australian shoppers who prefer to shop via mobile.

Australia’s The Iconic leads the pack

One retailer bucking the omnichannel trend is previous Hitting the Mark winner, THE ICONIC, which was listed as one of five top global brands for marketing communications.  As the most downloaded fashion app in Australia, its use of push notifications was commended for using compelling content to drive shoppers back to the app time and time again.  However, the brand was called out for a lack of live chat function to communicate with customers in real time.  The top marketing brands in APAC are ICONIC, HipVan, CottonOn,  The Warehouse, and Chares and Keith.

While globally 71 per cent of brands have bots or dedicated customer service teams manning social media channels, providing an ‘always on’ service for customer queries, these channels were not widely adopted or utilised to their full potential in APAC.  Given customers spend an average 3.5 times more with brands when they are engaged on multiple channels, retailers that don’t adopt a multichannel approach to their marketing campaigns will be missing out on substantial revenue.

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