CommerceNext Annual Report: A Closer Look At Marketing Investment Priorities Post-COVID

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With less than one week to go before the CommerceNext Virtual Summit on July 28-29, we’re giving you a first look at our second annual retail marketing benchmark report. This free report is full of useful data about how brands have shifted their retail marketing priorities in response to the pandemic.

Download the full report now:
The Big Pivot: How Traditional and Digital-first Retailers Re-prioritized Marketing Investments in the Wake of COVID-19.

How we did it

Like last year, we conducted a survey of senior-level marketing executives to gauge which strategies, technologies and channels they were planning to invest in for 2020. The targeted survey went out in early January.

Then COVID-19 happened, and everything changed. We realized that for this report to truly bring value, we had to survey retail marketing executives again to learn more about how the pandemic had influenced their investment decisions. So, we sent out the survey again in June.

The result: a before-and-after snapshot of how marketers made the “Big Pivot” to better respond to customers’ changing needs during COVID. This follows the theme for this year’s Virtual Summit, “The Path to Recovery.”

Thank you to Exponea for sponsoring the research!

What we learned

Our new report reveals that while 32% of all ecommerce marketers expected their budgets to “significantly decrease” in the wake of the pandemic, not all marketers are decreasing their budgets. Only 15% of digital-first DTC brands said their budgets had “significantly decreased” due to COVID-19, and 48% actually increased their budgets.

Other highlights include:

  • Spending in SMS/text messaging and AR have increased post-COVID. Comparing January to June, the increase in investments in augmented/virtual reality rose from 8% to 21%. Text messaging/SMS platform investments increased by five points post-COVID (51% vs. 56%).
  • Retention marketing plays a more aggressive role, especially for holiday 2020. With ecommerce demand at an unprecedented high post-COVID, marketers are realizing the value of investing in the customers they’ve already acquired. Our data shows that they’re taking a more balanced spending approach between acquisition and retention and this will factor into holiday planning. This was a trend that began before the pandemic and continues to hold today.
  • Privacy and compliance moved down the priority list. Since COVID-19 hit the US, there is a decrease in focus on privacy & compliance; only 15% of marketers expect to embrace efforts versus 24% before.
  • Brand marketing was a goal for 2020 before COVID. Before the pandemic, marketers were planning to take a more balanced approach between performance marketing and brand. Post-COVID, marketers indicated a shift back to performance, sticking with what they know to engage with customers.
  • Retailers are ready for unprecedented online holiday shopping demand. With Cyber Monday-levels of ecommerce happening every day in the month of May, 58% of retailers said they now feel either “much more” or “slightly more” prepared for the 2020 holiday season.

The best-laid plans for 2020 had to be overhauled due to current realities, and marketers are responding in real-time as conditions continue to change. Just like we always do!

CommerceNext 2020 Research Report: The Big Pivot

Why you need this research

Our latest report offers information you need to make decisions for your brand as you prepare for the next phase—recovery. We expect that many of the investment priorities that were top of mind in January will once again be on the radar post-COVID, such as brand marketing, ad channel diversification, a swerve away from reliance on paid search and Facebook, and increased testing of newer channels such as TikTok and Snap.

We look forward to discussing these findings and much more next week during the CommerceNext Virtual Summit. The report will provide more color to our sessions as we look toward the second half of 2020 as an opportunity to rebuild and be there for our customers in new and exciting ways. It’s not too late! Register today and reserve your spot.

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