“Retail is dead” & other myths brands are tired of hearing

Myth 1: Retail is Dead

It’s hard to walk in New York or Los Angeles without spotting a vacant storefront. This, coupled with recent headlines have done little to dispel the myth that retail is dead. Adding to the hysteria, was the heavily publicized downfall of Toys “R” Us last year. However, retail is not dead; it is evolving.  

In 2018, the CMO Council, in partnership with eBay, conducted an online audit of brands like LEGO, Fruit of the Loom, Bosch, Serta, PUMA, Lenovo and Electrolux.  According to more than half of survey respondents, retail is being reinvented thanks in part to global eCommerce communities like eBay. But while these communities are revolutionizing retail, they are also forcing the brand marketers to rethink their own evolution across all channels and touchpoints. 1.

While advertising on eCommerce platforms can drive foot traffic to brick and mortar stores as well as brand sites, it requires strategic thinking. With the appropriate use of data, brands can effectively target consumers, which brings us to Myth #2.

Myth 2: Consumers Think Personalization is Creepy

Retailers are reinventing their online experience through customer personalization. When a customer visits a website, they can be targeted using search data and other key data points. However, some find this level of personalization off putting. While there is definitely a fine line between customized and creepy, not all personalization has to make a consumer feel like they are being followed.

According to MarTech, “It is actually reported that 67 percent of consumers prefer brands to automatically adjust content based on their current context; with 83 percent of consumers willing to share their personal information in exchange for a more relevant experience. When brands fail to be relevant, a striking 42 percent of shoppers will get annoyed and an alarming 66 percent would stop from making a purchase.”

With 900+ audiences, eBay can deliver highly segmented campaigns to reach the right people. However, this type of data mining requires artificial intelligence which can be met with apprehension and brings us to Myth #3.

Myth 3: AI = Dehumanization

Let’s make this clear, artificial intelligence (AI) does NOT compromise the consumer experience. In fact, every time a user interacts with a marketplace, AI learns and provides feedback. AI touches every page on eBay. It is woven into all aspects of the eBay marketplace, anticipating the needs and wants of buyers and sellers, inspiring shoppers on the hunt for something special, and making the platform more accessible to everyone.

eBay uses AI to provide structure in a non-structured world made up of millions of buyers and sellers across 190 markets, interacting with 1.2 billion listings. Every time a user interacts with the marketplace, the AI learns and provides feedback. This information creates more opportunities for advertisers looking to connect with eBay’s 900+ unique audiences.

As we approach 2020, brands and agencies must ensure their partners are innovating to meet customer demand for personalization. 

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  1. INGENUITY IN THE GLOBAL eCommerce COMMUNITY, CMO Council and eBay, 2018.