From the pandemic to shifts in the global economy, consumers have altered their life habits, including how they shop online. And it’s become clear: they’re not going back. That makes 2023 a crucial year of transformation for the eCommerce industry.
These global shifts are now converging in a way that will define the eCommerce industry for years to come. And in order to survive, eCommerce brands will have to hit the reset button — fast — and rethink how they are presenting themselves in this changing digital world.
We’ve teamed up with Power Digital, a tech-enabled growth marketing firm to take a look at how brands can navigate this pivotal moment in the eCommerce industry. By combining their expertise with The Line Studios’ eCommerce imagery expertise, we’ll help you harness the power of creativity to truly grow and make an impact in 2023 and beyond.
This flavor-inspired shoot for Vera Spirits captures the beverages’ essence in a creative yet editorialized product image.
Digital Targeting Is Out
The era of third-party digital targeting is officially over. And this means it’s time to get creative.
It’s no secret that new data privacy regulations and tech changes have disrupted digital marketing as we know it, reducing effectiveness and driving up costs. Consumers now have more control over their data and a bigger say in whether or not to share it.
Here are a few of those new regulations:
- The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act have given users more agency over their data.
- Apple’s iOS 14 software update in 2020 allows users to opt-out of tracking across apps and websites.
- By 2024, Google plans to discontinue third-party cookie tracking in Chrome, which accounts for about 64 percent of worldwide web traffic.
According to a study by McKinsey, as many as 41% of internet users say they set their browser to disable cookies. That’s a big deal for eCommerce brands.
Creativity Is In
Even though digital targeting may be out, consumers are still online. And they’re arguably more engaged than ever before. Research shows that the average person spends about 6 hours online each day. With so much time spent online, creating content for content’s sake is not going to cut through the clutter. Your content needs to be interesting, engaging, and attention-grabbing with a strong creative strategy that supports your brand voice.
The brands that will get ahead in 2023 and beyond will be those experimenting, pushing boundaries, and honing in on what kind of content really resonates with their audiences. In this new chapter of digital marketing, strategic, creative content that can inspire an emotional connection with the viewer will yield the biggest ROI for eCommerce.
The team at The Line Studios tried a new idea in this creative test for Milk Bar Studio.
5 Shifts for eCommerce Brands in 2023
With these massive changes disrupting the eCommerce industry now is the time for brands to make their own shifts to adapt and thrive in this changing landscape.
Here are the 5 biggest shifts we’re seeing in 2023 and how to leverage them to maximize growth for your brand.
Shift 1: Turn Up the Volume
The rise of digital consumption requires a faster pace and higher volume of content creation. The lifecycle of a digital campaign can be as little as 2-3 weeks before audiences want something new and impact lessens due to repeat views. Brands need to find ways to create a continuous stream of fresh content in order to reach new customers and keep current ones engaged. And that’s no easy task.
To meet escalating production demands, many brands will need to look to outside partners to increase their bandwidth. If your brand is considering outsourcing creative production, look for studio partners that are nimble and efficient. Not only should the studio be able to evolve the approach each time, but they should also be open to adjusting the execution based on what works, and readily contribute ideas on how to freshen things up.
Experimenting with fabrics, textures, and posing brought this shoot for Hill House Home to life.
Shift 2: Communicate Unique Value
From a growth perspective, Power Digital predicts that “providing and communicating value will become the backbone of B2C marketing in 2023”. When it comes to creative, “brands need to focus on highlighting their value messaging across organic and paid efforts to engage and convert their audiences”.
This approach starts with a clear creative strategy to define who your audience is, determine what value you provide to them, and decide how to communicate that value. And, as Power Digital points out, value doesn’t just have to be focused around pricing:
“As 65% of shoppers think prices will rise at a high rate this year and tighten spending, they expect brands to provide value in new ways. But, that doesn’t have to mean heavy discounting. Can you offer competitive shipping terms or flexible returns? Can you dial up your customer service or community efforts?”
For instance, The Line Studios’ client, The Clear Cut, a jewelry brand that focuses on diamond rings, does an amazing job of educating customers on an often-intimidating genre through their Classroom content and social media channels. This not only provides huge value to their customers, who are often first-time buyers, but also builds community and trust for the brand.
As you look to showcase the value your brand provides, it’s important to find a studio partner who not only creates beautiful imagery but also digs deep to understand what makes your brand unique. What are those core brand attributes that will help you stand out? And how can you bring those values to life through different creative mediums?
Shift 3: Embrace Experimentation and Measure Success
2023 is the year to try new things, get creative, and experiment with your campaigns. But it’s not enough to just stand out.
If you truly want to grow and make a lasting impact, you need to stand out and know that the content is contributing to your bottom line. According to Power Digital, “savvy marketers will understand the return generated by their efforts.”
For B2C brands, “the key is focusing on areas that successfully drive incremental revenue impact.” Power Digital encourages brands to “experiment and test with different designs, messaging, etc. to crack the code on what works for different audiences.”
It’s important that your creative support is willing and able to help you analyze performance. For example, at The Line Studios, we’ve implemented generative AI technology via our partners at Bloom AI to measure the highest-performing imagery for our clients, specifically on mobile. You also want a creative partner who can work at a fast pace and iterate on what is performing well.
This refreshed imagery for M.M. LaFleur captures the brand’s identity in a unique way.
Shift 4: Focus on Relationships and Community Building
Without digital targeting, brands need to turn their focus to fostering community and building deep customer relationships. According to Power Digital, “visuals and video can build trust and loyalty in your community by telling stories about your product in contextualized settings. Showing off relevant use cases and displaying a product in action builds brand affinity by establishing credibility and relatability. The key is to ensure that content is “quick, scroll-stopping, and most importantly, authentic.”
Visuals (both moving and still) have the ability to connect deeply with the viewer, and can be the first step to sparking that emotional connection with your current and future customers. In order to build a sense of community, it’s important to have a solid sense of what your customer is looking for on each of the channels where you’re showing up. For instance, a long-form interview-style piece might not be the bite-sized entertainment customers want to stop for on their TikTok feed, but perhaps fits perfectly on your blog.
Shift 5: Diversify Your Channels and Optimize for ROI
Customers are consuming content in more ways than ever. Influencer marketing, stories that disappear after 24 hours, long-form videos, photos…the list goes on. Brands need to diversify their marketing channels and mediums to stay relevant and keep up with the competition. They should also invest the most time, energy, and finances in the channels that deliver the highest ROI for their specific audience.
But there’s one channel in particular that has massive potential across the entire eComm industry: TikTok.
According to Power Digital, “B2C brands need to look at TikTok as a revenue engine”. It’s no secret that the platform is “making waves, with explosive user growth and a maturing suite of ad tech.” Visual content is magnified on the app, and “industries like fashion and beauty can see up to six times higher conversion rates on TikTok compared to other paid channels.” As the platform continues to take off, brands have a huge opportunity to double down on TikTok investments for 2023.
Incorporating a new, untested channel doesn’t have to be intimidating if you have the right partners. Working with a creative studio that can help you strategize your approach, as well as develop the right type of content for each channel, will help to streamline your content creation.
This vertical video for Negative Underwear can be used across a variety of channels.
These shifts are just the beginning. The eCommerce industry will continue to evolve, and your creative strategy needs to evolve with it. That’s why it’s important to work with a studio partner who will help you stay ahead of the trends — and your competitors.
Contact The Line Studios anytime if you have questions or just want to get in touch. And if you’re ready to grow your revenue, reach out to Power Digital for a complimentary marketing appraisal.