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2017: Changes and Challenges for Brands in the Shopper Marketing Landscape

Arc’s Nick Jones highlights six trends you need to be aware of in the coming year

There are plenty of tech buzzwords pinging the shopper-marketing space, all highlighting the incredible trends we’ve seen in just the past five years. The term “frictionless commerce” alone contains a variety of micro-trends that can fill any list of what changes and challenges brands, retailers and consumers can expect in 2017.

Frictionless commerce is just one of six cutting-edge innovations that will have a profound affect on our everyday transactions. Nick Jones, global EVP of business development and innovation at Arc, the shopper marketing and activation agency within the Leo Burnett Group, highlights the game-changing opportunities for brands and retailers.

Frictionless Commerce
Brands will continue to narrow the gap between the moment a shopper has a want or need and their ability to purchase. Examples are contactless payment (including wearables), biometric payment (facial recognition, finer-print and vein structure ID), in-chat buy buttons, and image-recognition software tied to commerce platforms (see it, take a picture, buy it).

Proximity Marketing
Companies like Aisle 411 and xAd are mapping the interiors of stores and creating beacon systems that know down to the inch where you are and where you’ve been. This means that locations will become more valuable than search terms.

Bots & AI
Brands can now interact with consumers with human language, which will turn chat and text into simple, super-efficient ordering systems. These commerce bots are near to passing the “Turing Test” whereby consumers believe they are interacting with a person. 

This trend will change the world with millions of jobs and careers rendered obsolete in a few years. In the marketing and commerce world we will see more robotic greeters and retail help, drone and autonomous vehicle delivery systems, and stores and restaurants without staff (think AmazonGo).

As digital data on age, gender, location, interests and more are available at all times, brands will look to turn this into unique personalized offerings. From augmented reality systems that guide you on the optimal route to pick up your shopping list items to clothing tailored to a body scan and ordered online.

The macro trend of all trends. We will continue to see categories turned on their head by technology. What will be the next Uber or Airbnb? AmazonGo? Drone delivery? Change is the new constant.

Nick Jones is global EVP of business development and innovation at Arc.

January 5, 2017

Nick Jones