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Retail & eCommerce

2024 Retail and eCommerce Marketing Trends to Watch

Team Braze By Team Braze May 16, 2024

What are the most important 2024 retail and eCommerce marketing trends to watch? That’s one of the questions we set out to answer as part of our industry-wide analysis of customer engagement practices around the world. The findings of our study are now available in the fourth edition of our annual must-read report, the Global Customer Engagement Review (CER).

To gather these insights, we conducted a survey of 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions; an analysis of Braze proprietary data, which includes 9 billion global users and nearly 1,000 Braze customers in 50+ countries; and detailed case studies from best-in-class brands across five industries.

Based on this research, here are the key developments that are currently shaping customer engagement in the retail and eCommerce space.

3 key takeaways for retail and eCommerce marketers

In today’s landscape, with shopping opportunities and product options expanding at an unprecedented rate, retailers are in the unenviable position of having to find new ways to add value for customers in order to compete effectively in a crowded marketplace. The good news is that marketers in this industry have both the opportunity—and desire—to build brand affinity, purchases, and retention through AI, cross-channel messaging, and innovation.

1. For 2024 and beyond, retail and eCommerce brands have a huge opportunity to harness the power of AI for creativity.

In fact, retail and eCommerce marketers are more likely to favor the usage of AI (85%), compared to other surveyed marketers in other industries.

2. Cross-channel customer engagement enables retailers and eCommerce platforms to increase purchase rates, purchases per user, and overall customer retention

There’s no one channel that retail and eCommerce brands can use to reach every one of their customers. We’re living in a cross-channel world and marketers who embrace a cross-channel approach to messaging are going to be better positioned to succeed.

What does that look like in practice? Retail and eCommerce brands that leverage Content Cards, in-app messages, mobile push, and webhooks together can significantly increase how long their users stick around:

  • Increases 365-day retention by 24.6X, compared to customers who receive no messaging campaigns at all

More interested in boosting revenue? Our analysis found that retailers who reached users with email, in-app messaging, mobile push, and SMS could drive a:

  • 25.8X uplift in buyer rate, compared to customers who receive no messaging campaigns at all

  • 124% uplift in repeat buyer rate, compared to customers who receive no messaging campaigns at all

  • 755X uplift in purchases per user, compared to customers who receive no messaging campaigns at all

Our research also found that retailers have a key opportunity when it comes to leveraging SMS marketing to bolster both purchases and retention. Our analysis of Braze data finds that brands that use this key out-of-product messaging channel can achieve a:

  • 15.9X uplift in 365-day retention, compared to customers who receive no messaging campaigns at all

  • +51% uplift in 365-day retention, compared to customers who receive other types of messages, but no SMS messages

  • 364X uplift in purchases per user, compared to customers who receive no messaging campaigns at all

  • 10X uplift in purchases per user, compared to customers who receive other types of messages, but no SMS messages

3. Retail and eCommerce marketers are the most likely to make consistent customer experiences a priority

In a customer engagement landscape where the number of channels, platforms, and devices that consumers can engage on keeps expanding, consistency—that is, providing aligned experiences across different touchpoints—is essential. Thankfully, more than any other industry, retailers and eCommerce platforms are on track to prioritize consistent experiences for customers across channels and touchpoints, with 43% of respondents saying it’s a top priority and they’re investing in it, compared to 37% of marketers across sectors.

Areas where retail and eCommerce brands excel—and areas for improvement

In 2021, we introduced The Braze Customer Engagement Index, offering brands around the globe a shared framework for measuring customer engagement. The Index includes a ranking system with three levels of maturity.

  • Activate brands are those just getting started in customer engagement.

  • Accelerate companies are notable for collaborating, experimenting, and employing data-driven strategies.

  • Ace organizations are at the top of their field for utilizing streaming data to power full-fledged lifecycle-driven customer engagement approaches.

Areas where retail and eCommerce brands excel

In terms of technical maturity, retail and eCommerce marketers lead the pack, tied with financial services brands, indicating a high level of technological sophistication.

They’re also at the head of the organizational maturity curve, beating out all other industries.

Furthermore, these brands are the most likely to expect a significant budget increase over the next year, signaling a strong commitment to growth and innovation in the sector.

Retail and eCommerce brands also excel in customer segmentation, second only to financial services brands, likely due to their effective use of various data sources—including predictive insights, zero-party data, and location-based data—for campaign planning. Beyond segmentation, they’re among the most advanced for putting their customer data to use to personalize messaging, second only to health brands.

Retail and eCommerce marketers lead when it comes to investing in technology to manage multiple channels. The industry ranks highest, with email emerging as the most critical channel for their customers, contrasting sharply with its lower importance in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. This reflects the greater levels of direct spend that have been driven for retailers and eCommerce companies versus CPG companies, which still favor in-store purchases.

Retail and eCommerce brands leverage out-of-product messaging, such as email and SMS, as key strategies to re-engage consumers. They also embrace advanced and specialized performance measurement tools more than most industries, paralleling CPG companies in this regard. More than one in four (26%) retail and eCommerce marketers in our survey are performing at the “Ace” level for measuring customer engagement performance compared to the other industries.

Opportunities for Improvement for Retail and eCommerce Brands

Over the last twelve months, the retail and eCommerce industry scored second lowest at exceeding their revenue goals.

When it comes to ownership of customer engagement, a full 90% of retail and eCommerce brands in our survey are at the beginner “Activate” maturity level for ownership of customer engagement, lagging behind the other industries. The issue? Only a small share of marketers at these companies say they collaborated with several different teams on customer engagement. To drive new successes, this industry needs to evolve and embrace customer engagement beyond marketing.

Another key area for improvement? Managing users’ journeys inside retailers’ apps or websites. Only 37% of surveyed retailers use (or plan to use) in-app/in-browser messages; that's tied for the second-lowest rate of any industry, highlighting a key gap in in-product channel capabilities. The issue is this: While out-of-product messages like email pull customers in, in-product channels like in-app messages or Content Cards shape the digital shopping experience within the app or website in real time. Embracing these channels can reduce friction by supporting intuitiveuser journeys, driving more purchases per user. They can also boost retention—Customers sent

Content Cards have an average user lifetime that's 81% higher than those who don't receive them.

Final Thoughts

Retail and eCommerce brands have plenty to feel good about: They excel in the areas of campaign measurement, tooling, and technical maturity, to highlight just a few key achievements. But in order to achieve their revenue goals and build marketing programs that can stand the test of time, they need to prioritize customer engagement across the organization, think carefully about their messaging channel mix, and stay focused on consumer needs.

About the Study

These findings are part of our broader fourth-annual Global Customer Engagement Review, which draws on the following sources:

  • Market research featuring 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions.

  • An analysis of Braze proprietary data, including 9 billion global users and nearly 1,000 Braze customers in 50+ countries, via our leading customer engagement platform.

  • Case studies from best-in-class brands in five industries across three regions.

Find Out Even More 2024 Marketing Trends

Learn about the worldwide state of customer engagement in the 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review, which reveals three global marketing trends as well as important customer engagement developments by industry.

Team Braze

Team Braze

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