The State of Online Retailing: Big Data, Email and Personalization

August 22, 2013

Earlier this year Forrester Research, Inc. partnered with to create a report, that addresses marketing priorities, spend levels, and the impact of smartphones and tablets on interactive marketing spend, as well as merchandise priority.Forrester Logo The July, 2013 report: “The State Of Retailing Online 2013: Marketing and Merchandising” written by Forrester vice president and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, a leading expert on eCommerce, multichannel retail, consumer behavior, and trends in the online shopping space, addressed these changing trends based on a survey conducted in the eCommerce space in which sixty-five retailers from a variety of industries were surveyed.

Here are AgilOne’s main takeaways from Forrester’s report:

Big Data Boom

In the beginning of Forrester’s report, Mulpuru mentions that as the “big data” theme begins to impose on retail, especially with the profusion of channels, devices, touch points, and usability tests, retailers are beginning to recognize that the same old analytic dashboards from ten years ago are now obsolete. Even though the old dashboard might have once been revolutionary and cutting edge technology – now there’s new technology that surpasses in strides the old technology. If a retailer turns a blind eye to these changes in technology – they will fall behind in the dust of the big data boom. To further prove this point, the world retail marketing has reported that 40% of the retailers surveyed had open positions for marketing analysts; an increase from the previous years. As marketers we are now able such a vast amount of data on our customers, it’s only logical that we would leverage all technologies available to market smarter and more efficiently.

Double Down on Email

In the past few years we have hear whispers of email being dead. However, email has proven that it had just been brewing up for its major comeback to the digital world. Forrester noted that because of the notable shift in how consumers are now accessing marketing emails - on their mobile devices -  retailers have begun to invest more in email marketing than ever before and are adjusting their strategy to match in pace. Talk about a comeback. It was noted, “To support this new focus on email, retailers are also investing in their headcount dedicated to email. Thirty-five percent of retailers surveyed said they currently had open headcount in email functions, more than the number of retailers currently looking for paid search or social media candidates”.

Long live email!


Based on the survey conducted, Forrester made a note that although many companies have volumes of data about consumer behavior and preferences and have found that personalizing display ads (e.g., retargeting and behavioral ads) are highly effective, many still often offer a “one size fit all” experience on their site. To better leverage the volumes of data that these companies have on their customers, 62% of the surveyed retailers said they’re investing in the personalization of their emails and website to create a unique experience for each individual customer. These investments include but are not limited to – cross-selling, alternative product recommendations for out of stock picks, campaigns around new versus repeat shopper flow and identification of individual customers through cookies. It seems as though personalized and individual experiences for each customer is the way of the next generation of retail marketing.

We are here to help!

AgilOne is one of the companies with new and revolutionary technologies that are embracing the above changes and the way companies market to their customers. AgilOne’s cloud-based platform combines machine learning and predictive algorithms to create a unique experience for each and every customer.

Learn how AgilOne has helped retailers like Sports Authority, Shazam, BOSCH and many other companies tackle big data and omni-channel personalization. Contact us here.

Click here to download the full report by Forrester.