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Retail Brands Are Increasing Marketing Budgets

Retail Brands Are Increasing Marketing Budgets

Katie Powers

A recent survey outlines the investment priorities of retail marketers

Digital retail marketers must prioritize the most effective investments in their strategies to gain and retain customers. A recent survey from Commerce Next in partnership with Oracle allows digital retailers to compare their investment levels and product priorities with their peers. It offers insight from senior marketers at top-performing brands and compares the investments of traditional retailers with DTC digital-first platforms.

According to the report, 65% of respondents reported an increase in e-commerce marketing budgets from 2018-2019. Eighty-one percent of respondents reported that their top priority is in customer acquisition tools. But 78% of DTC digital-first brands are increasing investments at a higher rate than traditional retailers.

E-commerce marketers often feel pressure to beat the previous year’s online sales numbers—one way to predictably achieve that growth goal is through acquisition. “The ability to scale the business by driving new customers to the online store is the lifeblood of any e-commerce company, but it also may be due to the strong ROI that acquisition marketing can show,” say the authors of the report.


The survey suggests that most marketers are satisfied with the results of their customer acquisition initiatives. Yet most are not satisfied with their efforts to personalize experiences and create a “unified view” of the customer over the past year. All e-commerce marketers surveyed, regardless of their business model, cite customer data platforms as their top priority in 2019.

“Personalization is the ultimate goal for online retailers seeking to make marketing and shopping experiences more relevant to customers and to better understand customer intent; however, brands still need to master the fundamentals,” say the authors of the report. “Successful personalization starts with reliable, holistic customer data that is accessible to the marketer.”

The report also offers insight into how marketers plan to prepare for this year’s holiday retail season, which is projected to offer a bigger opportunity for e-commerce brands than last year. Online purchasing is expected to increase 19%, totaling $22.5 billion in sales. Seventy-five percent of e-commerce marketers plan to invest in acquisition marketing and personalization strategies such as AI and customer data platforms to engage new customers and drive them to their online stores. But DTC brands are increasing their budgets in these areas at a higher rate than traditional retailers.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Katie Powers is editorial content intern at the American Marketing Association.