5 Marketing Technologies for eCommerce in 2021

Nov 13, 2020 15 min read


5 Marketing Technologies for eCommerce in 2021

Reading Time: 15 minutes

Marketing technologies brought tremendous transformation in the retail and eCommerce industry. Everything from how you plan to how you deliver your products and customer services has levelled up.

Every brand within this eCommerce industry whether it’s a marketplace, niche brand, or an online entertainment platform, have started investing in marketing technologies.

By marketing technologies, we don’t mean the tools that we use for social media scheduling or email marketing. They are the technologies that enhance the consumer journey and focus on building customer loyalty.

But, why do these brands rely on technologies? Can’t they manage everything with the help of teams and tools?

Let’s find out the real reasons.

Why do top eCommerce brands invest in Marketing Technologies (and should you too)?

1. Need for accurate data

Every eCommerce marketer relies on free data tools to identify how many people, of what demographics, from which locations, of what interests visit their website, how they traverse within the website, and how many of them convert. The tools could be,

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Google Webmasters
  • Google Data Studio
  • Bing Webmaster
  • And others

But, that’s not enough for eCommerce businesses to make sales. You need detailed data of your potential buyers to make the informed decisions around customer services, pricing, marketing budgets, platforms, messaging, advertising, and more.

That’s where the need for marketing technologies arises for eCommerce businesses.

2. Need for speed

Speed is what this era needs, right? Startups need faster time-to-market and other businesses need quick conversions and want to become the market leaders as soon as possible.

What eCommerce marketers need is the speed of understanding the data, planning the campaigns, and executing the same. They are answerable to the management of how sooner they bring the right customers to the table and take a business to a brand level.

Also, marketers can provide data to the customer service team on how they can quickly resolve consumer issues.

Marketing technologies bring data and speed up these processes.

3. Need to boost productivity

To achieve speed, you need more resources. But that does not mean you need more people because it overall increases the operational costs without decreasing the need for accurate data.

Marketers’ job is to understand the data, and not to produce them. So if you want to achieve speed, you don’t add more people, you add technologies to work upon.

Marketing technologies bring automation to most marketing and customer experience processes, and hence, you can focus more on speedy planning and execution.

Most of these reasons help eCommerce businesses to go one step closer to buyers. If your buyers are happy and satisfied with their shopping experience, you can swoop on the processes of increasing sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.

It’s time to identify the marketing technologies eCommerce brands invest in and you should too.

5 Marketing Technologies for eCommerce Businesses

1. Personalization/Recommendation Engine using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Personalization is one of the top marketing technologies trending among eCommerce businesses. They have not only started utilizing it in their website but even in their marketing processes.

What is personalization?

A way to display your products/services as per specific users’ needs, preferences, and behavior is called personalization.

What is a Recommendation Engine?

A recommendation engine is a system that analyzes your users’ data including their needs, preferences, browsing and buying behavior, and showcases products accordingly. This system uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to analyze the data and deliver the right information on products and services.

Personalization is a way of enhancing customer experience, and to deliver the same, you need a recommendation engine.

But, do you think eCommerce marketers need personalization or such recommendation engines?

Yes! Look at the type of personalized content the US internet users want to receive from the companies-

Marketing Technologies 2020 for eCommerce - Personalization customer expectations

Almost 50% of consumers want to get products related to their interests, and 43% expect similar product recommendations based on their purchase/search.

Your consumers expect you to give them personalized attention just the way you would do in your retail stores.

So, let’s identify how recommendation engines help eCommerce marketers in delivering the above-mentioned types of appealing personalization.

How do recommendation engines help as a marketing technology?

  • Understanding your target audience
  • Learning what kind of products with which attributes they buy, wishlist, or return
  • Identifying their browsing and buying behavior
  • Predicting their next move
  • Showing them the relevant products on website, emails, and advertisements
  • Analyzing the performance of your marketing activities

You now know what a recommendation engine does, but you also need to know how that can benefit you for your eCommerce marketing.

5 Benefits of using a recommendation engine in eCommerce Marketing

1. Targeting the right audience

One of the biggest reasons why marketing campaigns fail is because of the inaccurate target audience segmentation.

If you don’t know who is most likely to spend on your products/services, you set-up campaigns with incorrect platforms and messaging. You end up paying more on the campaigns that don’t help you generate orders.

One of the top AI-based tactics global advertisers use is audience segmentation and targeting. The recommendation engine is one such technology that helps you do so making it the topmost benefit of using this eCommerce marketing technology.

When you segment it right, you target it right.

2. Boosting ROI

The ultimate goal of every business is to see a noticeable improvement in ROI. So when you invest in marketing technologies, you expect ROI in terms of improved AOV, AOQ, LTV, and more.

So when you know whom to target, when, and how with the help of the right audience segmentation using a recommendation engine, you’re bound to see an increase in ROI.

3. Enhancing customer satisfaction

The challenge among most businesses is that they don’t know what their customers expect from them.

But, with recommendation engines, you can come to know when most customers are highly making a purchase, not making a purchase, what’s their buying ratio during holidays/festivals, and more.

Understanding this data can help you reach them in a more personalized way which increases their trust and satisfaction level with your online business.

4. Evolving your products/services

So whether you own a marketplace, niche, or service-based eCommerce business, the recommendation engines help you understand what type of products are sold on your platform.

You can observe an increase or decrease in demand for certain products/services and accordingly take a decision on how you can improve them or remove them.

So, these are the benefits that the recommendation engine provides to the eCommerce marketers.

Here is an example of how artificial intelligence works in eCommerce marketing-

Marketing technologies in 2020 for eCommerce - RACE machine learning framework by SmartInsights

Examples of recommendation engines in eCommerce marketing

Here is how Tiffany & Co. showcases products based on the browsing history of a user-

Marketing technologies in 2020 for eCommerce - Recommendation engine example by Tiffany & Co.

Recommendation Engine Tools you can utilize

1. Adobe Sensei

Adobe Sensei utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to dig deeper into insights, enhance creative expression, accelerate tasks and workflows, and drive real-time decisions. This marketing technology tool allows you to amplify your ability to create and deliver personalized experiences to boost sales and consumer experiences.

2. Dynamic Yield

Dynamic Yield is a technology company that provides a recommendation engine that uses machine learning and predictive algorithms to provide personalization, recommendations, automatic optimization, and one-to-one messaging.

2. Predictive analytics

While we are discussing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), discussing predictive analytics becomes mandatory. It is one of the marketing technologies top eCommerce brands are utilizing.

What is Predictive Analytics?

Predictive analytics is a way to predict the future after analyzing the data. This process of predictive analysis utilizes data mining, statistics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and modeling to analyze current or past data.

Based on the analysis, you can predict what may happen in the future.

Most confusion happens between predictive analytics and recommendation systems. So, let me help you clarify that.

What is the difference between predictive analytics and recommendation systems?

Predictive analytics analyze historical data, presume the next steps of the users, and make suggestions based on the same. While the recommendation systems (engines) come up with the products or content based on their own data analysis.

4 Benefits of predictive analytics as an eCommerce marketing technology

1. Understand consumer behavior

One of the top benefits of predictive analytics in marketing is you learn who your customers are, what they prefer, how they browse within your online store, and you can segment them accordingly.

2. Improve audience targeting

Because the historical data of your consumers showcases the interests and preferences of your customers, you can target the right consumer segments with the right messaging at the right time on the right platforms.

That’s another reason why you must invest in predictive analytics for eCommerce marketing

3. Create fail-proof marketing strategies

Marketing strategies are not only about how you pitch your products to your customers. But, it’s also about how you are prepared for the last moment changes such as out-of-stock products.

For example, if a person is likely to buy product A, but it goes out of stock. What will be your next steps? What will you pitch them especially during festive seasons?

Predictive analytics help you put “if” conditions and get suggestions based on the data analysis.

With this, you can create marketing strategies that are sure to bring results.

4. Enhance budget allocation and utilization

Marketing budgets are always tight in eCommerce and may get tighter during situations like a pandemic. With such tight budgets, you’ve to prove that your marketing strategies drive higher ROI every time.

With predictive analytics, you focus on the customers who have a high probability of making repeat purchases. That’s how you can focus on winning customer loyalty.

So predictive analytics helps you make smarter decisions.

Example of predictive analytics in eCommerce marketing

Nike acquired ‘CELECT’, a predictive analytics platform, to help the brand forecast when and how its customers would buy certain styles and optimize their inventories accordingly.

Marketing Technologies in 2020 for eCommerce - Nike acquired Celect

Predictive Analytics Tools to Use


CELECT is a cloud-based, predictive analytics SaaS platform that helps retailers optimize their inventories through data-driven decisions. Nike acquired CELECT to become insight-driven, data-optimized, and hyper-focused on consumer behavior. All of this to serve consumers personally.

2. Looker

Looker is an advanced big data analytics platform for business intelligence that helps you explore, analyze, and share real-time business analytics easily.

3. Chatbots

So when you don’t receive an order on time through Swiggy or Zomato, you contact their customer support team.

The conversation you do there is with chatbots. Yes, both of those online food delivery systems have chatbots integrated.

Chatbots, one of the top eCommerce marketing tools, can do much more than just talk to you especially for eCommerce businesses. That’s the reason why retailers employ chatbots to engage with their customers.

Marketing Technologies 2020 for eCommerce - Number of internet users of Chatbots

Drift survey April 2019

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a software application that communicates with humans via text or text-to-speech with the purpose of providing instant communication.

You know Amazon Alexa, right?

So, this invention is the solution to a business challenge of making a human available constantly whenever a customer needs you.

Chatbot uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand what your customers communicate and answers them with relevant information.

How do chatbots help in eCommerce marketing?

Let’s understand the role of chatbots in the eCommerce customer lifecycle-

  1. Whenever a customer visits your eCommerce store, the chatbot tries to capture their attention and ask them relevant questions. After receiving the answers, you can provide personalized browsing and even a buying experience.
  2. If a customer has a concern, a chatbot helps them resolve instantly.
  3. You can allow your potential buyers to also engage with you via chatbot messengers on Facebook which in result helps you earn business even through communicating with them.
  4. You run remarketing campaigns on chatbot messengers doubling down the ratio of conversions.
  5. Your chatbots communicate with your consumers about their order status, return or exchange information making it easier to access the information compared to the emails.

See an example of Adoro using chatbots

Marketing Technologies 2020 eCommerce - Adoro Chatbot

That’s how this technology adds value to your eCommerce marketing, and here comes the top 3 benefits of using Chatbots in your eCommerce marketing-

3 Benefits of using chatbots in eCommerce Marketing

1. Integrate conversational commerce

As only 22% of consumers are happy with the level of personalization they receive from brands, conversational commerce takes the front seat.

Chatbots make it possible for you to integrate conversational commerce to connect with your target audience through multiple channels across the entire customer journey.

That’s the reason why 59% of client-side survey respondents plan to experiment with conversational commerce-

Marketing Technologies eCommerce - Conventional Commerce

It’s time for conversational commerce through this eCommerce marketing technology.

2. Streamline customer support services

One of the major benefits of why chatbots came into existence is its ability to make a meaningful conversation with humans.

That’s why most businesses have adopted chatbots so that they can improve their customer service experience.

3. Boost sales and ROI

Through conversations, chatbots show your potential customers the products that they are looking for. Hence, conversions become faster, and obviously, your ROI on chatbots is increased tremendously.

Example of chatbots in eCommerce marketing

In February 2020, Amazon announced that they’re testing customer service chatbots. This eCommerce giant has started working on bringing neutral networks in their automated agents allowing their customer support team to focus more on human judgment. Here is an example of Amazon converting raw interactions into training examples-

Amazon chatbots for customer service - Marketing Technologies for eCommerce

Chatbots you can utilize

1. MobileMonkey

MobileMonkey offers chatbot tools using its patented technology, OmniChat, using which you can start conversations with your current as well as future customers across all the messaging platforms.

2. Chatfuel

Chatfuel is a leading chatbot platform for Facebook Messenger to communicate with your consumers on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger to increase sales and automate support.

4. Marketing Automation for eCommerce

The above three eCommerce marketing technologies are making revolutions because they focus on bringing more orders and revenues.

Marketing automation focuses on optimizing your marketing tasks making it easier for your teams to improve efficiency and productivity.

What is the definition of marketing automation?

As defined by HubSpot,

Marketing automation is all about using software to automate marketing activities.

Using marketing automation in eCommerce, you can automate tasks such as social media postings, advertising campaigns, email marketing, and more to provide a personalized consumer experience. Your eCommerce marketing teams can perform these activities with the utmost efficiency and productivity.

How does marketing automation help in eCommerce marketing?

For example, you can automate your marketing funnel and fill all the consumer touchpoints with dynamic content.

Based on a user’s browsing history, you automatically create personalized remarketing ads on Facebook and send them an email with a specialized discount coupon/offer. That’s how eCommerce marketing automation helps you optimize the way you target your audience that converts faster.

Benefits of marketing automation in eCommerce

1. Offer a personalized experience

Marketing automation for eCommerce helps you understand consumer insights in detail. Based on such insights, you can automate your entire marketing funnel with dynamic content.

After all, almost 91% of consumers want the brands to send them offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.

For example, SOF Olympiad Trainer sends me this email on my kiddo’s birthday-

Ecommerce marketing technologies for 2020 - Birthday Offers Email by SOF

2. Reduce cart abandonment

One of the major concerns eCommerce businesses face is the cart abandonment that happens because of various reasons-

  • Your customers have a poor internet connection
  • Your site loads slow
  • They got some important work to do before they checkout
  • Anything else

Whatever may be the reason, but once a user leaves their product in the cart, it’s a problem for you because you’ve to invest more time, money, and efforts in marketing those products until they buy them.

Marketing automation allows you to send them relevant offers and recommendations across multiple channels and hence, you can increase the speed of this process with reduced time and efforts.

3. Improve customer experience & retention

One of the major benefits of marketing automation is to improve the customer experience. Personalization at every channel gives them a sense that you’re not promoting your products randomly that are irrelevant to them.

You build their trust and loyalty which in turn helps them become your repeat buyers and even brand advocates.

4. Increase customer lifetime value (CLV)

One of the top eCommerce success metrics is the customer lifetime value (CLV). Customer lifetime value is the average amount a customer spends on your products across their lifetime.

When your buyers become brand advocates, you ultimately spend less on increasing their customer lifetime value.

5. Monitor omnichannel marketing

Practically, it is impossible to have a look at all the marketing platforms at one go, but marketing automation software helps you to do so.

You can look at the data from all the platforms in one place, analyze them, and automate your marketing activities there.

Example of marketing automation in eCommerce marketing

Panasonic utilized Marketo which helped the brand see the volume of marketing campaigns growing over 100 per month without increasing marketing staff or budget.

Tiffany & Co. utilized Snaps to elevate the consumer holiday shopping experience with the launch of an innovative gift guide. Customers started the communication with Tiffany’s team on their Facebook page through the Messenger app. There, they would participate in a quiz where they can get the perfect gift based on their past buying or browsing experience.

eCommerce Marketing Automation tools you can utilize

1. Adobe Marketo

Marketo is a leading SaaS-based marketing automation software to help marketers to automate all-things marketing. Everything from lead management, email marketing to account-based marketing automation is possible with Adobe-owned, Marketo.

2. HubSpot

HubSpot is another eCommerce marketing automation software which helps in increasing traffic, convert leads, and manage everything in one place. HubSpot offers a complete CRM platform with all the tools and integrations you need to grow better.

3. dotdigital

From email marketing to full omnichannel marketing orchestration, dotdigital transforms your customer insight into personalized marketing campaigns. Using dotdigital platform B2C and B2B marketers can integrate channels like email, SMS, chat, social media, retargeting, mobile, and website in one place. All next-gen features like personalization, AI, BI, product recommendation, marketing automation are available in the single suite which can be integrated with Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify Plus, and  Microsoft Dynamics 365 easily.

5. Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising has geared up too much among the eCommerce brands. This marketing technology began with Tech companies and now it seems, with changing buyers’ browsing habits and increasing ad spend is what made eCommerce marketers shift their focus on programmatic advertising.

By 2021, nearly 88% of display ads would be with the help of programmatic advertising in the US.

Marketing Technologies 2020 - Programmatic Ad Spending US statistics

What is programmatic advertising in eCommerce?

Programmatic advertising is an AI-based process that allows you to buy your ad placements on the platforms that best match your audience, their interests, and preferences.

The official definition of programmatic advertising is-
It uses a real-time or direct automated bidding system that allows you to automate the process of buying and selling your ad inventories.

So, programmatic advertising connects buyers and sellers of ad inventories.

Simply put, programmatic advertising helps you dynamically reach your potential customers wherever they are, ensuring the highest ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).

How does programmatic advertising work for eCommerce businesses?

You spend $$$ on advertising every day to ensure you bring new buyers, repeat buyers, and loyal ones.

But, the major concern here is to improve ROI.

So here is a quick step-by-step process of programmatic advertising-

Ecommerce Marketing Technologies 2020 - Process of programmatic advertising
  1. A potential buyer opens a publishing website (to access news, information, etc.) that places ads
  2. The publishing website puts its ad inventory to sell using supply-side platforms (SSP)
  3. Advertisers start bidding to win the ad space using demand-side platforms (DSP)
  4. The advertiser with the highest bid wins the ad space
  5. Now the ad gets displayed on the publisher’s website
  6. Your potential buyer may click on the ad and either convert or go closer in the sales funnel

So this entire programmatic advertising process takes place within fractions through an automated bidding system. That’s the reason you need a specialized platform to do the same.

Benefits of programmatic advertising in eCommerce Marketing

1. Advanced audience targeting

According to a recent report on “The State of Programmatic Advertising,” 73% of marketers say audience targeting is one of the most effective tactics using programmatic advertising.

Ecommerce marketing technologies - programmatic advertising tactics

Programmatic advertising offers you to segment your audience according to,

  • IP Targeting
  • Location Targeting
  • Contextual Targeting
  • Feed-based Targeting
  • Behavioral Targeting
  • And more

Using any of these targeting techniques, you can reach your potential customers easily, quickly, and efficiently.

2. Transparency and control

This eCommerce marketing technology allows you to see where your ads are getting placed, the type of people are viewing, and more. So, you have complete transparency and control over your programmatic advertising campaigns.

3. Dynamic content optimization (DCO)

Dynamic content optimization falls under one of the parts of this eCommerce marketing technology. DCO uses statistical approaches like multivariate testing and data feeds of the display ads to create optimized ads creatives.

Based on the users’ specific variable or data requirements, DCO changes the ad formats and showcases the optimized ads on the right platforms at the right time.

4. Real-time performance reporting

What differs programmatic advertising from other traditional advertising is real-time reporting.

You can real-time keep a watch on,

  • Which sites generate the most qualitative impressions & CTR
  • Which campaigns are generating less ROAS
  • What type of creatives work better for which audiences
  • Which type of audiences engage on which sites
  • And more

Your campaign optimization becomes super-awesome.

5. Justified ROI

You reach well to your potential buyers with optimized costs is what builds a justified ROI. And, that’s what this eCommerce marketing technology is the best at.

Example of programmatic Advertising in eCommerce marketing

The International Hotel Group (IHG) adopted programmatic advertising to showcase their target audience with the right costing of the hotel location, and date based on the users’ browsing history.

Programmatic advertising example - marketing technologies 2020

Image Source

Ecommerce programmatic advertising tools you can utilize

1. Amazon DSP

Amazon has its own demand-side platform, Amazon DSP, that allows you to programmatically buy display, video, and audio ads for Amazon customers and non-customers.

2. Xandr Monetize (previously Appnexus)

Xandr Monetize is all about strategy buying and selling of content. This programmatic advertising tool helps eCommerce businesses to better inventory management capabilities, data-driven yield optimization, and differentiated buyer demand.

Choose the Right Marketing Technologies at the Right Time

Marketing technologies come with different benefits at a different stage of your eCommerce business cycle. Hence, it’s not advisable to invest in all of these technologies right from the beginning, if you’re a small or mid-scale online business.

If you’re a well-funded startup or a well-established retailer or wholesaler, you can launch your eCommerce business with one of these technologies to grab the online market and outperform the existing online market leaders.

Again, it depends on your budget, business model, cycle, and business goals. If you’re looking to invest in any of these in 2021 or beyond, validate the technology that’s the best for your business at this point in time with the eCommerce experts.

After all, these technologies come with a cost, and hence, the decision needs to be taken after a lot of consideration of its ROI.

Vatsal Shah is a co-founder of Pragmatic Consultancy and DIMC and has transformed various IT, E-Commerce, Chemical, Retail, Service sector organizations for 15 years now. Vatsal has been invited as a speaker by WordCamp, Meet Magento, GTU, ETail India, AMA, GLS University, etc. As a business coach and mentor, he has influenced more than 48 organizations in India, China, the UK, Africa, and the USA and trained more than 4700 people. Vatsal is the most artistic personality at eComKeeda because he is an amazing singer, dancer, artist, gold medalist in the corporate writing, and so much more.