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Survey: 2020 Retail Trends

This report reveals insights into where retailers stand on personalization, access to data, and 2020 objectives in light of the change retailers are experiencing thanks to the introduction of new AI-driven technology. It offers retailers visibility into the state of the industry and directional trends that are likely to impact shifts in digital marketing organizations and their technological investments in 2020.

Bluecore gathered and analyzed the following data during the 5th Annual Bluecore Summit, through a survey of nearly 200 marketers in attendance. Respondents’ job functions spanned email (38%), CRM (25%), digital (13%), eCommerce (13), technology (4%) and other (8%), with 85% of respondents at a manager level or above. Retailers represented a variety of industries including apparel (29%), footwear (21%), luxury (13%), health and beauty (8%) and home goods (4%).

The majority of retail marketers (57%) are focusing their personalization efforts on email. This reveals the significance of this channel above others, which is likely due to a combination of factors including marketers’ ability to control the message and audience within email and the rising cost of ad spend.


Gaining buy-in from internal stakeholders is the most prevalent roadblock for retail marketers trying to achieve their personalization goals. This implies that personalization investments are a wide-spread initiative that affect the organization at multiple levels and departments. Second to that, retail marketers’ inability to connect key pieces of data in real-time for audience activation, inhibits them from achieving personalization.

35% of retail marketers note that accessing and acting upon their customer, behavior, and product data are a major challenge. This is likely due to not having the right technology to observe, decide and act upon that data in order to produce relevant consumer communications.

Increasing email revenue, growing repeat purchase rates, and driving more site traffic are among retailer marketers’ top priorities for 2020. Scaling email personalization falling to the bottom of the list indicates that retail marketers likely see email personalization as a means to achieve their top objective of increasing email revenue (as opposed to scaling personalization being the end unto itself).

Growing repeat purchase rates represents retail marketers’ recognition of the value of a second purchase and the impact repeat purchasers can have on their bottom line.