At the start of 2022, we were emerging from the pandemic. Commerce and the public markets were booming. Digital transformation was accelerating exponentially.
As we move into 2023, the commerce future looks decidedly more chaotic.
A looming recession, war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, persistent supply chain challenges, incredibly high customer acquisition costs, and customers’ expectations of flawless execution amid the chaos does not paint a pretty picture for commerce brands.
Growth is expected to continue. eCommerce sales will reach $6.3 trillion in 2023—an increase of 10.37% from 2022. So, the customers remain, and their wallets are open. Brands, however, are fighting harder and need to be smarter about their technology, tactics, and spend.
ChatGPT can disrupt entire industries over a weekend, so it's hard to make any definite claims (dizzying digital transformation, therefore, remains). But, in broader terms, we can speculate: here are some of our predictions for commerce trends in the coming year.
1. The emergence of a reduced-cookie world?
Google has announced that Chrome will no longer support third-party cookie tracking in 2024.
(Though, this has been pushed back a few times. Will 2024 finally be the year?)
Brands have largely accepted that the demise of third-party cookies is inevitable (so: we underline the necessity to collect and analyze zero-party data and first-party data). The grieving process is more or less over, and the omnichannel marketing ecosystem can start to adapt.
Server-side tracking has emerged as a promising solution, as it allows brands to track customer behavior and gather data using their own server. The server acts as a layer in between the browser and third-party platforms, improving speed, security, and compliance. Server-side tracking solutions like Elevar and Littledata are gaining further traction, and Google Tag Manager also supports server-side tracking, so expect to see much more of this in 2023.
From a consumer standpoint, phasing out third-party cookies could improve the advertising experience.
Brands are hungry for new ways to reach their audiences, and they are starting to look beyond “obvious” solutions like Facebook and Google. Hopefully, this will lead to a more creative marketing mix with a greater variety of channels and formats. For instance, we think OTT ads on streaming platforms are going to be big.
2. Headless commerce will gain traction.
Headless technology gives brands the freedom to customize their website and deliver seamless customer experiences on the front end, without worrying about the impact on the back end.
With a headless commerce system, marketers can deliver new campaigns and content faster, as reliance on development teams becomes a thing of the past. The high customizability and ease of implementation pave the way for more interactive shopping experiences, which is especially useful for large brands looking to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Now that Shopify has rolled out its own headless environment, we expect the shift to headless to accelerate in 2023.
3. Rapid delivery will become the norm.
Customers want the delivery process to be as seamless as the checkout process.
Same-day delivery options will rise in 2023, with Shopify and Amazon leading the way. Shopify recently acquired Deliverr, a company that uses retail locations and garages to offer same-day delivery. Shopify also purchased 6 River Systems, a robotics fulfillment company. These acquisitions will help Shopify merchants offer same-day delivery options to their customers, pushing other commerce platforms to up their delivery game.
4. Shopify will seriously leverage Shop Pay.
Shopify's payment platform, Shop Pay, enables shoppers to make a purchase with one click and claims to be the “fastest, highest converting checkout on the internet.” As well as being convenient for consumers, Shop Pay provides Shopify with access to extensive customer data. The question is, how will Shopify use this to their advantage?
Shopify could create their own Amazon-style marketplace where shoppers can browse and buy from various merchants. Or perhaps Shopify will introduce cross-brand loyalty programs with rewards for shoppers, driving repeat purchases across Shopify’s portfolio of sellers.
5. No-code mobile apps will begin to transform shopping experiences.
Mobile apps unlock a world of possibilities for personalized, hyper-convenient shopping experiences.
Apps collect a wealth of data on users’ shopping behavior, habits, and preferences—without using cookies. Brands can use push notifications to reach customers during high-intent moments of their customer journey. And they can even tap into device features, like the camera and location sharing, to personalize offers and drive foot traffic to stores.
If you’re thinking, ”That sounds great, but developing an app is hard work,” think again.
TapCart enables brands to turn their Shopify store into a mobile app, no coding required, and headless systems will make it easier to deploy your own app.
This means in 2023, brands will have many reasons to roll out their own app, and the barrier to entry is lower than ever.
6. Brands will take advantage of Amazon’s data “generosity.”
There are many advantages to selling on Amazon, but getting all the data you need for a complete picture of your business is challenging, especially if you’re a large brand with international customers.
Now that more brands are able to get more data out of Amazon’s API (which wasn’t always the case), they will be able to uncover many more, and deeper, insights into their performance on the platform via extracted reports on inventory, sales, and product page performance.
(Since we’re here: Daasity is the only data and analytics platform that enables omnichannel brands to truly build a single source of truth around their Amazon Seller Central data. We have an out-of-the-box Amazon integration that enables reporting and analytics on dozens of Amazon reports, including the greatly feared Settlement Report.)
7. AR will shake up shopping experiences both at home and in-store.
As the lines between physical and digital environments blur, Augmented Reality (AR) enables hyper-convenient “try-before-you-buy” options, so customers can make smarter purchasing decisions.
H&M, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, and Macy’s have added virtual fitting rooms to many of their stores, so customers can "try on" clothing from their phones. Similarly, home goods retailers like Wayfair and Ikea use AR apps so customers can see how furniture will look in their house before they bring it home.
Going into 2023, expect to see more AR displays and virtual fitting rooms in stores, and more AR-powered apps in the commerce world.
8. An omnichannel approach will be key.
Over half of customers engage with three to five channels before making a purchase. As the customer journey becomes more nuanced, brands need to consider how to align their teams and strategies across different channels.
With budgets getting cut and most brands tightening their belts, working together rather than getting distracted by internal conflicts and silos will be key to success. This may involve difficult conversations to invoke the necessary structural and cultural shifts in how brands run, manage and measure performance across channels.
9. Live shopping is set to make a comeback.
Who remembers shopping shows from the 80s and 90s? As other old-school marketing methods like direct mail marketing have made somewhat of a comeback, we think live shopping could be the next big thing.
This time, live shopping will be highly-interactive streaming events pioneered by brands and influencers, where people can buy products on their phones. It’s already hugely popular in China, so we think it’s likely that a mass retailer will try this in the near future.
10. Alternative pickup points will improve the delivery experience.
Ordering online these days is usually super convenient, but the post-purchase experience often lets retailers down. Many working professionals can’t be at home to receive packages during the day, and leaving packages lying around attracts so-called porch piracy. Moreover, larger merchants find themselves frustrated when shipping companies like UPS and FedEx cannot handle the volume of packages.
Could lockers and alternative pickup points provide a helpful alternative?
For low-margin businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, and even flower delivery services, delivery partnerships open up a new stream of revenue. For Amazon & co, it could be an opportunity to branch out into new areas of business–think Amazon Gas and Charging Stations.
Bizarre-r things have happened.
Going into 2023, expect to see an increase in alternative pickup points, as customers demand more convenience and retailers require more flexibility.
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