eCommerce Predictions for 2022: Insights from the Experts
Going into 2022, the eCommerce space remains highly competitive, requiring brands to be more strategic and use all the tools at their disposal.
We reached out to experts at leading eCommerce platforms and solutions to gather their eCommerce predictions for 2022 and to provide you with some actionable insights you can use to continue to grow your business.
There’s a lot to keep a close eye on, from headless commerce, to the omnichannel experience, to personalization. But… the number one competitive advantage we believe you can and absolutely should leverage? Zero-party and first-party data. We can’t overemphasize its importance in the new year and beyond.
“Customers will be empowered to choose their own adventure”
The theme in 2022 for eCommerce will be flexibility. Costs of shipping and advertising have gone up, the demand for first-party data has made it difficult to target new customers, and a flood of fresh competition has made the market more competitive as entrepreneurs and brick-and-mortar businesses turn to eCommerce for growth.
Brands are now expected to shift and change to meet the varying needs of their customers, rather than the other way around. Being flexible and giving customers options centered around product, delivery schedule, payment, and communication allow the best brands to shift to a relational commerce model.
This active engagement, with your brand playing the part of trusty sidekick, boosts brand loyalty and reduces the likelihood of customers churning.
“A seamless omnichannel customer experience will be critical”
There will be a continued increase in and importance of brands executing a seamless omnichannel experience. Taking multichannel eCommerce to the next level by focusing on the customer experience is going to help brands drive revenue.
An area of omnichannel selling we see brands struggling with is inventory management. Without clarity of inventory levels across every channel a brand is selling on, overstocking and understocking are bound to happen. With current supply chain hurdles and fulfillment uncertainty, having a single source of truth for inventory is even more important! Satisfying customers across all platforms also increases brand loyalty, retention, and lowers acquisition costs.
“First-party data will inform decisions at every level”
If you aren’t collecting first-party data already, stop reading this and begin ASAP. With privacy updates from Apple and Google sunsetting third-party cookies in 2023, first-party data is increasingly the most reliable way to effectively market your brand or products. It’s also a competitive advantage: only one brand owns it, and the preference data, purchase intentions, and personal context puts consumers in the driver’s seat for how they want to be recognized and catered toward.
The more data you gather from your customers, the more insights you can extract. Use these insights to deepen engagement with your highest value audiences and increase ROI across all of your marketing efforts. We are in the midst of a grace period, but time is running out to stay competitive.
“Emotional loyalty will be the foundation for customer retention”
Building emotional loyalty involves forming storylines, crafting journeys, and creating deep, organic reasons why a customer should deliberately spend a few extra moments with you and the experience your brand provides.
Smart brands will use their customer data to improve customer journeys and experiences, as well as generate positive customer emotions that ultimately drive purchase behavior. Loyalty programs and SMS marketing are effective channels to leverage for building emotional loyalty—both for collecting zero-party data and for delivering personalized, meaningful experiences.
“Ecommerce personalization will hit a tipping point”
Small- and mid-size brands will widely adopt personalization platforms to match the growing consumer demand for personalized shopping experiences.
With more marketers seeing better outcomes from personalization and a growing number of consumers more likely to buy from brands offering personalized experiences, we should see more brands investing in personalization across all channels. This investment will coincide with growth in social commerce and first-party and zero-party data collection.
“Mission-driven brands will have a key competitive advantage”
Mission-driven brands will continue to take center stage as consumers lean further into spending money with brands whose values align with their own. Sustainability will be a key area of focus for brands, as consumers continue to voice concerns about climate change.
We’ll see everything from innovation in packaging to reduce waste and eliminate plastic, to leveraging clean energy in manufacturing and shipping, to partnering with technologies that help create transparency around brands' carbon footprint. Brands also will partner with organizations working on environmentally positive and brand-relevant projects, such as sun-care brands partnering with reef restoration projects or food brands partnering with forest protection projects.
“We will see the real impact of the opt-out era”
With changing data and privacy behaviors, we are at the beginning of another new phase of eCommerce. Consumers will continue to be more selective about the companies they share their data with. Marketers who fail to adapt will spend more to acquire new shoppers but won’t be able to collect the valuable customer data that is essential to retain them.
So how can you win in the opt-out era? You need to nurture your most valuable asset: your Insider community. This group of loyal customers are your biggest brand fans and actively refer your store to others.
Don’t see the opt-out era as a challenge, see it as a growth opportunity. By motivating your Insider community to share more personal data with you, you can improve the performance of your acquisition channels, retain the customers that come to your site and grow their lifetime value.
“Social media will be a priority customer service channel”
Social media platforms are crucial elements in the customer journey–customers are discovering new brands, exploring products, and making buying decisions on social media. For that reason, they expect to ask questions and receive help on those same channels. To provide customers with timely support, it's worth prioritizing social media as part of your omnichannel service strategy in 2022.
“More brands will leverage post-purchase CX to increase LTV”
Artificial intelligence isn’t just the future of eCommerce; it’s the now. AI is powering content marketing, automating customer service opportunities, and fueling more personalized customer experiences, especially post purchase when you already have some knowledge about your customer's buying behavior. E.g., With the help of annotation tools, AI can accurately label and categorize data, providing businesses with valuable insights to enhance their strategies and decision-making.
Post-purchase data will become even more relevant as privacy updates continue to roll out and acquisition data becomes harder to obtain.
Leveraging the post-purchase customer experience (CX) to offer hyper-personalized product recommendations provides real value for customers; that’s why they can drive your repeat purchases up by encouraging almost 49% of customers to spend more.
More brands will explore displaying dynamic product recommendations on a custom tracking page while the customer is waiting, tracking, and is most excited about their package.
“There will be a renewed focus on email marketing in reaction to greater data privacy”
One trend that is certain to dominate is the move towards greater data privacy. Last year we saw more cookieless tracking, iOS 15 making the open rate unreliable, plus EU rulings that found that Google Analytics violates GDPR.
eCommerce merchants have to be prepared to deal with less precise data in their acquisition and retargeting. While it's unclear exactly how this will play out in 2022 and beyond, what is clear is that email marketing should become a greater focus, since it doesn't rely on third parties: you own your list.
And, if you acquired that list legally and ethically, then changes in data privacy laws will have a minimal impact on your marketing activities.
“Systems integrators and digital agencies will be driving headless”
Many brands are now adopting the view that more innovative approaches–such as building progressive web applications (PWAs) on open source technologies such as Vue and React–will be important going forward. Many them are already looking ahead and building out capabilities, establishing a beachhead in this space.
“First-party data will be a primary driver of marketing”
Data will drive eCommerce brands to become more strategic with their marketing efforts in 2022. As third-party data phases out and first-party data takes over, retailers can expect to see brands making more data-driven decisions and chasing new opportunities to campaign in the performance marketing realm
“Meeting customer expectations for fast shipping will be critical”
Sixty-seven percent of shoppers expect two-day delivery and 85% of shoppers are more likely to buy when it’s offered. If you’re not offering two-day or expedited shipping today, now’s the time.
Outsourcing fulfillment and shipping operations to a 3PL in 2022 will boost efficiency while reducing shipping costs and speed, all of which come together to produce quicker, more accurate, and more satisfying deliveries that drive customer retention.
“Shoppers will increasingly seek out two-way, human-to-human interactions via mobile channels”
Our digital and physical worlds will continue to collide, creating new levels of convenience for shoppers. Brands will rethink where and how they capture data to deliver more personalized experiences.
“Customers will demand more transparent order tracking”
Brands will invest more in better order delivery practices, especially when it comes to transparency on their delivery promises like estimated delivery time, when the order's shipped, whether it's stalled and when it reaches the doorstep of the customer.
Data is at the core of what you do–and it’s what we do
If there’s one key takeaway from the eCommerce predictions for 2022 above, it’s that brands must get control of their data as third-party data becomes less reliable and less accessible.
We can help! Daasity saves you time, money and headaches when it comes to data collection and analytics. Let us show you a demo.