When looking ahead at the future of digital commerce, it’s important for e-commerce businesses to assess what worked in 2021 and what they can improve upon in the new year. This is key as 2022 is aiming to be a banner year for e-commerce. According to eMarketer, retail e-commerce sales will exceed $1 trillion in 2022 and comprise over 20 percent of total retail sales by 2024.
Savvy organizations will be focused on three key trends as they hone their digital commerce strategies to ensure relevancy and differentiation in market that offers plenty of consumer choice and options:
Livestream shopping aligns the digital and physical storefront
Livestream shopping continues to grow and in 2022 this trend will progress. Looking at the brick-and-mortar landscape, in combination with the growing level of digital commerce channels, livestream shopping is another powerful tool to reimagine and utilize stores as the cornerstone of a wining omnichannel experience. Retailers are leveraging stores as last-mile delivery hubs, expert hubs, and, of course, as experiential merchandise depots. It adds something that e-commerce always missed – the benefit of a personal and expert touch in the customer journey.
Livestream shopping can be a tool for engaging and building loyalty on a whole new level. Key to capitalizing on this will be unified commerce strategies to align digital and physical assets.
Sustainability gets woven throughout e-commerce operations
Environmental and eco-friendly awareness are top of mind as consumers look to practice mindful consumerism in the year ahead and look for brands that prioritize sustainability. Brands must weave sustainability throughout their e-commerce operations from how they plan their supply chain to the information they provide on their websites to demonstrate their commitment in this area.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a role in helping organizations succeed in their sustainability initiatives – specifically, in helping increase retail planning accuracy. It can make sure you have the right product in the right locations, and that supply always matches demand. Everything can be optimized, and waste and cost – from empty trucks driving thousands of miles to products being thrown away – can be dramatically reduced.
Historically, there have been two common approaches to sustainability storytelling, and both are flawed. Firstly, retailers have tended to focus on campaigns built around one-off innovations or events that have little meaningful impact. An increasingly educated consumer sees through this nowadays, so it simply does not work. Secondly, the approach has been to simply wax lyrical about how certain targets are being met and boxes ticked. This approach is now problematic because customers demand more –and business as usual isn’t enough.
Now is the time for big, fundamental shifts in the way brands do business. Small, gimmicky tweaks and stunts won’t cut it anymore. The most successful retailers of the future will likely be the ones who put sustainability – front and center – into their business planning to underpin everything they do.
Composable Commerce 2.0
Over the past few years, e-tailers have been big adopters of composable commerce, which leverages built-in best-of-breed components to easily scale digital business. This is not only a technical solution, it’s a way of working and organizing which breeds creativity and experimentation, as well as infuses a greater understanding of an organization’s digital channels.
The pandemic caused digital commerce to evolve more quickly, with composable commerce busting out of the seams of its original intent. Since the start of the pandemic, composable commerce strategies have been pressure tested. McKinsey reports that companies digitized many activities around 20-25 times faster than they had previously thought possible. As the pandemic recedes, expectations will now be very high when it comes to launching new digital initiatives. As a result, composable commerce strategies will be even more robust and fine-tuned in 2022.
In 2022, composable commerce will be more aligned around the concept of modern commerce and continue to expand into other channels, and as a means to optimize each and every channel. An example is moving the point-of-purchase closer to every potential customer with the best possible component. At its 2020 IT Symposium, Gartner said it estimates that by 2023, companies who have adapted to composable commerce will outrun the competition by being 80 percent faster in adapting to new requirements.
The race for relevancy is afoot – by paying close attention and mapping to these key trends, e-commerce businesses can level up their digital commerce strategies in the New Year.