Digital commerce: trends, drivers and challenges
If 2021 showed us anything, it’s that early adopters who championed digital transformation and customer experience are better poised to survive the new normal. In uncertain times, consumers turn to trusted brands for all their needs and wants. The latest digital commerce trends show just how much today’s consumers rely on ecommerce for everyday shopping experiences.
Analysts were already saying in 2019, and 2020 especially, that ecommerce was always going to become a trillion-dollar industry. At the heart of this growth cycle will be a digital commerce experience that accentuates – and often transcends – a brick-and-mortar equivalent.
As extenuating circumstances and overall convenience continue to influence digital commerce decisions in consumers, let’s look at what the latest trends, challenges and drivers will bring us over the coming years.
What are the major digital commerce trends for 2022?
Ecommerce remains an evolving industry and new trends emerge, mature and transform into something entirely new almost every day. The brands that were resilient enough to pivot operations quickly to a digital-first approach were the ones who came out of the last two years as industry leaders.
Some of the digital commerce stats worth noting include:
By 2022, the U.S. digital commerce market will top $1 trillion in sales
Almost 50% of retailers are planning to undergo digital makeovers in the next year
In the first two months of 2021, consumers spent 34% more on online purchases than the same period in 2020
The following are three key trends shaping digital commerce in the next few years:
1. Consolidated technology stacks
The age of choosing fit-for-purpose solutions is over. Digital commerce companies are looking to consolidate technology stacks and create a cohesive ecosystem that provides a full range of functionality for ecommerce operations.
Optimized content management, easy campaign orchestration and regular experimentation from a single digital experience platform (DXP) will replace legacy solutions that are becoming difficult to maintain. SaaS platforms that provide all the integrations and functionalities you need will rapidly replace outdated technology stacks. These solutions allow you to remain agile in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
2. The rise of visual commerce
Although visual commerce remains a catchall term for the different methods you use to engage your customers, the ease of delivery is making it a standard in the industry. The advent of virtual and augmented reality is simply driving the next major iteration in visual commerce where the experience entirely depends on the interactivity and engagement potential of your content.
When it comes to engaging customers with educational product knowledge, there is no better way to deliver your message than with visual content.
Visual commerce helps you to:
Deliver your brand identity and message across any digital channel
Educate your customers about your products, services and any other relevant messages
Start conversations across social media and content delivery platforms
3. Providing an authentic digital presence
An omnichannel experience transcends both your web and physical presence. You’ll need to be active on social media channels and be able to conduct business on these platforms. Consumers want authentic voices that speak to their individual interests.
To succeed in the new digital commerce environment, you’ll need to be accessible and interactive with your consumers. Purpose-driven brands will dominate engagement from digital consumers and being agile enough to respond to changes in consumer interests with an authentic voice will help set your brand apart from competitors.
What challenges do digital commerce companies face?
Some challenges like online identity verification will remain outside of your direct control. However, the greatest challenge will be outshining competitors in your industry. As you’re learning, so are they. The race between your ability to deploy new strategies, campaigns and experiences will determine who comes out on top.
The main challenges digital commerce brands need to overcome include:
Omnichannel experiences – Optimize all of the digital touchpoints you provide for the best customer experience you can possibly achieve.
Reverse logistics – When customers need to access after-sales services, you need to ensure you can respond effectively if you want to grow customer loyalty.
Product personalization – More customers want personalized products and shopping experiences from the convenience of their own home.
Securing customer data – There is a consistent rise in cybercrimes that threaten customers’ private data. You’ll need to convince your consumers you are taking the necessary precautions to keep their information safe.
Key digital commerce drivers for 2022
The rate of technology adoption has never been higher across the world. With more brands turning to digital-first operations, the main driver will be experience optimization, experimentation and seamless content delivery across all available channels.
In 2022, the main drivers for digital commerce will include supply chain solutions, guided selling directly to customers from major brands and consumer data security. Each of these elements should be featured in your content strategy by ensuring you build consumer trust over the next year.
Some predictions to look for are:
A new era of chatbots that don’t just respond with a predetermined set of articles or blog posts but can engage with full chat functionality
The use of 3D photorealistic product images and experiences across any digital device using technologies like WebGL
Improved infrastructure deployment models and servicing strategies will reduce the dependence on legacy infrastructure (and increase cloud adoption)
Enhance your digital commerce experience with Optimizely
Optimizely provides you with all the tools and capabilities you need to deliver rich and engaging experiences across all your digital commerce channels. With key insights, experimentation capabilities and advanced segmentation for targeted personalization, you can engage your customers and ensure you deliver experiences that keep up with changing trends in ecommerce.
To start transforming your digital commerce experiences today, get in touch with Optimizely for more information on how we can help.