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Guide | January 13, 2022

5 eCommerce trends to watch in 2022

New year, new you, new trends.


As our planet starts a new journey around the sun, what better time to gaze into our crystal balls and try to figure out what the next 12 months have in store for us? The world of eCommerce always moves fast, so the latest hot trends and innovations can be hard to predict, but we figured why not give it a stab?


So read on for five trends which we reckon could very well play a huge part in shaping the industry over the next year, and how you can take advantage of them.


Composable commerce


Yes, we already called out composable commerce as jargon to look out for in 2022, but just because it’s jargon doesn’t mean it’s not about to be a big trend this year. In fact, the alliteration and jargony nature of the term could help it become even more trendy as a concept.


To recap, composable commerce means using lots of different pieces of software to design an eCommerce website, instead of using a single (or monolithic) platform. Different packaged business capabilities (PBCs) are used to deliver different experiences, instead of having one single vendor deal with everything a store needs. One PBC might handle the checkout for web browsers, the other handles Android checkouts.


The idea is that specialized PBCs are better at doing their task than any one-size-fits-all platform are, and therefore you’ll have a flexible and fast-moving tech stack.


The nature of composable commerce (inherent complexity for tech teams) means only digitally mature organizations should embark on a composable approach, before evaluating which parts of the business could benefit from composability. Just because it’s going to be trendy and all over your social media feeds doesn’t mean it’s right for your organization, so take a sober approach.


Web3


Web3 or Web 3.0, whatever you call it, has already dominated headlines in early 2022, and it’s set to have a huge impact on eCommerce, and pretty much everything online, according to tech evangelists like Gavin Wood. The Ethereum co-founder is thought to have coined the term and made the case for a decentralized internet architecture:


“Web 3.0, or as might be termed the ‘post-Snowden’ web, is a re-imagination of the sorts of things we already use the web for, but with a fundamentally different model for the interactions between parties. Information that we assume to be public, we publish. Information we assume to be agreed upon, we place on a consensus ledger. Information that we assume to be private, we keep secret and never reveal. Communication always takes place over encrypted channels and only with pseudonymous identities as endpoints; never with anything traceable (such as IP addresses).”


Think blockchain, NFTs, crypto and all those other buzzwords that have been flying around over the last year. But what does it mean for you and eCommerce? In the short term, we’re already seeing plenty of brands hop on the NFT bandwagon to either sell new products or provide added value to consumers. Longer down the road, some have predicted Web3 to revolutionize eCommerce by making transactions faster and more secure, therefore boosting sales. Mass adoption of blockchain technology needs to happen first, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on all things Web3.

 

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Crypto will be a big part of Web3, according to some.

Sustainability

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. Ok, it’s still a buzzword for lots of companies, but the eCommerce businesses that continue only paying lip service to sustainability are going to lose out. 


Consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to greenwashing and research has consistently shown that consumers want sustainable products and they want the companies they shop with to have a purpose beyond profit. For example, two-thirds of Australian and New Zealand consumers say “ brands must positively change the world” according to an Ernst & Young report. 


This focus on sustainability has also opened the door for different eCommerce business models, such as re-commerce. One research firm has gone as far as to forecast that re-commerce will account for 14% of the apparel, footwear, and accessories market by 2024.


While these trends have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s no reason to think they’ll slow down as the pandemic peters out (if that ever happens). So what does this mean for you? In short, it means it’s time to take sustainability seriously if you weren’t already. Figure out what your brand can actually do to be more sustainable that has a measurable impact, do it, and then highlight that, instead of relying on fluffy PR releases and vague company values statements.


Delivery creativity


It’s no secret that 2021 was a tough year for the logistics and delivery industry. With the pandemic still wreaking havoc on supply chains, the US Postal Service suspending deliveries to Australia was just one part of a year filled with so much chaos it got its own Wikipedia page. Lingering effects will likely be felt this year too, but on the whole it’s looking like 2022 could be filled with delivery innovation and creativity.


Danish shipping giant Maersk’s recent move to run Unilever’s logistics operations is one portent of where the delivery and logistics industry is going. As one commentator told Quartz, “it’s not a stretch to assume that this is another rung in the ladder towards full end-to-end global supply chain ownership”.


It’s not just huge global companies shifting how they deliver, experts like Ken Fleming, president of Logistyx Technologies, have predicted lots of smaller brands to take more ownership of their delivery services and even collaborating with each other on delivery.

 

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The delivery market moves fast.

First-party data

First-party data has always been part of an effective eCommerce strategy, but now? It’s more important than ever.


While Google has delayed the execution of the cookie on its popular Chrome browser (an estimated 3.2 billion people used Chrome as their main browser last year) and Apple’s new privacy features have been loosened, everything is still trending towards more stringent privacy rules and less third-party data being available.


What does that mean for online sales going forward? Your own ecosystem of data becomes crucial, which is something Jerry Smith of Ogilvy touched upon on the Commerce Talk with SmartOSC podcast.



 

First-party data is data you own and control, so proper use of it will allow you to better understand and therefore better serve your customers. A study last year found that 88% of marketers considered collecting first-party data a priority in 2021, and that’s a number that is only set to rise this year.


Perhaps most importantly, good use fo first-party data is key to enabling a successful omnichannel strategy, and you know how strongly we feel about omnichannel here at SmartOSC. Top tip, integrating a customer data platform (CDP) into your tech stack is a great way to make sure you’re making best use of first-party data.


Here's to new beginnings


History is doomed to repeat itself and if 2021 taught us anything about the eCommerce world, it’s that rapid and transformative changes are the new normal. Expect the unexpected in 2022.


Whatever changes your business needs to make, our digital commerce experts are here to help. Get in touch today to see how we can future-proof your business.


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