Top 6 trends that will shape digital commerce in 2022 & beyond

Digital commerce is ever-changing. In 2020 and 2021 we saw the industry go through seismic shifts in the way that we interact with customers, pave the path to purchase and the channels we use. But what does the future hold for 2022 and beyond?

We gave our industry experts across the world the hard task of whittling down key areas that are gaining traction with retailers and brands. Here’s a snippet of what they think will become the focus in the year ahead:

Big increases in CDP investment

In our recent blog on the advancements of Google Analytics 4, we talked about the pending death of the cookie. For businesses that rely on third party cookies to gather, market and monitor user data, this could be a huge problem. Ad tech platforms may look to solutions to combat this (Google FLOC) but only through targeting larger anonymised segments, that fall short of identifying an individual.

This evolving story can only mean the position for walled gardens of search engines and social media platforms are increasingly strengthened since they can operate on their own first party data and tie information to accounts used to log in to their platforms.

The common challenge across retailers is tracking and reporting on activity that happens across these different platforms. We’ve seen a growing increase in retailers who have moved from a ‘wait and see’ attitude to strengthening their own marketing and data ecosystems through CDP investment. The opportunities to develop relevant and personalised experiences for your customers then vastly increases. According to our recent personalistion research, 47% of consumers interviewed expect a proactive personalised experience from retailers and brands, and businesses need to have a path forwards to achieve this.

Agility via Headless Commerce

This year, we’ve seen and heard a lot of talk on headless (or composable) commerce and how it impacts customer experience as well as organisational structures. Headless technology refers to a decoupled frontend from backend in an eCommerce application and is fast becoming a popular choice for digital delivery.

Many of the big commerce platforms have either transitioned to, or are developing headless strategies – leaving a lot of opportunity for retailers to benefit from this technology. We’ll be running through the different platforms and their journey with headless in our blog over the next few weeks. The first of which focuses on Salesforce Commerce Cloud and is available to read now.

Giving Customers Greater Choice with Innovative Payments

2021 was a big year for cryptocurrency. It’s a hot topic amongst customers and companies alike. We’ve seen first-hand major brands invest in cryptocurrency and blockchain so that they can start accepting Bitcoin payments in 2022. Even big players in the Fintech arena, such as Paypal, are allowing customers to buy bitcoin through their platforms.

Beyond this, we’re seeing more retailers advance their direct and alternative payment solutions, and optimising the checkout experience, to make the buying process as easy as possible in what is fast-becoming an digital-first economy.

Greater focus on last mile delivery

Global supply chain disruptions in 2020 & 2021 brought last mile delivery in to more of a focus than ever before. And with more businesses investing in their digital commerce offering, there is mounting pressures to perfect the last mile experience.

Alongside wider supply chain considerations, fast and cheap delivery is becoming a key expectation from customers when buying online. We anticipate more business will focus their time and investment on optimising return and delivery methods to ensure speed and reliability, even during times of disruption. This is also extending into how customers receive their goods, including concierge and white glove services to build experiences that are next-level.

Digitisation of brick

The digitisation of brick & mortar has been on the agenda for the last 20 years, and recent industry changes have meant it has now been pushed to the top of the priority list.

We are seeing more retailers increase their focus on a single view of the customer and single view of stock. This digitalisation will run across a really broad range of areas including Loyalty, POS – particularly with the advancement of till-free ‘shop & go’ stores – fulfilment, personalised selling in-store, brand immersion and customer service. Our team also expect that marketplace functionality will start to take off, with more brands looking to extend their ranges and offer customers more products.

Growing focus on Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)

Carbon footprint data has become very important and a serious part of consumers purchase psychology. In fact, research has shown that 84% of customers expect the brands that they shop with to have sustainable practices.

ESG in digital commerce has and will continue to be an area of focus where Environmental, Social and Governance is addressed as much as data privacy, PCI and Accessibility is today to set standards of transparency and purpose.

Interested to hear more from our experts?
Tune into Future Gazing into 2022 panel series.

Across the series, you’ll hear from retailers, Liberty and Sweaty Betty as well as Adobe and Salesforce, for a thorough look at where the industry is heading from all angles. There will be lots of valuable insights shared so make sure you register to access the discussion.

Future Gazing into 2022