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E-commerce activity has grown substantially over the past two years. While online shopping was already primed for healthy growth over the next decade, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated any past projections.
Globally, e-commerce sales saw a 27.6% growth rate throughout 2021. With these growth numbers, Insider Intelligence expects that the worldwide e-commerce market will reach $5 trillion in 2022, and $6 trillion will be hit only two years later in 2024. This is largely fuelled by the fact that online sales continue to grow.
Even as stores reopen, the percentage of customers that opt to shop online is getting larger. Many industry leaders assume that these online shopping habits are here to stay, especially given the projected growth in online sales year over year.
In our always-on, buy anything anywhere world, customers want their shopping experiences to be personalized, dynamic, and convenient. As a result, many businesses are trying to reinvent themselves, adapt to new business models and technologies, adhere to new consumer expectations and keep pace with their competitors.
Given that retailers have had to pivot their business models to online (if they weren’t there already), the competitive landscape has become even more difficult to navigate. There has also been a notable “death” of brand loyalty amongst consumers due to market fragmentation, and the ease with which consumers can switch and find brand alternatives if they are dissatisfied. As such, retailers are facing a challenge in their efforts to differentiate themselves and stay competitive in a tough market.
As many e-commerce businesses experienced firsthand, COVID-19 caused a boom in online shopping. What was already a high-growth industry was catapulted into hyperspeed as the world adapted to changing regulations, societal norms, and customer needs. While the rapid growth across global e-commerce markets and e-commerce categories is projected to eventually even out to pre-pandemic numbers, that time is still far off. For 2022 and into the next two to three years, we will continue to see large upticks in e-commerce growth worldwide.
Why we care. E-commerce companies will need to prioritize the collection of zero- and first-party data in order to sustain the marketing efforts needed to succeed. It will also require marketers to shift and look at metrics differently than before.
Why we care. Brands must be transparent about their data collection efforts and show that there is shared value in the data exchange to stay afloat in the cookieless world.
Why we care. Social media platforms are presenting new ways for e-commerce businesses to engage with customers and create unique experiences. If they haven’t already, e-commerce businesses need to get a grasp on social commerce and how to integrate this touchpoint into their overall strategy.
Why we care. Data reporting software/partners that centralize all metrics from all tools into one place will simplify the data analytics process, yield more accurate insights, and help e-commerce companies make better, more informed decisions.
As online shopping activity continues to increase, consumers’ preferences and expectations for delivery have also increased. Free delivery is becoming expected and waiting any longer than two days for delivery can be a deal-breaker for most consumers. Some must-haves for today’s online shipping experience include:
Why we care. Consumers are evolving right before retailers’ eyes. Understanding their behaviors and expectations and being nimble enough and committed enough to address and delight them in a timely fashion will be the differentiator online retailers need to stand out in the years to come.
As consumer expectations for shipping become more insatiable, shipping and logistics processes for e-commerce businesses become more complex and expensive. As such, selecting the right shipping platforms and partners is more important than ever for e-commerce businesses.
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The events of the past few years have changed every part of the e-commerce buying journey, from what consumers expect and how they engage and buy online, to the rising complexities. The path to e-commerce growth means pivoting quickly to meet new customer and societal expectations.
For e-commerce businesses, finding success in 2022 revolves around 3 key areas:
In the race to offer a more exceptional online experience, striking the right balance between marketing, shipping and logistics, and technologies to provide an exceptional customer experience can feel daunting. Those retailers that figure it out will create a competitive advantage and win the mind- and wallet-share of consumers.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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What you need to know to grow your e-commerce business – MarTech