Harmony Murphy, GM Advertising UK at eBay, shares her views
After yet another year of unprecedented times – including new Covid variants, ever-changing restrictions, and continuing knock-on effects for all business sectors – it’s safe to say we are all entering 2022 slightly unsure of what’s to come.
However, despite all the uncertainty, when it comes to the world of ecommerce here are some key trends we expect to see emerge. Read on to see what we think will be some of the key focuses for brands and sellers in the next 12 months.
The ecommerce experience will go even further beyond the transaction
The days when ecommerce was simply about selling products online are well behind us. Shoppers’ expectations of ecommerce are rising, and they are now actively seeking out experiences that go beyond the transaction.
They want a simple, relevant and engaging experience at every touchpoint, no matter what channel they’re using to shop. And with consumers today having seemingly endless choice for how and where they spend their money – and more people than ever shopping online – brands cannot afford to be complacent.
In 2022, the brands that come out ahead will be those that optimise their omnichannel strategies and – as part of this – look for innovative ways to bring the benefits of the in-store shopping experience to their customers online. From creating personalised, premium and intuitive shopping experiences, to emphasising human connections and community — this will help them to streamline physical and online shopping and add value to their customers’ lives.
Brand values and authenticity become critical
Over the last few years there has been a growing movement towards values-driven shopping. Today, values-driven consumers actively buy from brands that align to their social and ethical principles – such as championing diversity and inclusion or prioritising environmental practices (think cosmetics companies that use chemical free ingredients or food brands that shun palm oil usage).
Looking ahead, brands will need to bring authenticity and purpose to the forefront and engrain it into all aspects of their business. From their products and packaging to their marketing campaigns and wider business operations, it’s imperative that brands showcase what they stand for and are doing to benefit the world we live in.
For instance, with shoppers becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to the carbon footprint of their online purchases, retailers should consider how they can highlight their sustainability credentials when it comes to products, shipping, or their business as a whole. Doing this properly and effectively will be crucial to building brand trust and loyalty in the year to come.
First-party becomes first choice
We’ve known for a while that the death of the cookie will change the face of digital marketing. And although Google’s decision to cull third-party cookies has been delayed until 2023, marketers need to make the most of this extra time – and act now to ensure they’re well prepared for the day the cookie crumbles.
In the next year, retail brands will have to innovate and find new ways to leverage first-party customer data in order to create a seamless and intuitive shopping experience for their customers at scale. Being transparent about how their customers’ data will be used to improve their shopping experience will not only show respect for them, it will also help to build trust and, in turn, drive repeat custom.
But marketers need to be careful as they cultivate that trust. After all, there is a fine line between personalised and creepy when it comes to using customer data – and those brands that get it wrong risk damaging valuable relationships.