E-commerce marketers are currently bracing themselves for another year of turbulence in the marketplace. A combination of supply chain issues, inflation, and pandemic-induced shifts in buying behavior will continue to demand that marketers have the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties and exploit opportunities that present themselves.
There are five key trends that will determine what successful e-commerce marketing will look like in 2022. Let’s take a look at what 2022 has in store for us.
1. Change in Shopping Patterns
The buying behavior of consumers has changed with the pandemic. People want to travel less and be around fewer people. BOPIC (Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store) is seeing a resurgence and is becoming even more important. Curb-side pickup and easy returns have gained the most in popularity and are definitely here to stay.
Businesses with brick-and-mortar stores will need to continue to adapt and respond to changing buyer patterns. Pure e-commerce players will need to call out shipping deals, shipping delays, and shipping terms and businesses. E-commerce businesses that also have physical stores will need to continue to add call-outs for curbside pickups and free/easy returns.
2. High Inflation
Inflation is hurting consumers. In November, consumer prices in the United States had risen 6.8% from a year ago and the end is not yet in sight. It is a matter of time for discretionary spending (such as apparel) to start to decline. You cannot decide to stop eating, but you can decide to continue wearing those pants just a little bit longer. Marketing will have to be very efficient if it is going to want to maintain demand.
There will be a need for an increased focus on-demand activation, targeting consumers with firm buying intent.
As to whether businesses should pass on price increases, it is recommended they observe their competitors closely. Consumers compare prices online and are not as loyal as they used to be. When your competitors are not passing on (most of) the price hikes, you will have little room to do so yourself.
3. Changed Channel Mix
More and more information is being consulted online, so people are continuing to spend more time in front of their computer (think connected TVs, Tik Tok, all social media networks, etc.)
Companies need to find and target buyers where they are, and this will include more than ever in front of their connected TV.
Video creatives are extremely important (now more than ever), so marketers will need to add them to the promotional mix if they have not done so yet.
E-commerce businesses need to be where their customers are, which is… online. If your budget isn’t shifting into all things online, you’re going to pay a terrible price.
4. Continued Supply Chain Disruptions
Across many sectors, supply chain disruptions will continue unabated.
Businesses will do well to buy enough in order to be able to fulfill demand and not frustrate consumers with long waiting times, but they should not buy too much. Yes, the supply chain issues will endure, but worker shortages will be more important than demand – demand is actually expected to lower in 2022 (as said above, especially discretionary spending will suffer), buying in too much will make for packed warehouses.
Companies also need to look at their competitors. There is a high chance that there are some big players in their category that didn’t plan for the supply chain disruptions. Less competition equals a better return on investment. In summary, if they can not deliver the goods and you can, you need to double down on your marketing effort.
5. Convenient Shipping Options
Consumers have gotten used to a plethora of convenient shipping options and will not want to give that up. Consumers do not only want fast and convenient delivery however, they also want easy returns.
Companies will have to continue to invest in convenient shipping and returns. This is a cost, but should also be embraced as a brand building and differentiating opportunity.
E-commerce businesses should consider partnerships with companies such as Happy Returns (that provides an end-to-end enterprise return service) where their own resources fall short.
In the coming year, companies will have to accommodate for the changes in shopping patterns, maneuver with very high inflation, understand where they need to target their customers, navigate continued supply chain disruptions, and continue to offer consumers the convenient shipping options they have gotten used to. For those companies that are agile enough to adapt swiftly to the many changes in the market, the pandemic will end up presenting unimagined opportunities to dominate the marketplace.