The Future of E-commerce

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Shopify is a major player for ecommerce, with over 3 million websites using the platform worldwide. Each year, Shopify put out a trend forecast, outlining their (generally very accurate) predictions for commerce, based on their statistical analysis.

This year, here’s what we can expect to see.

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1. Rising acquisition costs

This refers to the cost of acquiring a new customer through paid advertising (think social media ads, google advertising, etc). We are seeing this because Covid has pushed more businesses online than ever before – and even though physical stores are reopening, their online sales remain. This means the landscape has more people competing, which results in higher costs per acquisition (aka cost per sale).

Here’s how to get ahead – Be driven by your values and increase sustainability (aka. It’s cool to care). Almost 50% of customers say they are actively supporting brands that are environmentally sustainable or commit to social causes. Customer intention has shifted to action and as a result, businesses who actively have clear shared values with their key demographics are more likely to see sales conversions.

Secondly, invest in your brand. Brand identity is becoming more important than ever before. A strong brand is essential for recognition and to stay in your customers mind. Work on developing a customer experience map that outlines each stage of the experience – ensuring you deliver on experience every step of the way (and go above and beyond). Customer retention and repeat transactions rely on positive customer experiences now more than ever.

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2. The death of third party cookies

A cookie is a little piece of Javascript (code) that is stored by the browser between
sessions. This means what websites you look at may get data from other websites you’ve looked at – for example, if you go to an online clothing store, then to google days later – you may see ads for the clothing you were looking at. This is because the browser has stored this data. While this is great for a digital marketing technique called ‘remarketing’, it’s something we’re expected to see less and less of. Shopify predicts this will be phased out almost completely – with Apple’s new ios being the first to block cookies all together and several web browsers following suit.

Here’s how to get around that – Invest in building your customer ‘community’. 73% of shoppers surveyed said they use multiple channels before making a purchase. If you’re only on one or two platforms, you may be missing opportunities to connect with your customers. At the same time, for small businesses – burnout is real, so finding out where your customers are and then creating community opportunities is the best way forward. Are your customers big on facebook groups? Start your own. This year, we’ll also see a rise in NFT technology and ‘virtual’ shopping, so being innovative with how and where you expand your communities is vital.

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3. The rise of social commerce

Social commerce is exactly what it sounds like – shopping through social media platforms. With a huge increase in consumers shopping via social media, we’re also seeing the landscape quickly becoming more competitive.

So how can you cut through the noise? As above, invest in a cohesive brand identity, know your values and actively connect with your customers. Furthermore, ensure your social platforms are set up with online shopping. As social platforms increasingly prioritise video content, make sure you’re also increasing your video content and consistently tagging products there. Brands looking to stand out above the rest will incorporate virtual shopping experiences and live chat with video components, seeing higher acquisition rates as a result.


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