This time of year brands and retailers are in the midst of the holiday rush as consumers hurry to buy gifts for family and friends. But, as 2021 winds down, it’s time to think about the bigger picture and look at what we’ve seen and learned in e-commerce as we head into 2022.

Lessons Learned

We know that the pandemic impacted retail sales and the consumer journey over the past couple of years. 

We are seeing an accelerated adoption of e-commerce as an effect of the pandemic. This has resulted in a massive investment in e-commerce infrastructure led by Amazon. The marketplace has invested billions of dollars in fulfillment capacity from more warehouses to transportation.

The increase in fulfillment capacity has given buyers more options to receive their orders whether it’s curbside pickup, buy-now-pick-up-later or shorter delivery times. 

Unfortunately, complex circumstances created by the pandemic have resulted in supply chain challenges. Stock availability has been impacting every part of retail, especially shipping. These difficulties are likely to linger well into the new year for many brands and retailers and, in some categories, could have a measurable impact on sales.

Trends for 2022

The acceleration of e-commerce is no secret to retailers. With Amazon leading the way as an example of how retail media spending can drive growth, other retailers, such as Walgreens and CVS, have been inspired and are in the process of launching their own retail media markets.

E-commerce has been a part of social platforms for quite some time now. It has become an even more frictionless experience, especially for mobile devices. Users see ads targeted to their interests and with one button can click through to make their purchase. This smooth transaction can be seen with Instagram ads and, more recently, TikTok. 

While social platforms are tracking users and their activity, we are seeing privacy and regulatory battles intensify. The prevalence and tracking power of the cookie has begun fading with the implementation of privacy technology, arriving with acronyms like ITP, ATT and IDFA. Increasing adoption of this technology as well as potential new regulations and laws will require marketers to change. As the old methods to target, track and attribute the results of ad campaigns begin to become obsolete, companies will need to innovate and adapt to remain in touch and engaged with their consumers. 

Strategies for Success

So, where do you start? Take inventory of your e-commerce health and evaluate your digital shelf to ensure optimal product content. How are your products presented? Is your pricing competitive?

Here are a few specific strategies to consider executing in the new year.

Be everywhere. The consumer is looking at every possible option on every site. It’s important to be where consumers are shopping or looking at advertisements, including Amazon, Walmart, social media platforms and other online locations. Think about how your business is reaching consumers currently and find the gaps.

Diversify your approach. Diversification builds durability. This means diversifying where you receive your supply, which channels you are selling on, which regions/countries you are reaching and what fulfillment options you offer. As you think about expanding to new channels, factor in the customer acquisition costs. Think about the channels you are expanding to and the cost for advertisement. What’s your strategy for moving to new channels and have you budgeted for it? 

Focus on fulfillment. The last mile has gotten competitive, especially with features such as shortened delivery times, free shipping and buy-now-pick-up-later options. The consumer journey is important at every stage including the fulfillment options. Set yourself apart from other retailers and brands to get consumers their products when and how they prefer.

What else should you look out for in e-commerce in 2022? Watch Vice President of Digital Marketing Strategy Link Walls discuss what we’ve learned this year and what actions we can take to succeed in 2022

Posted by Contributor