The learning curve in ecommerce is set to continue in 2022. New customers, new competition and new technology abound, with pandemic uncertainty still front of mind.
Key for retailers will be navigating supply chain issues, and weathering the impact of any new Covid restrictions by forging strong customer relationships across digital channels. Ultimately, the task is arguably to foster trust amongst consumers in a hybrid form of commerce long-term.
Eve Sleep CEO Cheryl Calverley put it succinctly at the end of 2020: “The wise consumer is going to come with a very different set of expectations to this ecommerce space,” she told Econsultancy. “The sort of expectations they have had for John Lewis, Debenhams, and M&S – and they’re now going to expect it [from] ecommerce brands.”
Flexible, creative, and empathic experiences
In an article for Forbes, SAP’s Maria Morais writes of ‘a call for flexible, creative, and empathic experiences’. She highlights the DIY trend for example – this was pronounced early in the pandemic and gave rise to people doing more activities themselves, such as crafts or recipe boxes, not to mention home improvement.
For ecommerce experiences specifically – china email list flexibility, creativity and empathy may prove a powerful rule of three. Flexibility is going to be a valuable trait, both in terms of how customers can self-serve and also in how businesses can quickly adapt to supply chain issues or bricks-and-mortar disruption. From online merchandising to advertising creative to fulfilment options, having backend and frontend working seamlessly together will reduce waste and, just as importantly, customer frustration.
The D2C evolution
Big brands from FMCG to consumer electronics saw their D2C ecommerce revenue soar in 2020 and have continued to invest in customer relationships in 2021. And though there are complexities to D2C – Funko’s VP of Marketing and Business Development EMEA, Eva Verhaak, for example, recently told Econsultancy, “We had to be clever in terms of how we would reach our fans without significantly impacting our retail partners.” – this doesn’t mean that selling direct isn’t going to be a continue
…and the omnichannel imperative
Unified commerce – one modular platform that serves all sales channels – has long helped tech-savvy retailers optimise fulfillment. Similarly, overstock and inventory levels, sale stock, and store distribution.
Sustainable practices make for great customer experiences
SAP’s Maria Morais is also co-founder and chair at Circklo. Similarly, helping to develop digital businesses for both profit and purpose in the circular economy. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, she earmarks a report by SAP and Oxford Economics which found. Similarly, In a survey of more than 2,000 small and midsize businesses. That 73% of ‘top performing’ respondents named ‘sustainable practices’ as one way of measuring quality of customer experience. This was fourth on a list, behind high quality products and services (88%). Similarly, competitive pricing (82%) and fast, convenient delivery (80%).
As Morais writes, “Individually, these elements of the customer experience are essential. But when combined, they can fuel powerful customer engagement… in today’s uncertain environment.”
Resilience enabled by tech and data
In part because of acquisition costs that continue to rise, marketers have redoubled their efforts to retain customers. Morais argues that “naturally, unification of data and personalisation become top of mind,” for marketers focusing on longer-term customer relationships. This proved to be the case at a recent SAP roundtable where retailers discussed their plans for investments in 2022. Asked about their top two considerations for digital commerce strategy in 2022. 43% of attendees earmarked personalisation. Similarly, which was top of the pile, followed by ‘automation of customer interactions using tech and data’ (29%).