In January this year, I was asked to provide a series of predictions for this year, given how tumultuous 2020 had been, this was a tricky exercise. However, as a certain sense of normality did seem to return in 2021 (for a short time at least), it’s an opportune moment to revisit those predictions whilst also looking ahead to 2022.
Tackling a broader array of KPIs will be key
The appetite for additional data points and insights amongst eCommerce professionals has certainly increased over the past year. At Adverity, we’ve witnessed this shift stemming from stakeholders looking at performance more holistically and expanding their focus beyond just marketing-related performance and how this evolves when viewed alongside sales data, refund data, and stock levels.
Simply put, marketing and commerce teams are now looking to more intimately understand the context in which their business exists. Doing so enables them to enrich their visibility of marketing performance as well as the broader implications of what they are doing and how this is impacting the wider business.
Ultimately, marketers and eCommerce professionals are measuring and tracking a broader array of KPIs, but not exclusively within marketing’s remit.
Flexible fulfillment and quick commerce
Throughout 2021 fulfillment has become an even more important topic and the trend here has emerged more quickly and strongly than we perhaps initially anticipated. Anecdotally, nowadays I find myself speaking more and more with brands and businesses about their quick commerce strategies.
Look around the streets of any major urban center and you’ll find them flooded with mopeds adorning the colors of Weezy, Gorillas, Getir, and Zapp as they all vie for market share within the quick commerce space. However, for brands, there is still a struggle to garner the insights to truly understand the impact of this distribution model on their business.
What we are seeing though, is that it is forcing other eCommerce brands to become better at analyzing and understanding their data in real-time. They need to understand the channel better in terms of profitability, performance, sales volume, and cost or potentially risk being undercut.
The eCommerce mindset that time equals money is piquing the mainstream and as brands adopt this attitude, it places a greater emphasis on developing better time-to-value from analytics projects.
Fulfillment will depend on data tracking demand
Companies that fail to meet consumer expectations regarding fulfillment are likely finding it so difficult because they are not using data to properly track customer demand.
Businesses may well struggle as more operationally sophisticated competitors continue to excel. Especially as customer expectation is so high, the rise of quick commerce strategies (whilst coming at a premium price point) has meant that customers can be more choosy about alternative businesses that will fulfill their orders.
Shifting demographics within eCommerce
One of the things we are certainly seeing in the eCommerce industry is that executives and key decision-makers are far more closely aligned to target consumers in terms of their age.
In turn, because they understand the constantly evolving digital landscape more natively it means they’re more open to taking risks and experimenting with new platforms, channels, and strategies to deliver growth.
The impact of this? The mindset has shifted from ‘let’s take our brand’s physical retail experience online’ to putting their eCommerce strategy at the fore of their marketing and overall business rather than being purely supplemental to IRL offerings. A prerequisite to that shift being possible is the successful marriage of data, experimentation, and real-time analytics.
Recommerce will hit the mainstream
Recommerce is definitely here to stay and the market will thrive even more in 2022, especially in the UK there is a growing market for high-end and luxury items at second-high price points.
There are currently a number of companies that are doing this very well and garnering media attention as a result. However, it is not just within the luxury space that recommerce has accelerated, P2P trading has grown dramatically in terms of reach and big business has caught on, just look at the likes of Depop which is set to be acquired by Etsy for an eyewatering $1.1 billion so that they can more effectively engage with Gen Z.
While 2021 wasn’t necessarily the year of recommerce, consumer attitudes are evolving in such a way that it’s safe to say recommerce will continue to grow in prevalence in 2022. Watch this space.
Rise of Hybrid Teams
Now more than ever, there is a much larger overlap between eCommerce teams and marketing teams and this will continue to be the case in 2022. The biggest unifier between the two teams is the data dependency that sits between them. In light of that, many organizations leverage their data teams to ensure effective communication between eCommerce and Marketing, whose responsibility is to facilitate insight and highlight data points that are of strategic value and interest to both parties.
How is the data team doing this, you ask? By establishing an approved, mutually single source of truth with the emphasis being on data being not just accurate but accessible and serving as a vital resource for any projects that require data / some sort of empirical blessing.
This (increasingly commonplace) structure is of great significance as it bridges the gap between the two ever-so-slightly different spheres of marketing analytics and data-driven marketing.
The impact of this change in terms of how teams operate is huge. In effect, you are providing a team of marketers that are increasingly data-savvy with an efficient, self-service model to answer their own questions rather than having them rely on data teams to do the work for them.
Aside from now having to be purveyors of this automatically acquired single source of truth, the data team can be confident that the data being used for such projects complies with governance frameworks and privacy regulations it also frees up their time to deliver on more complex, ‘proper’ data science initiatives rather than work such as this which can be largely delivered by a ‘lights off’ solution.
Ultimately, this approach breaks all data silos and creates the space for a data-driven culture to take root as all the previous obstacles impinging upon its growth are now removed.
While we may not be in revolution territory when it comes to the retail industry, we are certainly in an evolution phase. The businesses that evolve the fastest and start utilizing data and analytics more effectively, restructure their teams to become more data-centric, and maximize new channels and opportunities will thrive. Retail has always been an industry of survival of the fittest and in 2022 that will become even prominent.