Sharon Gee, VP of Revenue Growth and GM of Omnichannel at BigCommerce shares five predictions for omnichannel ecommerce in 2023:
Omnichannel ecommerce in 2023
Just like that, 2023 is upon us. The scramble of the holiday season is over, and merchants will be using January to evaluate the ways they can innovate and strategise to get ahead of the competition in the new year.
Forward-thinking merchants are asking themselves “how will my industry change in the coming year, and what do I need to do to adapt?”
Despite the turbulence of 2022 and the ongoing pinch of inflation, eMarketer predicts a solid future for ecommerce with online sales projected to account for nearly one quarter of all retail sales by 2026. To capitalise, merchants will need to meet customers where they are and where they want you to be. They can leverage data to gain more insights into customer habits and behaviour to offer tailored, flexible and convenient shopping experiences.
A sophisticated omnichannel strategy should be at the heart of every merchant’s ecommerce operation. Omnichannel is no longer an option but an imperative that can help merchants drive sales by showing up where customers are spending their time. To remain competitive, merchants need to stay in touch with the latest technologies and operations in order to deliver a frictionless shopping experience that engages consumers.
Below are some of the top omnichannel trends we expect to see in 2023. With uncertainty on the horizon, merchants should make smart technology investments that are agile and make it easy for customers to make purchases.
Data feed optimisation will be imperative for omnichannel success
Consumers are shopping smarter in 2023, with convenience a top priority. Merchants must meet consumers where they are, whether that be directly through a website, on social media, or on a third-party marketplace. It is crucial that all merchants, but especially those in the digital commerce space, optimise their data feeds across all channels. By harnessing the power of optimised data feeds, merchants can reach valuable customers across a growing number of touchpoints, increasing their relevance and helping them to stand out against competitors. Effective data feed optimisation requires a structured data feed, mapped and aligned with how users search for specific products on various channels.
AI is the future of omnichannel strategies
Digital transformation is taking place across our lives, and ecommerce is no exception. We should expect to see omnichannel solutions evolve as AI technologies such as ChatGPT create increasingly sophisticated possibilities for merchants to personalise the shopping experience for consumers. Merchants must stay abreast of the latest opportunities to interact, and engage with, consumers. By leveraging channels such as TikTok, which prioritise video content, merchants can create content that boosts engagement, and, as a result, ROI. Retailers who are able to meet consumer expectations for a personalised, in-store experience whilst shopping online will be well positioned to succeed in the long term.
An increasingly borderless world will drive marketplace and social sales
Global expansion is accelerating and in 2023 it will be easier than ever for merchants to sell their products, both directly and through social channels and third-party marketplaces, to consumers across regions. This means merchants will need to consider deeper investment in new test and learn acquisition / sales channels that deliver higher customer lifetime value. Merchants will likely also need to reevaluate how they are fulfilling orders from those new channels to ensure they are meeting shopper expectations. The exclusive “fulfil myself” mindset is no longer beneficial for merchants as inflation rises and sales become globalised. By leveraging third-party logistics and fulfilment providers such as DHL, UPS or Amazon Buy with Prime, merchants will be able to accelerate delivery times and reduce costs and merchants will need to contemplate how to manage their inventory and order routing to ensure products can be fulfilled in a timeframe that delights the shopper. Placing an emphasis on efficiency will be essential for merchants to avoid major inventory issues and build customer trust and satisfaction, in order to yield the desired conversion.
Alternative payment methods will move to the forefront as hybrid shopping thrives
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions have been growing steadily for years, but the trend surged during Cyber Week 2022, as more budget-conscious consumers carefully managed their spending. As we move into 2023, forward-thinking retailers will embrace alternative payment methods in order to meet the healthy trend towards hybrid shopping. Digital wallets such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and Google Pay will continue to enjoy success, and we expect them to be joined by an increasing number of new providers entering the space. Whilst credit cards won’t become obsolete, they will be used on a required basis, forcing retailers to upgrade payment methods to stay competitive.
Create options when it comes to point of purchase
Providing multiple payment methods will not be enough to create a seamless checkout experience in 2023. Merchants will need to make improvements to checkout design by relocating pay now and digital wallet buttons. By positioning these buttons at the top of the checkout, merchants can remove friction from the buying experience. Merchants will also need to consider expanding the areas of their website where buyers can pay in order to increase the chances of conversion. New developments mean potential buyers can now be given the option to purchase an item immediately without having to add it to the checkout. By taking these steps to simplify and diversify checkout options, merchants can speed up the purchase process which will significantly improve sales and customer satisfaction.
The key to ecommerce success in 2023
Ultimately, having an omnichannel strategy will be essential for any successful ecommerce business in 2023. Through expanding reach across channels, brands can also access motivated buyers at the moment they are searching for products and benefit from improved search relevancy, traffic, conversion and reduced bounce rates.
Merchants must meet consumers where they are across search and social platforms, marketplaces and advertising channels and take them on a frictionless, fast purchasing journey. Strategically expanding across channels will enable merchants to drive traffic, improve return on ad spend (ROAS) and generate more gross merchandise value (GMV).
The onus is now on merchants to deliver tailored content to individual customers and ensure they are covering the multiple touchpoints customers are engaging on their shopping journeys. With appropriate guidance and support, merchants can leverage the power of omnichannel to grow in 2023.