The Future of Commerce: Adapting to the New Digital Landscape

The Future of Commerce: Adapting to the New Digital Landscape

With the rise in ecommerce, it can be difficult for businesses to break into the marketplace. We’ve broken down these concerns to provide insight into how you can navigate a crowded digital space.

Written by Jason Stokes

5 min read

Ecommerce is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and with exponential growth predicted in the next three to five years, we are not expecting it to slow down any time soon. In 2022 there were believed to be 12-24 million online stores in the digital space, and as digital sales grow, more shop owners are migrating their business online to platforms like Shopify. Whilst this is positive for consumers who now have a multitude of products and services at their fingertips, many businesses are seeing the challenges associated with a growth in online competition.

As ecommerce evolves there are a few key elements that must be considered. Shopify recently released an in-depth “Future of Commerce” report which gives detailed insight into how they see the future of commerce based on relevant research into current trends and predicted statistics.

With the positive rise in ecommerce, there are certain complications which new businesses trying to break into the marketplace may come across. We’ve broken down these concerns and provided insight into how we can better navigate this crowded digital marketplace.

Customer Acquisition Costs Are Cause For Concern

The cost of customer acquisition is on the rise. While ecommerce growth has slowed since the pandemic ended, it is still growing, and as such there is growing concern about the effect that this is having on gaining new customers, as well as retaining existing ones. There are currently an estimated 24 million online businesses and up to 11 available spaces on page one of Google. This means that the competition is undoubtedly increasing, making it difficult for companies to be found, especially newer or smaller businesses competing with larger, more established enterprises.

Previously Shopify businesses have had marketing budgets to put into PPC campaigns which could help greatly with customer acquisition. Though still an extremely valuable tool, and important for companies to implement in terms of visibility, the cost of PPC campaigns is increasing. Digital advertising platforms have increased their cost-per-click by 15% ultimately meaning that businesses will burn through more budget, and see less in terms of results. How can we combat this issue? Though not a quick fix, investing in your own Shopify brand is one of the best ways to tackle an increase in acquisition costs.

Reputable companies can help to increase customer lifetime value and boost conversion rates. Having a recognisable, respected brand is an essential sales tool in today’s retail world. Though an increase in online sales has shown that customers prefer a digital journey, that doesn't mean they don't expect a customer-focused and personable brand that they can resonate with. 80% of online shoppers conduct thorough research before placing any order. So make your brand memorable. Investing money in your branding, and having key statements online about what your brand stands for will help your online shop stay front and centre in a customer’s mind.

Further to acquisition, investing in branding will help to encourage customer retention. Customers are 70% more likely to re-purchase from a brand that they like and in turn become brand advocates; the power of people is a marketer’s best friend. Customers are 4x more likely to purchase from a brand when they have been referred there by a friend.

Pic: SCALE - Customer Journey Model

Third-Party Cookies Phase-out Creates Challenges For Marketers

Though inevitably the future is online, customers still want the personal experience that they had in brick and mortar stores. However, as third-party cookies are phased out, this is creating challenges for marketers to create personalised websites, and it is predicted that 80% of marketers will abandon all personalisation efforts by 2025. However, 72% of customers will only interact with marketing that is personalised and tailored to their interests.

It is important to know that Google has only announced the phase out of third-party cookies which means that all important first-party cookies will remain. This is a lifeline for marketers as they still have an insight into what their customers are doing on their site. However the loss of third-party cookies means that they will not have any additional information regarding their browsing habits, or likes and dislikes taken from other websites.

Though the new changes around cookies can be problematic there are other ways in which you can interact with your customers to create a personalised experience for them. 58% of customers are willing to share information with brands that they trust in order to have a personalised online experience. Therefore, implementing surveys and preference centres can help businesses gauge insight into customer wants and needs, enabling marketers to create the personal experience that customers want, without the use of invasive third-party cookies.

A Growing Appetite For Social Commerce

Social media has evolved beyond the original use of a networking platform and has become an all-encompassing marketing and sales tool. 58.4% of people use social media globally and 54% of its users have stated that they now use social media as a tool to discover and purchase products from online retailers. 36% of customers have purchased directly through social media platforms, showing that social commerce is the future.

Since 2020 video social media has reached new heights and opened doors to an influx of social media influencers. Additionally, the introduction of social sales tools has meant that businesses have yet more sales tools at their fingertips. With the rise in TikTok, traditional style sales techniques which we would be used to seeing on television shopping channels have once again become more popular. 1 in 10 people have used the new TikTok shop feature to purchase products. But is this due to the nature of the sales platform, or the individual sellers?

Here are some interesting stats around the growth of TikTok:

  • TikTok currently boasts 1.4 billion monthly active users and will reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2023.
  • USA takes the lead with 150 million active TikTok users
  • The United States has a large pool of influencers, with 10M individuals considered as such

Source: Influencity TikTok Marketing Stats

Influencer marketing is a pivotal element which should be added to your Shopify marketing strategy. Collaborating with social media content creators and influencers helps to build trust and rapport with customers. 89% of YouTube viewers trust the recommendations that creators give and in turn are more likely to purchase from brands that work with their favourite social media creators.

Breaking into the social selling space can be difficult, but ensuring as a Shopify brand that you are providing the content that your customers are looking for, and creating brand partnerships with well known influencers can help to accelerate you in an otherwise competitive space.

What Are The Key Takeaways?

  • The report highlights some interesting changes, and Shopify marketers should look to amend their strategies based on how we envisage the future of commerce, but what are the key takeaways from this report and what can we do now?
  • A rising number of ecommerce shops and competitors makes it increasingly difficult and more costly to acquire new customers. BUT, you can combat these through varied approaches.
  • Distribute marketing budgets to include an increased focus on creating a recognisable and reputable brand. Customers trust well known and well-respected brands, and as such creating a brand which is instantly recognisable and trustworthy will encourage existing customers to become brand advocates.
  • The uncertainty of the future of cookies will mean that marketers promoting Shopify stores will need to rely on alternative techniques for collecting information about their customers.
  • Additions like preference centres and surveys can help you to gauge an understanding of what types of marketing your customers would be receptive to.
  • The growth of social media means that the future of ecommerce is most certainly growing in correlation with the growth of video platforms.
  • Get creative with your social media tactics, invest in influencer marketing and dive into live shopping platforms.

Don’t get left behind. Speak to our experts for help and advice on how you can increase your online presence and sales.

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