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- More touchpoints & less friction
- Data science vs. privacy
- Decentralization & headless commerce
The ecommerce landscape is dynamic, always shifting. We see velocity of those shifts increasing over the next few years, and therefore we see agility and adaptation becoming a necessary competitive advantage.
Theme 1: More touchpoints & less friction
We believe there will be more opportunities to get in front of consumers in more places, and we believe anywhere you can reach a consumer you should be able to convert in that moment.
More platforms are popping up (TikTok), more IOT/smart devices are coming online (watches, speakers, mirrors, fridges, you name it), and more influencers/affiliate marketers are building their audiences. We see the best brands navigating through all of these to determine which are the most effective in driving revenue.
Amazon normalized and set a standard for convenience with short shipping windows and one-click checkout. Consumers now don’t want to enter their shipping info and credit card info; they want it to be incredibly easy to buy something because they have now been trained to expect that. Last summer, Facebook rolled out one-click checkout as well, and we believe many more channels will follow. Marketing products in as many low friction settings as possible will be important to maximize conversions but also brand perception.
Theme 2: Data science vs. privacy
Attribution and attempting to map the end-to-end customer journey is topical among marketers that use many channels. Some bigger and most tech forward companies are trying to push the envelope by feeding all their datapoints into a data warehouse, cleansing it, and trying to draw some conclusions. In our opinion, no one is doing an incredible job of this today. But someone eventually will, and a superior tech solution or methodology will emerge. This is just one example of a larger theme, which is we believe there is plenty of room to use more sophisticated data science and prediction in marketing and that marketing is lagging tech in the use of applied analytics.
The challenge, however, is that in direct opposition to this goal is a macro trend that we don’t think is going away: data privacy. Privacy focused search engines (DuckDuckGo), browsers (Brave), and most recently device manufacturers (Apple) are on the rise. Obviously, there are higher immediate priorities, but interest in privacy legislation has been steadily increasing at the federal level over the past few years.
Regardless of the forces at play, there will always be ways to make data driven marketing decisions. It will just require more and more creativity and agility as challenges and opportunities present themselves.
Theme 3: Decentralization & headless commerce
Headless commerce is another trend that has been on the rise lately that we see as becoming a larger theme over the next decade. Technically it involves de-coupling your store’s front and back end architecture and delivering information to the front end via API. Moving off the big e-commerce platforms to be able to create a user experience that is native and customizable to each channel.
Headless commerce companies can deliver content, products, and payment gateways to any device. As discussed in the more touchpoints section, hardware manufacturers are making IOT devices out of seemingly everything. For marketers, headless commerce means being able to quickly deploy actionable content to any platform that does exist or will exist in the future.
Driving Force & Conclusion
We’ve chosen to spotlight the above three themes as most relevant, in our opinion, but there are many factors at play. The only thing we know for sure is that the landscape changes quickly. As we just saw with Facebook and the ios14 update, monumental changes to the way we market and advertise will happen. Winners and losers will be determined based on their ability to adapt to change, and we believe the ability to adapt faster than the competition will be the single largest success factor in the rapidly shifting ecosystem that is e-commerce.
By Austin Ball