Few industries have arguably experienced such a dramatic shift in consumer behavior as retailing over the past two years.
A recent Australia Post e-commerce report shows 20.8% year-over-year online shopping growth in Australia for the 12 months through September 30, 2021. So what’s next? Here is my forecast for trade in 2022:
1. You can’t buy love from me – or can you? Retailers will invest in modern commerce platforms to retain customers
More retailers will increase their investments in modern commerce platforms as IT and marketing departments align with their benefits and agree to invest. According to Forrester, 22% of software makers who aren’t already deploying commerce platforms through software as a service plan to do so within the next year.
Investing retailers in modern business architectures will be good for staff and end users. Brand front-end developers have been subjected to the rigidity of stacks of legacy monolithic technology for years, resulting in morale damage and a delay in adjusting to changing consumer preferences until the disappearance of customer loyalty.
Agile software based on MACH commerce principles (microservices, API-first, cloud-native and headless) will allow them greater flexibility. Investing in such platforms will allow teams to test and deploy new business features to improve user experience, which will increase customer satisfaction and competitive differentiation.
2. The marketplace hype will subside as brands embrace direct to consumer (DTC) commerce.
In 20221, there was a lot of hype surrounding the markets. These have been adopted by Amazon and ASOS designed to sell a variety of commodities, but in 2022 brands will realize that doesn’t mean all brands can and should enter this space. While marketplaces can work well for tech giants and large retailers that are well set up to benefit, not all branded products lend themselves well to this channel. When a retailer lists products in a market, they can lose a lot of control over experience, fulfillment, and more. Over the next 12 months, individual brands will see how it makes more sense for them to sell products directly to their audiences, so they can take ownership of the message, organize the experience, and reduce middlemen and their costs.
3. More retailers to make technological transformations themselves
With COVID-19 driving the digital transformation, retailers have been forced to digitize to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. One way to do this was to invest in tech talent so that they could do more work in-house, be more agile, and become more self-sufficient to then give control over how technology is a competitive differentiator. In fact, around half of commercetools customers were already implementing their platform without outside help in 2021. Not so long ago, it was unthinkable not to have a systems integrator to do the implementation. implementation, but in 2022 the trend to become more technical-savvy retailers will increase, with more and more companies implementing trade platforms themselves.
4. Aperitifs anyone? Headless commerce will be easier to consume
In addition to the trend for retailers to become more tech savvy, the maturation of new technology itself will also make it easier for brands to improve the shopping experience. Headless commerce platforms provide an open and decoupled environment, allowing front-end developers to quickly and easily add as many âheadsâ (channels) to their commerce back-end as they want. It’s the industry’s best-kept secret for years, but it won’t be in 2022. The maturation of headless commerce platforms will lower the barriers to entry for this software. This development will make it easier for less technically savvy employees to understand its potential and make the investment, which will make headless consumption easier. An example of how headless is becoming mainstream is how commercetools acquired Frontastic, the leading composable front-end development platform, to combine the speed and flexibility of headless with the simplicity of a website builder. .
5. The commodification of commerce is not a comedy, it’s the future – and that’s a good thing
It is clear that the trading market naturally cannot support hundreds of trading platforms any longer. In 2022, the market will evolve towards a smaller number of large benchmark platforms that offer business functionality at a reasonable price and easier to consume on a large scale. For analogies, look at the public cloud market where AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure dominate, or the communications space where Twilio and public clouds dominate. Some of the business platform providers are likely to be cloud providers, as commerce becomes a commodity, public cloud providers will recognize the need for business functionality in their portfolio and therefore are likely to make inroads into this space. .
Shifting to a smaller number of business technology providers will be good for retailers, as it will not be a minefield to find the technologies they need to create the business experiences demanded by their buyers. The best tools on the market will be obvious to see, as well as easy to capitalize on.
6. GraphQL everywhere
In 2022, the majority of retailers will be using GraphQL – it will no longer be a ‘good to have’, but an invaluable part of their technology strategy. From over-fetching and under-fetching data and sluggish performance, the issues GraphQL can fix are issues that won’t go anywhere next year, making it an invaluable technology that will only win the day. in popularity. There is nothing else quite like it – it will concretely be the industry standard.
7. Trade app becomes real
In 2021, many startups created profitable businesses with granular functionality, such as Fast and Bolt with payment as a service, 7learnings with price optimization, and Chargebee with recurring subscription management. These apps have been an attractive proposition for retailers, delivering cutting edge, cutting edge solutions utilizing access to user data, for example, suggested autocomplete search terms for a product finder, created on the basis of hundreds of thousands of previous searches for better end user experiences.
Over the next 12 months, there will likely be an increased appetite for better business features as well as ease of consumption for the retailer. This will drive the popularity of commerce wallets that bundle the best features of individual vendors together and offer separately built APIs that can be consumed independently a la carte.
8. B2B commerce is coming of age
COVID-19 has completely changed B2B buying behavior. An APAC 2021 study carried out by McKinsey found that only 20-30% of B2B buyers want to interact with representatives in person, and 75% of B2B decision-makers found the new model to be as effective, if not better, than before the pandemic.
This change in behavior explains how more and more B2B organizations will recognize that they cannot rely solely on partners to sell their products and that they must control at least one distribution channel. They will therefore make the decision to invest in order to become technically mature.
It will also be due to the growing number of digital natives in the workplace who are accustomed to using technology to communicate. As a result, manufacturers and B2B organizations will need to adapt and invest more in self-service in 2022.
The path to follow
From headless commerce becoming easier to consume to retailers becoming more technically savvy, 2022 will undoubtedly be a huge year for commerce technology. While there is still some uncertainty about consumer spending and buyer habits continue to evolve, it will be exciting to see how the industry matures and technology advances. Watch this place …