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The 7 (Potentially) Deadly Trends in Ecommerce

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Ecommerce businesses operate in a highly dynamic, complex and competitive environment. The challenges are in abundance and some can be deadly.

ecommerce trends

As part of Cloud Commerce Group’s mission to simplify the complexities of online retailing, here are seven (potentially) deadly eCommerce trends to be aware of. We’ll be covering the risks of data management, the hazards of not automating inventory management, the troubles of integrating with Shopify and more. Curious to learn more?

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Trend 1: A shift to digital and the rise of eCommerce businesses
Trend 2: Increasing marketing channels and content formats
Trend 3: WooCommerce and Shopify Integrations
Trend 4: Automated Inventory Management Software (IMS)
Trend 5: The Power of Data
Trend 6: Personalisation
Trend 7: Courier and shipping to suit

If you are planning to enter the eCommerce market, you may be wondering how to succeed as an online retailer or an emerging brand in 2022. An awareness of key market trends can help you to safeguard operations, identify opportunities to scale your business and leverage new opportunities. If you’re ready to thrive this year then continue reading.


TREND 1

A shift to digital and the rise of eCommerce businesses

Ecommerce has grown exponentially over the last decade. In 2021, roughly 28.9% of retail sales in the United Kingdom were generated online and, according to Statista, UK eCommerce sales have the potential to reach 38.1% by 2025.  The past several months have only further enforced these predictions, ignited by a volatile market, changing consumer needs and revolutionary digital transformation in retail. This trend is also reflected in consumer behaviour, with 40% of UK shoppers increasing the frequency of goods purchased online in 2020, increasing to 75% in 2021, and expected to continue to rise in 2022.

Why is it a potentially deadly trend?

An increasingly saturated market has benefited consumers with a wide range of options to purchase products and services. Equally, for businesses, the number of marketing channels, marketplaces, suppliers, couriers and essential service providers has increased. However, with so many options, the margins for businesses have become tighter and the expectations of consumers have only risen – regardless of the size of the brand or company. According to an article by Agility PR, 78% of consumers say brands need to do a better job at adapting to meet the needs of consumers today. With an ever-changing landscape business that lag in their adoption of the latest technologies or channels are at risk of losing their customer base because of a lack of presence, trust or credibility.


TREND 2

Increasing marketing channels and content formats

The first challenge for a brand, online retailer or eCommerce business is to create a strong digital presence. With a growing number of channels and diverse formats of content required, including short-form paid ads, SEO-infused articles, engaging emails, to varying video content, it can be difficult for business owners to decide where to start. Several large retailers appear to have been unable to rise to this challenge resulting in record numbers of high street brands closing shop forever.

Some of the most prevalent marketing channels to consider for eCommerce are global marketplaces, organic search, paid advertising, email marketing, social media, and affiliate networks. Unfortunately, each of these channels requires a dedicated amount of time to truly understand, set up correctly and utilise appropriately. Businesses ultimately are faced with four options:

  1. To only be present on a couple of channels managed internally
  2. Recruit additional headcount to manage more channels
  3. Outsource to a marketing agency (we recommend Cloud Seller Pro), or
  4. Find a system that can automate processes and integrate with multi-channels and marketplaces.

Why is it a potentially deadly trend?

These options all demand additional resources, either in-house or outsourced as an expense. With so many time-consuming elements of running an eCommerce store, from inventory management to shipping and courier processing, many businesses look externally for support.

Unfortunately, all too many businesses have been “burnt” by those offering services that promise the world but do little to deliver results. Picking a credible digital marketing agency that has a shared growth model and transparent pricing is one way to ensure you can keep control of your marketing costs. This is because you can expect a competent marketing agency to be able to correlate a return on investment (ROI) across a multi-channel presence.


TREND 3

WooCommerce and Shopify Integrations

One way that many businesses are simplifying their business model is by utilising managed service providers and industry-leading eCommerce platforms. Two of the world’s leading eCommerce platforms are WooCommerce and Shopify. According to BuiltWith, 26% of eCommerce usage across the entire web is through Shopify and 24% is through WooCommerce. Other platforms that businesses may consider include BigCommerce, Magento, Squarespace, Wix, and Magento. The best of these platforms can be integrated into CMS (Content Management Systems) such as WordPress.

The benefits for businesses are the reduced overheads involved in maintaining and developing their sites. These platforms often include 1000s of template designs, payment options and marketing integrations.

Why is it a potentially deadly trend?

With over half of eCommerce usage occurring on two platforms, there is an element of risk associated with these platforms. By offering an abundance of integrations, plugins and middleware these could be misconfigured that could pose a security risk. There are also concerns with regulatory compliance and data storage which if navigated naively could breach local regulations. Working with an eCommerce specialist will ensure you use the best solutions available. They will also ensure you have an appropriate disaster recovery plan in place. Finally, they will make sure that any eCommerce plugins and middleware, such as Shopify integrations, are kept up to date and safe.


TREND 4

Automated Inventory Management Software (IMS)

Traditional Inventory Management Systems rely upon manual consolidation of data from multiple marketplaces or platforms to keep stock levels updated. Frequently with the use of Excel as an inventory management system or another platform that lacks any form of integration and automation. By combining the power of Stock Keep Units (SKUs) and Stock Management Software, also referred to as Inventory Management Software or IMS, businesses can reduce their manual processes and consolidate their product data sources into one.

A key element of the Inventory Management process is Stock Keep Units (SKUs). For those uninitiated, SKUs are scannable bar codes, usually printed on the labels of products and in retail store packaging. SKUs contain key information relating to product data such as style, gender, size, dimensions, materials, weight, and colour, to name a few. Traditionally SKUs start with an alphabetical or numerical character, preferably a character other than zero, comprising of eight or more characters.

For eCommerce businesses, SKUs offer a simple way to manage inventory lists, produce invoices, send purchases and simplify communication with manufacturers regarding products. Yet many businesses are still reliant upon software that is inadequate in functionality or lacks the integrations required. Coupled with a price-conscious mindset, it is sometimes difficult for brand owners to see the value in the additional expense.

Why is it a potentially deadly trend?

An eCommerce business owner may be reluctant to increase their cost margins on a piece of software. However, their current system may require hours of manually managing orders, updating product data across multiple platforms and consolidating orders. Numerous aspects of the business could be impacted by this decision sometimes without being aware of the consequences.

Inadequate inventory management systems can result in poor stock control, with either too much or too little being held. Using an automated IMS can predict sales during peak periods, such as Prime Day, Black Friday, Christmas, or other noteworthy seasonal periods. This ensures a business can maximise its potential revenue during these times with the right levels of stock to hand. Inventory management software can help businesses operate in a lean fashion by minimising stock levels in the warehouse and the required space to house stock in their warehouses. Thus lowering the cost of rent in line with their requirements. Combined with functions such as automated re-order level notifications businesses can reduce out of stock periods and overall business risks. The cost-benefit analysis of not utilising automated inventory management software simply does not add up. Learn more about automated inventory management here.


TREND 5

The Power of Data

Data has, arguably, become more valuable than oil. For online businesses and eCommerce stores, it has (symbolically) been their fuel – informing purchasing, checking stock levels, inventory management and marketing decisions.  We have already touched on the importance of product data in the above point, and we explore its implications on customer experience in the following point, but first, it is worthwhile addressing data management.

Website users and customers are becoming increasingly aware of sharing data and personal details. It is critical to inform users of how you intend to use their data and how it can improve their experience. This is especially true when it comes to brands that are not new to the market or that the consumer may not be too familiar with. So if you are looking to grow your eCommerce business in 2022 you will need to collect, manage and leverage data in a very strategic manner.

Why is it a potentially deadly trend?

The volume of data now accessible to businesses can pose a legal risk. If you are a UK business based then you must comply with General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR). Essentially, GDPR is a set of regulations in the EU and the UK (post Brexit) providing clear guidance for privacy and data management. This includes the way that data is stored and shared, including names, phone numbers, addresses and payment details. It all needs to be held securely to protect customers’ privacy and prevent fraud. Businesses found to be breaching GDPR are liable to receive a maximum fine of £17.5 million or 4 per cent of their annual global turnover – whichever is greater. Ensuring a robust data management process will avoid any potential risks and comply with local regulations. This leads nicely to the next trend for online retailers: personalisation.


TREND 6

Personalisation

The sixth trend that eCommerce businesses need to be mindful of is the growing desire for a personalised experience. When a user has a personalised experience, they are presented with dynamic content based upon their previous purchasing behaviour, related products, geographic location, and demographic or personal information like their date of birth. This makes it easier for the consumers to buy products that appeal to them and meet their needs. Depending on your technology capabilities you may be able to introduce various degrees of personalisation.

Why is it a potentially deadly trend?

One study, found 73% of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said the current digital experience would change who they bought from, and their future spending. The same study also found nearly three quarters of those surveyed expected online personalisation as standard.

To be successful, businesses need to understand their customers. Personalising the right products and appealing to their preferences is critical. Ensuring a website contains the relevant product recommendations on a homepage can lead to significant increases in revenue with Amazon reporting an increase of 35% due to its own homepage recommendations. It is worth considering what data is required or needs to be accessed to enhance the customer experience. Ensuring this is reflected in your data and privacy policy and cookie consent functionality is a fundamental aspect of this.


TREND 7

Courier services to suit

It can be difficult for brand owners and eCommerce stores to compete with those offering increased convenience, simplicity and reliability. The likes of Amazon Prime, Yodel 48 Xpress, and DPD Next Day Delivery,  have raised consumers’ expectations of standard services. Before offering as many courier and delivery options as possible, however, it is imperative to remember that the goal is always the same: to ensure that customers get their orders on time and without fail. This means there is no singular solution suitable for all eCommerce businesses. An eCommerce business should take the time to evaluate their needs and find a solution that works best for them, and their customer base. Although price plays an important part in this decision process the cheapest courier service may not always be the most suitable.

Some companies may choose to outsource their shipping needs to a third party, others may opt to deal with a courier service directly or even offer a ‘collection point’ as an option. As international courier services strive to better accommodate businesses and consumers alike they are increasing their offering to cater to varying needs. Courier services primarily are used for next-day delivery but they can also offer  international shipping courier services. One consideration before offering international courier services is the impact on cost. They can be more expensive and take longer due to customs regulations and shipping times.

Why is it a potentially deadly trend?

Around 60% of consumers or online buyers choose eCommerce businesses that provide more convenient delivery options. In addition, 45% drop their shopping carts because of poor or unsatisfactory delivery. Therefore, shipping for eCommerce businesses must be taken seriously. Avoid just offering the cheapest courier service and instead consider which one or several offer the most convenience and reliability.

Finding a suitable balance between meeting customer needs and operational requirements can be challenging. With the right tools, such as Cloud Commerce Pro, a business can integrate with the best courier services and market places. Find a solution that aligns best with your desired delivery options and its associated cost. Scale your business and manage your profit margins. Serve customers better and faster.


In Summary

Covering a span of potentially deadly trends, Cloud Commerce Pro hopes you have gained some valuable insight. From understanding how saturated the world of eCommerce is becoming, to some of the risks of integrating with Shopify and whether you should really opt for the cheapest courier services available. One thing is for sure, eCommerce is here to stay. It offers so many the opportunities for businesses to scale their operations and increase their revenue. If you are seeking a smarter operation model for your business Cloud Commerce Pro is here for you.

About Cloud Commerce Group

Cloud Commerce Group has supported 1000s of SMEs to scale their eCommerce businesses since 2003. Our cloud-based eCommerce software is a leading multi-channel solution with essential warehousing, inventory, and fulfilment partner functionality. Cloud Commerce Pro connects with the most widely-used and popular marketplaces including Amazon and eBay. Integrate with Shopify, Magento and other eCommerce platforms, and multiple accounting systems, payment gateways and fulfilment partners. The platform powers over £1 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) annually through its various integrations. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.

Cloud Commerce Group is always open to finding new ways to support our network of eCommerce professionals and online retailers. If you’d like to explore something further or feel something else must be on the list – then let us know on Twitter @CccommercePro or Tag us in a LinkedIn post using @cloud-commerce-group.

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