Recently we’ve been looking at trends you’ll need to ensure you’re actioning in your business now. But today we thought we’d look a little further afield – say to 2023 to see what you might need to start thinking about now so you can keep ahead of the ecommerce game.
According to a recent Gartner report on digital commerce, the future of ecommerce will be based on four ecommerce strategy principles;
- Being trustworthy
- Focusing on outcomes
- Acting continuously
- Being anticipatory
Now, you’re probably thinking they all sound rather easy on the surface. After all, you’re trustworthy, you’re focussed on keeping your customers happy, trying to anticipate their needs and trying to keep things as seamless as possible. But when you dig down into what’s really being talked about, it starts to get a little tougher.
Gartner’s four principles are underpinned by four ecommerce strategy pillars;
- Unlimited channels
- Technology accelerators
- Flexible and modular assets and
- Customer intelligence
Even just thinking about the first one, possibly elicits a huge sigh. Facebook, Insta, TikTok, Pinterest, your website and messaging are probably already taking a big chunk out of your day (and possibly your sanity). But realistically, you’re likely to face a future with dozens of channels including mobile apps, IoT devices, smart speakers, connected vehicles and you’ll need to be ready to respond to new channel opportunities as they arise. Which in turn will require creating methodologies to ensure you stay on brand across all channels and building a team of people, possibly across different time-zones to ensure you’re always on, all of whom are familiar with multichannel management. Do you have a strategy for your channels now? Maybe start there. Look at which to prioritise, what you’d do if a new channel emerged that looked like it would be important for your business and think about how you’d go about ensuring your messaging was on brand and channel appropriate. Plus, maybe also start thinking what your own channel might look like if you were to go there.
Pillars two and four can be combined via the introduction and embedding of artificial intelligence (AI) into your ecommerce applications to automate your processes and using machine learning to get detailed customer intell and draw insights from the all data you’re gathering across all those customer communication channels. If this is really headed your way in 2023, best start thinking about it now. Do you have a customer insight strategy in place currently? Not just what’s popular for your business, how long people stay on your site, what the average spend is, but drilling down to figure out where people are coming from (location and platform), who else they send to your site, if they’re raving fans, etc. Look at possible pieces of technology that can help you mine those insights – but look at pieces of technology that will grow as you do.
The third ecommerce strategy pillar is particularly interesting because it will require a total rethink of how your company’s ecommerce is executed. If you think about today’s websites – they’re largely predicated on the legacy system where you’d change the information when you need to – as a stand-alone platform. And let’s face it, when websites were initially created in the 1990’s and for about a decade (or more) afterward, the information they contained was altered very infrequently. Gartner’s ecommerce strategy report highlights the need for companies to be able to execute via an ecommerce platform with ecosystem applications that will see changes filter across the system as a whole.
But in order for that to happen you’ll need to change how you think about ecommerce from not just a/the sales channel but rather as a central part of your business’ strategy as a whole. How do you do that? According to Gartner that will require developing new strategies for how you prioritise relevant and new digital channels including maybe even creating your own, restructuring your teams and processes and investing in emerging tech that will enable you to grow.
Of course Gartner’s report was primarily written from the perspective of what was necessary for huge global mega retailers/etailers. However, you’re already likely competing with them at least on some level, so it might be useful to spend a bit of time considering how you might best action these to keep your business in front of the changes ahead. The difference is smaller can be far more nimble when it comes to change.
And if you’d like to spend less time working in your business, managing your own shipping and logistics and start implementing some automated systems so that you can focus more on your ecommerce strategy and more easily keep ahead into the future, we’d be delighted to talk. You can contact us via the form below.