If 2020 was the year of the e-commerce boom, 2021 was the year the industry hit major challenges: Data privacy changes deeply impacted merchants’ social media ads, and supply chain issues forced merchants to get creative with their inventory. Despite all that, though, shopping in the U.S. remained steady and Shopify stores increased their 2021 Black Friday sales by 21%.
As we approach our third roller coaster year defined by the pandemic, what will happen to global commerce? What new trends will define e-commerce? And most importantly, how can entrepreneurs and merchants prepare for — and take advantage of — rapidly evolving e-commerce trends in 2022?
Here are a few educated guesses on what will be critical to e-commerce in 2022, along with some advice on how to prepare your brand or company.
Personalization and zero-party data become critical
One of the two key trends that defined e-commerce in 2021 was the dramatic change to data privacy initiated by Apple and how it tanked a key source of customers for e-commerce brands. When Apple allowed users to opt out of data tracking on iOS 14.5, Facebook lost access to valuable user behavior data, which is the backbone of Facebook’s ad targeting.
The result was that many commerce brands saw a big decrease in the effectiveness of their ads. Brands heavily reliant on Facebook ads saw a dip in revenue and greater costs.
This year will be when brands rapidly adapt to this change and future-proof themselves from an even bigger change, the eventual end of third-party cookie support in Google Chrome. The only way brands can adapt to these changes — specifically the loss of third-party data from Facebook and Apple — is to collect data directly from their customers (zero-party data) and leverage it for personalized marketing.
Thanks to a combination of faster internet, the boom in live video and the rise of influencers, live shopping is becoming a major (if not a primary) channel for avid shoppers.
Doing this not only increases revenue dramatically, it also future-proofs your business from further data privacy changes.
How do you collect zero-party data from your customers? And how do you utilize it in your email and SMS marketing? I could write a whole post on this topic, and in fact, I did! I recently wrote a piece here on TechCrunch about how to collect and leverage zero-party data using key tools like surveys, quizzes and conversational pop-ups.