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Future of Ecommerce: 3 Ways to Get Ahead of 2022

Harry Rabinowitz 9/14/21 9:30 AM

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A few months ago, CEO of Late Checkout and general Twitter-advice machine Greg Isenberg tweeted this:

It was part of a very spot-on Twitter thread by Mr. Isenberg focusing on lessons he has learned working in startups and eCommerce. 

Among gems such as "Be positive. Positivity pays." and "master the 'curiosity flywheel,'" this list of six principles stood out to us because of its basis in actual data and trends. 

We're going to break down a few of these "firsts," check the data and share the trends you need to be following to succeed in the eCommerce future.


Digital & Privacy First

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Let's start with the least surprising point, that of digital sales and "digital-first." According to data from eMarketer, 2019 eCommerce sales made up 13.6% of all retail sales and were predicted to grow at a steady rate.

The COVID-19 pandemic boosted that growth rate, with 2021 eCommerce sales projected to make up a whopping 19.5% of all retail sales. By 2024, that number is predicted to grow to 21.8%. Businesses of all kinds need to leverage digital products and sales.

Going hand in hand with this digital-first attitude is a focus on privacy. Unlike in-person shopping, online shopping connects consumers to huge concerns regarding trust and their personal information. 

According to data collected by the Pew Research Center in 2019, 79% of U.S. adults are concerned about how companies use the data they collect from consumers, with 81% of respondents believing the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. 

In a year where consumer trust has plummeted, aspiring business leaders must foster a trusting, consumer-first relationship with their customers, especially when handling customer data respectfully


Community & Creator First

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Photo by Plann from Pexels


One of the biggest shake-ups in modern marketing memory has been the influence of social media. Individual creators and online communities large and small have proven themselves to be modern-day tastemakers, often delivering the highest return-on-investment of any marketing method today. 

Looking at a 2021 consumer report by Shopify, 54% of younger consumers discover independent retailers via social media, with the middle-aged demographic not far behind at 43%.

Leveraging these trends and placing value on community, creators, and social media will be vital in succeeding in the eCommerce landscape. Today's newest businesses should flesh out their social media presence, especially on social media sites with high engagement rates like Instagram. For Shopify users, top-rated apps make it easy to manage and support your brand's community and creators.


Sustainability & Decentralized First

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels


Now more than ever, there is much talk from even the largest companies about the importance of sustainability and eco-friendly business practices. Despite this, the facts show that business practices continue to lag behind aspirational messaging.

Emission goals and deforestation pledges that look good on paper are often just smoke and mirror once you look a little deeper. 

Companies with lax sustainability practices will soon find themselves losing business. According to a 2020 report from IBM Global Business Services, about 57% of consumers were willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce a negative impact on the environment.

Looking once more at Shopify's 2021 consumer report, 62% of young consumers preferred to shop for sustainable and green products, more than 10% higher than all other age demographics.

With these numbers only trending upwards, the eCommerce brands of the future will need to place much higher importance on sustainability than brands of the past.

Alongside seeking sustainable brands, consumers are looking to shop from independently owned small businesses as well.

The 2021 Shopify consumer report shows that 72% of U.S. respondents supported small businesses, with 50% of global respondents saying they look for independently-owned companies to help when shopping.

While actual spending habits show that big businesses still dominate sales, consumer intentions and reality are more likely to meet than split further apart and move into the future.

The eCommerce brand of the future will be one consumers' aspire to seek out in the present. The data shows an independently owned, sustainability-minded business is what consumers want. Therefore, today's small businesses should strive to become that desired brand consumers are looking for today by focusing on sustainable, independent business practices.


Plan for the Future Today

The only way to stay ahead of data trends is by acting upon them in the present, long before they start to stabilize and become the norm. By working on these firsts, namely by creating a digital, sustainable, creator-focused and privacy-respecting business, you can get ahead of the data and become the brand consumers of today, and tomorrow, are looking for.