The Top 3 E-Commerce Trends for 2022
In the highly competitive and fast-paced world of e-commerce, one thing is always certain: We’re in for yet another year of change and disruption. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen the early adoption of new platform models (like headless e-commerce), new marketing and tracking methods resulting from privacy changes, and shifts in performance goalposts across the industry. Here are the top three technology trends we see as we enter another growth year in e-commerce:
A Continued Trend Toward First-Party Tracking
The tracking cookie, long the crutch of marketing executives and analytics companies around the world, will continue to crumble. Apple led the charge in 2020 with its iOS 14.5 update, but has quickly been buttressed by support from Google and Mozilla to help put the final nail in the coffin of the third-party cookie. When combined with new privacy-first actions like Apple’s recent changes for Facebook, one thing is clear: The future of retail is first-party data.
For retailers, this will continue to accelerate the trend of focusing on first-party data and a general movement away from third-party actions. As the world of retargeting continues to come under pressure, marketers and growth teams will need to continue to find ways to interact with customers via more direct and personalized data-driven campaigns.
As a result, we expect to see a continued rise in email marketing, with more budget and technology resources, brought to bear on direct communication with customers throughout the purchase journey. Examples include reactive emails to abandoned carts, notifications of previously viewed products running out of stock and sophisticated discounts, and first-time customer incentives.
In addition, other direct customer communications, such as SMS, will continue to gain adoption as brands look for new ways to establish time-sensitive communication paths to engage with new customers.
The Buzz Around 'Headless' Will Remain, But With Few Success Stories
Over the past year, we’ve seen the hype around headless reach a fever pitch — especially in venture capital funding. Although “going headless” is top of mind for many brands, we continue to see the production deployment cycle drag out. In 2018, we were told the “future of e-commerce was headless,” yet three years in we continue to see few production deployments in the wild.
As retailers dig deeper and look past the hype, they're discovering that headless transformations are more complex, more costly and still lacking many necessary features to go live. As the ecosystem continues to grow, supported by a strong tailwind of VC capital, we expect to see the buzz increase and the offerings adjust to customer needs.
Increased Adoption of Hybrid Headless Models
Despite the low production deployments of fully headless solutions, the core value propositions they propose continue to ring true with brands. Brands continue to identify new ways to increase site performance as performance improvements continue to demonstrate material impact to online success.
Fully transitioned headless sites can deliver material increases in site speed, but new hybrid headless models are helping customers achieve their performance goals with minimal to no transition overhead. Hybrid headless platforms allow existing storefronts to adopt many of the edge performance benefits of headless, without requiring a rebuild of the site, delivering headless performance without the headache.
Whereas headless deployments are taking multiple quarters or years to bring to market, hybrid headless solutions are helping customers achieve their performance goals in days with automated deployments. As these newer hybrid platforms continue to onboard brands at a rapid rate, we expect to see more features and services come to the players.
Jake Loveless runs Edgemesh, the global web acceleration company he co-founded with two partners in 2016. Edgemesh helps e-commerce companies across multiple industries and platforms (including headless) deliver 20 percent to 50 percent faster page loads to billions of users around the globe.
Jake Loveless has had a twenty-year career in making things go faster—from low latency trading for Wall Street to large-scale web platforms for the Department of Defense. He is a two-time winner of High-performance Computing awards and a frequent contributor to the Association of Computing Machinery. Today, Mr. Loveless runs Edgemesh, the global web acceleration company he co-founded with two partners in 2016. Edgemesh helps eCommerce companies across multiple industries and platforms (including headless) deliver 20-50% faster page loads to billions of users around the globe.