American Marketer


What will successful ecommerce marketing look like in 2022?

December 29, 2021

Darwin Liu Darwin Liu


By Darwin Liu

Ecommerce marketers are currently bracing themselves for another year of turbulence in the marketplace.

A combination of supply chain issues, inflation and pandemic-induced shifts in buying behavior will continue to demand that marketers have the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties and exploit opportunities that present themselves.

There are five key trends that will determine what successful ecommerce marketing will look like in 2022. Let us take a look at what 2022 has in store for us.

Change in shopping patterns

The buying behavior of consumers has changed with the pandemic.

Consumers want to travel less and be around fewer people. BOPIC (buy online pick-up in-store) is seeing a resurgence and is becoming even more important.

Curb-side pickup and easy returns have gained the most in popularity and are definitely here to stay.

Businesses with bricks-and-mortar stores will need to continue to adapt and respond to changing buyer patterns.

Pure ecommerce players will need to call out shipping deals, shipping delays and shipping terms.

Ecommerce businesses that also have physical stores will need to continue to add callouts for curbside pickups and free and easy returns.

High inflation

Inflation is hurting consumers.

In November, consumer prices in the United States had risen 6.8 percent from a year ago and the end is not yet in sight.

It is a matter of time before discretionary spending such as apparel starts to decline. You cannot decide to stop eating, but you can decide to continue wearing those pants just a little bit longer.

Marketing will have to be very efficient if it is going to want to maintain demand.

There will be a need for an increased focus on demand activation, targeting consumers with firm buying intent.

As to whether businesses should pass on price increases, it is recommended that they observe their competitors closely.

Consumers compare prices online and are not as loyal as they used to be.

When your competitors are not passing on most of the price hikes, you will have little room to do so yourself.

Changed channel mix

More information is being consulted online, so people are continuing to spend more time in front of their computer – think connected TVs, Tik Tok and all social media networks.

Companies need to find and target buyers where they are, and this will include more than ever in front of their connected TV.

Video creatives are extremely important, so marketers will need to add them to the promotional mix if they have not done so yet.

Ecommerce businesses need to be where their customers are, which is online.

If your budget is not shifting into all things online, you are going to pay a terrible price.

Continued supply chain disruptions

Across many sectors, supply chain disruptions will continue unabated.

Businesses will do well to buy enough to be able to fulfill demand and not frustrate consumers with long waiting times, but they should not buy too much.

Yes, the supply chain issues will endure, but worker shortages will be more important than demand.

Demand is actually expected to lower in 2022 – as said above, especially discretionary spending will suffer – and buying too much will make for packed warehouses.

Companies also need to look at their competitors.

There is a high chance that there are some big players in their category that did not plan for the supply chain disruptions. Less competition equals a better return on investment.

In summary, if they cannot deliver the goods and you can, you need to double down on your marketing effort.

Convenient shipping options

Consumers have gotten used to a plethora of convenient shipping options and will not want to give that up.

Consumers do not only want fast and convenient delivery, they also want easy returns.

Companies will have to continue to invest in convenient shipping and returns. This is a cost, but should also be embraced as a brand building and differentiating opportunity.

Ecommerce businesses should consider partnerships with companies such as Happy Returns – that provides an end-to-end enterprise return service – where their own resources fall short.

IN THE COMING year, companies will have to accommodate for the changes in shopping patterns, maneuver with very high inflation, understand where they need to target their customers, navigate continued supply chain disruptions, and continue to offer consumers the convenient shipping options to which they have gotten used.

For those companies that are agile enough to adapt swiftly to the many changes in the market, the pandemic will end up presenting unimagined opportunities to dominate the marketplace.

Darwin Liu is Boston-based founder/CEO of X Agency, an integrated digital marketing agency of growth engineers with offices in Boston and Nashville, TN.