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What Shopify’s 2021 commerce report means to your online shop

What Shopify’s 2021 commerce report means to your online shop

When Shopify releases a report about commerce, it’s a good idea for every shop owner to take notice.

Its Future of Commerce Trend Report 2022 is loaded with data, insights and recommendations for navigating the “rapidly changing commerce landscape” and developing a lasting brand. It’s a fantastic guide for all merchants, whether they use Shopify or not. 

Now, this is a hefty report. I highly encourage reading it if you have time. If not — or if you want to ease into it with a sample of all the goodies inside — the Cliff’s Notes version below is our gift to you. 

What follows are my hottest takes. These are the things that need your attention. Just like Shopify’s guide, it’s separated into three parts: the future of ecommerce, the future of retail, and the future of shipping and logistics. 

The future of ecommerce 

(Above is the video form of the “future of ecommerce” written digest that follows)

No doubt that ecommerce is a hot industry. It’s never been easier to create your own online store. But with growth comes greater competition. Here are Shopify’s on-point recommendations for making your store a stronger contender. 

Email marketing

We’re seeing a rise in acquisition costs, to the tune of about a 15% increase in ad spend. And guess what? Ad targeting doesn’t even work all that well, according to Harvard Business Review. It’s very inaccurate, especially for certain demographics. 

Rather than pour a lot of effort into gaining new customers, concentrate on retention. Use your first-party data — email addresses of customers who agreed to receive messages, and of subscribers who haven’t purchased yet — and retarget them with email marketing. 

Queue up those welcome messages, abandoned checkout automations, and any other email that coincides with a subscriber’s customer journey. 

Welcome to Bombas email, featuring an image of shirts and socks, plus a 20% discount code
Bombas welcomes new subscribers with a discount offer
If you’re new to automations or could benefit from some expert advice, start with our three essential automations.

Brand building
 

This is a big one in Shopify’s opinion, and ours as well. Brand building is key to standing out in a competitive environment. It’s the secret sauce that helps everything move smoother. 

Brand-building efforts can be tough to justify because they’re tough to measure. But it’s so important to dedicate time to: 

  • Defining what your brand stands for 
  • Developing a unique selling proposition
  • Understanding your audience and niche, so you know just how to speak to them

For example, Happy Organics’s story and stance are easy to find throughout its website. A portion on the homepage, below, highlights its values. 

Icons showing handmade with love, cruelty free, sustainably harvested, third party tested

Community building

Being part of a community feeds into brand building. You want to be in a space where your audience is hanging out. 

“Joining” could mean buying ad space at a sporting event if your finances allow. Or does your target audience include gamers? Having a presence on Twitch could make a lot of sense.    

Go to the next level by building your own space. This is a big investment, but you’re creating something that you own. It’s a great idea for a range of things, such as launching a new product or helping underrepresented communities. 

Social commerce

People spend a lot of time on social media. So you want to fish where the fish are. 

There’s a big market in the United States for buying products through a social app. A study from Sprout Social shows that almost all consumers intend to make such a purchase in 2022. 

By adding your products to your social media sites, you’re providing easier access. It’s fewer clicks and less hassle.  

The future of retail

(Above is the video form of the “future of retail” written digest that follows)

One of the most notable things I gleaned from the report’s retail section is a push for elevating the in-store shopping experience. This is pertinent even if you don’t have physical space. We’ll cover that in a minute.

It’s about raising the level of engagement and interactivity. With that comes a few trends to consider: 

  • Physical store as a showroom. Brands and retailers are staging a true brand experience. They’re designing spaces where customers can see, touch, smell and interact with the brand. 
  • Omnichannel marketing. The line between in-store and online ecommerce experiences is blurring. A customer may interact with your brand in person, but later make the purchase from home. They might pull up an online-based discount and use it in the store. Omnichannel marketing enables both, and more, by centralizing all of your customer and transactional data and making it readily accessible no matter the channel. Tip: Shopify POS is an excellent tool for getting started.
  • Staffing. The pandemic has surely influenced this issue, but there’s more to it than filling positions. It should be about prioritizing employee happiness. Employees are your ambassadors. You want people who emit love for your brand and create a positive in-person shopping experience. 

We like these suggestions for those that don’t have a brick-and-mortar presence:

  • A pop-up shop. A limited-run retail space is a chance for you to test the waters and provide a new experience with your brand. There are different options to explore, such as managing one on your own within an existing store or gathering other merchants together.  
  • Live shopping. Take QVC’s formula, spin it for social media, and you get live shopping. Show off your product three-dimensionally and stream it live. Videos of a product, versus a static image, are powerful. Think about hiring those “brand ambassadors” who could be a good fit for this role, too. 
Photo of beach-motif items, with text explaining they will be given away as prizes to live shoppers
A Facebook post promotes boutique shop Glitter Alley’s live shopping event

The future of shipping and logistics

(Above is the video form of the “future of shipping and logistics” written digest that follows)

Thanks to worldwide supply chain issues that came to a head in 2021, merchants are rethinking logistics and shipping. 

You should be reevaluating: 

  • What you really need versus what you can give up 
  • What you need in a partner 
  • Your backup plans 

Along with that, these are key considerations that should guide your decisions: 

  • Sustainability: How can you reduce your carbon footprint? Customers care, from the amount of recycled materials you use to the sustainable business practices in place. 
  • Transparency: Be clear about shipping costs and when purchases will be delivered. Communicate any shipping delays. 

Customers want fast, free, sustainable and dependable shipping. All characteristics spell trust. If you’re delivering on all fronts, you’ve got a reliable brand that’s more likely to secure sales. 

Guide your shop into 2022

As mentioned at the beginning, these are just my hot takes for helping you shape how you stand out. Reading through the full report would be a wise use of your time. Their roadmap is jam-packed with more trends, key takeaways, and recommendations. 

Shopify also provides inspiration with great examples from their brands excelling in each of these areas, and includes tidbits in how their platform can lend a hand. 

Remember that Seguno is here to assist, too. We’re not experts in all of the above highlights. But we are here to help our email marketing users boost their shops in whatever way we can.  

Create, manage, and track your email marketing—without leaving Shopify.

Seguno is the top-rated email solution built exclusively for Shopify. Grow your sales with high-performing newsletters, email automation campaigns, and integrations with Facebook, Instagram, banners, pop-ups and more. Build and send engaging emails in our easy-to-use editor and take email creation to the next level with our Canva integration. Automate your email marketing and drive more revenue with welcome campaigns, checkout abandonment, post-purchase automations, tag triggers and more. Learn more at Seguno.com

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