2022 had different surprises than 2021, but not necessarily fewer surprises overall — especially for online retailers.
COVID-19 factored less into supply chain issues for most online retailers this year than in 2021. Instead, the war in Ukraine led to inflated prices for fuel, affecting shipping costs. United States retailers also had inventory surpluses that they struggled to sell off, as many consumers worried about a looming recession.
Online retailers joined or created their own marketplaces in 2022 in addition to selling on their own ecommerce websites. In doing so, they navigated how to manage their products across different ecommerce sites. E-retailers also changed their approaches to digital marketing this year to collect first-party data rather than relying on third-party tracking cookies.
Digital Commerce 360 editors have been interviewing online retailers and analyzing data trends in 2022 to cover all these subjects and more. Here are our favorite stories in 2022.
Industry news analysis:
2022 kicks off with a flurry of mergers and acquisitions
1-800-Flowers.com, Evo, Club Champion, Worldwise and Thrasio each make an acquisition to build international expertise and add new ecommerce options.
Six ways to maximize the value of an Amazon brand in a tough market
Buyers specializing in small brands that sell on Amazon raised $15 billion in recent years and purchased hundreds of companies, driving up the value of these businesses dramatically. Demand has cooled in 2022, but Amazon brand owners can still walk away with millions of dollars if they meet the requirements of increasingly picky buyers.
Keeping Score: Is inflation lower online than offline?
There is some reason to believe it has been in the past year, with overall retail prices rising faster than online prices in 10 of 14 categories. If true, it could give online retailers a way of appealing to value-conscious shoppers.
How Black History Month inspired retailers’ February marketing campaigns
More than a quarter of the top 100 online retailers mentioned Black History Month on their ecommerce sites while one in five spotlighted Black-owned or -founded brands, Digital Commerce 360 research shows.
The Shopper Speaks: Is retail crime another reason to shop online?
Post-COVID-19, both empty storefronts and retail crime can be seen as deterrents to shopping in physical stores. Digital Commerce 360 explored the sentiments of shoppers and found little impact regarding online shopping.
How online retailers cater to their young, mobile shoppers
Younger shoppers are on their phones, and want to check out fast, with their preferred payment provider on site a or app designed for their small screens. MVMT, Azazie and True Religion share how they fine tune their mobile shopping experience for young shoppers.
OMG: Another Amazon sale?
As Amazon rolls out its Early Access sale months after Prime Day, consumers wonder how many sales retailers can offer around the holidays.
How Bed Bath & Beyond’s rewards program stacks up against other retailers’ paid memberships
Although all offer free shipping and discounts, Amazon Prime and Walmart+ have far more traction than Bed Bath & Beyond’s loyalty programs membership. More than a quarter of Top 1000 online retailers offer free loyalty programs while less than one in 10 have paid memberships.
What to do when Google won’t take ads for your products
That’s the problem e-bike retailers face now that Google has strengthened enforcement of a rule that bars ads for virtually all electric bikes sold in the U.S. Retailers can risk Google suspending their account, advertise on other channels or find work-arounds to a policy the e-bike industry finds puzzling.
The cord cutters: Retailers move to appeal to consumers on streaming devices
As consumers cut the cord and stream entertainment, retailers are taking advantage of lower costs to reach an ever-expanding audience through CTV.
Beyond the buzz: TikTok’s trajectory prompts retailers to reassess how it reaches younger consumers
TikTok gains eight new users every second. However, ad spend share allocated to TikTok grows at a much slower rate — but that is changing. To reach younger consumers, digital marketers need to assess whether to proactively invest in TikTok while costs are low or risk rushing to catch up as more retailers look toward the future on a platform with 1 billion global active users each month.
Increased digital marketing regulations create clever tactics
Cannabis regulations created a prime opportunity for resourceful, privacy-compliant data collection and application.
Stores aren’t going away, but their role keeps evolving
Retail chains and born-on-the-web brands find their way to adopting an omnichannel business model.
Smaller store-based omnichannel retailers prep for holiday season
Brick-and-mortar stores take advantage of both their physical locations and online sales to meet customers on whichever channel they prefer.
Payments and fraud:
Buy-now-pay-later options catch on with online retailers and shoppers
The installment payment option is here to stay, but consumers want choices. Retailers are seeing increases in average order value, conversion rates and sales when they offer their customers’ preferred buy now, pay later system as a payment option at checkout.
Apple debuts a deferred payment service and iPhone updates to developers
The new payment feature, called Apple Pay Later, is a highly anticipated addition to the Wallet app. It is part of an expansion into the financial world that also includes bringing more infrastructure in-house.
Inside the battle against ecommerce fraud
Ecommerce fraud has gotten hard to detect and stop. More than half of fraud attempts against ecommerce retailers are now deemed “sophisticated,” meaning professional criminals used state-of-the-art methods aimed at circumventing anti-fraud systems.
Retail response to war in Ukraine:
Russian ecommerce slows in wake of invasion, as retail industry looks to help Ukraine
Digital sales in Russia have dropped dramatically in the wake of global sanctions, and Wall Street is warning of tough times ahead for Putin’s Russia. Meanwhile, ecommerce merchants are raising money for besieged Ukraine.
Toy retailers respond to Ukraine war; LEGO becomes a symbol of resistance
A poster of a lego block painted in blue and yellow, a child singing “Let it Go,” boycotts by PLAYMOBIL and others are playing a role in fundraising for Ukraine and boosting morale in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
Patagonia demonstrates how digitization helps both the environment and the bottom line
Patagonia reduced landfill waste by 170,000 pounds over the course of a single season just by changing its garment paper hang tag process. The retailer urges other retailers to use technology to reduce single-use materials.
Perry Ellis launches buy online, pick up anywhere
The apparel merchant is allowing shoppers to pick up their online orders at third-party physical locations, such as Walgreens, Dollar General and FedEx. The rollout is part of a larger omnichannel and delivery push. Perry Ellis plans to launch buy online, pick up in store and same-day delivery before the holidays.
Furniture retailer Floyd launches resale program for returns
Floyd’s Full Cycle program allows shoppers to purchase returned or imperfect products for a discount. 25% of Full Cycle shoppers come back and purchase a full-price Floyd product.
A shift to fundraising guides communication approach for Double Good
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the company’s transformation from a popcorn retailer to a virtual fundraising company. Now, most of its revenue comes from its virtual fundraising, said Anton German, chief technology officer and chief product officer.
Selling on marketplaces:
Managing products across multiple marketplaces isn’t easy, merchants say
Given the various approaches that marketplaces take to product pages, sellers must dedicate resources to managing SKUs and listings across multiple marketplaces.
Macy’s officially launches its marketplace
Macy’s joins a growing list of top retailers that operate a marketplace alongside their ecommerce site. The retailer says its online marketplace will boost their product assortment, add incremental revenue at a ‘low incremental cost.’
Marketing on Amazon is all about keywords and presentation
Retailers find different ways to stand out among competitors when selling on marketplaces.
There is more than one way to manage customer data
In an increasingly competitive ecommerce landscape, DTC retailers are figuring out how to reach new customers by linking up with larger merchants like Walmart or selling on marketplaces like Amazon — without losing too much control. The key is to take a step back and assess before diving into new ventures or technologies.
Supply chains, sustainability and fulfillment:
The costs and rewards of sustainable fulfillment
Customers are increasingly aware of how their shopping habits affect the environment — and they’re holding retailers accountable. Online retailers including Taylor Stitch, Carter’s, REN Clean Skincare and Sabai Furniture give examples of how they implemented changes to consider sustainability by cutting back on what ends up in landfills, while maintaining profitability.
Making a 3PL relationship work
Retailers seeking to outsource their fulfillment operations must understand their own needs and carefully select a firm they can trust to meet them.
US retailers unload a glut of slow-moving inventory in Q2
Discounting hurt online retailers’ bottom lines and caused many to scale back their sales and earnings projections for the rest of 2022.
Rethinking resale as a giftable option
Consumers are increasingly more comfortable buying secondhand merchandise for themselves. When it comes to gift giving, however, shoppers are reluctant to give used products as gifts — for now. That’s beginning to change as young shoppers are embracing resale as a giftable option for the holidays.
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