eCommerce Trends & Reports 2023
Plus: The Future of Media, a quick product page tip, and birthday gifts from Sephora
Greetings my fringe friends. Who do you have in the Musk vs. Zuck steel-caged match? Eh, who cares.
Today, let’s talk about trends.
eCommerce EU trends
Consumer spending trends in the US
The future of retail (and the future of media)
The Future of Retail report
Square just published their Future of Retail report surveying 2000 consumers from the US and Canada. There’s some good stuff in there, but here’s some highlights:
Retailers sell in an average of 4 different channels
Where are your customers hanging out? Probably email, SMS, and a few social channels, right? Looks like SMS is on the rise.
I don’t know about VR. The majority of people don’t have a headset they like to pop on to go shopping, but who knows?
Where can retailers really compete?
Where do retailers think they they fall short, but if they improve in that area, they can really compete?
Ignore the typo
What do I see when I look at this screen?
Offer more unique brand experiences
Offer more personalized experiences
More (yet limited) options
Communicating with your market
Speaking of comms, remember when Zuck said “email is dead”?
RIP email 💀
Well, over 12 years later, it’s still the number one channel people prefer for direct comms to brands. Sitting at number 2, behind by about 30 points is Facebook and SMS, in a virtual tie. Number 2 ain’t so bad.
Note: how will AI upend customer expectations? Will a new branded “chat” channel emerge? We’ll see.
You can find the rest of Square’s report here [ungated].
eCommerce Trends in the US & EU
Hey Europe, how’s your eCommerce doing over there? Not too shabby according to Eurostat. Have a look:
The plateau is real
Things are tapering off a bit, but that’s to be expected with global inflation affecting pretty much everyone. Even though it’s expected to drop in 2024, inflation still affects consumer spending—but when it comes to clothes & shoes!
Trends in the US
Jungle Scout, the Amazon eCommerce platform, also published their Consumer Trends Report. Here’s a few highlights:
Search is the first job to be done, even if the actual search engine is on a steady decline.
Searching has to begin somewhere
Social is steadily increasing, but still has a ways to go to catch up with the big players. Who ever selected “none of these”, I wonder where they go 🤔
Where do people go when they shop online?
A very familiar list
Where are people cutting back?
I can relate to this. I don’t dine out as much. Every purchase is more measured.
I want my MTV!
Online Return Trends
I thought this was insightful. I know eCommerce merchants are implementing stricter return policies, so that will also affect what gets returned, and how often.
“Someone stepped on my shoe.”
And people are most likely to return an item if…
You make it easy and cheap.
I’ll talk about this a little more in the Data Experience section of this newsletter.
Rep’s AI Report
We also published our AI report: From AI to ROI. You can download it here—no opt-in necessary.
Here’s a few highlights:
AI should serve the entire experience
2023 will be remembered as the year of AI. But this is only the beginning. In a few years time, AI as a term won’t have the same significance because it will just be expected. That said, AI will infiltrate every industry and sector, and really change how work—and business—gets done.
“Robots” may not technically replace humans, but it will replace their work. Even if it takes some time and adjustment, people will adapt. AI will be seen as the great enhancer, not a replacer, over time.
Here’s a simple equation for brands to remember:
Long-term growth = long-term relationships
Short-term growth = short-term relationships
It’s simple and not an exact science, of course. The point is, if you spend all your time doing short-term growth activities to drive your bottom-line, and you’re NOT developing a long-term relationship with your market/customers/employees, then don’t expect growth to be sustainable over time.
Future of Media
An Interesting, all bullet-points article from Axios on AI’s impact on the future of media. It will get weird and there will be a lot of deep fakes, for sure.
A couple of highlights:
The demand for subject matter expertise will rise fast
Publishers will be forced to tighten their direct relationship with you, the customer/consumer
Newsletters will rise in importance (indeed)
Readers will seek safer and trusted sources of news directly—instead of through the side door of social media
Not the Onion: Ads are getting posted on spam sites
People are using AI to create content farms—sites that produce a crap ton of low quality articles for SEO purposes so they can monetize with programmatic ads.
Ads for over 140 major brands are running on low-quality websites that are filled with content produced by bots, according to a report from NewsGuard.
Like nobody saw this coming. More here.
Quick Tip: Move your product descriptions above your add to cart buttons.
From Blue Stout:
It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Add to cart is your priority. Understanding what the product does is your shopper’s.
Prioritize your shopper/user/customer first, and the rest will take care of itself.
What did you get for my birthday this year?
Does anyone ever ask you that? If so, then find the fastest way to get them out of your life. Oh! They’re your customers? Well, then, not so fast.
Good thing Sephora didn’t take my advice. Their rewards members account for 95% of their sales. One of their secrets? Birthday gifts.
What’s been kind of the bedrock of the program … every time we do consumer research, it’s always the No. 1 benefit, is the birthday gift. People just love the birthday gift
Your employer brand needs a reset
Hiring right now is strange. People are quiet quitting. Loud quitting. Fighting over who’s remote and who’s hybrid and Google is returning to the office (the irony of making remote-friendly tools).
But you still need to attract talent, right?
Here’s Velocity with their usual sharp tact explaining how they’re rewriting their own playbook:
Lockdowns, intensive banana bread baking and office shutdowns might be long gone, but COVID has left its mark on the world of work — in the form of a talent crisis. Now, with a recession looming, attracting (and keeping) the best people will dictate how turbulent the next few months will be: Forrester is calling 2023 a “talent-constrained recession”.
Return to sender
Returns are a hassle for everybody. But for whatever reason, they’re more on the rise. Buying online is never easy, and making sure you have product-market fit is more crucial than ever.
So how to deal with returns? The answer could lie in the supply chain itself:
The real returns conundrum for retailers isn’t about charging for returns, it’s about how to integrate returns into supply chains. Data and insight are crucial for achieving this and can deliver savings that help fund the no-cost returns that consumers expect.
Retailers are now looking to supply chains to help solve their problem. This won’t be easy.
Engaging video ads
Here’s a clever one from MassMutual:
Notice how it engages you from the start by breaking the 4th wall. Not hard to imagine this kind of conversation happening.
Benjamin Moore, a paint manufacturer, created unique paint cards for over 1,000 local retailers, each highlighting the region's stunning color palettes. They focused their ads using geo targeting, and voila:
Their average video completion rate? 55% across all regions, exceeding its 45% benchmark, and generated 30.4 million views.
Sometimes we just overthink things.
As usual, everything here was curated and written by a human. Thanks for reading, skimming, or lurking. I appreciate you.
Until next week.