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Pivot or perish; expert advice on eCommerce trends to look out for, 2022

The impact of Covid-19 on consumers' shopping behaviour has been enormous, with eCommerce overall growth estimated at 66% (year over year) from 2020, while brick and mortar retail fell by 30%. South Africa's eCommerce giant OneDayOnly casts a light over the past and future online shopping trends as retailers continues to look for new and exciting ways to engage customers.

Coronavirus has over the past few years revolutionised how businesses conduct their daily operations. And as 2022 continues to bring new challenges for the eCommerce industry, retailers – both online and offline – need to pivot once again to stay competitive in this trying times, this is according to OneDayOnly executive creative director Matthew Barnes as he casts a light over past and future trends in the South African eCommerce space.

As per latest Geopoll findings, eCommerce grew by 66% YoY (Year over Year) since 2020 , while brick and mortar retail fell by 30%.

The accelerated growth in the sector, which according to this 2021 online shopping report, indicates an increase of 1.7 million internet users between 2020 and 2021, was accompanied by innovative (and some not so innovative) trends that have changed the game for retailers as a whole. 

As Barnes pointed out, 2022 will continue to present new and even larger challenges, along with new trends, giving innovators the opportunities to pivot once again. 

Top eCommerce trends from 2021

According to Barnes, eCommerce saw a similar evolution in the way they communicate to what brick and mortar stores had to do when they evolved from local stores to mega stores – and eventually to global brands. ‘We have what you need’, he explained, became ‘we have everything you need’ which became, ‘we have everything you need at the best prices.’

As big brands were forced to pivot and do away with marketing clutter to stay competitive, many suddenly found themselves surrounded by new and competitive players.

Adapt or perish! A few other trends worth mentioning include:

  • Hyper-scaling: Given the extraordinary growth of eCommerce since 2019, digital brands have to scale at an unprecedented speed to stay ahead of the market
  • Delivery innovation: As the name suggests, this refers to the act of refining delivery processes to offer superior service to your competitors, in the context of uniquely South African logistics challenges
  • Collaborations: brands working with other brands to offer ever more value to their combined customer base, and reach new untapped markets
  • Groceries: The grocery market saw a huge boom thanks to innovative offerings from retailers of all kinds. What’s exciting about this is that it’s still in its infancy. Watch this space!
  • Supply chain: Much like delivery, businesses that have found innovative ways to streamline their supply chain processes are leading the pack.”
Findings: eCommerce grew by 66% (Year over Year) since 2020.

New 2022 eCommerce trends to watch out for

  • Brick and Digital – the combination

Lots of small ‘one-man’ and ‘one-woman’ e-tailers have pioneered this space and opened up interesting hybrid models that combine the best of human interaction and service with the best of digital. Matthew thinks we’ll see a few brave and innovative eCommerce players step into this space. Again, the innovators will be the big winners!

  • COVID-19 in marketing 

As to whether Covid-19 in marketing will still be as effective in 2022, its “No. And also yes”, said Barnes, stating that people who need help to survive and recover from COVID-19 can’t do anything with an ad campaign!

The one thing that stood out for Barnes throughout the pandemic was the “sheer scale of big, insincere campaigns and initiatives where the PR for the campaign cost far more than the actual financial support of the initiative”. 

Organisations who are actually doing something that helps people, customers, and businesses navigate the massive emotional and financial challenges that have been brought on by COVID-19, he added, should  by all means tell their story.

  • Social media. Less is more

As Barnes best puts it, the days of carpet bombing every inch of consumers’ eyeballs are done. “My opinion – just because Facebook, TikTok and Google allow you to drop into people’s lives at any and every point doesn’t mean you should.”

As eCommerce enters an age where less is more in terms of marketing, driven by the sheer scale of advertising messaging clutter and the generally bad quality of advertising messages, he’s adamant that brands and marketers that work harder to understand their customers and invest the time in filtering their communications strategies through a human lens will be able to do far more with far less.


For more articles on eCommerce insights from our gallery, courtesy of OneDayOnly, click here!

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