Research from Verifone, the fintech providing end-to-end payment and commerce solutions to the world’s best-known brands, has collated and published its findings on the 2022 eCommerce trends. Insights are based on a global eCommerce Trends Survey conducted by Verifone with 500 companies across the world. Participants included CEOs, C-level executives, VPs and senior managers from online sellers of physical or digital goods and services, spanning a wide spectrum of industries.
While the past years were all about building the right tech setup and provisioning for business continuity in the context of the new normal, in 2022, online merchants are looking to streamline their growth plans and be more competitive. Having tackled the dual challenge of digital transition and consolidation last year, online sellers, this year, will be focused on strategies to help them stand out in the increasingly competitive digital commerce space and gain an edge by better meeting customer expectations. The main priorities planned for 2022 centre around launching new products and enhancing the overall user experience, especially in the context of cross-border expansion objectives. This reinforced focus recenters business priorities around the end client and their needs, marking off a key step required to achieve the true omnichannel approach they’ll need going forward. Here are some additional findings from the survey.
Launching new products will be the main focus for eCommerce in 2022, according to 48 per cent of respondents. This points to a significant switch in priorities, as in pre-pandemic times only about a third of merchants were reporting new launches as a priority. Personalisation of the customer experience remains a primary objective for almost half of respondents (42 per cent), followed by cross-border scaling (40 per cent), brand building and awareness (38 per cent) and optimisation initiatives (31 per cent).
Payment method localisation has become online merchants’ top challenge, as many of them have intensified cross-border efforts during last year’s lockdowns. 52 per cent of respondents will be struggling with localisation in 2022, as opposed to 19 per cent in 2020. Customer support (27 per cent) and fraud and chargebacks (19 per cent) have increased in priority as well, for six and four per cent, respectively. Choosing the right technology was found to be a less urgent need versus 2020 (26 per cent), as many companies already reinforced their tech stacks during the first year of the pandemic.
Conversion optimisation (25 per cent), returns and refunds (24 per cent), cross-border sales (22 per cent) and global compliance (16 per cent) were also reported as challenges to be tackled in the year ahead.
A rise in 2022 eCommerce budgets over last year is expected, as 96 per cent of respondents are looking to increase different departments’ funds allocation. Marketing budgets will see the greatest increases as reported by 42 per cent of merchants, followed by sales budget increase (30 per cent), eCommerce department budget (29 per cent) and product budgets (25 per cent). Enterprise companies (1,000+ employees) are the only ones focused more on increasing sales budgets as opposed to marketing department budgets.
Regarding who is responsible for eCommerce in a company, marketing departments continue to have ownership on digital commerce operations in 26 per cent of cases, followed by sales (22 per cent). Compared to previous years, however, dedicated eCommerce teams are a more common occurrence in companies, with 17 per cent of respondents mentioning them, a six per cent increase from 2020.
New eCommerce implementations planned for 2022 will mirror online merchants’ top priorities, with deep personalisation being the number one roadmap item for the year (46 per cent) followed by mobile optimisations and apps (46 per cent) and machine learning for customer retention (45 per cent).
In terms of eCommerce initiatives already adopted or underway, 27 per cent cited existing mobile optimisation implementations and 20 per cent noted previous personalisation efforts, with only 17 per cent reporting the use of machine learning for customer retention.
Where payment methods are concerned, the majority of merchants already accept debit and credit cards, digital wallets and bank transfers. In 2022, merchants are looking to adopt additional, more consumer-relevant payment methods, such as prepaid cards (32 per cent), BNPL (28 per cent) and local payment methods (28 per cent).
As far as targeted regions for business scaling in 2022, a third of merchants want to grow in North America (30 per cent), followed by Europe (21 per cent) and the emergent Middle East and Africa (14 per cent).
“The digital commerce space has become more competitive, and merchants are looking to 2022 as their year to break through. The reinforced focus on customer experience as a direct lever for growth marks a clearer path toward an omnichannel approach and mirrors what we’re seeing in terms of platform usage. Payment method localisation, mobile and conversion optimisations, as well as customer support and fraud protections, are the type of capabilities businesses need to sustain their expansion objectives and help provision them for an even stronger year ahead.” said Jamie Bullard, Verifone Vice President of Software and Services.