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It’s no secret that when it comes to ecommerce, there is no way but up. Global online sales will continue to rise this 2023—hitting $6.51 trillion.
In 2020, ecommerce sales jumped 77% year-over-year just months into the pandemic. Because of the global lockdowns, the digital transformation took a huge leap.
But then things started to change—again. By the end of 2022, people started connecting physically again. Schools have gone back to either a full face-to-face or hybrid setup. Even brick-and-mortar stores made a comeback. Revenge travel has begun.
What does this mean?
The ecommerce industry will be experiencing another major transition.
As brands do their best to keep up with ever-changing consumer behaviors, they also need to be flexible enough to adapt to the effects of a looming economic recession.
8 ecommerce marketing trends for 2023: Here’s what Shopify experts predict:
We’ve consolidated insights from our network of Shopify experts to share the top marketing trends that ecommerce brands should watch out for this year.
1. There will be an increased focus on omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing is not new. Ecommerce merchants already know how effective it is.
Brands that invested in omnichannel marketing shared that they were able to retain an average of 89% of their customers. This must be because 80% of shoppers actually prefer and respond well to an omnichannel approach.
It’s no longer enough to rely on one channel, and ecommerce marketing has to adapt to helping the entire brand grow across all channels.
- Isaiah Bollinger, CEO, Trellis
Isaiah Bollinger, CEO of Trellis, elaborates on how brands should be present where their consumers are. At the rate the digital world is expanding, consumers are spread out. In fact, 73% of consumers like shopping across multiple channels. So if you’re not present where they usually hang out, you might as well be leaving money on the table.
Do not disregard offline stores when you plan out your omnichannel marketing strategy. They can very well play a huge role in your success.
While online retail has been ingrained in consumers’ daily lives, offline retail is making a comeback. Instead of thinking of it from an “either-or” perspective, ecommerce merchants can level up their game by crafting strategies that include both online and offline. Check out this guide on how to move into omnichannel retail.
2. First-party data will be all the rage
With Google delaying the phase-out of cookies, ecommerce merchants have more time to collect valuable first-party data to use for marketing strategies.
Since first-party data is provided willingly by online users, this data is actually very valuable. The insights, learnings, and sentiments are accurate. If used correctly, ecommerce brands can tailor 1:1 strategies guaranteed to increase revenue.
It’s one thing to collect data and another to understand how to use it.
- Jeff Pearlman, Senior Marketing Manager, AdQuadrant
Jeff Pearlman, Senior Marketing Manager at AdQuadrant explains that first-party data is only as valuable as how you use it. So don’t just focus on thinking of creative ways to collect it. Once you have the data, dig deeper to come up with strategies that will reap rewards.
Additionally, take it a step further and use the first-party data you have to work on strategies that span the entire user journey—not just the acquisition phase.
Building business isn’t just about new customer acquisition after all. We [believe we] will see a larger push on increasing customer lifetime value metrics through nurturing relationships with existing customers.
- Matt Abbott, Head of Growth, Swanky
Swanky’s Head of Growth, Matt Abbott emphasizes that while first-party data can be used to execute strategies that will attract new customers, merchants should not forget about existing ones.
After all, you already have valuable consumer data. You can use this to come up with tailor-made product recommendations, cross-sells, and upsells. As a result, their average order value (AOV) will go up, turning them into repeat customers and eventually—loyal fans.
3. Email marketing will get a new lease on life
Whoever said that email was dead is obviously wrong. This 2023, email marketing will continue to be a top revenue-generating channel for ecommerce. For one, the number of email users worldwide is slated to reach 4.6 billion in 2025—accounting for more than half of the expected population.
Here are some more reasons why ecommerce merchants should definitely invest in email marketing this year:
- The return on investment is huge—every $1 spent on email marketing earns an average of $40. This is way higher than other channels, like SEO ($22.24) and keyword ads ($17).
- 81% of small and medium businesses rely on email primarily for customer acquisition.
- Sending three abandoned cart emails actually gets 69% more orders than just one email campaign.
Another pretty cool thing about email marketing is how it can help ecommerce brands maximize the use of data to hyper-personalize at scale.
Hyper-personalization, after all, allows brands to engage with customers by using tailor-made messages. This leads to meaningful relationships and an increase in customer satisfaction and conversion—segmented campaigns result in a 760% revenue increase.
In short, it’s a win-win.
By sending tailor-made campaigns based on the subscribers’ information, preferences, or behavior, we’re able to engage with them in a more significant way that helps us improve the performance of all the marketing efforts done.
- Andrea Bustos, Account Manager & Marketing Assistant, Hustler Marketing
Hustler Marketing’s Andrea Bustos further explains that automation in email marketing plays a huge role. It saves time and resources while generating results.
While there are a lot of available software that can be integrated with email marketing to make the customer journey more seamless, our friends from Flowium emphasize that these are just tools to help with personalization.
It’s imperative for digital sellers to emphasize their personal touch. Whether it’s personalized product recommendations, customized deals, and offers, or content for their specific needs, personalization in ecommerce marketing is more critical than ever.
- Alexis Hetu, Partner Relations Specialist & Cassidy Paulis, Client Services Director, Flowium
4. Brands will explore various product-specific marketing strategies
Implementing different ways of selling your products can make a huge difference. Dave Bunce, President of Hawke AI (of Hawke Media) gives a few examples:
Bundling of gifts. This conveys a sense of value, which is a top priority for consumers. By implementing this, Hawke Media actually saw a 16% year-on-year increase last November.
Adam Sharon-Zipser, Managing Director of Elephant Room seconds this strategy as an effective one. He shares that many brands are offering compelling and sticky gifting experiences from gifted bundles and memorable gift messages that allow customers to buy products on behalf of someone else. “What’s making this very interesting is the opportunity to track these gift recipients and see how they convert again to be first customers,” he explains.
Buy-Now-Pay-Later. There was a 78% increase in usage of this option, despite rising interest rates.
This would likely explain some of the AOV increases we saw, where consumers were deferring the cost for a longer time period. As Homer Simpson would say, “that’s the future Homer’s problem.”
- Dave Bunce, President of Hawke AI
Anthony Spallone, Director of Operations of Arctic Grey Ltd. adds two more strategies:
Including a gift with purchase (GWP) in upsell strategies. While upselling is already a popular tactic, including a GWP gives consumers an incentive if they increase their cart value by purchasing more.
Payment card hold for convenient post-purchase upsells. Post-purchase upsells have already become popular among merchants who want to maximize profits from those who have just made a purchase. After all, they’re already there.
Grab the opportunity to offer additional products immediately after a customer has completed their purchase on the order confirmation page. Here’s a new strategy too: you can utilize a payment card hold to temporarily hold the customer's card number for a "one-click" purchase on the thank you page—making it a smooth and seamless transaction.
5. Businesses will invest more in customer retention and customer experience to boost CLV
Customer lifetime value (CLV) increases when customers keep coming back. They will keep coming back if they are satisfied with the experience they get.
Customer experience is anything and everything that has to do with consumers’ interactions with a brand. This includes the moment they step on your website, browse your products, checkout, and pay. Even the post-purchase process is part of the whole experience.
With so much competition out there, it is essential to make sure your website stands out from the crowd.
- Anthony Spallone, Director of Operations of Arctic Grey Ltd.
One way to ensure your website is optimized for conversion is by unleashing the power of AB testing. Maximize the data-driven insights you can get from AB testing to optimize elements like layout, content, images, placements of buttons, and more.
Remember: by optimizing these elements according to your target users’ preferences, you can drive more sales and increase customer lifetime value.
It is imperative for brands to be more strategic in attracting and retaining their customers.
- Carmen Alldred, Marketing Strategist, Blend Commerce
Carmen Alldred from Blend Commerce highlights that one of the biggest challenges of brands today is the rise of one-time buyers. Thus, brands need to start delivering more relevant messages via the right channels and across all stages of the entire customer journey—and not just acquisition.
6. Loyalty and referral programs will level up
It’s time to face it—paid media is slowly moving to the back of the line. With prices of digital ads rising at an alarming rate, ecommerce business owners will need to rethink their advertising budget.
This 2023, Adam Sharon-Zipser, Managing Director of Elephant Room predicts that there will be a significant lift in richer, lower-funnel customer experiences that promote deeper retention and reconversion.
The pressure is on ecommerce brands to maximize the ROI on their database and their already established audiences.
- Adam Sharon-Zipser, Managing Director of Elephant Room
Implementing a referral program is a great strategy that helps in both acquisition and retention. It rewards existing customers for recommending your brand to other shoppers—over 90% of consumers trust product recommendations from people they actually know.
In a nutshell, you get new customers from your existing customer, and your existing customers are also encouraged to keep spending.
It’s a win-win.
And since customer retention is in the spotlight for 2023, you can’t go wrong with referral marketing.
7. Short-form videos will be even shorter
Maurice Rahmey, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Disruptive Digital shares the results of an analysis they ran across 20 video ad campaigns.
They saw that some viewership trends remained consistent regardless of performance metrics:
- Average watch time ranged from three to six seconds
- Approximately 25% of people watched around 5 seconds of the video
- Viewership retention leveled off at 5 seconds
What does this mean? While short-form videos will continue to dominate this year, it looks like they may need to be even shorter.
You will have even less time to hook someone to watch more of your video.
- Maurice Rahmey, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Disruptive Digital
HubSpot’s research found that 90% of marketers using short-form video will either increase or maintain their investment this year. Additionally, 21% of marketers are planning to dip their toes in short-form videos for the first time this year.
8. More brands will cross over to Web 3.0
Many ecommerce brands have already started moving into Web 3.0 with the use of augmented reality (AR). With AR, shopping experiences are enhanced—it’s like bringing the experience into their own homes.
By implementing AR into the shopping experience, brands will stand out to the consumers, and this will help contribute to sales.
- Lexie Becker, Brand Partnership Specialist, Fifth & Cor
For example, shoppers can now use AR filters to examine products, or even try out specific fashions or apparel. This 2023, we’re going to see more of this, and to be totally honest—it’s kind of exciting.
Lexie Becker from Fifth & Cor emphasizes that consumers crave something unique and memorable. Brands that can adapt to technology and create one-of-a-kind shopping experiences for consumers will definitely have room to grow.
So… are you ready to make waves this 2023?
In a nutshell, 2023 will be all about creating and sustaining meaningful relationships with customers. Ecommerce brands that are able to create unique and personalized customer experiences will lead the pack this year.
Of all these major ecommerce marketing trends for 2023, referral marketing is the easiest to set up. Plus, it doesn’t require a sky-high budget and resources. If you want to get a headstart on your growth this year, don’t hesitate to contact Referral Candy and we’ll get you rolling right away.