Few sectors have experienced as large a shift in consumer behavior as retail has in the last two years. In fact, research from Digital Commerce 360 shows online sales grew by up to 40% during the pandemic. From headless commerce becoming easier to consume, to retailers becoming more tech-savvy, 2022 will undeniably be a huge year for commerce technology. So, what’s in store for this upcoming year?
1. Retailers will invest in modern commerce platforms, boosting customer loyalty
According to Forrester, 22% of software decision-makers who aren’t already deploying commerce platforms via software-as-a-service plan to do so in the next year. In 2021/22, MarTech Report suggests marketing teams are increasingly on board with improving digital commerce capabilities too. Agile software based on the principles of MACH (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) commerce will grant frontend developers greater flexibility, and investing in such platforms will allow teams to test and roll-out new commerce features to improve the user experience, which will boost customer satisfaction and competitive differentiation.
2. Hype around marketplaces will cool as brands embrace D2C
While marketplaces can work well for tech giants and large retailers who are set up well to benefit, not all branded products lend themselves well to this channel. When a retailer lists products on a marketplace, they can lose a lot of control over the experience, fulfillment and more. In the next 12 months, individual brands will likely envision how it makes more sense for them to sell products D2C (direct-to-customer), so that they can own the message, curate the experience and cut out middlemen and their costs.
3. More retailers will do tech transformations on their own
With COVID-19 driving digital transformation, retailers were forced to digitize to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. One way they could do so was to invest in tech talent so that they could do more work internally, be more agile and become more self-reliant in order to be in control over how technology is a competitive differentiator. In fact, around half of commercetools’ own customers were already implementing their platforms with no outside help in 2021.
4. Headless commerce will be easier to consume
The maturation of headless commerce platforms will lower the barriers to entry for this software. This evolution will make it easier for less technically savvy employees to understand its potential and make the investment, resulting in headless being easier to consume. An example of how headless is becoming the mainstream is how we acquired Frontastic, the leading composable front end development platform, to combine the speed and flexibility of headless with the simplicity of a website builder.
5. Commoditization of commerce is the future
It’s clear the commerce market can’t naturally sustain hundreds of commerce platforms for much longer. In 2022, the market will move towards there being a smaller number of large go-to platforms that offer reasonably priced, easier to consume commerce functionality at scale. As commerce becomes commoditized, public cloud vendors will recognize the need for commerce functionality in their portfolio, and are thus likely to make inroads into this space. The move to a smaller number of commerce technology providers will be a good thing for retailers, as it won’t be such a minefield to find the technologies they need to build the commerce experiences their shoppers demand. The best tools on the market will be plain to see, as well as easy to capitalize on.
6. GraphQL everywhere
In 2022, the majority of retailers will be using GraphQL – it will no longer be a “nice to have”, but an invaluable part of their technology strategy. From data over- and under-fetching and slow performance, the problems GraphQL can solve are issues that won’t be going anywhere next year, making it an invaluable technology that will only gain popularity. There is nothing else quite like it – it will certainly be the industry standard.
7. The “App-ification” of commerce gets real
In 2021, there have been a lot of start-ups building profitable businesses that offer one granular piece of functionality. These applications have been an attractive proposition for retailers, offering best-of-breed point solutions. In the next 12 months, there is likely to be increased appetite for best-of-breed commerce functionality as well as ease of consumption for the retailer. This will drive popularity for commerce portfolios that bundle together individual best-of-breed vendor functionalities and offer APIs that are built separately and can be consumed independently àla carte.
8. B2B commerce matures
COVID-19 completely changed B2B buying behavior. A 2021 study by McKinsey discovered that when purchasers buy from B2B suppliers, they now prefer to go online rather than talk to someone – 41% of leaders said eCommerce was their most effective sales route, with in-person scoring 37%. Consequently, B2B organizations will recognize they can’t solely rely on partners to sell their products, and that they must control at least one distribution channel. They will therefore make the decision to invest in becoming technically mature. As a result, manufacturers and B2B organizations will have to adapt, and will invest more in self-service in 2022.
Ensure your platform will be future-ready to handle everything coming up in 2022…and for all the years ahead. Test out what a modern commerce platform can do for your business by signing up for our free, fully functional 60-day trial.