2023 Ecommerce Annual Predictions | eSeller698

2023 Ecommerce Predictions – 33 Industry Experts Predict Your Biggest Opportunities For The New Year

As 2022 comes to a close, we have once again compiled the largest collection of ecommerce experts and leaders to share their 2023 ecommerce predictions. Whilst it is impossible to truly predict what the next year will have in store, (Nobody saw the Ukraine conflict coming) with this amount of industry expertise we are confident there is something that every ecommerce business can take away and implement in the New Year.

Every year we reach out to our partners and friends within the industry to hear their expert insight. Last year we had 26 leaders from the industry provide us with their informed opinions on what sellers could expect. This year, however, we have gone even bigger and better with 33 ecommerce experts from which you can pull knowledge and inspiration from.

2022 has been a tough year for many businesses for reasons way outside of their control. There have been obvious economic struggles with rising inflation and cost of living rises. This coupled with global supply chain issues and high fuel prices drove logistics prices higher and therefore the cost of doing business. The good news however is that the Black Friday sales period was another record-breaking year showing that the growth of ecommerce remains strong.

We obviously can’t predict what 2023 ecommerce will have in store and what random events may arise. However, with the help of our industry experts, we can give you the best chance of success for 2023 and beyond.

With that said let’s hand it over to our industry experts for their 2023 ecommerce predictions.

2023 Ecommerce Expert Predictions

Marketplaces

Amazon

“The last few years have been full of unexpected twists and turns for small businesses, and I think we all expect that 2023 will be no different. But at the same time, this represents huge opportunity for sellers – those who have been and will continue to be successful are those who are creative and persistent in identifying, and taking advantage of, new opportunities to grow sales.

Customers are willing to spend for the right brand and products, but also increasingly expect incredible convenience – making it more important than ever to reach those customers where they are. Something I hear from the sellers I speak to, particularly small businesses, is they’re not always sure how to do that, or they’re worried they don’t have time.

So here at Amazon, we’re always investing in innovative tools and services that make it easy for our selling partners to reach more customers – with recently launched programs like Amazon Local Selling, which enables customers to “buy online, pick up in-store,” and Buy with Prime, which enables sellers to offer Prime benefits to members directly on their own sites.

We also continue to introduce more tools for sellers to identify new selling opportunities and make it straightforward for them to get their products to customers across the globe.”

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eBay

“This past year has shown us the high demand for ecommerce is here to stay. As large and small brands continue to evolve ecommerce capabilities, we’ve seen an increased appreciation that less is more when it comes to selling online. While personalization has been a key trend in buyer experience for years, it is still nascent in seller experience.

Historically, sellers are given an a la carte menu of tools and capabilities regardless of business maturity or sales expectations. We want to create guidance and personalization in the seller journey, unlocking access to the right set of tools to meet their needs. To address this, ecommerce providers will need to work toward streamlining and simplifying the seller experience, starting with reducing the number of tools sellers need to use and focusing on personalization.

Ecommerce will continue to evolve and change in 2023, with the rise of social shopping and brands experimenting with other ways to shop online and virtually. Here at eBay, we strive to operate and think like a small company in the way that we support our sellers – and covid has shined a spotlight on the importance of supporting small businesses.

We will be investing in services to unlock small businesses’ potential, including scaling our managed shipping services and expanding their sales potential by facilitating cross-border services.

This year we’ve also seen significant breakthroughs in AI (who hasn’t been blown away by Lensa’s magic avatars?), and we are excited to unlock breakthroughs in the seller experience through investments in AI by tapping into our rich historical and current data to understand consumer needs and help our sellers understand what they need to do to meet evolving trends.

2023 will be an exciting opportunity for ecommerce companies to evolve their investments with sellers to seamlessly operate in the marketplace, maintain loyal customers, and reach for opportunities in building a following.”

Poshmark

“While supply shortages were the major issue in previous years, as we go into 2023 most brands and retailers are having the opposite problem: too much inventory. Having massive promotions on their own website and in stores can cause long-term damage to a brand while crowding out the items that are selling well.

So more and more brands and retailers are looking for new and effective ways to sell their excess inventory to engaged shoppers on other platforms that can be brand-accretive, as is the case with Poshmark.

Many marketplaces have loyal users who only shop there, and social marketplaces like Poshmark create a sense of fun and engagement that can enhance a brand’s image. This also presents a great sourcing opportunity for marketplace resellers, who can help bridge the gap between brands and marketplace users.”

Wish

“Ecommerce stores and brands will begin to further incorporate creators and social-media-style experiences even more into their platform experiences than they are now – meaning more exclusivity when it comes to partnerships and joining forces with creators to provide personalized recommendations and consumer experiences across audience segments.

Social recommendations from someone whose tastes and opinions shoppers trust goes a long way in making them feel more confident and comfortable with a purchase decision. By incorporating creators your audience already recognize and support, shoppers can have an easier and more efficient experience in finding the best choices for them – all while creating more appetite for shoppers to try new products.”

OfferUp

“For most shoppers, 2022 was defined by inflation, continued retail inventory shortages, and general economic uncertainty. All of these factors directly impacted how consumers engaged with commerce, but perhaps the most notable shift we saw was how this led to the continued acceleration of the resale market. 

According to our annual OfferUp Recommerce Report, 93% of Americans said inflation impacted their decision to shop recommerce this year. With inflation hitting record highs, Americans turned to resale to purchase essentials and non-essentials across almost every category. This shift in behavior was so pronounced that our research shows the resale market is growing faster than traditional retail and grew nearly 15% in 2021, marking the highest rate of growth in history for the industry.

As we move into 2023, it would be shortsighted for ecommerce sellers and retailers to not recognize the vast opportunity resale presents to their customers. Resale has revolutionized the way people from all generations and economic backgrounds, including affluent shoppers, are buying and selling goods. Whether it’s driven by a desire to make money, make passive income, or just make more sustainable choices, resale is becoming a part of shoppers’ daily lives.

Our report found that Americans spend an average of 27 minutes per day on recommerce marketplaces, which is just shy of the 30 minutes per day spent on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Additionally, 63% of shoppers always or often checked secondhand buying options before purchasing items brand new. 

As inflation soars and recession fears continue to grow, we should expect to see this pattern of behavior continue, if not increase. Ultimately, today’s shoppers are prioritizing value, convenience, access to hard-to-find items, and sustainability. The resale model meets all these demands, and sellers should seriously evaluate including it more directly in their business.”

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Shipping & Logistics

DHL

“As we enter the new year, we expect more stable and predictable ecommerce and shipping markets as opposed to the prior two years. Given the economic challenges, many online merchants and consumers are more cost-conscious; therefore, the cost of shipping will continue to be a number one priority for online merchants. With supply chain bottlenecks easing, there is more available capacity in the market.

This will remove some pressure from ecommerce merchants and give them a chance to do a strategic review of their parcel carrier portfolio. Therefore, we expect to see more shipping tenders next year and more online merchants seeking to diversify their carrier base with a multicarrier approach.

Lastly, as the market continues stabilizing, we will see a return to the long-term shipping trends such as the regionalization of demand, which were disrupted during the pandemic years. Overall, we expect the next year to look more like 2019 than the prior years.”

Pitney Bowes

“Ecommerce convenience probably doesn’t mean what you think it means. Pre-pandemic, consumers defined ecommerce convenience as speed, better prices, and broad selection. Now, that definition of convenience has shifted. According to Pitney Bowes BOXpoll research, convenience is now about consumers’ ability to shop whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. 

The biggest opportunity for ecommerce sellers in 2023 will be bringing their product closer to the moment of inspiration by putting it in more places customers will be looking: social media, marketplaces, and their own websites.

This trend has already taken hold, as more retailers become marketplaces and curation via influencers grows in popularity. But there is still more ground to cover—AI is poised to supplant search in the coming years, while AR is likely to move discovery from the online world to the real world.

Once they’ve connected the customer with their product, the goal of ecommerce sellers should not be to deliver as fast as possible, but to tailor the delivery experience to their customer’s schedule. In fact, 62% of consumers say an accurate estimated delivery date is more important than fast shipping (Pitney Bowes BOXpoll). In 2023, sellers should focus on day-definite delivery over fast shipping.”

ShipHero

“The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated ecommerce growth. With many brick-and-mortar stores shut down and lockdowns in place, customers shopped online more than ever before. That growth continued this year and into 2023, which will bring new challenges for ecommerce brands and retailers. 

The first challenge for brands and ecommerce retailers will be heightened customer expectations. Customers have become accustomed to online “instant” shopping during the last few years and are looking to brands to meet their demands. Customers want multiple shipping and pickup options, like buy online, pick up in-store, or two-day delivery, and want a simple, streamlined returns process.

The second challenge, or opportunity, for ecommerce sellers is the rise in omnichannel shopping. Sellers can reach their customers across a variety of channels, including online, in-store, and mobile commerce. As consumers research products on multiple platforms, retailers need to maintain consistency with their messaging and branding across all platforms to encourage shoppers into their shop, whether online or in-store.

The ecommerce boom will continue in 2023, and more challenges will arrive for ecommerce retailers. As long as businesses keep ahead of consumer shopping trends, they’ll be able to grow their position in the ecommerce space and drive sales.”

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ShipStation

“Ecommerce sellers’ main challenge in 2023 will be catching the digital consumer’s attention. Traditional advertising costs are not going to decrease anytime soon, giving sellers an opportunity to be innovative with their marketing strategies.

There are more ways to get in front of key audiences than ever. Ecommerce sellers should consider experimenting with new marketing channels – from podcasts, to engaging with industry influencers, and even getting on newer social media platforms like TikTok.

Promotion can go beyond direct marketing efforts, too. Merchants can enhance every aspect of the customer experience – from the website, to shipping labels, to packing slips, tracking pages, and emails. Strong customer experience translates to strong customer relationships. Experimenting with new marketing channels and avenues to drive sales will be paramount for ecommerce sellers’ success in 2023,”

Auctane

“The main challenges for ecommerce sellers in 2023 will revolve around inventory. First, understanding where they are selling their product and how much is being sold. Then, it will be how they can strategically locate their inventory to streamline deliveries and reduce operational inefficiencies. The pandemic highlighted what could happen when merchants have too little inventory.

Meanwhile, 2022 exemplified what happens when merchants have too much inventory. Right-sizing inventory levels and determining the right physical inventory locations will be critical for ecommerce merchants in 2023. This will reduce shipping costs for the merchant and transit times to the end consumer,”

Shippo

“The biggest challenge for ecommerce sellers in 2023 will be the looming recession. Obviously, that means a slowdown of consumer purchasing, but it also means an inversion of the shipping challenges that have existed since the ecommerce boom of the pandemic: Now, rather than carriers struggling to manage a surplus of shipments, they’ve built up too much capacity at a time when they’ll be making fewer deliveries.

Add in inflation-driven carrier rate increases, and merchants are looking at a situation where they have less to ship – a result of less revenue coming in the door – while shipping simultaneously becomes more costly on a per-unit basis.

The positive is that this will create innovation and new approaches that will benefit both shippers and sellers long-term: major carriers like FedEx and UPS are already looking to expand their markets and open their doors to more work with SMBs as they search for ways to fill trucks. They’re also considering the introduction of new, dynamic pricing models that tie more directly to capacity. These trends will shape the future of ecommerce and require keen focus from ecommerce sellers in the coming year.”

ShipperHQ

“From worker shortages to port delays to inflation hitting a 40-year high, 2022 presented a multitude of challenges that are likely to impact consumer spending in 2023. Forward-thinking businesses should leverage shipping as a retention driver to help protect margins and remain competitive in the face of economic uncertainty. 

There is a common misconception that shipping is about labels and logistics, but in reality, its impact starts in the cart. Customers evaluate purchases based on what they know about shipping before they commit to buy. Investment in the shipping experience at checkout can help increase trust and brand loyalty, and shape demand. 

87% say shipping and delivery experience directly impacts their decision to shop with the merchant again.

Insecurity about shipping is the top reason for abandoned carts. In fact, 85% of consumers want full visibility into shipping timelines before making any online purchase. Amazon has set the standard on what customers expect at checkout and customers expect clarity about when their deliveries will arrive. If you fail to provide accurate delivery information at checkout, or set unrealistic expectations, you risk losing sales.

Not to mention, the time lost responding to WISMO (“Where Is My Order?”) calls which have a huge impact on your business’s bottom line. Building trust through delivery-related transparency is the best way to develop long-term customer relationships strong enough to withstand the industry’s current challenges and increase your bottom line.”

Descartes

“Retailers and brands alike will grapple with a multitude of challenges as they will face an environment ridden with economic turmoil and continued disrupted supply chains. This next year will be influenced by major factors such as evolving customer expectations around sustainability and convenience, an increased competitive landscape, and staff shortages.

As a result of the disrupted supply chains, the price of in-stock items will increase, and ecommerce players will need to keep costs down while offering outstanding services by designing sourcing and inventory strategies that are data-driven. Evolving customer expectations around convenience and sustainability must be mirrored with a shift in delivery performance.

As sustainability will increasingly become more important for the ‘environmentally inclined,’ retailers will need to provide delivery options to cater to this delivery persona, while also taking the right steps to recognize that others prioritize convenience and timely deliveries, especially considering that three out of four consumers experience delivery issues. If retailers successfully integrate these offerings into their business fold, it will differentiate their brand and boost sales. 

When it comes to workforce challenges, it’s no surprise that logistics isn’t the most attractive industry. To offset the challenges of retaining and growing in the upcoming year, companies need to integrate more tech-enabled processes such as automation that increase employee productivity and make roles more compelling and seamless.”

Whistl

“The main consumer challenge in 2023 will be the ability to spend on ecommerce goods due to the impact of higher utility and food costs. Operational costs will be higher due to wage inflation alongside higher other business running costs. 

Supply chain stability will be influenced by potential lockdowns in China, port strikes, and the ongoing Ukrainian conflict. We are hopeful that these issues will have worked their way through the first half of the year, and we can look to a brighter second half.

With these considerations in the background, there will continue to be a drive for increased efficiency whether in working methods or automation. In addition, further progress will have to be made on developing strategies to achieve the government’s net zero commitment. Most tangibly we will see continued rollout of electric powered vehicles across the industry throughout 2023.”

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Huboo

“The retail industry’s cautiously optimistic outlook at the start of 2022 was eroded by strong economic headwinds, geopolitical instability, soaring inflation, and plummeting consumer confidence. It’s a tough operating environment, but for online retailers, there are still opportunities to ride out the downturn and grow their businesses in 2023.

Consumers have already begun cutting down on larger expenses and trading down by moving to cheaper products. Online retailers need to use sales bundles and subscriptions creatively, actively increasing product sales without devaluing their products or brand. 

During the height of Covid, many ecommerce brands were able to adapt their communications to reflect the somber climate. In 2023, everyday brands of all shapes and sizes must pay close attention to the tone of all ongoing marketing efforts – from digital ads to newsletters – to make sure communication is sensitive to the tough situation many customers will find themselves in. 

As the impact of the cost of living continues to be felt through 2023, offering flexible payment terms can be a competitive advantage for retailers – particularly on higher-cost items. We expect to see BNPL becoming more commonplace across the ecommerce arena, and retailers that will see the most success will be those that think creatively about how to use these schemes to both attract customers and encourage them to spend more. 

Adaptability and responsiveness will continue to be the ecommerce secret weapon. It won’t be easy, but if online retailers take learnings from the last 12 months, they will put their businesses on a positive trajectory and will emerge from the downturn stronger, leaner, and more attuned to their customers’ needs.”

Pack

“The user experience of social media and fast, shareable on-site experiences has increased online shoppers’ expectations, making social commerce an incredible opportunity for retailers in the new year and beyond. Research shows that a third of consumers prefer shopping experiences that remind them of social media—a stat that increases to 55% for 18-34-year-olds—and look for faster buying options at the expense of selection, shipping, and brand loyalty. 

To stand out, retailers need to deliver a buying experience that fits into consumers’ digital lifestyle, but have been beholden to platforms or built on legacy tech that limits their ability to create these engaging, personalized experiences. By decoupling the commerce backend from the traditional frontend, brands can directly integrate their shopping experiences into social media, while providing the speed, convenience, and performance today’s shoppers expect.“

Social Media

Meta

“Timely, personal communication has always been – and will remain – the core of a good customer experience. One thing we know is that the patience that customers once had for long queues, hold times, and emails to support@ addresses no longer exists. They want to get useful updates, relevant offers and deals, and answers to questions right within a messaging app.

2023 will be the year that U.S. businesses finally catch up to the rest of the world and embrace the opportunity of business messaging. We expect to see this for both small businesses and large enterprises, as it helps brands meet their customers where they already are while allowing customers to communicate on their schedule in the same seamless way they chat with friends and family. In the year ahead, people and businesses will find that there’s no better way to get business done than right in a chat.”

Pinterest

“Demand for visual search experiences will become front and center so consumers can bring their inspiration ideas to life.

In 2023, generative AI and visual discovery will continue to have a significant impact on creativity and inspiration. The ability to quickly generate unique and personalized content using generative AI will inspire and enable new forms of creative expression and exploration.

As brands continue to look for new ways to give consumers creative control over their online experiences, the old ways of search that were driven largely by written text are no longer sufficient.

These emerging visual discovery tools will become more sophisticated and widely used, allowing for easier and more efficient access to a vast amount of information. This will enable individuals and organizations to easily discover and draw inspiration from a wide range of sources, leading to new and innovative ideas and creations.

Generative AI technologies will enhance visual search experiences and should be incorporated into today’s major search and discovery engines if they want to remain a leading search platform of choice for consumers.”

“Brands need to further invest in AR technology to give consumers more personalized and inclusive experiences online.

“Brands across retail and ecommerce have leveraged AR technology to give consumers a more personalized experience when shopping, whether allowing shoppers to see what a particular shade of lipstick looks like on them or what a new sofa could look like in their living room before they buy. Yes, personalization is one benefit in offering these AR-powered tools, but it’s not the only benefit these tools can offer.

Next year, consumers will continue to seek out AR-powered tools when shopping, however, brands need to invest further in building out their AR technology capabilities to ensure they are set up to be inclusive of all audiences. It’s no longer enough to just offer one AR-powered filter per item, instead, brands will need to ensure that their filters are tailored for a diverse group of consumers from the outset.

Consumers are not going to scroll through a list of filters to find the one that best matches their individuality. Instead, they will expect the filters that best match them will be recommended from the start.”

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Payments

Square

“While consumers expect the ability to shop across online or in person, there’s a growing trend of mobile and conversational commerce that will continue to dominate in 2023. Our research shows that 98% of consumers want to connect with businesses through their mobile devices, whether it’s receiving order and appointment notifications or texting with a business. Also, 30% of buyers expect to shop more through their mobile devices over the next 12 months.

Mobile and conversational commerce offers consumers convenient, fast shopping experiences whenever and wherever they’re ready. As smartphones continue to be a preferred way to shop online, especially with younger generations like Gen Z, sellers need to lean into these areas of ecommerce that will enable them to sell across new channels. By doing this, sellers can add additional revenue streams and increase visibility of their business.

Businesses should promote their products and services on social channels so consumers can purchase right from a seller’s page, while also promoting and suggesting products through marketing and loyalty programs.

With smartphones embedded into almost all elements of day-to-day life, conversational commerce has also seen tremendous growth as businesses and consumers can instantly communicate through text. With this technology, sellers can respond to questions, update orders, send automatic reminders and order updates, or even make a sale to grow revenue.”

Payoneer

“There will be continued challenges because of inflation and possible recession, but the demand for online shopping will remain modestly strong. This means shifting strategies. Here we think marketplaces will resurge as the main part of the omnichannel mix for merchants. 

In recent years, we saw sellers take their learnings from marketplaces to build their own online storefronts. This DTC approach remains important, but it’s always been a more complicated and expensive business model than selling through marketplaces.

In these inflationary times, with consumers looking for deals and advertising costs increasing, customer acquisition costs will rise. Sellers who have leaner cost structures are the ones who will grow in this environment.  

So our advice to e-sellers is not to neglect marketplaces in 2023. The good news is that marketplaces around the globe are investing in growth for their sellers. Walmart’s next-gen fulfillment centers will allow it to reach 95% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping (80% same-day).

At Amazon Accelerate this year, it was clear that Amazon is laser-focused on sellers’ needs to a degree we really haven’t seen before.

Marketplaces will never be the only opportunity to drive ecommerce, but in 2023 they may be the most attractive.”

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Ecommerce Solution Providers

Frooition

“It’s a bit of a cliche, but in the online retail industry, many of us are rather fond of the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” But, unfortunately, that’s not going to work in 2023. Instead, we’re all going to have to work smarter and harder if we are to overcome the challenges our sector is currently facing.

A lot of this hard and smart work starts with optimizing the channels we are currently engaged with. 

Hand on heart, can you honestly say your eBay listings are up to spec for 2023? Are you doing everything you can to take ownership of your customer relationships on your eCommerce websites through low-cost, high-return channels like email marketing? Do you “get” social media channels like TikTok?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to immerse yourself in some new best practices. The real winners in 2023 will be businesses that look at every element of their business and strive to make marginal gains.

So where are the opportunities?

2023 will be a big year for online marketplaces, with dominant players like eBay and Amazon battling it out with a flood of new entrants. These will include already high-profile retail brands entering the market for the first time and a number of pure-play digital disruptors.

As a result, the marketplace landscape is going to get really competitive, making it more difficult for consumers to land on your product pages if you are not spreading your risk. And when they do land, you need to be ready to fight for the conversion. As a result, it’s no longer good enough to throw your listings up and hope they will sell. Instead, success will be defined by how many channels you engage with and how well you engage with these channels.

While many of the routes to optimization are in your gift, such as improved product titles and descriptions, more product images, and better use of item specifics, there will be some areas where you have less control. Problems with the global supply chain, inflation, and the impact of industrial action (particularly in the delivery industry) will be around for a while.

Therefore, it’s essential to consider alternative suppliers and even completely different product lines. We are seeing particular growth in the second-hand and refurbished goods market, with many big brands embracing the circular economy alongside their more traditional offers.

Yes, 2023 is going to be another challenging year, but for agile businesses willing to adapt to change and challenge the status quo, we see incredible opportunities ahead.”

Wix

“A major challenge will continue to be sky-rocketing customer acquisition costs. The growth of social networks and the democratization of online shopping by ecommerce platforms have removed barriers for newcomers, online creators, and micro brands to thrive. This has led to the exponential rise of online sellers and with it – competition and customer acquisition costs, which increased by 222% over the last eight years.

As a result, customer retention is more important than ever because it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Sellers should double down on their retention efforts not only to save on acquisition costs but also to boost revenue as existing customers are spending an average of 31% more than new customers. 

A big opportunity for sellers is the booming phenomenon of social shopping. Instagram has a designated shopping tab; Facebook has native store pages for businesses; TikTok introduced live shopping capabilities and functionality for online sellers to integrate their catalogs. 65% of consumers said they use social media for purchase inspiration, and 60% said that they shop from content posted by brands on social media. These offerings will only become more seamless and frictionless, and the bridge between social connectivity and shopping will narrow in 2023. 

An omnichannel strategy will be essential to increase customer reach. Approximately 73% of consumers use multiple channels for purchases and, studies show those who use 4+ channels spend about 9% more than single-channel consumers.

While this approach creates a consistent brand experience and a seamless shopping journey, it also multiplies the opportunities to acquire new customers. Today,  ecommerce platforms allow merchants to sell their products and sync their catalogs across their branded online store, physical stores, social media, and marketplaces. This list will continue to grow as new channels emerge.”

BigCommerce

“Composable commerce will emerge as the future of modern commerce.

Following three straight years of uncertainty and rapid change, 2023 looks like it’s going to offer more of the same but with even more challenges for a wide range of businesses. Ecommerce merchants won’t be immune. In times of uncertainty and change, merchants must make smart technology investments that are agile, functional, and flexible.

They need to invest in modern technology that enables, not hinders, delivering cutting-edge shopping experiences. Without a flexible commerce solution, it’s next to impossible to drive growth, especially during economic downturns. In 2023, we’ll see composable commerce, a modular approach that allows merchants to customize their tech stacks by choosing interchangeable solutions to suit their unique business requirement, emerge as the preferred model for forward-thinking B2C and B2B merchants.

Composable commerce gives merchants the freedom to mix, match and combine best-in-breed tech vendors to create a customized and robust stack that responds to unexpected change. While a monolithic, one-size-fits-all approach used to be sufficient, it is now antiquated and won’t sustain retail business innovation and growth for the long term. Now is the time to make the digital investments that will provide flexibility during near-term challenges and  a strong competitive advantage when the economy rebounds.”

Avalara

“In 2023, ecommerce sellers can expect rising costs, including manufacturing and shipping to be one of their main challenges. With the current economic environment, the cost of consumer goods & inflation is going to affect everyone — from the consumer to the manufacturer. Historically, we’ve seen that consumers are going to be looking for value in down markets, so one of the main questions ecommerce sellers should focus on is: how are they going to show greater value to consumers in 2023? 

New customer growth will also always be a challenge, but especially during this economic environment, ecommerce sellers will have to focus on plans to re-engage the customers they already have. Another key question for retailers to ask themselves now is how are you engaging existing customers? 

Customer optimization should also be a key focus area and can become an opportunity for ecommerce sellers to grow in 2023. In the ecommerce world, marketplaces tend to have positive uptick in a down economy because they aggregate value for consumers. When customers visit your website, how are you as a merchant making sure they are finding what they’re looking for? Optimizing this experience and making it as seamless as possible will be critical to succeed in the next year.”

Intuit – QuickBooks

“We’ll continue to see more and more people looking to start new companies with an ecommerce-first strategy. In fact, our new Intuit QuickBooks New Business Insights Report polled 15,000 U.S. consumers and found that of Americans with entrepreneurial ambitions, almost half (46%) plan to start a business in the new year using ecommerce to drive growth.

Dovetailing with this trend, I expect entrepreneurs to experiment and explore market penetration with ecommerce, using a variety of channels and models. For example, in some verticals like beauty and accessories, we’re seeing an uptick in direct-to-consumer selling. With retail, we’ve seen more businesses embracing an omnichannel strategy – selling on their own ecommerce site as well as platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and social media – and some are even exploring wholesale opportunities to other businesses.”

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Aisle3

“The uncertain economic climate is going to be front of mind for the next 12-18 months. Although Shoppers will feel the pinch, it’s a crucial time for brands and retailers. Whether looking for a bargain or splashing out on a little bit of joy with a premium brand they know, Shoppers will remain active but the competition for sales will become harder.

The natural assumption for Shoppers and Sellers is the focus on Amazon, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. It’s been years since Amazon stopped being ‘fun’ as it became littered with ads and challenger brands. If you’re building a business around Amazon now might be the time, more than ever, to diversify your channels and focus on Shopper delight instead of Shopper utility.”

Packsize

“In 2022, online retailers worked their way through ongoing supply chain issues, and as they move into 2023, finally have an opportunity to step back and invest in other priorities. In 2023, one of these priorities will be sustainable packaging.

As ecommerce continues to grow, so too do consumers’ sustainability expectations: Packsize’s consumer research in 2022 found that 87% of consumers ordering online four times or more per week patronize brands demonstrating minimization of their carbon footprint.

One way we are seeing major brands address this is through right-sized packaging, which uses less paper and creates less waste. For example, with Packsize’s right-sized packaging technology, we would save 98 million trees, 5.8 million tons of paper, 24 million truckloads, and 1.7 billion gallons of diesel per year.”

inVia Robotics

“A main challenge, but opportunity, for ecommerce sellers in 2023 will be matching inventory to demand. We’ve created this fantastic ecommerce world where customers have the power of choice and can order from a vast selection of products to be delivered almost anywhere.

However, letting customers be choosy doesn’t align well with the current inventory management system of “building to stock,” or manufacturing products in different colors, sizes, and other configurations to cover all bases. This leaves sellers left with unsold inventory at the end of season, and that extra inventory required a lot of unnecessary labor and space to get there in the first place.

The opportunity, however, comes through new technology, which allows customers the ability to customize products, but sellers will wait to assemble the product until it’s ordered. For example, customers can order a phone with different memory sizes and colors. Instead of building thousands of phones with each memory chip and in every color, sellers will assemble the customized phone only once an order is placed.

By digitizing inventory management and using intelligence to dictate material flows, customers still get the power of choice – even more – and sellers can contain inventory costs and improve profit margins.”

Proxima

“As repetitious as it is, survival or success in 2023 is going to come down to how well businesses are able to manage the continued uncertainty of supply and demand and the corresponding pressure on all aspects of the business model.

It feels like I could pick any number of likely challenges from a hat and convincingly argue the case that it will be the most significant. But as we head into 2023, the first hurdle for ecommerce sellers will likely be navigating domestic logistics at a time when we expect to see a peak in demand, but also a peak in returns. Once businesses get through that unscathed, it’s time to tackle the rest. 

It’s tempting to talk about automation, sustainability, or supply restructuring, all critical must-dos, but trading in a downturn is also about customer acquisition and loyalty.

So, I’d say winners will be those that can 1) create operational transparency to roll with the punches, 2) cut waste and build around profitable products and services, and 3) focus on creating a dialogue or even a connection with customers – part differentiation, part advocacy. It’ll be tough, but challenges must inspire creativity and action rather than paralysis.”

Phonecheck

“Our point of view is from the re-commerce angle. We believe re-commerce will continue to grow, even more so than new device sales in certain categories, for several reasons. Supply chain and inflation woes are not going away any time soon- causing delays, uncertainty, and tighter budgets for buying connected devices.

This makes the secondhand market even more appealing as it can deliver a quality, cost-saving product with all the desired features, in less time. Shoppers increasingly continue to consider sustainability in their buying behaviors, with a recent Deloitte study showing that sustainability is a higher priority for shoppers this year and those sustainable shoppers will spend 22% more than the average shopper.

All this considered, quality concerns around renewed devices still linger for the consumer. It’s true that marketplaces and sellers continue to elevate quality as a priority, but the reality is that most have their own set of standards for consumers to consider.

One way to remove this burden from the shopper is to use independent and unbiased certification to improve transparency and instill more confidence in buyers. In the renewed tech industry, for example, we produce Device History Reports to show consumers a comprehensive view of their device checked by a third party. When buyers see a Phonecheck Certified listing on an ecommerce site, they can be assured that the product has undergone an objective, rigorous 80-point inspection.

This not only adds another layer of quality assurance but gives shoppers an easy-to-read, familiar format of information and data across all platforms. Much like you wouldn’t buy a car without CarFax, customers deserve similar detail and assurance when shopping for refurbished tech. In addition to ensuring reliability for the buyer, this objective device certification benefits the seller as well.

Sellers have been able to realize appropriate increases in resale value, but most importantly the trust that converts shoppers to buyers. As re-commerce continues to boom, so will players entering the market. Sellers will benefit from standardizing industry quality standards so as not to taint the consumer experience with subpar products. Certification gives shoppers the hard data and info they need to make informed decisions and adds a level of standardization in quality metrics and even terms, ultimately making the sales journey much fairer and more successful for both buyers and sellers.”

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Local Express

“The way people shop for food has changed. For 2023, Grocery and Food & Beverage (F&B) brick-and-mortar retailers must have an omnichannel strategy to serve customers where they are. This means online and in-store. However, consumers’ online and in-store data needs to be integrated to have a complete view to serve them better. 

Over 80% of grocery shoppers want more options – sometimes they want to shop in-store, and sometimes they want delivery or pickup. Perishable inventory, sales prices, and delivery or pickup time windows must be coordinated for operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Omnichannel will need to be an integral part of retailer strategy to be competitive. Location can not be the only advantage of your physical store. You need a dynamic online presence.

Another strong trend in 2023 will be Self-Service and the use of Kiosks. The combined online purchases with self-service – i.e., without cashers – are already approaching 60%. Consumers are digitally savvy and want the option to shop the way convenient for them.”

Anaplan

“Inventory planning will move from the factory floor to the boardroom: Excess inventory is so last season – and retail CFOs want to keep it that way. But as we’ve learned this year, getting inventory planning right is no easy feat.

With all eyes on inventory management, everything from factory, supplier, and channel strategies, to lead times, assortment planning, pricing, and replenishment cycles, will be under a microscope in 2023. Not only will inventory management be a regular boardroom discussion, but inventory planners will also be more aggressive in executing strategies and making clear-cut decisions that protect profit margins.”

Thank You!

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the experts above for taking time out of their incredibly busy schedules in what is likely their busiest time of the year to provide you with such great insight into what small to medium ecommerce businesses can be expecting for 2023 ecommerce and beyond.

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This contribution is part of our Leadership Series, where industry professionals share valuable insights for small business owners selling online. The views expressed are the author’s alone.

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