Five Commerce Trends to Watch in 2023

Shopify Commerce Trends Report

“The only constant in commerce is change.”- Shopify Commerce Trends 2023

The 2023 Commerce Trends report from Shopify details why the “unexpected in the new normal,” how inflation and other economic factors might affect the year ahead, and what growing expectations from consumers means for strategic planning. The report also outlines five trends to anticipate this year, in the following areas:

  • Supply Chain
  • Money
  • Marketing
  • Ecommerce
  • Retail

Improving customer experience is a top priority among companies surveyed.

Here are some highlights from the report, by the numbers:

  • $27 trillion USD in retail sales worldwide in the past year 
  • 64% of global businesses still recovering from pandemic
  • Retail sales have climbed 15% since 2020

Commerce numbers 2023Supply Chain Trends

While consumers expect more, including faster shipping, supply chain issues continue to make it difficult to meet that standard. One of the problems, the report states, is that Just in Time manufacturing models aren’t the best structure when it comes to supply chain disruptions. Some ideas they suggest for future-proofing your supply chain:

  • Keep more inventory
  • Diversify sourcing
  • Take steps to minimize returns from customers
  • Automate manual supply chain processes

Money Trends

The report focuses on strategies to cut costs (and deal with inflation) while also increasing customer loyalty.

Brands are playing with different pricing strategies - including raising prices and/or offering new products at a higher price point. Companies are also testing out lowering prices to boost sales.

In either case Shopify recommends focusing on customer loyalty over the long haul as a key strategic focus.

“Although quick and deep cost cuts are tempting, brands should strike a balance between reducing immediate financial damage and investing in the future.”

Some of the ideas outlined in the report include:

  • Getting strategic with pricing
  • Considering free shipping
  • Offering discounts for customer loyalty
  • Subscriptions or memberships
  • Reduce overhead
  • New funding opportunities - including Shopify Capital

One main idea the report notes for reducing overhead is warehouse automation, a concept that has now gone from nice-to-have to need-to-have.

Marketing Trends

Commerce companies are navigating changes to marketing as new restrictions with data privacy go into effect. Brands are moving toward first-party data as third-party cookies are being phased out.

One trend businesses are seeing is a reduction in their return on ad spend (ROAS) as consumer privacy gets better. There’s also been a significant increase in competition among advertisers.

A key trend that is producing positive results is regarding brands that are getting creative with collaborations and partnerships.

The Shopify report offers these marketing ideas:

  • Collaborate with other brands
  • Work with creators
  • Think about incorporating collaboration or partnerships into your loyalty programs

Ecommerce Trends

This section of the report is ripe with good info. Below are five customer acquisition and retention strategies Shopify rounded up from the results of their survey:

  1. Using social channels for marketing and promotions
  2. Offering more premium products and services
  3. Using ecommerce marketplaces more
  4. Offering more payment methods
  5. Using customer data for better targeting, segmentation, and personalization

The whole chapter on ecommerce is worth a read, particularly the section on “How to wow customers in the most interactive digital landscape yet.”

Retail Trends

This part of the report really hones in on providing value and meeting customers where they are.

“Before, customers went to brands. Today, brands must go where their customers are. Brands would be wise to start adopting this behavior now.” - Harley Finkelstein | President, Shopify

Below is a summary of the retail trends from the report.

  • Retail is evolving and stores are only one of several “stops on a customer’s journey”
  • One trend right now is interactive in-store experiences
  • Brands need to provide more for their employees to keep the customer service level high - “happy employees mean happy customers”

Read the full report from Shopify.

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Cover photo by: Avelino Calvar Martinez