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2022 E-Commerce Trends And How Brands Can Capitalize On Them


Ethan McAfee is CEO and Founder of Amify, the first turnkey Amazon-as-a-service provider.

The past few years have been a roller coaster for the e-commerce industry. 2020 was a year like no other with record sales, up 45% from 2019, much of it due to the partial or entire closure of brick-and-mortar sales channels.

Then, in 2021, as pandemic concerns abated and traditional stores re-opened, e-commerce sales settled back into a more realistic growth rate of 17% year-over-year. That’s still an impressive trajectory that looks set to continue. By 2025, online purchases are expected to accelerate at a healthy clip, reaching nearly 24% of total retail sales.

At the center of the e-commerce universe is Amazon. Today, the online behemoth is the default channel for many consumers and the leading online marketplace by number of visits. By early 2022, Amazon is also poised to pass UPS and FedEx to become the largest delivery service in the U.S.

These factors present tremendous opportunity for merchants. Yet e-commerce has long been treated as an afterthought, a second-class citizen to more traditional physical channels. In 2022, that will change.

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I help brands sell more strategically online every day. Below is what my experience tells me about where the market is headed and how sellers can, and must, capitalize on the e-commerce opportunity.

1. Supply Chains Will Normalize, But Brands Need A Backup Plan

Current supply chain issues are a concern for any merchant in the e-commerce space. After all, consumers expect goods to be available and to receive them quickly.

But, beyond frustrated customers, brands may be surprised to learn there is also a potential fallout with their online channel partner. For example, when a third-party seller is unable to fulfill orders due to low inventory, Amazon views these instances as a sign of unreliability and penalizes the brand with a lower ranking in search listings—which means lower sales and the potential loss of the merchant’s Amazon Best Sellers rank.

There are ways around this predicament. Until the supply chain crisis normalizes (ideally sometime in 2022), brands will need a backup plan. If possible, they must decrease their dependency on imported goods and onshore their supply chain partnerships. They can also take advantage of alternative fulfillment methods, such as Amazon’s Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) option, and prioritize the shipment of high-demand products goods directly from their own warehouses.

Brands must know their obligations as online sellers and identify and address any potential compliance issues on their e-commerce channels to avoid the supply chain slowdown impacting them twice.

2. Competition Is Fierce: Brands Must Align Their Advertising Strategy To Win On E-Commerce

To stand out in this fiercely competitive terrain, brands must commit significant advertising resources, skills and effort. Unfortunately, many sellers, including leading and established brands, view e-commerce and online marketplaces as cost centers, not revenue centers—and don’t make the strategic investment that is needed to win on these critical channels.

Managing hundreds of thousands of dollars in third-party online storefront operations and ad spend requires a high level of skill, but executive attention is often more focused on brick-and-mortar presence or their own online storefront. Reaching consumers on Amazon, for instance, is incredibly complex and nuanced. Brands and marketers must understand how Amazon’s ranking algorithm works. They must understand, for example, how the algorithm controls what products are elevated in search results, promotes listings that will most likely convert visitors into sales and boosts brands and listings that are priced competitively.

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Additionally, they need to know how Amazon prioritizes brands that deliver quickly and have good reviews. Other strategies for savvy marketers include finding ways to compete on keyword search terms and win against competitors in search listings and display and video ad boxes. By implementing ad strategies that siphon shoppers to their brand when they’re on the cusp of purchasing a competing product, brands will be better positioned to close the final sale. Only with this level of understanding can brands develop a focused strategy that will help increase their online sales.

3. Online Storefronts Must Bring Their “A” Game

“If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, not. To grab their share of online spend, brands must optimize their online storefronts and product listings. A merchant’s storefront is the face of the brand, after all. Unprofessional product images, incomplete or uncompelling content and only a handful of product reviews can deter shoppers—if they find the listing at all.

Instead, brand marketers must develop a thoughtful and calculated sales and marketing strategy that incorporates A+ content and high-design standards that tells the brand’s story, targets the customer’s pain points, is optimized for mobile, is rich with positive reviews and delivers the best possible customer experience. 

Online shoppers expect a full brand experience when making their decisions—and brands that don’t deliver could lose to those that do.

The Explosion Of E-Commerce Is Too Big An Opportunity To Squander

In 2022, e-commerce is too large and valuable a channel for sellers to ignore or treat as an afterthought. Building a strategy that positions a brand as unique in a competitive online marketplace is tough. To accomplish this, it must be central to the brand’s overall sales goals. It’s an investment. But, as e-commerce continues to explode, the payoff can be huge.


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