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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

What Will Determine the Winners and Stragglers in the 2022 Digital Commerce Economy

In 2022, organizations will extend earlier digital transformation efforts, and they must rely on trusted data to deliver targeted, engaging products.

Brands and retailers of all sizes are painfully aware they must be prepared to keep up with the ever-growing e-commerce landscape to avoid being left behind. In 2022, organizations will expand on earlier e-commerce efforts and leverage data to create more personalized experiences. As a result, the following three trends will be paramount in the coming year.

For Further Reading:

Executive Q&A: How Data Privacy Regulations Are Changing Marketing

Three Digital Business Strategies That Can Become Game Changers in 2021 

Data Monetization Requires Balancing Data Availability and Governance

Trend #1: Privacy takes priority when it comes to personalization

In 2022, we will witness businesses strategizing about how to personalize the customer experience without breaking GDPR laws or infringing on consumers' data privacy rights. For example, in 2021 Apple and Google made announcements that changed cookie-setting and information security policies that impacted almost all online businesses.

Consumers want to be in complete control of their data privacy rights and still receive personalized offerings relevant to them. As a result, 2022 will be the year in which businesses learn how to operate, market, and personalize their offerings to consumers without tracking their every move.

Trend #2: Digital and headless commerce become the norm

If businesses weren't selling online in 2020, it was either hurting their bottom line or worse, they had to close their doors. In fact, 62.5 percent of all global online spending occurred via digital marketplaces in 2020, according to reports. In 2021, businesses got serious about their digital strategy by either implementing an e-commerce platform, re-platforming, or introducing new digital commerce channels such as marketplaces.

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) will become even more critical in 2022 as B2B e-commerce sites gain ground, replicating the experience and convenience of B2C online shopping sites. Marketplaces will also see an increase in the coming year as brand manufacturers take steps to eliminate the middleman and offer their products via marketplaces. Retailers will do the same on Amazon or build out their own marketplaces within their commerce channels to provide a greater assortment of goods to their consumers.

Expect to see an increase in businesses not only purchasing a commerce solution but purchasing a headless content management solution. Headless solutions are back-end-only content management systems that act primarily as a content repository that makes content accessible via an API for display on any device, without a built-in front end or presentation layer. By going headless, companies can flexibly share dynamic content with different audiences in real time. As a result, consumers receive product content and relevant offers based on their location, interests, past purchases, and product availability.

Trend #3: Next-generation product information management fuels product experience management

Although current iterations of product information management (PIM) are highly effective and play a key role in organizations of all sizes and industries, the PIM technology landscape will continue to shift to a broader, more powerful paradigm in 2022: the product experience. Today, brands must create emotion-stirring experiences tailored to the consumer's personality and preferences. Personalization requires serious data management and deep customer insight, so every business that wants not merely to survive but to compete must consider the entire experience they are delivering.

Enticing consumers to explore, engage, and convert requires richer product content consisting of attention-grabbing experiences and accurate and complete product information, resulting in the age of product experience management (PXM) and product experience platforms. (Full disclosure: I work for a company that develops product experience management solutions.) Yet, creating product experiences goes beyond simply using a PIM system to improve data quality, reduce content acquisition costs, and improve time to market. An effective product experience platform will become a must-have technology solution in 2022, bringing together information from multiple sources, eliminating duplicates, and delivering personalized experiences with rich, relevant, and contextualized product content at every touchpoint along the customer journey.

Closing Thoughts

Today, 24 million e-commerce stores exist worldwide, and yet the industry is still growing. In 2020, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $4.28 trillion, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $5.4 trillion in 2022. This astounding progression shows no signs of stopping with more people shopping online, driving organizations in all industries to accelerate their shift from physical to digital.

Customers expect something more than a one-size-fits-all approach using generic product information. They demand a personalized, compelling product experience that is tailored to their personal and emotional needs. Creating and communicating targeted, contextual, and emotionally engaging products is vital to a brand's success. Product-led growth strategies will continue to increase in 2022, enabling brands to create valuable, all-encompassing "next-generation" product experiences and remain relevant in the future while adapting to changing environments today.

About the Author

Jennifer Krizanek is CMO at Contentserv, a leading provider of customer-centric, product experience management solutions that enable brand owners and retailers to manage and optimize product information more easily. To learn more, visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

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