E-commerce Predictions 2023

From 20+ Top Industry Experts

“What are your e-commerce predictions for 2023?”

That's what I asked my readers and network on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit.

This article, a first in what I hope becomes an annual tradition, curates those submissions alongside predictions from published posts by e-commerce industry leaders.

I hope that these predictions help shed some light on where e-commerce is trending in the near future so that you can stay ahead of the curve with your business process, marketing, and strategies.

If you enjoy this content, I highly recommend that you subscribe to our Shopifreaks E-commerce Newsletter – an industry leading weekly curation of the most important news in e-commerce.

Got a prediction of your own? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

 Brought to you by Shopifreaks & BigCommerce.

BigCommerce + Shopifreaks

“I think there will increasing demand for AI to play a role in eCommerce in a way that makes a positive impact on the environment.”

From supporting the circular economy, to helping reduce returns, and much more in between.

Vered Levy-Ron, CEO at Syte (LinkedIn)

“Alternative Payment Methods will move further to the forefront and be a major opportunity for retailers to boost sales revenue.”

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions have been growing in popularity for years, but the trend exploded in 2021 and surged even more during Cyber Week 2022 as more budget-conscious consumers carefully managed their spend and gift buying. Digital Wallets such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Google Pay and Venmo will continue to reign as we expect to see more providers enter the space. With hybrid shopping in full swing, we will also see more forward-thinking retailers embrace alternative payment methods including grocery and convenience stores. Credit cards won’t become obsolete, but rather will be used on an as needed or required basis, forcing retailers to upgrade payment methods to stay competitive.

Meghan Stabler, SVP at BigCommerce (E-mail Submission)

“For a significant number of consumers, the future of the planet is top of mind, and they do not want to compromise.”

They want both sustainability and speedy delivery. 67% of those surveyed expressed as much interest in receiving their goods quickly as they did in the sustainability of the online shopping process.

Natali Fahmi, FedEx Express Middle East and North Africa (Zawya.com)

“Businesses will slash promises to consumers to protect their bottom line.”

This focus will manifest as more limited delivery options, tighter policies for returns and guarantees, and most importantly, investment in optimization technology like order management systems.

Emily Pfeiffer, Principal Analyst at Forrester (Forrester.com)

“The return of search.”

While eCom advertisers used to focus on social media ads in past years, 2023 will be a reap-demands kind of year. It doesn't mean social is dead, but with the Facebook (Meta) issues on targeting & tracking since the iOS update, and the bad monetization of TikTok, advertisers will focus on search ads (and shopping ads that will get a better user experience) once again.

Mushon Heinisch, Chief Media Officer, StoreYa.com (LinkedIn)

“Chinese marketplaces will give Amazon and Walmart a run for their money.”

Many folks underestimate Chinese companies, and that's a mistake. Years ago they began circumventing American brands and dropshippers by listing their goods directly on American marketplaces. Then they bypassed American social media by creating a better network. Now they're bypassing American marketplaces altogether by entering the U.S. market with their own. 2023 will be the year that Chinese marketplaces and retailers begin to take a measurable chunk of the U.S. market, and naysayers stop dismissing their impact.

Paul Drecksler, Editor of Shopifreaks

“TikTok will be banned in the US.”

There’s no way they let them collect all that data forever.

Andrea Bosoni, Zero To Marketing (LinkedIn)

“The high sales of lockdown to the lows of the ‘recession', there are a lot of smart moves needed to grow from January onwards.”

Great supply chains, consistent marketing and bold moves will be key to winning in 2023!

Charlie McBroom, Founder of Fitted Commerce (LinkedIn)

“Google will try harder to fight AI content.”

They already said it’s against their guidelines so get ready for the AI vs AI battle.

Andrea Bosoni, Zero To Marketing (LinkedIn)

“Ecommerce sales won't drop, but the change will be lower than in past years.”

E-commerce owners & managers already see this trend: users shop less. Especially in the US, UK, AU, CA, and other western countries. This unfortunate trend will continue in 2023. What you should expect? Sales will rise at a lower percentage than in the past 3 years.

Mushon Heinisch, Chief Media Officer, StoreYa.com (LinkedIn)

“Data feed optimization will be imperative to omnichannel marketing success.”

For retailers and merchants, an omnichannel strategy is no longer an option, but an imperative. Consumers are shopping smarter and want the convenience of shopping where they want, when they want and how they want. Optimizing data feed across all social and marketplace channels is crucial for businesses, especially those in the digital commerce space. It requires an optimized and structured data feed mapped and aligned with how users search for specific products on various marketing channels. We should also expect to see retailers advancing their omnichannel strategies to the next level with modern technologies such as AI and live broadcast shopping to ensure consumers are engaged and shopping experiences feel personal–both online and in-store. Retailers who meet these expectations will be well positioned to succeed for the long term.

Meghan Stabler, SVP at BigCommerce (E-mail Submission)

“Target will launch a Prime competitor.”

If Target is looking to get serious about e-commerce (which they are), it's time they launch a competing premium membership plan to Amazon Prime and Walmart Plus, or expand their Target Circle program with a paid tier. It would also behoove them to partner with a streaming service like Netflix and/or a gaming platform, mobile service, and other complementary services to offer a bundled subscription that rivals Prime in value.

Paul Drecksler, Editor of Shopifreaks

“Trend – when digital transformation first started businesses were heavily relying on tech providers to help them solve existing challenges, things they didn't know about, etc.”

They were driving the conversation because they had all of the answers for customers. But, now there is a pivot where customers are driving the roadmaps of those same tech providers.

David Rastatter, Sr. Director, Product Marketing at Jitterbit (E-mail Submission)

“2023 is going to be tough for brands trying to use the same playbook they have the last few years.”

The talk of recession is not making people spend less as much as it is making people be more thoughtful in what they buy. Ecommerce has matured in that the customers have matured. They know how they are being marketed to. They are not against it, but they are going to respond to brands that are active in the market, not just pushing ads for sales.

For this reason, I’d advise brands to invest in partnerships and affiliates to find new customers that are like their current customers. Building genuine relationships proves to customers you are worth doing business with. Also I think people are more aware of sustainability and its importance. Brands need to keep that in mind… vowing to plant a tree for each purchase is not going to cut it either.

Jason Shepherd, Heroes of Ecommerce (E-mail Submission)

“B2B ecommerce decision-makers will keep an eye on what McKinsey calls NeXT commerce.”

Which the consulting firm defines as “an approach to ecommerce that needs a big upgrade grounded in a commitment to become indispensable to the customer through an exponentially deeper level of engagement online and offline.”

Mark Brohan, Senior VP of B2B and Market Research at DigitalCommerce360 (DigitalCommerce360.com)

“2023 will be the year when at least one major global retailer begins accepting ACH-based payments on their site.

Additionally, innovative payment fintechs will struggle to survive, with a likely drop in transaction volumes as VC money dries up across the globe. As a result, we anticipate that one in four payment fintechs will fold.

Lily Varon, Senior Analyst at Forrester (Forrester.com)

“Payments will once again be top of mind for fintechs, merchants, and consumers alike, but for different reasons.”

The payments market won’t focus on acceleration in the coming year but rather on battening down the hatches. As consumers begin to really feel the effect of the looming state of the economy, we will see a shift in payment habits, including the comeback of cash. As liquid money is exhausted, consumers will stampede to “buy now, pay later” options and back to credit cards.

Lily Varon, Senior Analyst at Forrester (Forrester.com)

“Marketplace popularity continues to grow.”

Marketplaces are convenient, one-stop shops that consumers can’t get enough of. In Australia, 75 per cent of consumers say they regularly use two or more marketplaces for browsing, shopping or buying, while 36 per cent say they use three or more.

Darren Fifield, MD Apac at ChannelAdvisor (InsideRetail.com.au)

“TikTok ads will get better, But…”

They won't be as Facebook ads used to be a few years back. TikTok is still struggling with making their automated ads feature to be in the user experience their users want, so their monetization is not perfect yet, but they are getting there. Expect much lower conversion rates. Yet, it will be an increasing sales channel in 2023, and I bet it will show the highest YoY increase in terms of the percentage of ad spend.

Mushon Heinisch, Chief Media Officer, StoreYa.com (LinkedIn)

“Automation will be the savior for continued retail labor shortages.”

Ripple effects from the Great Resignation will force retailers and brands to invest more heavily — and more strategically — in automation in 2023. Investments will automate functions required to run the business in corporate areas (e.g., marketing, HR, analytics) and in the store.

Brendan Witcher, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester (Forrester.com)

“TuringBots will write 10% of worldwide code and tests. The age of the AI-empowered developer is here.”

One in four tech execs will report to their board on AI governance. AI is now an enterprise essential, and as such, AI governance will join cybersecurity and compliance as a board-level topic. Forrester’s data shows that 46% of data and analytics business and technology decision-makers seek out partners to implement AI critical to the business.

Rowan Curran, Analyst at Forrester (Forrester.com)

2023 will see consolidation of headless-only platforms.

There are many enterprise platforms competing for “purely” composable implementations and the TAM isn't yet large enough to support this many vendors at the size they are or wish to be. Enterprise suites from SAP and Oracle, and even Adobe and Salesforce include aging or dying commerce platforms, and a cloud-native headless platform is much simpler to merge into an existing stack.

Aaron Sheehan, Director of Competitive Strategy at BigCommerce (E-mail Submission)

“The stronger players are going to separate themselves.”

The weaker players are going to get exposed in a high interest environment in which cheap easy capital is no longer available. I believe there were still be some solid capital and it won’t be as negative as the press is making it seem. The big difference is there will be no more zero due diligence money flying around like before.

Isaiah Bollinger, CEO of Trellis (LinkedIn)

“Headless technology will become the future of modern B2B commerce.”

Headless technology has been around for a number of years, providing a flexible solution for retailers who need to ditch legacy monolithic platforms for a modern B2B commerce experience to deliver rich and engaging website content that consumers have come to expect – without interfering with the back-end of their ecommerce site. Traditionally the technology has catered to DTC merchants, but that is changing. Expect to see B2B merchants turning to headless as a critical business strategy to modernize their ecommerce operations to provide their customers with B2B functionalities for business-specific purchasing, while offering the visual, content-focused experience that gives the feel of a B2C site.

Meghan Stabler, SVP at BigCommerce (E-mail Submission)

“Advertisers are scrutinizing their budgets.”

With inflation driving up operating costs and a potential recession looming, marketing is getting deprioritized. Our current outlook: Ad spending won’t bottom out. Our latest forecast predicts $278.59 billion in US digital ad spending next year, down from the $284.10 billion expected in our previous forecast—a setback of $5.51 billion.

Evelyn Mitchell, Insider Intelligence (InsiderIntelligence.com)

“Most SaaS vendors are starting to get the picture that revenue and per-seat retention of SaaS contracts is under a lot of pressure.”

Meaning companies will evaluate if they need to use your product AS MUCH next year. Not that they will cancel, but if they have 40 seats, they will look at if they could get by with 30. On top of that, they aren't hiring 25 more people. This is happening to AWS as well. As if SaaS founders needed something else to worry about than reduced valuations and higher cost of capital. So SaaS vendors should be prepared for the bullwhip in 2023 is my point. You are up next.

Rick Watson, CEO of RMW Commerce Consulting (LinkedIn)

“Walmart will launch a Happy Returns competitor.”

Walmart's network of retail stores by itself rivals PayPal's entire Happy Returns network of independent return bars. As Walmart and Amazon continue to compete in the retail operating system market and aim to become indespensible to small businesses with technology and logistics services, offering an in-person returns center would perfectly complement their current offering. It would also be a differentiator that Amazon wouldn't be able to compete with, given their significantly smaller physical retail footprint.

Paul Drecksler, Editor of Shopifreaks

“B2B influencers will be on the rise.”

More companies realize it’s a good way to drive awareness (and conversions).

Andrea Bosoni, Zero To Marketing (LinkedIn)

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Want more predictions?

Here are some other great resources:

E-commerce 2023: Thriving through uncertainty – by ShopCircle

The Make It Big Podcast – by BigCommerce

Predictions 2023: Fortune Favors The Bold And Focused – by Forrester

What are your predictions for 2023?

Leave a comment below. 

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