Seven DTC eCommerce Trends in 2022
The world of digital commerce is constantly changing, and with the rapid shift to online retailing as a result of the COVID pandemic, 2022 promises to be no different. With this trend in online shopping, the DTC eCommerce industry will only continue to grow. In 2021, U.S. direct-to-consumer (DTC) eCommerce sales reached 129 billion, and are projected to reach 151 this year. Now isn't that crazy!
As DTC businesses continue to prioritize digital commerce experiences, brands are facing more market competition than ever. With that being said, in this blog, I will give a general overview of seven major DTC eCommerce trends you should keep an eye on for your brand to succeed in 2022.
What is DTC eCommerce?
DTC eCommerce is an eCommerce business model in which brands sell directly to their end customers, as opposed to using third-parties such as wholesalers, distributors, or other retailers. There are many benefits of selling direct to consumers, including:
- Differentiation: Having full power on decisions, brands can better differentiate themselves as well as their products in the marketplace.
- Boosted Customer Loyalty: As a result of the direct relationship brands can facilitate with customers, they can build a more loyal customer base.
- Better Customer Experiences: By being able to have a close relationship with consumers, brands are able to collect direct feedback from them that can be used to create better customer experiences in the future.
- Direct Control: Without having to rely on parties to sell their products, DTC businesses are able to have direct and full control over their pricing, products, and branding.
An example of a DTC eCommerce brand is Glossier, a company in the beauty industry, which uses the platform Contentful to facilitate their sales channels. Through Contentful and social media, Glossier has created a strong, loyal customer base and enhanced customer experiences. Their instagram page consists of 2.6 million followers with a content mix of customer reviews, product promotions, and influencer partnerships to draw in more customers. Today, Glossier is a billion dollar brand company that sells online beauty products, branching into millennial and Gen Z target audience through brick-and-mortar shops to provide the best brand experience possible.
Top 7 DTC eCommerce Trends
1. Social and Live Commerce for Expanded Shopping Experiences
Shopping on social media platforms and livestreams has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to Swirl, from 2015 to 2020, revenue from online video commerce went from $3.5 billion to $17.6 billion, and that number is expected to be $25 billion by 2023. Platforms such as Instagram offer tags on photos that direct consumers to a brand’s website, where they can quickly purchase the product they were viewing. This immersive shopping experience appeals to consumers as they are able to purchase products that are endorsed by their favorite celebrities or influencers. Livestream shopping is similar to QVC (a televised shopping service that showcases live retail programming 24/7), but consumers now have access to the products at their fingertips.
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2. Consumers Becoming Increasingly Sustainability Conscious
Sustainability is at the forefront of consumers’s minds nowadays and companies are following suit. According to a global survey, "66% of global consumers would pay more for sustainable businesses and products." With that being said, many brands are becoming environmentally conscious and shifting away from plastic in packaging and now include the origin of materials used, as well as information on how to recycle them. In addition, many companies now include data about their carbon footprint with their customers. Overall, these trends depict the shift in consumer and brand consciousness toward our natural environment, leading to a bright future for eCommerce businesses.
3. Omnichannel Shopping Leading to Better Customer Retention
According to Omnisend, “customer retention rates are 90% higher for omnichannel versus single channel.” An omnichannel approach to eCommerce is being adopted by companies to make the customer experience more convenient. For example, allowing a customer to shop online but return in-store guarantees that the customer has a seamless shopping experience. Furthermore, integrating digital channels enables a company to maintain a consistent brand appearance across all devices.
4. Personalization Means Better Brand Experiences
Personalizing the customer experience increases the likelihood that the customer makes a purchase and has a positive experience with the brand. According to Accenture, “74% of consumers would find ‘living profiles’ valuable if they could be used to curate the experiences, offers, and products they receive.” With direct access to customer data, such as browsing history, interests, and searches, brands are able to create unique experiences like hosting a live stream event or even creating a hologram. The ability to personalize also allows companies to more easily adapt to trends, by making changes such as new colorways for products.
5. Delivery and Return Policies Will Become a Key Service Differentiator
Studies have shown that delivery fees and return policies are important factors when customers are choosing where to shop. According to Forrester, “about three out of five French, UK, and US online adults prefer retailers that offer free return shipping; about two out of five prefer retailers that provide refunds via the original form of payment.” Free delivery and free returns are services that customers strongly desire, and can cause customers to choose one brand over another. Brands who care about the customer experience should invest in streamlining their delivery and return processes.
6. AI Creates Innovative Ideas
AI plays a significant role in omnichannel planning, which enables companies to capitalize on business opportunities in real time. Machine learning is especially useful in forming the demand plan for product attributes, marketing events, and style or color forecasts for the lifecycle of a product. AI automates these processes and drastically reduces the time needed for planners to create manual “SKUs”.
7. Subscriptions Build Up Customer Loyalty
As DTC eCommerce continues to grow, many companies have adopted a subscription model that has shown great success with traditional retailers. A subscription eCommerce service offers consumers a lower-cost way to buy what they need. Around half of companies surveyed in 2019 stated that they would implement subscription services to boost customer retention.
What’s Next for DTC eCommerce?
DTC eCommerce offers tremendous opportunities for brands due to the growing trend in online shopping. Large retailers such as Nike have already begun to shift their focus to appealing to the needs of online shoppers. The cost savings achieved through DTC eCommerce is directly transferred to the consumer, which leads to people preferring DTC eCommerce brands over traditional retailers.
Also, DTC eCommerce allows companies to be more adaptable and in control of their distribution. In a fast-paced world where trends are ephemeral, a digital presence is vital. Digital commerce enables DTC brands to keep up with consumer trends and gives them a significant advantage over traditional retailers.
Above are just a few of the DTC eCommerce trends that represent how companies are adjusting to the post-pandemic digital world. As companies adopt these trends of sustainability, AI, and personalization, DTC eCommerce will continue to become an approach more companies will look to expand to. For more information on DTC eCommerce, check out our DTC eCommerce page here.