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How vendors must adapt to the current market landscape

By Andy Burton, CEO, Tryzens and Fuse

Tryzens is an international digital commerce agency that supports and enables brands to establish performant digital commerce channels to accelerate profitable growth. Fuse is Tryzens’ specialist integration division that connects tech innovators through packaged integrations with the wider world of commerce platforms.

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Broad swathes of innovation continue to reshape and reimagine the technology landscape, increasing opportunity for brands to engage with customers in new ways across digital channels. Yet while evolution is a constant in the digital world, the speed and relevance of change fluctuates, and the force of consumerisation will sift the ultimate winners from the losers.

Globally, retail ecommerce sales will steadily climb upwards, along with its share of total sales, according to Insider Intelligence – but its white-hot growth rate the world experienced during the pandemic will decelerate.

To help make sense of the technology landscape in 2023, our team of commerce and integration experts have come together to outline the four major trends:

  • Post-pandemic reality – commerce is omnichannel

The intense periods of pandemic-induced store closures driving the flip to, and rapid growth of, digital commerce channels have come to an end. The pandemic directly led to the accelerated adoption of digital commerce and rapid operational transformation which put this ‘competence’ centre stage as ‘the’ enabling channel for the wider business.

As the rate of annual growth in digital slows down to more normalised levels for some brands and retailers, they are now turning their attention towards enabling their wider omnichannel strategies through digital investment so that they can better recognise, engage and support their customers across all channels that they are active within.
 

  • Global disruptions are prioritising economic prudence

Economic instability, the war in Ukraine, Brexit, supply chain disruptions, energy insecurity, high inflation. The post-pandemic commercial landscape is unpredictable for UK businesses. Consumer confidence has slightly improved but remains negative, resulting in reduced spending on non-essential items. Businesses are responding by cutting costs, optimising assets, and evaluating investments meticulously.

Without proactive measures, decision-making is being delayed due to increased scrutiny of approval processes and closer evaluation of the business case and return on investment (ROI). It has become crucial to demonstrate a credible and sustainable ROI within a short timeframe to instil confidence in making significant investments.

  • Understanding existing customers is critical

In a challenging market with rising customer acquisition costs, declining conversions, and reduced consumer spending, the importance of customer retention and loyalty has never been greater. Businesses should prioritise investing in retaining existing customers, focusing on improving renewal rates, purchase frequency, average order value (AOV), and lifetime value.

The advance of privacy regulations and the demise of cookies have compounded complexity to the landscape. To overcome this, businesses must enhance their customer interaction and recognition across channels. Loyalty programs can play a crucial role in informing them about customer personas, preferences, and priorities, enabling better personalised experiences and content.

  • Best of Breed is battling monolith (enterprise) solutions

Faced with constrained budgets, businesses are adopting solutions to make quicker incremental changes to gain operational advantages. This is bolstered by rapid technological innovation in the digital commerce ecosystem, stimulating choice – fuelled in part by the broader appeal towards headless and composable architectures.

For example, implementing AI-powered search solutions to improve search result relevance or payment orchestration platforms to provide frictionless and intuitive payment options. These can be integrated with an API-first approach enterprise platform or as part of a broader headless and composable architecture.

How innovative vendors can capitalise on these macrotrends

Brands seeking solutions to problems but not necessarily wanting wholesale change is creating new opportunity for vendors to thrive. Those that are nudging the needle of innovation whilst reducing the barriers to adoption are reaping the highest rewards.

Complexity is the scourge of any business plan. Today, large businesses use 976 applications on average according to MuleSoft. That’s a 16% increase from 2021. However, the majority of these applications are siloed – only 28% are integrated and capable of sharing data. This is particularly critical in digital commerce and presents a major opportunity for third-party vendors who can offer a simplified, seamless integration of their solutions to clients’ ecommerce ecosystems.

Phenomenal innovation in our industry has birthed new ecommerce capabilities that are enhancing customer engagement and performance. Significant advancements have been made in AI-enabled services (search, chat, personalisation), payment services (orchestration, alternative payments), merchandising (visualisation, gamification), logistics, marketing, loyalty, and internationalisation. These support the growth strategies of brands and retailers with sophisticated business models.

Whether creating new capability or solving for technical debt, vendors can help eliminate inefficiencies through pre-packaged components and cartridges that seamlessly integrate into existing systems. Low-code, no-code, and ready from day one, in turn accelerating time-to-market and reducing development costs for their clients.

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