If there is one silver lining about the whole situation with the COVID-19 that would be the rapid growth of the eCommerce sector and digital marketplace trends. Yes, this ball was rolling for quite some time now, but it took the massive worldwide lockdown to finally push the people to fully embrace the idea of online shopping.
According to a recent survey, the third quarter of 2021 saw the eCommerce market hitting the revenue of $204.62 billion which makes a staggering 41% increase over the last pre-pandemic Q3 of 2019.
Of course, this rapid growth also comes with a number of new forces dragging the market in unknown directions and setting the pace that will shape the digital marketplace of 2022. Let’s see if we can single out some of these trends and see how you can use them to the benefit of your company.
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Rise of online vertical marketplaces
The vertical online marketplaces are a certain type of digital online forums that brings together buyers and sellers and allow them to negotiate and purchase different goods and services. Of course, these interactions are not unstructured so these platforms also present a wide set of eCommerce tools that let the involved parties set up the accounts, customize orders and monitor the levels of spending – let’s say something in the vein of Etsy and MilkRun. Although the vertical stores scored a significant presence in the previous years, they are going to become a much bigger driver of B2B eCommerce.
Unparalleled importance of mobile apps
The year 2022 is projected to be the year when the eCommerce apps will finally finish their journey from welcome novelty to an absolute requirement. At the moment, mobile users spend as much as 90% of the time on the phone using apps, 78% of them would rather purchase from the app and are twice as likely to return if they first entered the store through this channel. All these numbers can no longer be ignored so all new companies that want to get any sort of fighting chance in the saturated eCommerce arena will have to put an effort into building a reliable marketplace mobile app.
Companies not likely to return to the physical realm
COVID-19 gave countless business owners a very incentive to explore new business opportunities and move the physical businesses to online platforms. Two years into the pandemic we are slowly starting to realize this was most likely a one-way street. First and foremost, although we have successfully adapted to the “new reality” the new strands of COVID-19 are hitting us every couple of months making the full return to the pre-pandemic state all but impossible. And then, there is the fact that eCommerce companies are simply more profitable and efficient so the chances of all those physical stores reopening are more than slim.
Expansion of the B2B eCommerce sector
When we talk about eCommerce we usually think about the B2C market which admittedly stands as the biggest piece of the cake. But, the B2B sector is catching up and it’s catching up fast. For instance, these days you can easily procure professional oilfield equipment with no more than a couple of clicks which was near impossible only a couple of years ago. To illustrate the point, the total B2B market value in 2019 was estimated at $3.2 trillion. Already next year, this number grew to $6.7 trillion. According to all indicators, this trend will continue and the B2B market will continue to rapidly expand in 2022.
Artificial Intelligence becoming the face of the market
Ecommerce customers want speed and as little friction as possible. It’s hard to deny that AI-powered chatbots factor rather well into this story. Granted, the majority of customers (about 86%) still prefer human agents and the acceptance rate of chatbots is at a relatively low 36%. But these numbers are changing and the perks of chatbots are simply too lucrative to be ignored. So, it’s really a matter of when these assets will become the standard form of B2C communication and how successfully will the eCommerce companies leverage the potential of big data and ML to make this story work.
Social and live shopping
According to a recent survey, as many as 3.6 billion people actively use some of the popular social media networks. There’s no way this powerful channel wouldn’t, at some point, be monetized. Well, that time is now, and social media will try to carve out a piece of this lucrative cake for themselves. Keeping in mind the most powerful social media platforms are also tightly connected to popular messaging services we get an enormous potential for social and live shopping. It’s up to prospective traders to realize the potential of these platforms and use them to reach out to customers in a new and intuitive manner.
We hope these few examples gave you an idea about the direction in which the digital marketplace landscape will be heading in the year 2022. Now that the entire business world has leaned so heavily in the online direction the number of new factors shaping the market is only going to exponentially grow. Keeping the track of all these developments will be admittedly hard but it’s the only way to keep our companies viable and competitive. So, let’s see how these events will unfold.
Mike Johnston is an experienced writer, blogger, and editor with a background in marketing and creative writing. He’s produced thousands of pages of original, engaging content for numerous online publications throughout his career. Mike’s specialties are business and technology, but he also often covers careers, lifestyle and work-life balance.