Industry Innovators 2022: VTEX shares six trends in digital commerce and what they mean for the future
Trends don’t just point us in generalized directions; they shape industries, change landscapes and most importantly, they inform businesses. To be brief, trends matter.
At this year’s Industry Innovators virtual event, we welcomed VTEX’s Analyst in Residence Jordan Jewell to share his thoughts on the trends shaping the future of commerce. In his presentation, “Trends in digital commerce: A look into the future,” Jewell provides actionable insight for what your company can do to adapt to changes in commerce and win in the new digital economy. In this post, we cover highlights from Jewell’s presentation, looking at the six trends shaping commerce and what companies can expect commerce to look like in 2026.
As an analyst in residence, Jewell wears many hats (such as, economist, statistician, and storyteller) to assist B2C and B2B merchants in growing their sales over digital channels. Prior to his current role at VTEX, Jewell tracked digital commerce platforms, and conducted dozens of vendor evaluations on digital commerce as lead digital commerce analyst at IDC. Now, Jewell provides actionable advice in areas such as merchandizing, channel management, and marketplaces.
Know today, prepare for tomorrow
To help businesses prepare for the future, Jewell pinpoints the six trends he sees not only shaping commerce, but impacting nearly every retailer, brand and B2B company selling B2B online. “These are the trends that are shaping their worlds,” he says.
Historically, commerce has happened through individual channels. Sellers had one, maybe two channels they sold through and that’s where most of their business took place. Now, Jewell sees commerce moving toward countless channels where businesses will sell across many channels. He calls this “channel explosion.”
In the past, transactions were relatively price or product driven. Though this is still important to buyers, Jewell sees that buyers are focusing more on the brand, specifically what the brand represents and how good the company is at showing the product in a digital setting. He calls this the “experience economy.”
Experimentation business models
Traditionally, retailers and brands had one business model. However, Jewell sees a shift toward multiple business models where companies are experimenting with different business models and selling B2B and B2C through a marketplace with different kinds of subscriptions, consumer-based models, and more. He calls this “experimentation.”
Companies used to have relatively static supply. Now, Jewell is seeing big supply chain disruptions are causing many organizations to rethink how they get products to consumers. Because of this, they are shifting to a more dynamic supply. Jewell calls this “collaborative commerce.”
If you think about social media over the past 10 years, product detail pages don’t look too different from a Facebook page, Jewell says. In the past, we’ve typically had conventional experiences. Now, Jewell sees consumers gravitating toward immersive experiences where video is prevalent, like TikToks or Instagram reels. He calls this “engagement selling,” and believes commerce will also move in this direction.
Previously, we had what Jewell calls “web 2.0,” where several companies owned the commerce world and owned the internet in general. But what we’re moving toward now he says, is “web 3.0,” where more technology is based off blockchain, like NFTs.
Looking into the future
In addition to the trends shaping the future of commerce, Jewell shares predictions and his advice as to how these trends are going to impact commerce and more importantly, what commerce will look like in 2026.
Marketplace dominance continues (with a twist)
By 2026, the share of e-commerce occurring on digital marketplaces globally will grow from 52% to 62% (majority will be among niche marketplaces). Brands should list several dozen products on niche marketplaces and focus on top selling products to adapt to this change. Retailers should consider investing in their own marketplace operations or selling across peer online stores.
Retail becomes digital-first
By 2026, over 20% of consumers in the Americas will regularly experience “Just Walk Out” retail. Jewell advises businesses to embed experiences into non-digital settings or sell products online in a digital-first fashion.
Video becomes the default shopping experience
By 2026, over 20% of all ecommerce (over $200 billion) will take place over live/streaming commerce experiences worldwide. Brands and retailers should experiment with live shopping events and bolster the PDPs for their top 20 selling products with more video and more engaging content.
Autonomous delivery makes restocking an afterthought
By 2026, over 10% of ecommerce transactions worldwide will be fulfilled via autonomous commerce with no human involvement. Businesses should make a small investment in one “autonomous commerce” use case and experiment with commerce APIs to rethink how businesses sell to customers.
NFTs are the new proof of ownership
By 2026, 20% of the top 100 fashion and luxury brands worldwide will offer NFTs alongside their physical products for proof of ownership or community purposes. Businesses should encourage their ecommerce team to become acquainted with NFTs but not invest in NFTs just yet, Jewell says.
When talking about predictions with brands and retailers, talking about where commerce is moving, the most common reaction Jewell gets is, “we can’t do ‘x, y, z’ because we’re not a big company.” But what Jewell wants businesses to know and to take to heart when thinking about all the trends impacting the market is to focus on your customers, not your competitors. Concluding his presentation with a Jeff Bezos quote, Jewell says if you want to be pioneering, you must focus on your customers, getting ahead of them and delivering the best kind of experience. That’s how you’ll win in the long run.
Interested in learning more about innovators in the world of AWS and what drives them to continue to redefine their industries? Register for the free on-demand content from “Industry Innovators: Retails & CPG.” Or if you’ve already registered, access Jewell’s VTEX session here.
AWS Partner spotlight
VTEX provides a software-as-a-service digital commerce platform for enterprise brands and retailers. Its platform enables customers to execute their commerce strategy, including building online stores, integrating and managing orders across channels, and creating marketplaces to sell products from third-party vendors. Founded in Brazil, VTEX is a leader in accelerating the digital commerce transformation in Latin America and is expanding globally. Its platform is engineered to enterprise-level standards and features, and it has more than 2,000 customers with over 2,500 active online stores across 32 countries.