Is “e-commerce” as we know it dead? Expert predictions for 2023


At a recent panel discussion on digital commerce now and in the future, we asked six experts from The Drum Network a simple question: what will change in the next year? For our in-depth analysis of e-commerce, here are their predictions, including a bold prediction that we won’t be talking about “e-commerce” at all in 12 months.

My prediction for 2023 is the decline in the use of the word “e-commerce”. The advent of hybrid commerce has led to a blurring of the distinction between online and offline, as silos are broken down. Online and offline marketing teams therefore need to be increasingly collaborative.

My view is that it will increasingly be known as ‘commerce’, removing the ‘e’. The fall of the ‘e’ will be akin to the loss of the word ‘online’, which was once common in consumer searches but is now a given. My title is ‘lead commercial’ – I actually traded from ‘lead e-commerce’.

Laura Cullen, Director of Global Commerce, VMLY&R Commerce: A world remade by the recession

The role of premium and branded products will change. This year, it’s going to start to feel different. The UK at least, and the rest of the world too, is losing disposable income. We are coming to the end of Covid-19; the war between Russia and Ukraine has caused instability; supply chains have failed; energy bills are skyrocketing. Everything is going wrong.

Where shoppers might have been inclined to buy branded goods like convenience items or luxury treats coming out of a few bad years, the financial crisis will force shoppers to go back to basics. More than ever, brands will be topped by unbranded products. But brands must still exist, so what do we do?

It’s about focusing on your USP and sustainability values, creating highly personalized or personalized experiences to differentiate yourself from unbranded products that at a bargain price just can’t do it, and thinking about diversify your portfolio with the development of new products. It is no longer enough to say “I am marked”. You have to enter this experiential space to validate it. Brands need to do more.

Emma Moore, Product Marketing Manager, Zappar: The dawn of “experience commerce”

We’re going to move into the space of immersive commerce and experience commerce, away from traditional e-commerce. There will be a lot more exploration in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Extended Reality (XR); it will be about creating experiences and making people have a memorable time with the brand, putting the customer first and removing the product from the center of the solution or sales offer. It all depends on the experiences that retailers add.

Shamsul Chowdhury, Vice President of Paid Social Media, Jellyfish: Brand objective

Consumers expect brands to represent something more than just a product. People love Patagonia from a sustainability perspective and Nike with all of their ability to be inclusive. I think it will be a large part of consumers who decide where to put their money.

Federico D’Uva, Marketing Manager, Rawnet: Using what you have

We talk a lot about new technologies, but there are always costs: they are not very accessible. Not everyone who wants to dropship or break into virtual reality and augmented reality can afford it.

But since Covid-19, the director-client journey (DTC) has completely changed. Brands have capitalized on this, reaching maturity. It’s not so much about ‘what else can we learn from our retailers? What else can we do? It’s more a matter of retention. For brands that are priced competitively, things like shipping speed and user experience (UX) are critical. Is it easy to check? How soon will I receive this product? These precedents have been set by companies like Amazon. Brands without large sums of money are going to have to start looking for quick wins.

We must seek to increase lifetime value; people who already know the brand should be the easiest to exploit. Brands need to make money. It’s about how we can min-max without having to invest so much in new technology, which essentially drives up the cost per acquisition.

Gabriel Miller, President of Americas, Landor and Fitch: five more for luck

We’re moving from a transaction to an interaction, and that means it’s all about experiences.

DTC vs. MDD will go from a skirmish to an all-out war. Connected packaging will be ubiquitous – the humble QR code is here to stay, but it will evolve. AR will no longer be a waterfall; it will enter the mainstream and be used more ubiquitously. And NFTs will reinvent themselves and be functional and simply collectible. No more sitting on a digital wall.

Responses have been edited for brevity and readability. For more catches and hot predictions, head over to our e-commerce deep-dive hub.


Comments are closed.