The e-commerce industry has changed irrevocably over the past two years. The pandemic triggered a paradigm shift in the e-commerce industry. It impacted everything from artificial intelligence and automation to virtual and augmented realities. The long-lasting impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce has led to the industry reaching $1 trillion by 2022. This figure is just in the U.S.
The only constant changes. In the competitive, fast-paced world of eCommerce, we are in for another year of disruption. We’ve witnessed many shifts in the last year, including the early adoption of new platforms like headless e-commerce and new tracking and marketing methods that result from privacy changes and movements in industry performance goals posts. These are the top trends that we expect as we move into another year of growth in e-commerce.
1. The Headless 1.0 will Continue to Excite, But see Little Production Usage
While the headless eCommerce trend will continue consuming significant amounts of development time, budget, and resources, it is still proving to be a costly trend with very few successful launches. Although headless deployments will still be funded, there will be more tools to assist with deployments.
Venture capital funding has seen the hype surrounding the headless rise to a fever pitch. Going headless is the goal for many companies, but we continue to see the production-deployment cycle drag. Although we were told the future of e-commerce was uncertain, almost four years later, there are very few production deployments.
Retailers are starting to look beyond the hype. They are finding that headless transformations can be more expensive and complicated than the features required to go live. As offerings adapt to customer needs, there is a lot of VC capital.
2. The Hybrid Headless Models will be Adopted
A survey by WPEngine revealed that more than 90% of enterprise organizations are looking into headless technology in the next 12 months.
Hybrid headless sites that are fully transitioned can offer increased site speed. However, customers who purchase hybrid headless models will be able to achieve their performance goals with little or no transition overhead. Hybrid headless platforms enable existing online stores to take advantage of many of the edge-performance advantages of headless e-commerce without having to rebuild their sites. This effectively delivers headless performance without the hassle.
Hybrid-headless deployments are more time-consuming than traditional headless deployments. However, customers can achieve their performance goals in just days with automated deployments. We expect more services and features to be added to these hybrid platforms as they continue to rapidly onboard brands.
3. Analytics and First-Party Tracking will Continue to be Top of Mind
Companies will continue to adapt to privacy-focused changes in tracking. More customers will switch to self-hosted analytics and first-party tracking as they adjust. Apple has already banned third-party cookies from Safari and iOS. They are still a major component of many analytics solutions. Google is also looking to eliminate its use. Companies will now be searching for alternatives to first-party data collection methods that can power their analytics engines. Google’s Server-Side Tag Manager, which is likely to be the most popular solution, will not take root. However, new single-party solutions such as Segment will continue to gain popularity.
4. A Renewed Focus on on-site Performance will be Placed
Google’s Core Web Vitals updates will accelerate the push for better performance. CMOS and marketing departments will continue to assess the analytical benefits and performance impact of third-party tools in their e-commerce systems. As these teams seek to reduce dependence on third-party tools and focus on general acceleration solutions, expect consolidation in this area.
5. There will be an AVIF for Cutting-Edge Images
Ecommerce has had a long history of image optimization. Storefronts sell hundreds of products, with many variations. The performance benefits of optimizing images can be tremendous. Google’s WEBP is the most popular image compression option. It ensures high-quality images and lower bandwidth requirements than JPEG.
According to W3tech, AVIF usage remains low but adoption rates are roughly doubling every 3 months. This new format helps to reduce delivered images sizes by 20% compared to WEBP formats. This allows retailers to achieve higher levels of site performance.
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