The recent ‘Future of Commerce 2022’ report, released by Shopify explores a number of significant global and regional consumer trends.

As with all things in our digital world, things are changing, and they are changing fast! So, grab on to the wagon, and see if some of these key takeaways can help your business keep up with the convoy.



The online/offline connection

Consumers are increasingly merging their online and offline buying behaviour. People will regularly browse online for an item and then ‘click and collect’ in store. Similarly, they might see a product in person, take a photo, and later look it up or buy online.

Savvy businesses will lean into this play of online/offline interaction, meeting their customers where and when is convenient to them. Many have already opted to use their physical premises as ‘showrooms’, allowing customers to see and experience the produce in person, order online and receive their order direct to the front door.

One of the major challenges of serving this consumer behaviour is ensuring accurate stock management and systems to cater to the multidimensional ordering, collecting and returning of products.

No more cheap thrills

The introduction of social media brought with it cheap and effective advertising opportunities that could barely be believed by traditional marketers. Unfortunately, those days have passed, digital advertising costs continue to rise and results continue to fall.

This hefty competition for ad space, along with the impending death of third-party tracking cookies means digital advertising will never be as cheap and effective as it once was. 

Businesses will no longer be able to rely on ‘quick wins’ from social media ad campaigns, but will have to be prepared for a long-term approach.

Essentially, we have become spoilt by cheap online ads. In years past, businesses would invest tens of thousands of dollars (plus the exhaustive time it took) into TV, print and radio ads and mass produced direct mail pieces.

Businesses and marketers will need to a) accept increases in advertising costs across the board, b) get creative with their marketing channels and c) experiment and review to find the best ROI.

Love the ones you’re with

This increase in ad costs leads to an increase in the cost of acquiring a new customer. It is (and really always has been) cheaper to maintain an existing customer than to gain a new one – so take care of the ones you’re with!

Building loyalty should really be a priority for every business – you gain a better quality of customer, a better reputation within the community and reduced pressure on your marketing budget.

Take a look at your repeat customers vs new customers – can you do more to nurture the relationship?

Brand matters

Linked also to our loss of cheap thrills and need to build customer loyalty, is building brand identity and reputation. With increases in advertising costs, you want people to be talking about your BRAND and not just your product.

Marketing efforts should be directed into brand awareness as well as promoting products and services – even to a point of 50:50, Shopify’s experts suggest.

Value-driven Decisions

What does your brand stand for? Consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions based on values – the younger the audience, the more they are committed to supporting brands that match their personal ethics.

Consumers are watching, and demand for sustainability and transparency in business continues to rise – brands that attach themselves to these values will benefit.

The good news: people are increasingly supporting ‘local’ and are willing to pay more or wait longer for a sustainable or ethical option. So if you can’t compete on price, prove yourself in quality and ethical/community commitment.


The landscape for commerce is definitely shifting, and if you can take away one overarching message: diversify! The staus quo is not going to cut it as the tides of consumer behaviour change.

Diversify your customer experience – offer them an online/offline interaction and more ways to explore or connect with your brand. Consider what works for them, and not just what works for you.

Diversify your marketing – consider the loss of third-party data and seek to prioritise your first-party data, after all, you own it. Aim to collect phone numbers and email addresses via competitions, giveaways and events.

Diversify your content – publish your brand values, your people, your personal motivations and your customers’ stories alongside your product promos and discount offers.

Diversify your ad spend – don’t just default to social media, consider what other options are open for your audience and also add brand awareness campaigns to your mix.

Diversify your supply chain – with competition as fierce as ever, reliable supply of quality product is critical to your reputation and customer satisfaction. Take the recent global supply shortages as a warning and review your options for sustainable and reliable supply.


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