If we’ve learned anything in 2022, it’s that eCommerce leaders are facing a world of changes and opportunities. Evolve or perish. Suddenly, after the COVID drama, which helped foster a thriving eCommerce industry, hyper-inflation is back and it’s encouraging the return to in-store retail for consumers.
It appears that an era of “reckoning” is sweeping in for eCommerce. “Why am I paying more for this!? Why am I paying for shipping? Why am I paying for the goods if I have not seen them?” are questions impeding consumers from wanting to ONLY buy online these days.
For many eCommerce owner-operators today, the 2021 playbook is faltering as data shows that the online golden easy growth and eCommerce anonymity may be over, and also that the death of retail may have been exaggerated.
For Product Personalization e-commerce sites, what does it mean? Will 2022 be a disaster or an opportunity?
We believe that 2022, despite being a superinflation year, will be a positive sales driver. How so?
We are glad you asked. In superinflation years, salaries can’t keep up with consumer spending. Average consumers must make tough decisions before spending, and often in these critical years the focus of giving shifts from overpriced mass-manufactured gifts to an era where consumers share emotions and relive good memories via the simple act of printing. Generally, in times of superinflation, the power of the heartfelt gift based on good memories prevailed. This time around, we expect especially strong growth because the pandemic already rewired many of us to prioritize relationships and cherish experiences, making the idea of personalized gifts more natural and appealing.
Let us discuss 5 Product Personalization trends shaping the near future of product customization in eCommerce …
- With or Without Photos, Direct-to-Consumer product personalization and customized product offerings of just text and/or graphics are on the rise online and in-store.
- Make your site versatile and support the printing of images, text, and graphics… and open up the personalization sales process.
- Shipping to a home or to a retail point is either convenience and/or preference. Producing the product is THE core path to success but delivering the product safely and in an acceptable time-frame are equally important. Don’t try to hide your shipping cost by increasing product prices. Instead, set a Free Shipping minimum.
- Brick-and-Mortar retail rebounds. Consumers are resuming their love affair with in-store retailers. A majority of consumers prefer an omnichannel experience that supports convenience and flexibility. The path forward for many personalized brands hinges on crossing the online purchase and adding a digital “face-to-face” customer care component if you cannot partner with any retailers.
- Don’t neglect traditional media. Social media can be a key to reaching your target audience, but don’t forget other paths of advertising too. Platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and WhatsApp can be great social motivators and perhaps influencers. They bring the power of the “Look what Me, the family, and/or friends have done” to another level but they are not in general, “This photo is a keeper” type sales driver. To get action, traditional media advertising tools, including the sometimes-neglected e-mail campaign are often more efficient.
- Retention…Retention…Retention is the name of the game! Knowing your customers, understanding their needs and behavior, and optimizing their customer journey process starts with retention. You got them, now don’t lose them! It’s not only about prices, it’s also about recognition.
- The best tactics aren’t big. Be dynamic and don’t be afraid to offer in-cart upsells or shopping cart special offers and even create and manage e-mail post-purchase offers. Don’t forget, each customer journey touch point counts as the sum of all your efforts and activities is greater than each one of their parts.
According to a new study by Rise Above Research, “Consumers print photos for a wide variety of reasons, such as for display in the home and to give to others as gifts, [and] over a third of those who print photos believe that prints are the best way to view and save important photos.” Thus, it’s clear the trend to produce photo products continues to prevail in this era of record-high inflation. However, keeping in tune with consumers’ changing habits is key to unfaltering success. Stay alert, keep flexible, and reap the benefits of this dynamic market.