With 2021 officially behind us, we can use the new year as an opportunity to hit the restart button and approach business planning with fresh strategies, such as product-to-consumer (P2C). Now is the perfect time to evaluate the current state of the commerce landscape, identifying the latest features and capabilities in Big Tech to help us maximize business success.
So what’s new for commerce tech?
To inform your 2022 commerce strategy, here’s a list of the most important 2021 moves in commerce tech.
Flexible payments with Affirm
Amazon partnered with payment network Affirm to provide customers with more flexible payment options. When checking out with purchases of $50 or more, customers now have the option to arrange monthly repayments.
Brand Referral Bonus
Amazon launched the Brand Referral Program, which allows sellers to earn a bonus from non-Amazon marketing efforts driving traffic to their Amazon listings. This program is an opportunity for companies to generate more revenue on Amazon’s marketplace by leveraging a strong omnichannel strategy.
Product Opportunity Explorer
Amazon created a new tool, Product Opportunity Explorer, to provide sellers with anonymized data about product subcategories. The tool enables companies to track search volume, sales history, and pricing trends to identify the subcategories they should launch new products.
What’s next for Amazon?
This year, Amazon is expanding its brick-and-mortar presence with plans to open physical department stores in the US, and customers will soon be able to make purchases on Amazon.com using Venmo. There’s also been reports about Amazon expanding beyond its online marketplace to offer a POS solution to non-Amazon sellers.
Shopify opened its ecommerce checkout system, Shop Pay , to all businesses selling through Google and Facebook. Companies no longer have to be Shopify merchants to allow shoppers to purchase with Shop Pay.
lowered the fee
Shopify lowered the fee it collects from developers that publish apps on its app store. Developers now keep the first $1 million in revenue they make on Shopify’s app store.
Shopify partnered with TikTok to allow companies to build storefronts on the social video platform. Commerce business users on TikTok can add a shopping tab to their profile and integrate their Shopify product listings.
Online Store 2.0
Shopify completely revamped its entire platform, adding new features aimed at making it easier for developers to customize merchant sites. Online Store 2.0 includes a fresh editing experience, new theme architecture and app extensions, and it requires less APIs and coding.
What’s next for Shopify?
Early this year, Shopify is launching Unified Admin to improve the merchant experience when working across multiple stores. Shopify also recently acquired the augmented reality (AR) app Primer, so we can expect to see more AR capabilities built into its platform.
TikTok launched a new platform to help facilitate partnerships between creators and businesses. With Creative Exchange, companies pitch a campaign brief that creators can respond to.
Creator Marketplace API
TikTok’s Creator Marketplace API is now available to third-party companies, providing them access to first-party data on audience demographics, growth trends, best-performing videos, and real-time campaign reporting. The API enables companies to better work with TikTok influencers for marketing campaigns.
Dynamic Showcase Ads
TikTok launched Dynamic Showcase Ads, which enable advertisers to promote their products through personalized, targeted ads based on users’ interests. Content is auto-generated by pulling descriptions and images from existing product feeds and formatted to feel natural among other user-generated content.
TikTok entered the home television market with its TikTok TV app now available on a wide range of TV systems, including Amazon Fire, Google, LG, and Samsung. Brands need to consider how bite-sized content should be formatted for big-screen viewing.
TikTok introduced live shopping events on its platform where brands can connect with consumers in real-time, sharing direct links to products and services.
What’s next for TikTok?
TikTok has recently partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts and GrubHub to allow users to order food made from TikTok recipes directly to their door. TikTok Kitchen provides a significant commerce opportunity to those in the food and beverage business.
Instagram added a live shopping component to its Shop Tab, which features a variety of livestream shopping events for users to tune into. Businesses can broadcast their products using influencer marketing and drive sales through purchases made directly on the Instagram app.
Ads in Instagram shop
Instagram has introduced ads to its shop ads. In addition to Reels and the Explore feed, sponsored products now appear among other posts on the Shop home page. Businesses can pay to increase visibility of their products in an environment where consumers are already in a shopping mindset.
Instagram has snagged a move from TikTok’s playbook and extended the length of its long-form stories to 60-second videos. Users can now create longer clips that won’t be broken up into short segments.
Branded Content Partnerships
Instagram launched a new tool to help connect businesses with creators. The new feature allows brands to discover relevant creators and communicate sponsorships and deals directly on the app.
Link sticker tool
Instagram extended the ability to add a link to Stories to all users globally. Previously, the link sticker tool was only available to users with more than 10,000 followers. Now smaller businesses can link directly to product listings in the videos they post to their Story.
What’s next for Instagram?
Instagram is exploring NFT integrations and looking for ways to bring them to a mainstream audience. We can expect major advancements toward the metaverse this year.
Facebook added a new tool to its Search tab that features links to the pages, profiles, and functions most searched by users. The Quick Access tool makes it easy for consumers to easily find the companies they’re most interested in hearing from and engaging with.
Replicating the TikTok social video experience, Facebook launched its own short-form video feature on its platform. Users can now create 30-second videos, and Facebook is currently testing to snake it more shoppable and ad-friendly.
Live Audio Rooms
Facebook added a new element to its platform that resembles the Clubhouse experience. Live Audio Rooms is a function on the Facebook app where users can tune into chat rooms featuring dialogue between verified public figures and creators, providing more opportunity for influencer marketing.
What’s next for Facebook?
With Meta as its parent company, Facebook is another platform we can expect to see announcing lots of NFT initiatives this year. Additionally, Facebook has been testing ‘Work Accounts’ to make it easier for social media managers to separate their personal Facebook accounts from the business accounts they manage.
Google enabled retailers to indicate special promotions they offer related to shipping and returns in search results. The new feature allows shoppers to find businesses that offer fast and free shipping more easily.
Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center Sync
Google now allows companies to sync their data between Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center to synchronize the process of updating and enriching product data across the platforms.
Shopping tab automation
Google has added a feature that automatically shares promotions and deals uploaded in the Merchant Center to the shopping tab automation . Regardless of whether businesses advertise on Google, offers will appear on the main results page to help drive more sales.
Google launched a new feature, Shopping Graph, that provides consumers with a visual feed of the products in their search results alongside other relevant data, such as product availability, style guides, videos, and local store information.
What’s next for Google?
In a move to compete with Shopify, Google is beta testing a new platform – Qaya – to help creators build online storefronts for their products and services. Google is trying out Qaya in the US initially, but it will likely roll out the platform to other markets throughout the rest of this year.
Maximize ecommerce tech success with a P2C strategy
With all of these huge announcements from Big Tech, it can feel overwhelming to know what move to make next. How can you take advantage of all of the new shopping capabilities on the market while maintaining a strong product experience at every touchpoint? This heightening complexity - known as commerce anarchy - can only be tamed with a P2C strategy.