Summer is officially behind us, which means everyone’s focus has now shifted toward meeting annual goals by the end of the year. With a few months left of 2022, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all of the recent changes in the commerce tech space that can help companies finish out the year strong and set up 2023 for success.
Amazon Customer Engagement’s Tailored Audiences: Marketplace sellers on Amazon can send emails out to more customers through the new Customer Engagement tool. Previously, third-party sellers could only use email marketing for customers who followed a brand on the platform. Now, businesses can email repeat customers from the last year, recent customers, and high-spend customers. By expanding the list of consumers that sellers can target with content, discounts, and product updates, companies can increase their customer base.
Amazon Warehousing & Distribution: As inventory management becomes an increasing concern for businesses, Amazon has introduced a new service that allows third-party sellers to use its distribution centers for inventory storage long-term. In addition to bulk storage, Amazon Warehousing & Distribution can be used for automated distribution, including to wholesale customers and brick-and-mortar stores. This alleviates supply chain pressure on businesses, while simultaneously ensuring sellers can replenish their stock on Amazon.com.
TikTok-like feed: The Amazon app may soon start to resemble social media, as it’s testing a photo and video feed similar to TikTok. The feed, called “Inspire”, would feature products on Amazon and include direct links to the product page. This feature will require third-party sellers to enhance their product data to include more high-quality images and videos to stand out from other brands.
Virtual worlds: Walmart closed out the quarter announcing the launch of two new virtual worlds on Roblox called “Walmart Land” and “Universe of Play”. The VR experiences are geared toward younger customers and offer opportunities to collect virtual Walmart merchandise, earn toys, attend live concerts, win fashion competitions, and more. Despite recent hesitation toward the metaverse, Walmart’s plunge into virtual offerings shows companies are still betting big on it becoming mainstream.
TikTok Order Center: TikTok is stepping further into its shopping capabilities by adding a new dedicated shopping tab to its platform. In the Order Center, users will be able to see an overview of shopping activity, such as information on order status, payment methods, shipping details, saved items, and product recommendations.
Shopping Ads: At around the same time TikTok announced Order Center, it also unveiled new advertising formats coming to the platform.
- Video Shopping Ads: Businesses can display ads for products within videos on the For You page, providing a more authentic ad experience.
- Catalog Listing Ads: Rather than promoting a single product, these ads showcase an entire product catalog.
- LIVE Shopping Ads: Appearing on the For You page, users can click on these ads to be directed to live shopping events.
TikTok Now: Following the growing popularity of BeReal, TikTok launched TikTok Now, which will send users a daily notification to upload a 10-second video or image. While TikTok has traditionally been used for curated posts, this new feature will bring more authenticity to the app.
Map Search: To help local businesses attract customers, Instagram launched Map Search. The tool allows users to search for restaurants, cafes, salons, and other categories within a specific region. It also shares more information about businesses nearby, allowing consumers to conduct more of the discovery and research parts of the shopping journey within the app.
Reposting: Debated for some time now, Instagram is finally testing a feature that would enable users to repost other Instagram content to their main feed. While this can already be done on Instagram Stories, reposting in the main feed creates more opportunities for brands’ content to get exposure on the app.
Shopping tab: In response to feedback from consumers that they want the app to go back to its roots, Instagram announced it would start rolling back certain shopping features, starting with the Instagram Shopping tab. Instead, the platform will focus on its advertising capabilities.
DoorDash Drive: With macroeconomic factors driving consumers to lower their spending and sustainability moving to the spotlight, secondhand commerce has been picking up momentum. To remove friction from Facebook Marketplace, Meta partnered with DoorDash to offer a delivery service for items sold on the platform. No need to worry about the logistics of picking up or shipping items, this partnership makes it a lot easier for anyone to buy or sell through the marketplace.
Community Chats: Meta is introducing Community Chats to Facebook Groups, which enables large groups to separate chats out by different categories, provides access to audio and video channels, and more. This format could allow brands to tap into communities with shared interests or generate engagement for events.
Live Shopping: Similarly to how Instagram is rolling back its shopping capabilities, Facebook announced it’s ending Facebook Live Shopping on October 1. Users can still broadcast live events on Facebook Live, but brands can’t tag products or create product playlists in those videos anymore. The platform will focus on short-form video content instead.
Google Performance Max: Earlier this year, Google announced it would remove Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to focus on Google Performance Max, which offers the same features. Google Ads will automatically upgrade campaigns over to Performance Max by the end of September.
*Learn more about how Google Performance Max works here. *
Out-of-home ads: Digital out-of-home ads, including screens in public places such as stadiums, airports, bus stops, shopping centers, elevators, taxis and more, are now available to all Display & Video 360 users. By adding this ad format to the ad creation platform, companies can produce out-of-home ads more easily and ensure they align with the rest of their content.
Helpful content update: Google announced it is launching the “helpful content update,” which is a new search algorithm intended to improve the quality of content that users find in their searches. The update will target websites that have high volumes of unsatisfying content or content that only repeats information that is already available online for SEO purposes.
New search console reports: Google released two new reporting features: New Merchant Listings reports and Product Snippet reports.
New Merchant Listings identify issues with structured data for free listing experiences in search results and determine whether the data is relevant to pages that sell products.
Product Snippets identify issues with structured data for product snippets in search results and determine whether the data is relevant to pages that share product reviews or compile product data from various sources.
More eligibility: Merchants without a Google Merchant Center account can now be eligible for merchant listing experiences by providing product data. Merchants gain access to merchant listing experiences for websites that allow products to be purchased, as well as “product snippets” for websites that provide broader product information, such as product review sites.