Ecommerce Predictions for 2022

- Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content - Reflect on ecommerce predictions for 2022 in this webinar from Searchspring Yotpo, CQL, and Gifts For You.
January 26, 2022

Black Friday in neon; Text: Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Content – On January 26th at 12pm EST/9am PST, Searchspring hosted a 1-hour live webinar called Ecommerce Predictions for 2022 with an expert panel from YotpoCQL, Gifts For You, and Searchspring where we reflected on the hottest features used by ecommerce leaders in 2021 and provided recommendations on the must-haves for your ecommerce website in 2022.

Ecommerce Predictions for 2022 Webinar

Just like that, 2021 is behind us. But, we can learn a thing or two from the last year. While consumers continued to normalize in their preference to do their shopping online, consistent trends began to emerge across eTail leaders. As we begin the 2022 journey, we need to take a look into the trends and distill that information into actions, must-haves or “hot-ticket” items, to put into your ecommerce site roadmap. We’ve done just that!

To help you best understand what is most important for your organizations, we broke it down:

  • Reflected on the hottest trends and features among ecommerce leaders in 2021
  • Provided 10 recommendations on the must-haves for your ecommerce site in 2022
  • Gave examples, grades on ease of implementation, expected timelines, and other commentary to help you prioritize your roadmap


Ready to optimize your site for 2022?


Hi, everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar.


This webinar is e-commerce Predictions for 2022, 10 Hot ticket Items for Your Site.


My name is Jason Ferrara.


I’m the CMO at Searchspring. I’ll be your moderator for today’s panel.


Just show you that I’m a real person here. How are you doing? From the Searchspring headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.


Also behind the scenes today is our Producer Charles Summers. So you’ll hear me.


I talked to Charles a couple of times, as we do some polls and some other things. So, just know that we’re both.


We’re both here and excited to get started.


So, the first thing I’d like to do is introduce our panelists.


Got three panelists today, Sue, Jim, and Cris, and I’ll let them introduce themselves, but I’d like to just say, all three of them have really deep industry knowledge.


They’ve all got lively opinions about what we’re talking about today, which is what makes for a great panel. So, I’ll will sue, why don’t we start with you, brief introduction, and then we’ll move to Chris and then to Jim.


OK, great, hi, everyone. My name is Sue Hunter, I’m the VP of Strategy at CQL.


CQL is a digital commerce agency that works with brands to design and deliver our premium commerce experiences. And we work with a wide range of retailers from B2C brands to large global enterprises.


Retailers who are online only to those with hundreds of stores. I specifically support our clients with e-commerce platform strategy and implementations. I help businesses with partner technology selections and building out Commerce Roadmaps to help our customers grow their businesses. And thanks for having me.


Great, Thanks, Cris, how about you?


Hi everybody, and thank you so much for having me on this panel, really psyched about it. I’m Chris Dinozo. Senior Director of Brand Marketing here at Yotpo. Yotpo is an e-commerce marketing platform and we have integrated solutions for reviews, loyalty and referrals, SMS marketing, and many, many more. I oversee all of our brand awareness and engagement efforts. So plugging one of my favorite from my heart program here, Amazing Women in e-commerce, and look out for this year’s Honoree announcement in March.


Great, thanks Chris and Jim.


Hey, thanks, Jason. Good morning, I’m Jim Tuchler, I own and run a business called Gifts For You now dot com, and one called … dot com.


Together, they make personalized gifts and party favors targeted to retail consumers. But based here in Chicago, where it’s chilly, four degrees right now.


Good, thanks. And yeah, before the before the webinar, we had a chance to catch up.


I’m happy, I’m not in four degree, weather gym, so at least Somebody’s.


Somebody’s doing it, I appreciate that. So, thanks for the introductions, everybody. Let’s skip to the agenda quickly.


The first thing we’re going to do is get you as attendees involved in the webinar by doing some poll activity.


Just getting to know you a little bit more is an audience, which will help the panelists as they go through questions. Then, we’ll talk a little bit about some research we did around your responses to the polls.


Some research we did about what people thought in 2021, what their predictions are for 2022, and then, of course, we’ll get into the meat of the panel, which is the 10 hot ticket items for 2022, and those things we can specifically do. So let’s start that first poll.


That first poll is, which of the following presented the greatest challenge for your organization in 2021?


So is that keeping up with growth, Delivery fulfillment, Maintaining stock levels, demand for customer support, messaging, and communications.


Those are our five pieces. Doing the quick poll is up. Thank you, Charles, and the results are coming in. So, feel free to jump on in there.


Yeah, and Jason, I’ll also just mention that you can select all that apply.


So any of these things that you presented, a challenge for your organization in 2021, feel free to select multiple multiple of these, Thanks.




Just one, a few more seconds here, and we will get that pole.


I just want to make sure Charles’, before we shut that down, that I can make a couple of notes.


Looks like, So far, maintaining stock levels is winning. No surprise there.


I think every issue of the Wall Street Journal that I received in the fourth quarter had a supply chain story on the front page, so that is not not surprising in the, in the poll results.


And really, that’s the, that’s pretty much the big, the big leader, delivery fulfillment, keeping up with growth.


I think all of those are interesting in terms of supply chain, but it also in terms of just running a business that is based on on customer demand. So, thank you for that. I think, Charles, the next slide, will be about what we saw in our research. And so, what we saw in our research is, is not too far off. I mean, certainly growth, fulfillment, and stock levels were the top three items in today’s polls and in the research that we saw.


I don’t know if anybody on the panel has thought around that. Those seem to be pretty standard in the conversations we’ve been having at Searchspring, I’m guessing. Same across the panel. Anybody ever thought there?


I’ll just add that hiring was a challenge, so anything related to hiring people and fulfillment and things like that was a challenge.




Yeah, not represented here, but certainly something we’ve heard as we talk to our clients, and as we talk to our partners, even as we as we work to hire the Searchspring, I’m sure everybody else on the Call’s experiencing that too.


Great. Well, thank you. That gives us some good insight there. Poll number two, did your online sales increase decrease, or stay the same in 20 21?


It’s fun to watch the responses come in. This is a little faster than the other one.


Fewer fewer choices, and pretty much standard what we thought we’d see here, which is online sales increasing in in 20 21. So that’s that’s a great story like to hear that story.


I think when we look at the the the survey research that we’ve done about online sales and in-store sales, you know, we see that both online and in-store increased in the last year.


Online are away more more than in-store sales and I’m not sure that surprising based on the social slash pandemic environment that we’ve that we’ve had, I think, you know, no surprise there that in-store sales took a hit.


Oh, over over online! Any thoughts from the, from the panel on those? Any surprises, anything that you that you think is interesting in those?


That is pretty reflective of what we’re seeing. one thing that we’ve also been observing is that as the world starts opening back up and star start opening that, some of the brands who really had accelerated sales going into the pandemic aren’t really going to be able to maintain that pace or success coming out of it. I think a couple of examples on the news that are really relevant are around Peloton and Netflix. So, I think in 20 22, we’re gonna start seeing some chefs for like what sticks around in the pandemic versus some of the trends and accelerations that don’t think overall commerce is going to grow, but it’s not going to be even crawl them. We’re going to see some differences across verticals, depending on where your brand sets.


Yeah, that’s a That’s a great point, in terms of the fundamentals of the business, and how they withstand that.


More of a crisis time, they come out of that and in more of a normal status. So I think that’s a really good point, something for us all to watch, certainly in our own businesses, but in the larger, larger economy. Point to add, if I may.


Well, I think it’s really important in this may be as search string serving comment that it’s really important to focus on our execution as website operators for those who are.


And that’s I say that because I think there’s some headwinds facing consumers in terms of inflation that we’ve seen, fewer government handout programs that were really prevalent. And, so, I personally feel like we need to sharpen the saw, We need to get better, We do to make sure that, you know, we don’t see a drop in sales.


That’s great, Thanks for that comment.


It’s, the second time, today, I’ve heard someone say sharpen the Saw, so, clearly, those types of things are on and, on the top of our mind, as we, as we look to come out strong, right? You don’t want to come out of a period of time like this weekend. And I think that the point around sharpening the saw is important, That self reflection, that reflection about the business, and the strengths, and the fundamentals are really important as we look forward.


So let’s hit poll number three, Charles.


So do you predict online sales will increase, decrease, or stay the same in 20 22?


Yeah. And, I’ll just jump in here real quick, while everybody’s putting in their answers.


And, if you do have any questions for our, our panel today, please use the questions queue as we start going through the various various items. So, we’ve got our top 10 ticket items coming up. So, if you have any questions on any of those, those items that we present today, put them in the questions.


You will have about 10 to 15 minutes at the end of this session, too, Reflect and answer any questions that you have, thanks.


Great, thank you. And so, what we see in this poll is our prediction is that that sales will increase in 20 22.


I was talking with an economist a couple of years ago, a very wise statement that he made, which is the economy runs on optimism.


So it’s lovely to see that we believe our sales will increase, that type of optimism is is the way the way of success, right? So we want it.


We want to see that. And certainly, that’s what our research has shown. Also, online sales are expected to increase. In-store sales are even expected to increase for some points that we’ve talked about earlier.


But, again, I think it’s important to drive through that, that optimism is what will help us as we look at our businesses and look at the path forward, anything to add thereabout, prediction and growth in in-store sales, Chris, anything you see there?


I mean, we’re definitely seeing it in terms of our brands, right?


Like even though the de koven recovery scenario is erratic Is that there is a genuine desire by consumers to get back out there, supporting stores, shopping, in store, as well. And I think, like, that’s why, what we hear from our customers is this renewed emphasis on omnichannel. And just making sure they’re sharpening their size across the board, across all the channels to provide a more unified experience because you just don’t know where your customer is going to be.


So make sure that you have that. You know that.


That streamlined experience, online, offline, strong brand, you know, presence as well as great experiences across the board to prepare for whichever scenario we’re going to be walking into this year.




Yeah, great, Great spot to jump off to as we look now at the top 10 hot ticket items for 2022, right. So this is what you’re signed up for, This is what you came for. Really excited to get into this larger conversation about those hot ticket items. And as Charles said, if you’ve got questions, please feel free to jump in.


We did.


We looked at back at the research, which is where we got these hot ticket items for 2022, and what we found in the research, I thought was particularly interesting, And I created my own little phrase the other day, which is experience is the new brand.


Charles, if you jump us forward. one slide.


What we’re looking at is the research that we did in 20 21.


Talked about the importance of brand as a differentiator and unique products as a differentiator.


When we look at the research for where we want to go for 2022, it’s a very different scenario, and that’s what I mean by experiences, the new brand. Maybe we invested all the things you needed to do in our brand. In the past. Although, I sort of doubt that. I think that the point is, where are we going in the future, and what is going to differentiate us. It’s more than our brand.


I think that is a shift, Chris.


I think that you probably have a point of view on that shift and as I’m sure everybody does in the panel. So maybe we just, have you start Chris, with a little thought on that experience with the new brand.


Experiences a new brand as though, it has been something that we deeply believe in here at Yahoo. And what we’ve seen makes a difference that the brand is not just your, you know, frontline advertising and and you know programs. It’s actually the entire experience of a customer has with you around you know, the the consideration as well as shopping process.


And so, what we’re, I think what we’re seeing here, in terms of what the prioritization is shifting to is in terms of that experience that you’re providing, know, you can get, you know, you have the best advertising campaign, you get customers in the door, they’re buying their product to try it out. But, with all of these new customers that brands have seen over the last couple of a couple of years, there is this shift in emphasis on retaining those customers. And actually a realization that these customers are a growth channel for you as well. And probably why. It’s also fueling this optimism for this year, right? It’s like that you can get them to come back, but what is going to get them to come back after, to come through the door. And I think this is the opportunity for brands to really think through the, the ways that they can make a customer feel special when they’re engaging, Especially with such a competitive landscape, where everything else is commodity. But that experience with you know, who you are as a brand, the things that you care about.


The, how easy it is to interact with you, the customer service that’s available, the kind of inventory you have for them, depending on who they are, and their engagement with you, are the things that, you know, probably going to move the needle in terms of retaining those customers. And getting them to spend more over the course of the year.


Soon, as she is shaking her head there, give me one second because we’re going to jump, jump forward a slide because I think now we’re starting to we’re starting to bleed into the top 10 things. And I want to go to that number 10, which is loyalty and referral programs. So, to, I’ll go to you next, you know, piggyback off what Christina said, or jump into loyalty referral programs because I think they’re pretty tightly related.


Yeah, I totally agree.


And I think, you know, 2020, you know, the left side of that survey being prioritize on brand and product is really building out that experience. And then some of the things that our brands are focusing on now are more on how to execute.


It’s sort of the next step, the natural evolution on delivering on that overall brand experience. So, once the value proposition is there, it’s really executing on those building blocks.


Great. And, Jim, in terms of loyalty and referral programs, you know, as one of the things I’m excited about having you as a panelist is, you’re the, You’re the daily practitioner of all these things, right?


So in terms of loyalty and referral programs, how are you thinking about these programs, as you look at this coming year, or even beyond this year?


Also, going back, about 18 months ago, we implemented a loyalty program for the first time.


We’ve, we’ve seen pretty good engagement from it.


one thing I learned recently, and I, I don’t recall the sequence of decision making. But basically, it was an opt in, or opt out decision.


Does everyone who purchase purchases from our site automatically get enrolled in loyalty?


And there’s pros and cons to that.


So the thing I’ll look for this year is trying to assess whether more people in the program who may not necessarily be as engaged with the brand is better or fewer people who opt in, because they want to be engaged. And it might be a dual strategy where, you know, we, we can AB test it. And we work on our e-mail rollouts to welcome those people to say, look, you may not have chosen to be in it. But guess what, Christina, you’re in our loyalty program, and we’re going to welcome you with open arms and make it worth your while.


That’s kind of our 2022 roadmap on loyalty.


Yeah, that’s great.


And it gets to the point that, and while I’m sure we’ll touch on this, a number of times in this panel, is, the data behind these actions is what’s so important, right?


So you can launch a program, but winning is not launching the program, Winning is defining whether that program is what success means and then, and then following up on it.


To get to take. Now, let’s go to number nine because I think that we talk about data and we talk about technology. Number nine is a little wonky.


Sue, I know you walk us through a little bit about what this means, You know, I always thought of this as the headless horsemen, but really it’s headless technology. So that’s number nine. This came out in the research. This is a hot topic right now. So walk us through what that, what that really means, what it’s about, and then we can take it to the rest of the page.


Yeah, this is a topic in our space, we’re talking about a lot. And we’re having a lot of different conversations with our customers, because there’s so many definitions about what had losses. So there’s, you can find a lot of information out there, but it’s a bit of, it’s been a bit mixed.


So in simplest terms, headless is an approach where a business is purposely decoupling their backend technologies from the front end and the customer facing experiences. And they’re using APIs and microservices as the primary mechanism for pushing data from those backend systems over into the user experiences. And there are a couple of reasons that we’re seeing why this is becoming such a big topic in this space. So I have three. So one is really around digital transformation, We are seeing a lot of brands totally upgrading all their accomplish technologies.


And with headless, it actually can help be less disruptive to be switching out those backend technologies. So the front end kind of is more seamless and not as impacted from a lot of those change outs. And it also lets businesses change their technologies a little bit more gradually, rather than having to kind of rip and replace a bunch of things all at once.


The second thing that we’re saying is that headless is offering brand a lot of flexibility over their customer experience. Kind of going back to that brand experience that we’ve talked about earlier.


So some brands do not fit a traditional retail model that many e-commerce platforms are modeled after. So headless is giving them a way to represent their business more closely to the way they operate. A couple of examples here. We worked with PetSmart to build out their services. So for example, grooming, dog training, pep boarding, traditional platforms aren’t going to support that kind of experience, and so headless can offer a solution to build out new experiences in a way that isn’t limited by a platform. Another example would be like pampered chef.


It’s a different business model, working with consultants and hosts and having parties and all kinds of different reward. They have very unique business requirements and headless as a way. They can really reflect their business online. The other thing that we’re seeing, a certain brands really want to have ultimate control over their brand experience online. And Burberry’s. A really good example, if you look at their site now, there are called Global Fashion brand. And they’re not going to let a theme or a platform constrain the way. They go to market. And so headless as a way to control every aspect of the interface, and the brand experience right down to the pixel.


Then the last thing that we’re seeing that’s driving brands toward headless is the ability to quickly access and deploy on new touchpoints. Because most platforms are inherently dropped.


Power to drive the dot com or their web store, but digital touchpoints are totally exploding, and headless offers a path toward extending content and commerce functions into these new channels.


So think, in-store, kiosk, in-store client telling IOT devices like watches and smart appliances, headless’s best equipped to power, commerce and innovation in these emerging channels. It’s very flexible, very scalable in that way.


Excellent! Thanks for making that accessible, too.


Accessible, hopefully, to us all. Certainly, to me, great explanation Chris’ experience with with headless your, your experience with conversations around the that new kind of way to think about technology.


When we think about headless, we really think about, how do we optimize ourselves to be more agile? I would say, no. So that, you know, no matter to be a lot more responsive to, you know, changing tastes and trends, and also to give the Brandy ability to change the lives of, based on, you know, how their customers want to engage with them. So an example I would say of that agility is making the loyalty programs a lot more modular. I think what stops people from implementing them in the first place is that, traditionally, they take a long time to implement because they do have a lot of complications are complexities, and the way they want to build out their strategy. So we actually look at it from a modular perspective so that, based on what your loyalty program wants to be offline, online, or, like, rewarding different types of actions across the board is that you need something a lot more modular and easy to change, you know, on the backend.


And the front end experience remains, you know, like really wonderful and on brand and super engaging to your consumers.


So that’s really how we’re trying to accommodate a headless experience is that our technology just really needs to be able to shift and move and be personalized based on what brands want to do and act on it quickly.


Great. Thank you. Yeah. That the concept of Agility is really is really great.


And Jim, I’m sure that there, as you talk about loyalty programs, I’m sure there are concepts of agility that you’re thinking of and executing a different ways thoughts about that or headless technology specifically.


Well, two positives came out of Sue’s comment. one of them is, I now understand what headless commerce is.


And the second, as I honestly believe we are practicing headless commerce. So that was a double win. So thank you.


Really good for you. So let’s move on from number nine to number eight.


I feel a little bit like a radio countdown program here, which is great. Number eight.


We’re going to talk about targeted recommendations.


Lots of talk about this. This is not a new concept, although this, in 20 22 and the research we did, this was a hot ticket item. So, Jim, let’s start with you in targeted recommendations, like, what?


Why is this hot now? I mean, I think it was been hot for years, but what, what’s going on? Now that makes this, you know, in our part of our top 10.


I would say it’s still hot. It’s still relevant, and I have a I have advanced knowledge on what number one is I’m not going to spill the beans here, but it’s number one, hot ticket item.


I think it gets back to the touch points and the proliferation of touch points. And so each touch point has its own, sort of use case, if you well.


And therefore, no, not just managing to Sue or Cristina’s, personal needs and requirements, but also and tailoring recommendations to meet those, But also the context in which I’m presenting those recommendations, whether it’s mobile kiosk online in store, those things matter.


Yeah, so how and how I’m interacting with your, with your site, Chris or Sue, one of you jumped chime in here on on recommendations, how ’bout Chris, we start with you.


I think it’s like what you recommend Like to what you’re saying, Jim, like how and where and when you recommend? I feel like even though this is This is continues to be a hot topic because personalization is extremely important. And like I said, like, To what extent does your consumer be like, You know them, and you know them well, and how you know, how Well you understand how to interact with them and so whether or not it’s on mobile you know, or your website or even on social media? I think there are some like tips and tricks in which to make things a lot more powerful So for example, if you’re Sending off a product recommendation. Why are you sending that recommendation?


It’s not just based on purchase history, but maybe it depends on a review sentiment that they left with you, know, so like you’re sending a recommendation based on because they really love how soft this like this shirt was, right. And so like to a certain extent you can categorize your your product assortment to the Sophos Things and be able to tailor the product as well as the messaging that comes with that. You can add, like, you know, you can add a five star review to it to just like give that extra social proof. And so I feel like there are ways to really go deep.


And how you engage in those product recommendations. Again, to make the customer feel like, you really know me, and not a creepy way. You know, it’s because your basic engagement with you, but you can take it further.


I think that part is a really good point, because privacy is really important.


And so while I cherish the fact that you as a retailer may know me and my preferences and respond to it, I kind of don’t want you to know too much about me and respond with things that seem to cross the line.


And I have, as an example here that yesterday.


I was looking for sunglasses online, and I happened to check Raven Website not on this device and today in my Facebook feed is an ad for ray-bans.


And so is that creepier helpful.


I feel personally it’s helpful because I’m actually in the market, but I could see how it could be creepy if it’s taken too far.


So, why don’t I want to give you an opportunity to chime in here.


It seems to me that one of the reasons recommendations is, always, in our top 10, is, this is a concept that’s evolving, right. So, it’s not just, I’m doing it, I’m done with it. There’s an evolution. You have thoughts about there? Yeah, Absolutely, People want to see what’s most relevant to them and I I liken it to this analogy you know? I’m a target shopper, I go and buy one thing, I come out with $200.


So it’s brands are trying to figure a way to do that more digitally. And targeted recommendations are a technique that are being used to create higher average order values, Higher units per transactions, which are metrics that many e-commerce businesses are using as drivers of success.


So a lot of our customers right now are prioritizing things like smart recommendations for upselling cross selling. So I’m looking at a necklace. OK here are the Here’s the bracelet that goes with it. Or I’m looking at a blazer. Here’s a suit that completes the blazer. So really knowing how that shopper shops and showing them things that are very relevant to them. Things that are co-ordinated with the products that they look at. Things that take into account in their past purchases. ultimately, to help them increase those basket value.


That’s that’s a success for brands right now, and so when we look at brands trying to increase their e-commerce revenues, recommendations and upselling through personalized recommendations is one of the main techniques that’s being used.


Yep, Great. Thank you. I want to move on to number seven, but I have a feeling we will touch back on number eight as we keep going through the list. Because they know that technology is, is pervasive across a lot of things. Number seven is customer support mechanisms.


To me, this is a big box that we have to unpack, because I’m not sure I know exactly what the phrase customer support mechanisms is. It means different things for different people is, my guess. So, Sue, why don’t we start with you? Just your take on what this means, customer support mechanism to why it might be more important than recommendation. Yeah.


So what we’re seeing is A lot of people before they buy will want to know What is the support like? Can I return? There’s? What are your policies? Will it be difficult? Can I get my money back?


So some of those factors are coming more into the purchase decision, and we have a lot of different kinds of users on the Internet these days. So brands really need to think about all the different kinds of touchpoints to support a user.


So when we think about customer support mechanisms, it’s really meeting the customer where they are and helping them get the support in the channel and through the technologies or the device they are.


So, think, think about self-service tools, and content and information on a site, click to call for mobile users, content, contact forms, online chat. Really, everybody has a different preference these days. And a well rounded customer support program is offering all of these options.


What we’re seeing as more products are bought online is that brands are being a bit more proactive with things like order status, shipping notifications, more support for digital returns. So that’s a, that’s a big area of investment for brands to make that post purchase process more smooth and a better experience for users.


I see. I see a lot of head nodding from Chris and Jim. So, Chris, jump in there on, on customer support mechanisms. Read lots of touch points that we now have to support and and consumers that may be more knowledgeable and using different things in their, in their purchase decision. So, what’s your take on customer support mechanisms, what that means, why it’s so important.


Immediacy. You know, is going to be the hardest thing here. I mean, if I know there’s something wrong with my order, I open that up and there’s something wrong.


I don’t, I know as a customer that I hate, the idea of having to e-mail, and then getting that note that says, I’ll take 24 to 48 hours for somebody to reply to you. And there’s always that worry that if they reply to you. So, I feel like one of the more effective thanks to some of our customers are rolling out.


Is that text support function, or like, whether it’s the chat online, or even like a tech support function. I feel like Apple really, you know, like one day on this one, in terms of like the SMS customer support, but that is available now through integrations, between your SMS platform and customer service apps. You know, I think, if you can resolve that issue, immediately, that builds so much goodwill.


And, by the way, the opportunity for, know, that that customer support conversation, to eventually lead to another sale or upsell, I think there’s, like, some ways to do that in a careful way. And it’s a huge opportunity if you do it in, you know, in, in, in an elegant fashion. I wouldn’t say that everybody should try to upsell, and, you know, in an angry call, but I think there are opportunities there. If you, were you as a brand. Really did a good job of developing that relationship and trading, that no potential problem into, not just a good solution, but like loyalty building experience for them.


And Jim, you know, in practical nature, customer support, I’m sure is’s core. What you’re trying to accomplish.


Yeah, I mean one philosophy I personally have is that this sounds unusual I guess.


But it’s not the information about the order is as important to our customers as the order when they get it.


So let’s say that somebody buys a know fraternity or sorority piece of Glassware and they’re not gonna get until I personally etch it and then mail it.


But in the interim, they’re gonna wanna know what’s going on. Keep apprised of the situation have access to tracking. So I think for us, just to comment here, just being proactive in thinking about things before they get the item is a key factor in ensuring that people feel included in the process.


Great. Thank you. Alright, let’s move on to number six. Number six, seems to me to be a point solution, an important point solution. I don’t know how much we have to talk about, this, is an interesting piece of technology.


In our little planning session before here, we all told little stories about how we get marketed to over SMS.


So, anybody have a specific point of view? I don’t know, Chris, if you have a point of view on this. Jim, is this something you use? Let’s let’s just cover that quickly, and then we can move to the next one.


We do it more, but promising.




Yeah, I would say that, you know, if you’re not doing it, you need to do it. You need to do now, like, early movers, like, Jim over here are the ones who are going to reap the benefits. You know, it, is, it’s extremely strategic, but you do have to be very careful, because people are afraid, both brands and customers. That, it’s a potential spam channel.


But, again, if you take into account personalization, if you provide meaningful conversation on, you know, or like messages, like, order status, or those personalized recommendation, or just even saying, Hi. I’ve seen a lot of brands like uses kind of conversational engagement content.


You, you can win it in the long run and it’s extremely easy to setup. And the boy, just be very strategic about it. And be careful with your customers and make it personal.




Chris, anything, Or, I’m sorry, so anything you want to add there?


Yeah, if you don’t have an SMS program right now, we see really high engagement, high open rates, lots of click throughs. If that’s not something in your Marketing program, definitely consider it because the results are there.


Yeah. Great, thank you.


Number five.


And Jim, I’m gonna go to you on this one, because I think it’s probably the most relevant to what you’re doing on a daily basis, in terms of how you connect with your customers physically, right? So fast, flexible, reliable, delivery.


Now, those are the things about delivery, but all really important. So, give me your take on that, and we’ll go to I mean, anybody who’s shipping product on this on this webinar knows that the main shippers have been mightily challenged in the last 18 months.


Coby has taken out their workforce, huge surge in volume, has increased the demand, and so you have less supply, more demand, and it’s just been a squeeze.


We’re facing higher costs, and much less reliable service. US. Post Office, for example. I guess I’m left with the Feeling, Jason, that man, I took that for, granted prior to this, and now we actually have to sort of recalibrate expectations, because it is what it is. I can’t change the service level that FedEx and UPS might offer, but I can actually recognize where they are and make sure that my promises can be met by the shippers. So, that’s kind of where I’m at, is managing expectations, working with my customers, and then providing them a set of tiers of service.


So, if they want to pay less and get it slower, pay more and get it faster, we’ll meet every one of those promises.


Yeah, that’s great. Thank you. We did a webinar in November and December around Black Friday. And delivery was a big issue, then, too. And, and he, most of our time in the delivery conversation was spent talking about expectations.


Yeah, I mean, just a fact. To it. I mean, we employ a third party audit service and anybody in shipping knows that these auditors are all over the place.


They basically read your FedEx or UPS data and determine if a two day package actually got there in two days and if not, they’ll sort of try to claw back some of the funds you paid because it didn’t meet their promise.


They stopped making that promise the audit businesses her out of business because that the main shippers won’t stand behind the service levels that they offer. Because it’s just so unreliable right now and I hope that comes back.


Yeah, so, we’ve got, you know, ongoing challenges there that we need to manage.


I want to jump to number four because I think we’re getting to the really juicy pieces and I want to make sure we have enough time to, to talk about that. You know, fast, simple user experience. Talk about something to unpack that. It’s probably a really big topic. We could spend a whole hour on user experience.


So, So, Sue, I want to start with you.


In terms of user experience, Just thoughts in general about the importance of fast and simple user experience.


Yeah, we shoppers don’t have a lot of patience for slow sites. So speed is imperative. And if it’s not there, Google will penalize you for it. So brands are very much focused on performance. Right now, Just a couple of tips for people looking at this. one of the things that we see that brands can do today is optimized images, and this, and videos on their site to improve page load. And we’re also seeing some technologies and services of third party tools that will optimize how pages load, so that things are loading faster. So that’s definitely an area around speed in terms of fast and simple lot of brands are extending their accelerated checkout methods to become much more like a one click checkout process. We’re seeing a lot of success and a ton of growth.


We’re seeing alternative checkout, like starting to hit 40% or more of all checkout, so it’s becoming much more mainstream and commonplace. In terms of overall user experience and simplifying things, and we spend a lot of time with our clients. Focus on navigation, No Planning outside structure are taxonomies and menus is one of the fastest ways that, you know, a shopper can get the recite, So we prioritize that a lot. And then one of the things that we also spend time on with our clients is thinking about how to best use Searchspring. redirects are really good way to fast track someone into a content, a product that they’re looking for.


And it’s not just making them go through search results. So it can be used as a customer support mechanism for things like order status, warrantees, exchanges. Just send them right to that page for certain terms.


But it’s also the ability to send users to, like, uh, a curated landing page or category landing page, so example I use with one of my clients recently. They have a big and tall landing page that has support content, support tools. It’s very curated, very merchandise. So Now one of our suggestions was, if someone types in big tall, send them to that page instead of a search results page, because it’s a, it’s a much better shopping experience, and it’s getting them to a better experience that much faster.


Some tips on how to go about that.


Yeah, thank you for those. And Chris, how about you?


I would recommend, if you have perishable product or one that needs replenishing, consider a subscription program makes it super easy for your consumers and make sure that you they do have the capability of scheduling. It pausing shipment, if they want to, adding to it, changing delivery dates, because it is sort of a no-brainer now we are very much use the subscription services. So maybe even socks, you know, or to make it fun, or some maybe even curated boxes. There’s just a lot of use cases for subscription now in a way that we haven’t really delve into the, into the past.




I love how experience means, lots of different things, right? There’s a technology solution for experience, there’s a packaging solution for experience. There’s the, get me to where I want for experience So I love the idea that, that it’s that it’s multiple phases of a business.


Let’s jump to number three quickly and talk about flexible and simple procurement.


What I love about this one is, I think, when we, when we got together to plan this, all of us looked at this, and every single one of us had a different understanding of what this meant. So, I thought that was, that was the most fun about this topic. Jim, you want to jump in on what you think? Flexible, Simple Procurement?


I mean, to me, I’m buying products all day, and then I personalize and sell them.


So if I can’t procure the products that I need, and this is true, this is basically my supply chain comment.


And again, kinda like outbound, domestic shipping services, Inbound shipping has been like really, really impacted. So for me, I’m doing what people did in the early stages of COVID.


Regarding no paper products like paper towels. And you’re like, you know, I don’t know if I’m gonna get these, I’m not sure that Kimberly Clark mills will be operating.


I’m going to grab 10 times what I normally need and just hord, and that’s kind of my approach.


I received Halloween gift baskets, you know, in November.


And that doesn’t do really a good thing for selling Halloween gift baskets when the holiday has passed.


So with that in mind, and minor scar tissue there, I’m planning ahead. I’m sort of hoarding. And I’m basically making sure that procurement for me of product is something that just doesn’t become a factor.


one other comment as the price if everything’s going up, I feel like the more I buy now, the more I’m sort of insulated against future increases later in the year.


Very good. OK, so Flexible, Simple Procurement terms very specific in terms of, I need to get this product, so I can sell it to people. Chris, how about you your take on flexible, simple Procurement?


Am I?


My definition for this one was, you know, something that I think all of us across the board and our audience to experience is working with a new supplier or vendor and how long that process can take for, you know? Net new? entity? Whether or not they need to be vet through? legal or you need to get the buy in from all of your key stakeholders. Get that budget approval. It can take a really long time, and again, when we’re talking about, wow! This is a very agile and responsive market. You want your brand to be able to deploy experiences as soon as possible and capitalize.


This part of that process can severely severely hinder your ability to just put out some amazing experiences for your customers. And so, I feel like we are, we as an industry, have some work to do in terms of like, how to make it easy for, for our customers to be able to work with us. And certainly, working with an amazing agency can help with this process. Working with a company like mine, where we have multiple products or one point of contact for product procurement stage?


You know, yeah, let’s just be as an industry super focused around how do we make it easier for all of us and our brands to create great experiences for our customers? And get all of this bureaucracy out of the way.


Well, great, and, Sue, how about you?


Yeah, When we talked about this in my mind, this was the actual digital experience of buying a product from one business for another business.


And we’re definitely seeing B2B e-commerce going through a revolution and becoming much more retail like. However, these experiences do need, they do need unique functionality, things like quantity discounts, tier pricing, functionality like requesting quotes, having multiple car carts, paying by purchase orders.


So B2B commerce platforms are coming a long way to be much more retail, like with some of the experiences we see out there today.


Great, thanks.


Yeah, we all saw this and did a little home early on, but the conversation we got, it was great. So really appreciate that, because those are those are issues that our brain that’s called probably working through right now. So let’s go to number two. We’re getting so close to number one. It’s super exciting. So number two here, enhanced site search. So, so why don’t we jump off with this one.


I know you talked a little bit about site search earlier, just, you know, a little more color here. Rather than sure. We spend a lot of time looking at user behavior with our clients. And one, there’s a saga subset of website users who totally lean on search as their way to navigate and explore site. They skip menus, and they go straight to the search bar. It’s kind of how Google trained us, right? So site search is also a factor of high engagement.


When we look at the data, we see users who are sessions with search versus. Sessions without search. Those search sessions, those users are spending more time on the site. They convert way higher, and they make up a disproportionate of sales, so we always look at search users and figure out how, how we can maximize and optimize those sessions.


And yep, so it’s very important, and a lot of brands are trying to figure out how they can optimize search.


In terms of what we like to see for search tools, it’s how intelligent is the tool?


Like, does it have machine learning, can it actually figure out how to present really relevant recommendations based on all kinds of variables, like behaviors, business needs, product data, customer groupings and those kinds of things?


Um, Good search tools are also very flexible, flexible, and customizable for our brand because brands, now, they want to be able to control how the site is merchandise.


They want to have control over rankings, the way products are displaying, supporting filters, very robust filters.


And then lastly, a really good search tool helps provide insights and recommendations to a brand. So one of the things that we like to use Searchspring for with our customers and help them understand what are searchers doing?


What are they looking for and are there potential synonyms, potential redirects, potential campaigns, or their products? They should be exploring and product development. So great insights, dashboarding reporting, and recommendations for brands is very helpful for business to really optimize search.


Alright? And Chris, do you see the importance of site search through your work? Where does it fit in?


In your view of the, of the ecosystem?


Actually, a couple of ways that we’ve really enhance the site search for with our product is pulling in star ratings for the products themselves as they pop up within the search.


The search results is, so, you know, if it was like a bunch of sweatshirts. And in each swipe, whatever sweatshirts has a certain threshold of number of reviews you can pull and you know, those five stars in their four starts or what have you? Another relevant place for search is reviews themselves.


If you’re lucky enough to be, a company would like hundreds and thousands of reviews, and, you know, we’ve talked about how urgent consumers are today. Nobody is going to sit there, you know, scrolling through four pages of reviews. And, so, I think search functionality is super critical in that, in that case.


And actually, we have an AI feature that pulls the most prevalent topics, or even the, the most, the highest converting reviews, like reviews, that has led to conversion and pulling, pulling out those topics and putting them as filters. Predetermine a pre seeded filters for brand. So that, for example, if you’re a mattress, some of the things that consumers really care about as through their reviews that they’ve mentioned, or smell or softness or furnace, those filters can automatically be served on top of your dozens, hundreds and thousands of reviews.


And making it so much easier for that consumer does get in there, get the information they want, decide to buy that product.


And so you can really streamline some of that process and experience through, you know, relevant search.


Jim, search important to your, your business. How are you using search? How are you thinking about improvements? Or the coming year, and what you’re doing. Search?


Yeah, I’d echo what Sue said, which is that sessions with Search tend to outperform those without search.


That said, no, there’s only so many things you can do to sort of lead someone toward a search who may not prefer to work that way. So that’s kind of our statement, there. But yeah, we’re a search string customer. We’re really happy with the product.


That said, like any other solution, you can’t set it and forget it. You have to cultivate it. You have to AB test it.


You have to constantly. We do look for null result searches And not only find synonyms or with people are looking for or actually add product if the word unicorn comes up. Guess, what?


Am I buy a product that meets that need, or look at the null result page.


And see what we can do to kind of, you know, say, Look, if you go into a tire shop, looking for jewelry, you know, maybe that’s not gonna work too well, but maybe they’ve got some good blinking hubcaps that’ll work for you. So, do the best we can, with a null result.


That’s my comments on Search.


I love the comments. Thank you.


And it’s nice that you mentioned Searchspring, although that’s not a requirement of you being on this. This panel. Certainly, I love the idea that you can’t set it and forget it. And like with anything in a business, you just can’t do it. I also don’t want to overlook the fact that. The example that Chris used about people purchasing mattresses is how they smell. So I don’t know what that means.


I like my mattress to smell like nothing, but maybe people wanted to smell like brownies, pizza or something like that. I don’t know the great outdoors. Who knows? So, on your product line. Yeah, exactly. I’ll have a conversation around that. All right, this is it.


The number one hot ticket item for 2022, it’s website personalization.


We’ve spent so much time talking about these, you know, 10, 10 through, 10 through 2. We’ve touched on personalization a bunch. But let’s really dig in here now. I’d like to start with Jim.


Jim, your business is based on personalization. But like, conceptually, why is this so important, what how are people reacting, responding, and what are you doing about it?


Yeah, so we sort of get a leg up, because everything we offer is a personalized product with your name or your picture on it.


And that said, that means nothing in terms of whether the site experience is personalized to show Jason, Sue, and Christina.


The experience that most pertains to them.


So we’ve done a few things to try to our aspiration is to be the very best at a personalized experience by leveraging the things that are best practices, in terms of personalizing the site experience for any company.


Along with the fact that we’re going to show you imagery of products that are actually always personalized to you.


So with that in mind, I mean, we have kind of a checklist of 10 touchpoints that could deliver this for our customers, and we’re probably, I’m connecting on three of those 10 touch points right now. We don’t personalize the site experience. That’s a goal going forward in terms of browsing. We do it on recommendations and search. We do it on e-mail, but I think there’s just so much more to do there. It totally lends itself to testing and experimentation and the great thing about it is it’s in service to our customers, it makes the experience more relevant to them.


So I’m really bullish on this. That’s why it’s my number one as well.


Yeah, excellent, Thanks. And I thank you for being so open about, here’s what we do, here’s what we don’t do, and here’s our goal. I mean, not, you know, not everybody’s got all these things wrapped up.


Chris, thoughts on website personalization?


I mean, we live in this error, right of privacy concerns, and just increasing crack down and cookie crumbling and all of that.


And so it really put brands in a, almost like in a defensive posture in terms of like, Oh, no, my! My acquisition campaigns are not performing as well as a lot more expensive to get customers in the door. But I think that, you know, brands can actually use this as an opportunity to be more proactive with our existing customers and asking them for information in order to be able to personalize those experiences. So, one of my favorite examples is our customer, ms. in Maine, who does like Workwear.


And they are, what they did through their loyalty program is send a quiz to them, to their loyalty program members, to better understand, you know, there, who they are as people and how they dress. And so they ask questions like, what’s your height, what’s your weight, How often do you wear business clothes? How often do you wear exercise clothes? And all of these different questions that those loyalty program members would take the quiz so that they can get rewarded points for taking maquis. But meantime, the brand is getting all this amazing information that will apply to everything that they do, Whether or not it’s those targeted recommendations that we talked about or maybe Jim is that like, you know, that personalized experience on the website with curated items based on what their answers were? So, I think that, and we’ve seen it time and time and again we’ve asked consumers, would you be willing to give information, you know, to a brand? You know, if you were going to get rewarded for it. If you’re gonna get a discount or some other incentive and they unilaterally say yes, but they also yes, yes, because they want a personalized experience.


So, I think that we’re at a tipping point, now, you know, in terms of, you know, what is within our control as companies to ask for consumers, and then we also have a responsibility to pay it back to them by thank you for giving me information. Now, I’m going to make this so much more relevant and delightful and wonderful for you to engage with us. Thanks, for trusting us, with this stuff. So I think that we can let’s ask those questions. Let’s take that opportunity, As people see that, consumers are up for it, if it’s going to make a good for them?


Yeah. That’s a great point of the crusade depth or issue. I definitely want to get your take on it. I just want to mention, we’re at the top of the hour. I know some people need to jump off, if you need to. That’s fine. We will have a recording of this, will get that recording distributed. So Sue, website personalization, you know, your thoughts about that. Yeah.


I just want to say, in my experience and the customers we work with, this is probably the area where there’s a biggest gap in brands. There are a lot of brands who aren’t really doing much, and don’t know where to start. And there are brands that are super mature, and it’s OK. So, I would say, for brands who aren’t really doing it right now, there are great tools to get started, and it’s going to take time, and it’s going to be a long haul.


Brands that are more mature are kind of in an AB testing test and learn mindset, and they’re just rolling. So, while personalization is continuing to evolve, it’s a super big focus.


There’s a lot of differences of how it’s being implemented in the market. And if you’re a brand that’s not quite there, don’t worry, you’re in really good company. Yeah, that’s, that’s important. And, Jim, you touched on it, too, right.


We’re just not there with every single thing.


And that’s all, OK. We’re going to try to get there. And there are ways to do that. I think that’s a really important takeaway from the whole, from the whole process. If experiences the new brand that we have to get there, we have to understand how to get there. And these top 10 items that you’ve been talking through are really the way to get there. So, thank you for all that feedback, and all that input, on these top 10 items.


To Chris and Jim, your comments, Like I said, you have tons of knowledge here, and you have great opinions on it, and you have great experience, right? You have great ideas and stories from your existing clients, really. Thank you for doing that. We’ve got a few questions that have come in. So if you can stick around for a minute, we’ll do a little Q&A.


But before we do that, I just want everybody to know who’s still on the webinar.


We’ve got another webinar next month in February, that one’s really focused on auditing your e-commerce site. Now, that sounds a little bit boring, maybe audits are boring, but what we’re really going to talk about here is how you identify some of these top 10 things that you’re doing or not doing in your website, and then how to get there. So that’s really the topic of the of the February webinar.


So Charles, I know you’ve been curating some questions as they’ve come in.


What are some of those questions? Let’s if we have time for two, How about we do two questions Charles’. What’s the, what’s the first one we can pose to the panel here?


Yeah! Definitely I can read it off here. And just mention that. That webinar link, if you want to register it is in the chat in the chat box in your control panel so you can click on that link there. But the first question that I have here from the audience is for for two.


Sue, and it relates to have us headless technology. All right.


Headless requires multiple technologies.


Their own costs in that need integration requiring IT support is headless. Is headless today?


more appropriate for large enterprises that have IT teams available to support, as well as moderate to high tech budgets, or are these well suited for smaller businesses that lack in-house IT teams enlarge technology budgets?


So long question, but in short, is it more for larger organizations or smaller organizations?


So the first piece around headlands, requiring multiple technologies, This is true!


But every e-commerce site I’ve ever seen also has many technologies to make it work, so it’s kind of the state of e-commerce right now. I don’t think headless adds to that. In terms of the right kind of team, it definitely requires IT support. So that can be from an in house team with your brand, or it can be through an agency partner where headless is in the market.


I would, I would say we see it a lot more frequently frequently with larger brands, but mid-size businesses and smaller businesses still have the option to leverage headless. Isn’t an all or nothing, It can be hybrid, it could be specific touch points. There’s entry points into it where it doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive, so it really just depends on what you’re trying to do.




All right yeah, so we have just one more question, time for one more question here. It’s a quick one, so we’ll just kind of do it. Rapid fire style here.


Get everybody’s take on this question, So, we’ll rising inflation affect discretionary spending in 20 22. What is your, what is your feeling?


On that topic, we can just go around, starting with Jim, and then go to Kristen and soon.


Yes, in simple terms, yes.


I mean, if I told you earlier what my costs increases are, and as a fraction of the business revenue, let’s say it’s 8% between labor and inbound shipping, anything else? I would need to raise prices by 8% to kinda get parity, and I’m not sure I have the pricing power to do that, even with the cover of inflation. So, it will probably impact our discretionary spending and as I said earlier, my focus will be on spending that is really clearly linked to positive outcomes and revenue and margin.


Great, thanks, Chris, Chris.


I’m gonna echo Jim and this one It will absolutely affect Discretionary spending, especially as we’re entering this very uncertain No stage in terms of the pandemic. Are we out, are we in are we going back?


I think that level of uncertainty is going to make consumers feel like they need to be more cautious about their spending overall especially if they want. They had a sort of a free for all over the last couple of years because that was the entertainment for them, is, you know, Netflix and online shopping so, I think we’re gonna see a little bit more cautiousness going forward.


Doesn’t mean that they’re not going to spend, but I think where they’re going to need a little bit more persuading too to make the kind of investments they have been over the last couple of years.


Yeah, I think as it relates to inflation, we’re seeing pretty large increases and things like how much it costs to buy groceries?


We’re seeing housing costs go up as prices go up. We’re seeing rents go up, We’re seeing the cost of automobiles go up, so as some of those costs goes go up, which are your needs it just is less room for the things that you want. So it is going to be an impact this year.


But, you know, maybe some of that’s going to be set off with, you know, people being able to increase their, their salaries, their wages, were seeing a lot of movement in that space, as well. So, my offset by totally expected to eat into discretionary spending.


Great, thanks. And Charles, I want to jump in because I saw one more question come in that I wanted to address. We talked a lot about various various items that affected customer experience, didn’t really talk about payment options. So you know where to payment options Sit in the customer experience. Positive negative, I care about that. I don’t care about that, Where do they fall in that customer experience sort of sphere.


Can I take that one? Yeah, go for it OK.


Just like brands are being expected to meet customers where they are and interact with them the way the customer prefers, customers want to pay how they prefer. So, we are definitely seeing a lot more usage of alternative payment methods, things like PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay. There’s so many now, but there’s also a lot of innovation. We’ve seen Pay Pal start offering cryptocurrency through their wallet. so even new digital currencies are becoming more attainable and actually more legitimate because they’re becoming payment methods themselves. And I think one of the biggest impacts to overall checkout is just kind of going back to an earlier statement, making it more like a one click checkout, so sharp pay, Amazon pay, PayPal, it’s taking all the steps away from, from checking out.


No one wants to pull out a credit card, so we’re seeing great adoption Great adoption right now Chris, anything to add there?


Yeah, I would piggyback off that and highlight the mobile opportunity here, I mean, even in the offline scenario, right? Like, you’re saying like Sue, Like, I don’t want to pull out my credit card, even when I’m shopping outside. And So the, the rise in, which I personally have paid by, you know, Apple Pay, or just like that mobile payment contact list option, I think, is, you know, like, something really important for brands to think about, in terms of what they’re going, what kind of experiences they want to enable.


And particularly, if you do have an offline store, you know, like, what, what are those omnichannel ways in which, you know, you’re thinking about your payments, your loyalty, your you know, your customer profile for Omni channel, I think, if we have to think about that, because consumers are looking for that fast, you know, like that fast access, fast, OK, scenario.


And, Jim, you’re on the front lines of this every single day. So, how does that affect your orbit?


Well, the person who asked this question has incredible clairvoyants, because, literally, yesterday, I submitted an application to contemplate changing our payment platform that we’ve used for 10 years, And one of the reasons is that we wanted to be able to add certain payment methods.


Couple that we’re looking at Include Venmo, which I think is popular among certain demographics and Buy Now Pay later or installment plans which is popular with larger ticket but even smaller ticket items. Why pay 50 bucks now?


If you can make three payments of $17 and, you know, these are easily tested Payment options typically come with higher fees, but again, that’s also easy to test to see whether the lift in sales justifies higher fees. So, yeah, I’m a big fan of that.


We’re not go into Bitcoin yet, but, you know, maybe in the coming years.




Well, thank you. I want to thank you again soon, Chris and Jim, for spending the time today with us to talk about the top 10 high ticket items for 2022. Really appreciate your insight, your willingness to do this. You’re willing to stick around 10 minutes past the top of the hour, plus everybody who’s, who’s still listening in, Thank you very much. Sorry, we ran over a bit, but I think it was a worthwhile discussion. So thank you, everybody. Hopefully, we’ll see you back here in February, and Sue, and Cris and Jim. I will see you around. And we’ll stay in touch, obviously, because that would be great to get together and do this again.




Thanks, Jason.


Great day.

Share on social

Find Which Searchspring Product is Right for You