Last updated: Ahead of the pack: Digital commerce leaders stats and trends

Ahead of the pack: Digital commerce leaders stats and trends


What’s it take to join the kingdom of digital commerce leaders? In a recent survey, 500 global commerce executives gave their perspectives on a wide range of topics pertaining to e-commerce strategy to Oxford Economics, and the results were fascinating.

Not surprisingly, the top issue on the minds of most respondents was achieving and improving profitability: 63% of respondents indicated it as a top strategic priority.

It makes a lot of sense. Before the pandemic, there were still significant consumer spending categories that weren’t very digital, like automobiles and groceries.

If retailers were thinking about digital grocery, it was about winning customers, but not necessarily about the profitability of those customers. Then the pandemic happened, and here in the US, we went from 3-4% of all grocery sales being digital to 12-14%.

Suddenly every grocery leader is rightly focused on making those sales profitable and becoming both an industry and digital commerce leader. Then as inflation and an economic downturn have taken hold, many consumers spending patterns have shifted, putting further pressure on digital profitability.

Industry innovation amid challenges

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”– Theodore Roethke

It’s been said that challenges fuel growth, and the survey results lend credibility to that statement: the pace of innovations seems to have accelerated during the pandemic. Almost across the board, digital leaders added new services and capabilities during the pandemic much faster than before.

One of the most prominent examples was omnichannel experiences such as buy-online-ship-from-store and buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS).

54% of respondents adopted the buy-online-ship-from-store model during the pandemic, while 29% activated BOPIS.

In one notable example, Best Buy, after debating the merits of curb-side pickup for years without implementing it, was able to deploy it to 800 stores in a single weekend, driven by the necessity of the pandemic.

Digital commerce leaders: Stats on where e-commerce is going

Accelerated by the pandemic, digital commerce has continued to disrupt traditional commerce, making an ever-increasing number of touchpoints digital.

One ramification of all the new digital touchpoints is that retailers now have more data than ever before, not only about purchases, but also about the pre-purchase shopping experience.

  • 58% of survey respondents said they apply e-commerce insights derived from multiple data sources
  • 52% said they leverage holistic real-time customer information to anticipate and deliver personalization

The availability of this data has created a new arms race for retailers to get better at using that data faster than their competitors.

To win the digital commerce leadership race, a few things are needed:

  1. Retailers must build capabilities into solutions
  2. Hire new staff who are digitally savvy
  3. Platforms must be able to better leverage data and deliver the customer experiences that digitally disrupted shoppers have expected
In terms of capabilities retailers look for in a commerce platform, the Oxford survey data shows:
  • 65% of the respondents prioritize feature completeness and depth
  • 64% responded that they need platform agility and extensibility

So it’s not surprising that many retailers have found the need to move beyond their monolithic legacy e-commerce platforms and migrate to more agile, headless, and cloud-based commerce solutions.

Watch the full breakdown of the Oxford study HERE.

Justin Trudeau famously said, “The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again,” which certainly applies to digital shopper expectations accelerated by the pandemic.

Successful digital commerce leaders understand this new dynamic and are evolving their organizations to thrive in this new reality.

Retail doesn’t rest.
A recent survey of digital execs shows where e-commerce is going.
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