Fluent Commerce SVPs Deliver 2022 Predictions for Supply Chain, Sustainability

Two senior vice presidents from e-commerce platform Fluent Commerce recently shared their predictions for the industry trends that will shape 2022

Jamie Cairns, SVP channel & alliances, Fluent Commerce

Supply chain disruption will continue

“The global pandemic has meant huge disruption to retailer’s supply chains and this will continue into 2022. Many retailers have worked hard to generate demand for products and have then found they haven’t been able to fulfil orders because they just can’t get hold of the stock. This means brand loyalty is challenged, because consumers may switch to other company who can promise to supply that product.

“Retailers and brands need to mitigate issues by being very clear with promises and educating the consumer about when the product is expected to arrive. Retailers should not be promising product to consumers unless they know exactly what they have and where it is. Real-time inventory visibility can help here.”

Lower discounting but certainty around delivery will improve

“There won’t be the level of discounting of stock in 2022. Big sales days will remain huge but won’t outperform the rest by quite so much as regular daily online volumes have grown significantly with more people buying online.

“Few retailers have large supplies of stock. This means they don’t need to ‘offload’ it at the same discount levels as in prior years. This will be balanced out by a well-trained consumer who expects bargains.

“On the positive side, as flights resume and borders open, capacity will ramp up and deliveries will be quicker. Many consumers have switched to the certainty of click and collect, curb-side pick up and BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up In Store) during the global pandemic and these will continue in 2022.”

Marketplaces will grow and headless commerce will become mainstream

“Marketplaces continue to appear and to grow in importance. As access to fit-for-purpose technology improves, the barrier to entry is increasingly being reduced, so you can expect to see more curated, niche marketplaces emerge.

“Many retailers have switched their e-commerce approach this year to ‘headless commerce’, which essentially separates the front end presentation layer (website, app, kiosk, social etc.), the ‘head’ from the back end services, enabling them to personalize the experience on the front end, whilst benefiting from the economies of scale on the back end.

“This trend towards ‘headless commerce’ will only continue into 2022, as retailers look for flexibility to adapt to future changes, making market adoption easier and benefits better understood.”

Retailers will offer sustainable delivery options

“Much has been written about the need to reduce packaging with online deliveries and use recyclable materials, but what about the most complex and expensive part of the e-commerce supply chain: the last mile? Getting the product out of a warehouse or storage facility and shipped out to the customer’s home.

“The technology is available to group products together, for fewer deliveries. It is also available for customers to choose a delivery option according to their suburb, so the retailer can deliver multiple goods to customers who live in the same place, rather than having to do individual trips on different days, back and forth to the same suburb. But, to date, these ‘sustainable delivery options’ haven’t been adopted, en masse, by retailers.

“As consumer concerns grow around the environment and wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, retailers will start to offer more sustainable delivery options in 2022.”

Agnes Schliebitz-Ponthus, SVP of product, Fluent Commerce

Increase in low code, no code approach

“The global pandemic has increased the rate of digital transformation in most organizations, with development and security teams under increasing pressure to adopt new technologies quickly and roll out applications faster. This is much easier to do if the technologies require little coding expertise. In-house teams can adapt applications themselves, quickly, rather than have to hire experienced coders or use resources outside of the organization.

“Indeed, the global tech talent shortage will only increase the number of companies adopting a ‘low code, no code’ approach to software development. Low and no-code platforms will help to fill the gap, shifting the responsibility for app development from expensive programmers and engineers to business subject matter experts.

“Gartner says that as many as 75 per cent of large enterprises will be using four or more low-code toolsets by 2024. With budgets under extreme pressure, we’re going to see more companies adopting a ‘low code, no code’ approach in 2022. At Fluent, we launched Fluent Order Management Experience (OMX) earlier this year, our new low-code platform for order management.”

Companies will build more robust supply chains  

“Companies already started to do this in 2020, when the global pandemic hit, but this trend will continue in 2022. COVID-19 has highlighted just how much companies have relied on being able to source parts and goods from overseas. With planes grounded around the world, customers can’t get furniture or buy cars and are having to wait weeks and months for goods to arrive. This will inevitably mean more companies will focus on making their supply chains more resilient  and adaptable to unpredictable events and changes globally.

“They will start to use data much more to inform decisions around where to build their supply chains both today and into the future, so there is less opportunity for their supply chains to be disrupted.”

More pressure on retailers to measure carbon footprint

“Retailers and consumers now are much more aware of their carbon footprint, when goods from overseas have either been unavailable or are taking much longer to arrive during the global pandemic.

“Just like companies have to report data breaches, following the GDPR legislation, there will be more of a push in 2022 for retailers to report their carbon emissions. Many will be thinking about where to start, but technology can help gather that data, so that companies can have visibility into their supply chain and decide where they can make changes to reduce their environmental impact.

“The shift towards more sustainable shopping together with the growing emissions emitted by the e-commerce sector requires greener solutions. You can only manage what you can measure, so gaining carbon transparency and understanding your carbon footprint is going to be key for retailers in 2022.”

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