E-commerce is growing by the day and the industry is becoming more competitive than ever, according to Allen Fu, co-founder of online beauty business, CheekyGlo, which launched during Covid and has reached an annual turnover that exceeds $1 million.

“The rapid growth and potential of e-commerce has gotten venture capital and big investors excited and are now taking the industry more seriously and the industry is set to become more prominent than ever in 2022,” he said.

Fu points out the top three e-commerce trends to expect in 2022 and explains how businesses can take advantage of them.

  1. More competition than ever

Online shopping soared during lockdowns, and while this is good news for online retailers, it means more competition, but Fu insists that competition has the power to fuel innovation and growth, as well as forces retailers to find a point of difference.

“Take time to refine your messaging and brand positioning,” Fu says. “Approach every challenge with the questions; How can I be different? How can I stand out? And how can I stop my customer from scrolling on?”

Social media will continue to be a major influencer of buying awareness and purchase decision making in 2022. To convert a potential customer, a content creator must stop them scrolling straight past their brand and product, according to Fu.

“This is a time for you to be brave and bold, and experiment with unconventional strategies that lead to more curiosity and excitement from your consumers,” he says.

2. Paid advertising isn’t everything

The evolution of social media comes with constant changes to privacy rules and regulations. The less data, the less accurate targeting and customer tracking, Fu explains.

“This impacts advertiser’s return on investment through paid marketing channels. Many businesses would have already noticed a significant drop in their return on ad spend or an increase in customer acquisition costs,” he says.

“If your business relies on paid advertising, in 2022 it’s time to focus on owning your customers instead of borrowing them.”

Fu recommends investing more time in major marketing channels such as emails, or newer social media platforms like TikTok.

“The more you are able to diversify your reach, the lower your risk of loss from major changes in

certain social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram’s recent five-hour outage is a clear reminder not to put all your eggs in one basket. Even though paid advertising is a powerful tool, it shouldn’t be the only one in your toolbox,” he says.

3. Postage and freight disruption

Increased demand for online purchases has placed stress on Australia’s postal system. In this instance, it’s important to plan ahead to avoid the stress of delayed processing and delivery.

“Some of our express parcels take 10 days to deliver to a suburb 30 minutes away from our

Fulfillment. It can be incredibly stressful to deal with the delivery system while also managing customer expectations,” Fu says.

Fu predicts that the freight situation in 2022 won’t improve. With delivery times being out of

the control of business owners it’s important to have a solid internal plan.

“Make sure you have enough leeway for inventory management and customer deliveries. Give notice to your customers if there are expected delays and prepare your customer service team to manage customer complaints,” he says.

Embracing customer complaints and queries with empathy and explaining the situation to

them in a clear and concise manner will help them overcome their frustration. It’s also important for business owners to allow adequate time for manufacturers and suppliers to produce products and have them shipped to the fulfillment.

“Logistical costs will continue to increase in 2022, so be wary of that when choosing sea or air delivery. If possible, use sea delivery to lower your costs. Or if needed, split your order into sea and air. That way you will have products on hand urgently but have the bulk of your inventory arriving by sea at a cheaper price.”

It’s also important to factor in for delays such as weather, port logistics and delivery issues. Fu advises business owners not to tread to close to the ‘out of stock’ status. “Having stock on hand is always better than being on pre-order for weeks or months.”

Featured image: CheekyGlo founders, Xixi Liu and Allen Fu.