Ram Chandel, partner and global digital commerce practice leader at Deloitte Digital, explores how today’s ever-changing customer environment requires commerce leaders to keep up with not only the speed of business—but the speed of want.
My Deloitte Digital colleagues and I recently published our 2023 Commerce Trends report, in which we break down six distinct trends that are transforming the commerce space. When we speak with our clients who lead companies across various industries, a familiar goal unites them all: keeping pace with customer expectations, while future-proofing their strategies for market changes. Our findings explore several spaces of opportunity for brands to ring up new commerce growth.

1. Composable architecture

The first trend we’ve seen steadily on the rise is composable architecture. When brands can reshape their commerce platforms, they can keep significantly better pace with both customer needs and market limitations. Agile, resilient brands are embracing modular technology architectures that allow for a “plug-n-play” system, where they can carefully choose their building blocks from multiple best-in-class technology vendors rather than being wed to a cookie-cutter templatized solution from a single vendor.

2. AI-driven personalization

Another trend becoming a go-to tactic for leading commerce companies is AI-driven personalization. Today’s customers expect personal attention and bespoke experiences from the brands they interact with and purchase from. Leaders are harnessing data and AI to deliver these elevated experiences, and therefore deepening their customer engagement, trust, and loyalty. Technology isn’t the end of the story, though—a company’s culture as a whole needs to adopt a test-and-learn mentality, along with implementing strong data governance and consistent, repeatable processes across collaborating teams.

3. Online marketplaces

The third trend enabling digital commerce growth is online marketplaces. This trend exploded during the onset of the pandemic and has only seen continued growth since then. Launching an online marketplace allows brands to drive customer loyalty by:

  • Capturing more well-rounded customer data
  • Expanding their range of offerings
  • Experimenting with new categories without sacrificing warehouse space
  • Managing seller relationships with digital ease

4. Digital-first B2B commerce

The fourth trend transforming the state of commerce is digital-first B2B commerce. Effective B2B leaders are rewriting what’s possible for buyer/seller relationships. Recent Deloitte Digital research revealed that 83% of buyers have shifted their primary method of interacting with sellers over to digital. We’re seeing that today’s B2B buyers expect the same digital ease and personalization they receive from the B2C brands they purchase from in their personal lives, from the B2B brands they purchase from professionally.

5. Social commerce

The fifth trend the market is zeroing in on is social commerce. We all know that social media is a place where people seek and make connections. But leading commerce brands understand the true, underlying value of this kind of authentic engagement on social media and how it can be harnessed for effective, refreshing commerce strategies. Whether it’s collaborating with social media creators for authentic customer connections or seizing the momentum of a viral trend for maximum relevancy, today’s commerce leaders must invest and prioritize social media investments and strategies with the right tech and talent.

6. Metaverse commerce

Our final featured trend is the newest and most leading-edge of them all: metaverse commerce. With the metaverse finally coming into its own, the blurred line between the digital and physical worlds can open new realms of opportunity for customer connection and brand experiences. Examples of opportunities include immersive hybrid events, virtual try-ons, and exclusive loyalty program rewards within the metaverse. Successful commerce leaders are identifying the right entry points and investments to connect metaverse initiatives with real-world growth.

Add all of these up, and you’ve got a digital-first, customer-centric strategy that all starts with company culture and making the right investments. We’ve seen clients across industries successfully activate the future of commerce by embracing these commerce trends. Help your business thrive by staying agile, resilient, and nimble in the face of market changes, and by integrating the lessons above into your commerce strategy.

Ram Chandel, partner, is the global digital commerce practice leader of Deloitte Digital.