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Thriving or surviving? Introducing The Drum’s Evolution of E-commerce Deep Dive

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

September 20, 2022 | 5 min read

Our latest Deep Dive, in which we explore all things retail and e-commerce, is now live. Here’s what you need to know...

ecommerce deep dive

The Drum's e-commerce deep dive launches / Adobe Stock

Welcome to The Drum’s September Deep Dive, the Evolution of E-commerce. In this week-long exploration of everything retail, we’ll look at how our shopping habits have changed since the pandemic, how they’re changing further as the cost of living crisis deepens, and where brands can find growth in the coming year.

The Covid-19 pandemic saw e-commerce growth spike. According to data, global sales increased from 16% to 19% in 2020 alone. There was, perhaps unsurprising, a subsequent shrink in e-commerce growth in some countries, particularly those where adoption was already high. It’s now forecast we’ll see $95bn less in e-commerce sales in 2022 compared with last year, according to the Economic Times. This is after e-commerce soared at least 20% every year between 2010 and 2020, per eMarketer.

So, what should retailers do next? In one of our first features, US reporter Audrey Kemp has taken a look at the key trends shaping the industry for the next 18 months.

Among those facing the biggest post-pandemic challenges are retail subscription brands, which were among those that saw profits skyrocket during the pandemic’s e-commerce boom. Deputy editor Jen Faull will be catching up with Pasta Evangelists founder Alessandro Savelli, two years after he detailed the brand’s rapid expansion to cater to unprecedented demand. Check back later this week when he’ll be telling us how he’s forging a new growth path for the company as it lessens its dependency on the subscription market, while experts weigh in on the future of the sector.

Meanwhile, social commerce offered big promises to brands looking to find new paths to growth. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and others all launched significant offerings into the market, promising retailers a much-longed-for link between the point of inspiration, consideration and purchase. But those offerings have failed to materialize in any significant way. Tech reporter Chris Sutcliffe will be looking into who’s winning and losing in the race to win on social commerce.

There’s also a battle brewing among the industry’s giants as they fight for advertising budgets to fuel their own retail media offerings. Tesco, Macy’s, Walmart, Amazon, Sainsbury’s… the list goes on for brands that have recently launched their own propositions. Our media editor John McCarthy will be breaking down everything you need to know about each player’s model and the appetite from brands to spend their ever-tightening budgets on their networks.

But for many brands, there are more pressing e-commerce challenges to contend with. From how to market this Black Friday – a key date in any retailer’s calendar – to how to nail their Christmas messaging in a year where inflation, rising bills and reduced spending power is expected to hamper the festive spirit. Our creativity reporter Amy Houston has been speaking to the creatives leading retail strategies within advertising agencies about what we’re likely to see on screens this winter.

That’s just a fraction of what you can expect from The Drum’s Evolution of E-commerce Deep Dive this week. You can say tuned to the latest news, analysis and insight on the dedicated Deep Dive hub.

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