Digital businesses will shed the shackles of pandemic era survival at all costs. In 2023, we predict that they will refocus on the cost — and value — of their commerce operations.

To survive over the past few years, retailers invested heavily in tech to support quick pivots to store fulfillment and to squeeze conversion and higher order value out of their suddenly all-digital orders. They found their legacy commerce tech often hindered their agility in response to new market demands.

In the face of an uncertain 2023, retailers are changing tack again, ratcheting back high-cost purchase incentives like generous guarantees and free returns or delivery. The shift to managing rising costs amid operational and supply chain challenges will bring renewed focus to commerce operations and the tech that enables it.

What will 2023 bring? Here’s a peek at some of Forrester’s 2023 predictions for commerce:

  1. Businesses will slash promises to consumers to protect their bottom line. This focus will manifest as more limited delivery options, tighter policies for returns and guarantees, and most importantly, investment in optimization technology like order management systems.
  2. Industrial endless aisles will launch as B2B megadistributors pool their resources — and inventory. To combat supply chain challenges, they will form unprecedented alliances to enable selling from their combined inventory sources into all channels to avoid stockouts cooperatively.
  3. Non-owned chat moments will enable direct conversations between brands and customers that move the needle for digital revenue. Consumers will find these experiences outside brand-owned channels, such as in search results, interactive maps, and third-party messaging apps.

Read our full 2023 commerce predictions to see what else that we see coming for digital businesses that choose to play “software company” and how we think entertainment and commerce will come together. If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary Predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2023. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2023 hub.