Every new year brings the excitement of creating magic, as well as the unnerving uncertainty of new challenges that you may not be able to foresee just yet. No one feels this more than a founder or CEO who is grinding to grow their business.
Shopify’s Commerce Trends 2023 predicted that “the economic outlook forces eCommerce businesses to brace for a sluggish economy.” They reported that “the World Trade Organization became less optimistic about trade growth volume as 2022 progressed. The organization's estimate for 2023 was a growth rate of 3.4% in April. By October, the forecast for the year had plummeted to a dismal 1.0%.”
With many expert predictions mirroring these concerns about slow growth, inflation, and changes in consumer behavior, the natural question is - what now?
We talked to CEOs and Founders that are defining the next chapter of e-commerce growth about what’s on their agenda for 2023. Across industries, we’re seeing brands focus on efficient operations, omnichannel growth, and wholesale presence. . Read more about what they’re most excited for in 20223.
What were some of your 2022 learnings from a growth perspective?
“2022 taught us that we had to diversify our growth strategies. It also taught us that creatives really were what determined success or failure in any campaign.” - Mike Abadi, Co-Founder and CEO of Sunday Citizen
“Growth was very easy for most companies in 2021. 2022 forced a lot to get back to the basics and be efficient. It was really important to be measured in your approach, but also not take your foot off the gas as it was a year of change and if you weren't in front of people, you were losing market share.” - Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media
“From a growth perspective, 2022 really taught us to go back to basics, focusing on profitability and efficiency rather than top line growth. While paid ads used to historically be a major form of acquisition for us, we took 2022 to really focus on diversification of our marketing channels, as to not lean so heavily into paid, and focus elsewhere.” - Ali Kaminetsky, Founder of Modern Picnic
“In a ’post-COVID’ world, it's more important than ever to be omnichannel! In particular, we've found that having an ’in-person’ presence in wholesale/retail/pop-ups actually bolsters our online D2C presence too. In fact, we've shifted our perspective to view anything ’IRL’ as being another potential marketing tool for our D2C channels.” - Marilyn Yang, Co-Founder and CEO, Fun-Gal Snacks/Popadelics
“Our biggest learning/takeaway from a growth perspective was to hone more deeply into customer retention and nurturing existing leads. We found that this year, costs of marketing and customer acquisition went up, and there was unpredictability in what was working as we headed into recession, and change in customer spending habits and tastes were shifting.” - Mia Fiona Kut, CEO of Luna Nectar
How is your team preparing for 2023’s anticipated challenges?
“2023 will be a year where we focus on existing customer retention and diversifying our acquisition channels. We will be focusing on ways to bring more value to our existing customers and finding new ways to connect with them. For example, we opened our first brick and mortar location two months ago in NYC and we are hoping to see this channel expand as both a way to have new customers discover our brand, and also as a way to have our existing customers connect with us in new ways.” - Mike Abadi, Co-Founder and CEO of Sunday Citizen
“We are focusing heavily, for ourselves and our customers, on customer retention and lifetime value. This creates much more long-term stability for the business.” - Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media
“Cash is king, so we are preparing to continue operating efficiently with a hyper focus on profitability and keeping our supply chain optimized.” - Ali Kaminetsky, Founder of Modern Picnic
“We expect that inflation and supply chain issues will continue - so we've been proactive around locking in supplier rates and making sure to secure any key ingredients for our snacks. We're also continuing to approach marketing spend (in particular digital ad spend) in a very deliberate and prudent manner, and focusing primarily on organic channels.” - Marilyn Yang, Co-Founder and CEO, Fun-Gal Snacks/Popadelics
“In a way, we’re going back to our roots. We’re stripping away all the distractions and fancy growth tactics, and re-focusing on our North Star. We’re niching down and doing more of what we found to have worked for us historically. We’re being smarter with our budget and targeting deeper into our core customer demographics, hobbies, and interests. With our product launch strategy, we are moving into elevated, effective essentials, which is what customers will be looking for in a recession. We’re also scaling back from using PR and marketing agencies, and moving all of this work in-house.” - Mia Fiona Kut, CEO of Luna Nectar