Commerce has become digital-first

As distributed and complex digital commerce emerges as the norm, only 37% of organizations excel at digital commerce and can attribute their company's overall success to digital commerce.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer

The State of Digital Commerce 2022 


An analysis of buying data from over one billion customers worldwide shows that only 37% of companies are digital commerce leaders -- organizations that are excelling at digital commerce and can attribute the company's overall success to digital commerce. Salesforce surveyed 4,102 commerce leaders and analyzed the consumer and business buyer behavior of over 1 billion customers worldwide. 

Here are some of the key findings: 

  • Distributed and complex commerce emerges as the norm: 69% of digital leaders report having already invested in new digital 69% channels within the past two years.
  • Actionable data is driving personalized engagement: Digital leaders are 4.3X  more confident in their ability to implement an artificial intelligence strategy versus digital laggards.
  • Companies renew focus on agility and profitability: 77% of organizations with headless architecture say it enables faster 77% changes to storefronts.

Here are 15 powerful statistics and takeaways from the State of Commerce Report: 

  1. New channels are key to digital success: In B2C, organizations are bridging the gap with services like Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS): 85% report that they have either already or will implement BOPIS in the next two years. The same story is unfolding in the B2B world, in which 69% of sellers rely on digital channels as well as salespeople or third-party distributors to conduct business.
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    New Channels Are Key to Digital Success

  3. Consumers engage across a growing number of touchpoints: In B2C, consumers engage across an average of nine different touchpoints in their communications with companies. Digital leaders are ahead of the curve when it comes to capitalizing on this trend: 69% of leaders report having invested in new digital channels within the past two years. The channels with the biggest gaps in adoption between digital leaders and digital laggards are marketplaces, mobile apps, and social media.
  4. Demand grows for complex B2B online sales: While 31% of business sellers say online channels provide more than half of all revenue today, 57% of digital leaders report that digital channels will provide more than half of all revenue within the next two years.
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    Demand Grows for Complex B2B Online Sales

  6. Demand grows for complex B2B online sales:  Business sellers are planning for an e-commerce-focused future. 97% of digital leaders and 91% of digital moderates expect buyers to place larger, more complex orders online in the next two years, compared to 62% of digital laggards.
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    Demand Grows for Complex B2B Online Sales

  8.  Regardless of industry, the customer experience is enhanced by digital commerce: 91% of B2B buyers say a company's purchase experience is just as important as its products or services. The survey found that 33% of B2B sellers report that launching their own marketplace is a priority over the next two years. And digital leaders are 1.5 times more likely to be prioritizing their own marketplaces when compared to laggards.
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    Commerce professionals who prioritize owned marketplaces

  10. Firms focus on putting data into action: Digital leaders are 2.5 times more likely than laggards to feel prepared to manage changing privacy and data regulations. First-party customer data is critical to generating actionable insights. But access to this data is getting more difficult, and the shift to a cookieless internet has even the most data-literate organizations concerned. Businesses that sell to consumers are over six times more likely than laggards to feel the impact of the switch compared to those who cater to businesses.
  11. First-party data is priority for commerce digital leaders: 36% of commerce organizations are investing in a first-party data strategy over the next two years. And 53% report being very effective at using their data to understand customer behavior, a rate 3.5 times greater than laggards. They are also four times more likely to be using their data to deliver personalized buying experiences.
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    Firms Focus on Putting Data Into Action

  13. Digital leaders are using AI to improve efficiency and personalization: Digital leaders are over four times more likely to be effective at automating processes than laggards, seven times more likely to report excelling at digital commerce, and four times more likely to report being prepared to handle data across their organization. They're also over four times more likely to feel they can effectively implement an AI strategy.
  14. Post-purchase experiences drive loyalty and satisfaction: When picking between brands, 54% of business buyers and 51% of consumers prioritize convenience. Optimizing the entire fulfillment journey will be a focus for many organizations over the next two years, with 44% of executives reporting that this will be a priority. Digital leaders are 1.3 times more likely than laggards to prioritize fulfillment optimization. Flexible return policies matter: 42% of consumer sellers say their return policy includes a self-service option.
  15. The customer experience is as important as the products and services: 90% of business buyers and 84% of consumers expect consistent experiences across touchpoints. Companies are streamlining service: Nearly half (47%) have already embedded commerce in the customer service experience. Digital leaders are leading the way, with 49% of leaders selling through their customer service centers compared to 40% of laggards.
  16. Companies renew focus on agility and profitability: Digital commerce also makes selling faster. 39% of digital leaders, 52% of digital moderates, and 46% of laggards reported at least a 10% faster time to close. Digital commerce boosts sales productivity -- Companies that invest in digital commerce say it benefits their sales team. While 64% of all B2B sellers report that digital commerce increases sales team productivity, digital moderates and laggards are most likely to report this benefit (70% and 60%, respectively). Digital commerce appears to improve employee and customer experiences as well. 75% of digital leaders say digital commerce has improved customer satisfaction. 
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    Digital Commerce Boosts Sales Productivity

  18. Digital commerce improves the health of the entire business ecosystem: Companies that sell to third-party distributors report even greater rates of customer success when they adopt digital commerce: 65% of organizations that sell through distributors report digital commerce has improved customer satisfaction. Companies that sell through distributors report that digital commerce has improved contract management (58%) at greater rates than organizations that don't (49%).
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    Digital commerce boosts partnerships and ecosystems growth

  20. New digital payment options are growing: Today's customers expect more options at checkout than cash or credit card. Organizations are prioritizing investments in flexibility. PayPal accounted for 80% of all mobile wallet transactions in Q1 2022. The number of payment types is also growing, as 64% of companies already offer at least one mobile wallet option. Security is a key priority -- 54% of digital leaders say that fraud is a concern when implementing a new payment offering.
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    Implementation Plans for Payment Types

  22. Crypto is gaining adoption as a form of payment: Today, only 30% of organizations offer crypto as a payment option at checkout. This makes it the least likely payment option to be offered. However, that's changing quickly. Crypto is the number one reported payment method that organizations are investing in over the next two years when compared to all other forms of payment. And leaders are 2.5 times more likely than laggards to be investing.
  23. Headless commerce is gaining momentum: The survey found that 34% of organizations say it takes weeks or months to make changes to their digital storefront. To enable digital agility, many companies are turning to headless architecture. Headless decouples the digital front end from the back end, enabling businesses the freedom to build to their own specifications. Companies with headless architecture are more likely to be rapidly expanding into new channels (77%) than non-headless companies (54%). Headless implementers cite several benefits: They report excelling at digital commerce at greater rates (55%) than non-headless organizations (30%). They are also more likely to attribute their companies' overall success to digital commerce (58%) versus non-headless organizations (37%). Headless architecture is poised for growth: 80% of businesses that don't have headless architecture today say they plan to implement it in the next two years.

The State of Commerce report is quite comprehensive, highlighting key technologies, market trends, organizational digital capabilities, and future innovation investments. To learn more about the future of commerce, you can visit this interactive data dashboard here.

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