Q4 is finally underway and with a massive influx of political ads for the upcoming midterm election, advertisers and marketers have their hands full. (Not to mention political ads and holiday spending are going head to head this year.) And while many publishers are likely taking advantage of this revenue opportunity, there is one tried and true funnel that many publishers use to reap the ad spend rewards: e-commerce. Yes, it’s the season for spending, and with ad inventory dwindling, it’s crucial that publishers determine the most effective way to reach consumers this fall. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive e-comm guide for publishers looking for some guidance. Without further ado, here are the trends publishers should keep an eye out for this Q4.

Fewer Steps to Shopping

The world of e-commerce looks a little different these days. In-app usage is higher than ever as more consumers find convenience and accessibility by shopping through mobile. To create a seamless experience for shoppers, publishers and retailers are working to reduce the friction that occurs when making a purchase online. Navigating the product pages for available items can be time-consuming, which causes shopper frustration. Retailers are now combatting this response by shortening the steps taken to complete a purchase. With only three or four steps to a transaction, the conversion process is reimagined and streamlined to cater to consumer needs. To adapt to this shift in the purchase process, publishers that typically lead with e-commerce content are adding more short-form content like single product stories and shorter listicles. Today’s consumers know what they want and when they want it, and these conscious efforts to reduce pain points demonstrate the importance of user-first technology.

From Cameras to Checkout Carts

Another way this omnichannel perspective is permeating the market is through the continual rise of QR codes. During the height of the pandemic, social media platforms such as Instagram began using the tool to open the purchase funnel for consumers. By connecting outside shoppers to the digital sphere, brands and marketers have been able to increase their engagement — and expand measurement options. Now, streaming providers and publishers are incorporating shoppable technology into their video content. Condé Nast integrated this tech into their “Shoppable series” where viewers can instantaneously purchase the products modeled by celebrities and influencers. By implementing QR codes or other new tagging technologies into their e-commerce content, publishers can offer an experience akin to shopping in stores (without the added hassle of waiting in line.)

More Than One Way to Pay

Gone are the days of paying immediately with a debit or credit card. Today’s shoppers want payment flexibility, and alternative options like PayPal and cryptocurrency offer additional customer convenience. Clearly, it pays to prioritize the customer; providing different forms of payment methods results in higher conversion rates (and bolsters the likelihood of a consumer returning to the site.) The latest payment method gaining traction is the practice of buy-now-pay-later, which allows consumers to engage in short-term financing. Paying for a purchase in a series of installments offers further flexibility and encourages customers to purchase higher-value products. As a growing number of retailers and platforms like Shopify adapt to this new retail behavior, publishers can start introducing this option to escalate conversions as holiday shopping prevails.

Top-Performing Verticals

While publishers revitalize their tactics and embrace these emerging practices, assessing the current content trends can help steer them to the right verticals. This, supplemented with any of this shopper-friendly technology, is how publishers can attract, and retain a wider consumer base. From discounted beauty products on Amazon to women’s leggings, here are the recurring themes we’ve been noticing from e-commerce publishers:

  • Round-up articles promoting affordable items in the headlines, and targeting products sold on Amazon (e.g. “50 beauty products Amazon shoppers are loving for less than $25”) perform well across the board.
  • Articles promoting women’s activewear, specifically ones that target figure-flattering features (e.g. “buttery soft” or “tummy control”), bring in high ad spend.
  • Articles targeting tech gadgets such as humidifiers, Kindles, and AirPods perform well spend-wise when the proper, niche audiences are targeted.
  • Cult-favorite or TikTok trending beauty products that have plenty of verified Amazon shopper reviews are some of the most popular stories we’re seeing right now.

Now that we’ve shared some tips and tricks from our publisher playbook, it’s up to you to decide: how are you going to transform, and reinvent, the full e-commerce experience for your audience? Whatever you choose, one thing is certain — the next few months offer the perfect window of revenue growth opportunity.