Webby 2022 Trend Report January 6, 2022

Insights From the Experts: Eric Jones on the Future of eCommerce

Eric Jones, VP of Corporate Marketing at WP Engine on how Web3 and eCommerce can improve brand trust. 

Webby 2022 Trend Report: Insights From the Experts

Eric Jones of WP Engine on how Web3 and eCommerce can improve brand trust. 


Our survey conducted for Way Too New, The Webby 2022 Trend Report, revealed that 30 percent of respondents play virtual-world games and 56 percent of respondents watch livestream content, including influencer or creator livestreams—regularly. A significant number have purchased products they saw during livestreams and in games, or would be willing to do so. Eric Jones, VP of Corporate Marketing at WP Engine, explores how brands can leverage new digital tools in livestreaming and gaming to impact their commerce strategies.  

With Web3 in its early stages, how should brands be thinking about eCommerce, as it pertains to gaming and the metaverse?

We’ve seen from our fourth annual generation research study, Generation Resilience: How the Pandemic Changed Digital for Everyone, which examines expectations for digital held by different generations of web users, that Gen Z (and Millennial) buyers want a seamless online and in-store shopping experience. Brands have had mixed results on that promise to date and yet eCommerce could work very differently in this new interactive metaverse and deliver on the promise of blending the best parts of an in-store and online shopping experience. Further, Web3 may deliver on other elements critical to how Gen Z evaluates products and services like direct access to creators without a middleman and the ability to control how and to whom they share their personal information, thereby improving trust between brand and buyer.

Download Generation Resilience, an Annual Report by WP Engine

WP Engine's annual study explores what Gen Z and Millennial's changing digital preferences mean for the future of commerce, marketing, and advertising.


2020 was a huge year for the rise of eCommerce. How have you seen clients build out their eCommerce capabilities on websites to incorporate the rise of live stream video?

The shifting landscape of commerce caused by the pandemic accelerated the need to bring a human element to virtual shopping experiences. The big value-add with live streaming is that it provides a way to interact with customers in real-time, at the same time producing content that can be repurposed for blog posts, podcasts, explainer videos, social campaigns, and other marketing efforts. Done right, live streaming creates space for dialogue, humanizes a brand, and creates valuable content that can be shared across other platforms – creating the best type of advocacy for a brand.

How is WP Engine shifting its product offerings to accommodate brand’s new ventures in live stream shopping and virtual worlds?

In the metaverse, one thing that will be absolutely indispensable is a hyper-flexible software platform to power the virtual eCommerce environment as brands prepare their stores for all sorts of different media, different devices, and different virtual formats. Headless software architectures are the best way to address this ever more fragmentary world of omnichannel experiences. WP Engine built Atlas, the complete headless WordPress platform, to power these new digital experiences with powerful, headless technology, one of the world’s largest developer communities, the web’s favorite creative system (WordPress) and, because it’s open source, the ability to integrate with all sorts of services and tools – all helping to generate a virtuous circle of better experiences, more users, and most importantly more value.

What’s your advice to brands and companies looking to leverage new digital experiences for e-Commerce?

The benefits of these new digital experiences are best suited to brands that sell products where the look or sizing or experience are critical elements of the purchase decision e.g. clothes, home furnishings, glasses, cosmetics, gaming, etc. Further, brands need to examine whether these technologies can improve customer satisfaction by removing friction from their customer journey e.g. try before you buy (virtually) so buyers can feel more confident in their purchasing decisions and generate clear business ROI increasing sales, reducing returns, etc. 

Download The Webby 2022 Trend Report for a deeper breakdown of the data, and to explore what these online innovations mean for our digital future!

The research presented in this report is part of this year’s Way Too New thought leadership series, made possible with our sponsors YouGov, WP Engine, and Brandlive. Visit the hub to learn more about the series, and book a Webby Talks presentation!