eCommerce brands are constantly working on new innovative ways to connect with online customers and close the minuscule gap between online & offline shopping experiences. It has reached such a comfortable stage that customers do not have to browse a brand website for shopping, brands would find the customers where they are. It's pretty interesting to speculate about what 2022 will bring for eCommerce.
Here are the eCommerce trends powering online retail in 2022.
1) Social Commerce growth
Social commerce is the direct selling of products using social media platforms. It is different from social media marketing in a way that you are not redirecting consumers to an online store or app but rather allowing them to checkout right within the network they are using now.
The critical point here is that it enables marketers to build seamless eCommerce experiences directly within social platforms, which are among the most popular destinations on the web. Rather than redirecting customers to a sales platform, consumers can frequently review and purchase products right there at the moment.
Reasons for brands to consider social commerce:
- Create a frictionless shopping experience: Retailers can build consumer confidence and increase sales by removing friction points and enabling direct & single-click purchasing options.
- Reach customers in places that matter: Numerous channels, including Instagram & Facebook, serve as brand discovery engines. Customers engage in various activities like seeking inspiration from influencers and brand posts, direct messaging friends for their comments during shopping.
- Gain from the eCommerce boom: Consumers are becoming more accustomed to online shopping, providing marketers with an opportunity to experiment and learn across many channels.
Within Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, digital stores are available that are hosted directly within the social networks and allow users to browse product listings without leaving the platform.
2) Further emergence of AI and Augmented Reality
AR and AI technology have demonstrated that consumers need not be physically present at a brand store for a delightful shopping experience. They can enjoy the product's touch, feel, and fit using virtual fitting rooms and store assistants from the comfort of their homes.
40% of retail companies are using AI, and the number is only expected to grow rapidly. Industry experts hope to see at least 70% of retailers adopting AI in two years. By implementing AI, retailers can manage the number of store-level SKU models deployed in each store, resulting in cost savings in the supply chain and providing an optimal customer experience.
The emergence of the Metaverse or immersive virtual worlds where people can gather, work, and interact further emphasizes the need for retailers to adopt Augmented Reality technologies. A brand's products must be prepared to be deployed in those emerging new environments. The only roadblock is a lack of 3D models, as brands have always existed online in 2D model.
3) Shop local messages for businesses
It seems the shop local message will be around for the long term. IBM's astonishing prediction says buying locally will beat online. A KPMG report says, “the home really has become the hub throughout 2020, and this will remain in place well into the New Year. It will only further boost local high streets, with independent and convenience retailers well positioned to take advantage of suburban and town regional centers throughout the working week.”
The report also says that consumers will not be keen to spend more time in big supermarkets and major retailers and prefer supporting locally owned businesses or enjoying a convenient digital experience at independent shops. This is fantastic news for neighborhood businesses and their customers. However, there is a cautionary note included. Local businesses will prosper if they focus on giving something unique, something that sets them apart from the competition and something that their clients truly desire.
Additionally, they will need to leverage all of the resources available through technology to ensure that they can continue to adapt and expand. If they do not do so, their odds of survival will be comparable to those of the large dinosaurs.
4) Chatbots are the future of eCommerce retail
It is expected that about 47% of organizations will use chatbots for customer care, and 40% will deploy virtual assistants. Another estimate suggests that more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than the traditional mobile app development. Most importantly, the overall market size for chatbots worldwide is likely to be over $1.34 billion by 2024. Leveraging technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI have resulted in continuous improvements in the chatbot experience for businesses.
This trend is supposed to continue in 2022, with chatbots expected to behave more like humans. Conversational AI enables chatbots to recognize accents, respond to the sentiments expressed in instructions, and share tailored responses, improving overall experience and increasing customer loyalty.
For example, conversational commerce has benefited significantly from chatbot technology. Now, brands may engage in personalized conversations with their customers. Customers, too, can experience interactions similar to those they would have with a salesperson. By creating that dialogue and streamlining the process, brands can decrease the time required for purchase.
5) Payment trends shaping the future of eCommerce
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
Juniper Research predicted that by 2026, global spending via Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services would reach $995 billion (€881 billion), almost quadrupling the current figure. The 'Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) model has swept the world in recent years. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) providers such as LazyPay, Simpl Pay Later, Flipkart Pay Later have transformed the checkout experience by creating a new category and permanently changing how customers pay. And it's easy to see why - The new BNPL models enable customers to spread out costs while still getting everything they desire – often at zero interest if customers pay the bill on time.
Contactless Technology changed the world
Due to the growing popularity of digital wallets, contactless payment technology is becoming more prevalent in different situations. In recent years, the development of QR codes has ushered in a new era of contactless possibilities. Instant payments at the customer’s end are enabled by scanning the codes on the retailer's POS, which means that whether you're scrolling through social media or shopping your favourite online retailer, shopping has never been faster.
The QR codes serve as a less expensive alternative to chip and pin in real life. For example, in restaurants, you can read a menu, scan the meal you want, and pay for it all in a second. The adoption of QR codes in shopping stores can assist merchants in delivering a seamless omnichannel experience by allowing consumers to scan an item and pay instantly on their phones without waiting in line.
A successful brand has the customer at the centre of all marketing efforts and personalization is at the heart of this strategy. 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences. So, what does this mean for eCommerce brands? It means the more meaningful your buyer communications are, the better.
The marketing efforts should be focused on
- Matching customer’s interests & shopping behaviour
- Offering an exceptional deal, offer, or incentive
- Telling a good story to connect with the audience
What brands should not focus upon?
- Trying to sell products already owned by customers
- Talking about topics that have no customer interest
- Misspelling customer’s name in communication
- Getting the customer’s identity or gender wrong
- Getting the customer’s location wrong
7) Voice search for shopping
Look at some crucial statistics pointing towards an exciting 2022 for voice search shopping.
- Nearly seven out of ten customers prefer to use voice searches to conduct a query over the traditional typing method.
- Voice is expected to be a $40 billion channel by 2022. Today, voice shopping accounts for around $2 billion in consumer spending. Up to 43% of voice-enabled device owners use their device to shop.
- 51% of those who shop via voice use it to research products. 22% of those consumers make purchases directly through an agent, and 17% have used it to reorder items
- 52% of smart speaker owners are interested in receiving info about deals, sales, and promotions from brands. Consumers are open to building relationships with brands via voice channels.
- 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information. Voice searches are often used to research and locate local businesses because of their convenience for on-the-go customers.
Some of the examples of voice search assistants used for shopping are Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby & Microsoft’s Cortana
8) Omnichannel selling
Omnichannel selling is a modern phase of eCommerce used by businesses to allow their customers to use multiple sales channels to make a single sales transaction. The technology focuses on integrating the different channels of communication like - mobile, web, social media, point of sale, and even physical stores to sell products more efficiently, increase brand reachability, and fulfill more customer orders.
Key benefits of omnichannel selling:
- Business can see their inventory across all channels creating a high level of inventory transparency
- When retailers can see their inventory across all sales channels, they can fulfill more orders.
- Increased visibility into inventory, sales, and demand enables eCommerce retailers to estimate sales and restocking needs more effectively.
- Having an omnichannel system that centralizes all business information about customer purchasing behaviours can help in lowering advertising spending.
- Utilizing an omnichannel system that enhances forecasting and ordering accuracy results in fewer goods accumulating dust on shelves and lower storage bills.
- Omnichannel enabled businesses can easily add new sales channels because data is consolidated. New products can be added to other marketplaces and online stores easily.
9) Visual Commerce
An eye-tracking study from Nielsen Norman Group showed that using detailed photos is more attractive than including a more generic, stock image. Visual commerce is an emerging trend in which social content is transformed into shoppable content using a social commerce platform. Brands build their visual commerce storefronts by curating user-generated content from various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and adding shoppable tags to it. Marketers are going to market their products visually because images sell, videos sell, and user-generated content sells in today's visual world. Social commerce on Instagram is a fantastic example of visual eCommerce promotion.
How does visual commerce benefit the brands and their growth?
- Shoppable content strengthens the purchase decisions of the customers
- It offers an exciting way to penetrate the user’s mind & influence them with enticing, compelling, and vibrant images.
- Offers a legit way of advertising in the form of User Generated Content (UGC)
According to McKinsey research, companies with high ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) ratings outperform the market average in both medium and long-term earnings. E-commerce sustainability requires developing a brand that supports ecologically friendly activities, from green packaging to more eco-friendly delivery. It is the right thing to do for the planet, but it is also a great message for consumers to support such brands. In other words, turning green may help you increase your market share while also contributing to making the planet more habitable.
Four ways that can help achieve sustainability goals:
- Use recycled textiles
- Leverage reusable packaging
- Opt for delivery options that reduce carbon footprint
- Donate towards environmental causes
eCommerce brands with sustainable business models are Hello Fresh, Patagonia, Veja, Lush, Wolf & Badger.
Are you excited about these noteworthy eCommerce trends for 2022? The eCommerce industry is huge and will continue to boom worldwide. There are so many different aspects to the industry and plenty of things that will change rapidly in the coming years due to the latest technology and evolving customer behaviour.
Some of the promising eCommerce trends you can expect this year are an increase in omnichannel shopping, shop local trend, an increase in personalization, and plenty of others that will transform the way eCommerce works.
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