From consumer electronics to groceries and everything in between, eCommerce and itsthe convenience have become a mainstay in society. Where large retailers and big brands once dominated, eCommerce has levelled the playing field by providing businesses both small and large with a direct-to-consumer business model that both companies and consumers have embraced. COVID-19 has caused a paradigm shift in how business is conducted, and even large MNCs have to pivot to adapt to new eCommerce trends, especially in 2022.
Whether your business is fledging or thriving, here are the five major upcoming eCommerce trends to watch for in 2022 to keep your business growing and your customers smiling.
Five eCommerce Trends to Watch For in 2022
Traditionally, eCommerce has operated through an integrated system where its customer-centric ‘front-end’ is indistinguishable from its developer-controlled ‘back-end.’ In other words, any changes to the online storefront that your customers interact with requires subsequent changes to the libraries of code and scripts in the databases that keeps the store running.
The traditional eCommerce model isn’t inherently bad – eCommerce solutions such as WordPress and WooCommerce make it easy for anyone to launch an online store. Offering customizability, convenience and simplicity all in one package, traditional eCommerce platforms are incredibly popular and are the solution of choice for businesses both small and large.
Learn more about this agile eCommerce system in “What is Headless Commerce and Why is it the Future of eCommerce.”
However, the traditional model does come with limitations.
First of all, their rigid structure permits flexibility and customization, but only within their own strict parameters. Secondly, changes to the front-end have to be reconciled with the back-end, making it difficult to pivot at a moment’s notice. Thirdly, creating new services and integrations requires a complete overhaul of the system instead of modular adjustments.
In contrast with this traditional approach, headless commerce decouples the front-end from the back-end through APIs and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. This separation allows businesses to adapt and customize their digital experiences as freely as they wish across all of their marketing and sales channels.
Headless commerce offers magnitudes more flexibility, agility and customizability than traditional eCommerce platforms. In an increasingly digital-first world, being able to adapt and pivot at a moment’s notice to meet customers’ demands isn’t just important; it’s essential.
Changing Fulfillment Demands
With the likes of Amazon and other large retailers offering near-instantaneous gratification, customer expectations regarding fulfillment demands have changed. Today, more than 80% of shoppers already expect same-day delivery, with another 61% expecting their packages to arrive within one to three hours of placing their order.
Customer expectations regarding fulfillment have changed. Here are “3 Reasons Your Store Needs Same Day Delivery & How to Implement It.”
While supply chains are evolving to meet these new demands, the retail landscape is also changing in the wake of new customer expectations. Brick-and-mortar stores are falling to the wayside, and hybrid retail experiences have taken their place. So-called dark stores, in particular, are of exceptionally high desirability.
Hybrid retail stores, also known as dark stores, are retail stores that operate as a quasi brick-and-mortar storefronts while also offering additional fulfillment options through curbside and in-store pickup. Large vendors such as Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond have already embraced the concept in a bid to turn their fulfillment experiences into competitive advantages.
While not every organization can hope to achieve the same level of supply chain cohesion as Amazon, businesses rise to the challenge of increasing consumer fulfillment demands if they want to stay competitive.
Contextual and Data-First Marketing
As retail storefronts fall out of vogue in lieu of online shopping, businesses have come to increasingly rely on search engine traffic and SEO efforts to attract and compete for new customers.
Previously, eCommerce advertisers and marketers have depended on the plethora of third-party cookies to plan and execute their marketing strategies. However, with Google’s recent ban on third-party cookies, businesses must return to the basics with their data strategy and use their own customer information to lead their campaigns.
Implementing a first-party data strategy instead of relying on third-party information collected through cookies is a media challenge that many organizations face moving forward into 2022. However, keyword targeting paid search campaigns and contextual marketing are all strategies that have worked well in the past. With that being said, the onus is on marketers to deliver the right messaging in the right place and at the right time.
Out of a global population of 7.87 billion people, 56.8% use social networks regardless of their age or level of internet access, which is a statistic that retailers have not ignored in the pursuit of promoting their goods and services.
Today, many social platforms also offer social commerce functionality, allowing retailers to market and sell their products on social apps without requiring the customer to leave the platform itself.
How do social platforms drive sales so efficiently? Learn more in “Social Commerce – Using Online Media to Drive Sales.”
Online social commerce platforms such as Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping and even live shopping on live streaming platforms have made it easier for brands and influencers alike to demonstrate the advantages and functionalities of their products in a live, real-world setting. Influencer marketing, in particular, has seen a meteoric rise in use and popularity as millions of users flock to the likes of TikTok and Snapchat for their content, proving that social media is one sales channel that businesses can’t ignore.
Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence and augmented reality are new technologies, but they’re already being deployed with great success in many retail environments.
Augmented technologies such as holographic displays, virtual show rooms and augmented lenses are already helping customers interact with brands and their products without having any of them step into a physical store. Some SaaS companies, such as Shopify, have implemented AR into their suite of products, with their own data finding that products with AR content had a 94% higher conversion rate than products without augmented reality.
Learn more and see examples of AR being used in business in “Augmented Reality for Business – 3 Augmented Reality eCommerce Strategies.”
Other business, such as live chat platforms and CRMs, are utilizing artificial intelligence to automate business processes, improve customer service and improve their marketing. Artificial intelligence can be utilized to proactively engage customers to reduce cart abandonment rates, lower bounce rates and predict inventory move rates.
No matter their function, AR and AI are already helping companies lower their business costs while improving the customer experience. By 2022, an expected 25% of businesses will launch AR, with another 70% beginning to experiment with it. You can stay ahad of the curve by experimenting with smaller AI and AR technologies such as personalized recommendations engines and AR experiences for smaller products.