2021 was another challenging year for retailers. Supply chain and shipping issues spread throughout the industry. However, many retailers did respond in unique and interesting ways to meet customer needs.
2022 will require similar resilience from retailers with the added benefit that an end to covid-19 restrictions might be on the horizon. E-commerce took center stage during the pandemic as customers flocked to online shopping. How customers will respond when they can shop freely again will present some interesting challenges.
In our 2021 e-commerce trends prediction we correctly mentioned the importance of customer experience, fulfillment, and personalization. These will continue as areas of focus for e-retailers in 2022.
Early estimates show that US e-commerce grew by 14.2% in 2021. Can 2022 see that kind of sustained growth? With pandemic restrictions potentially lifting and people returning to brick-and-mortar, it seems difficult. But if ecommerce businesses adapt to new methods and stay on top of emerging trends, then they can have a successful year.
So what’s in store for 2022?
1. Social commerce and live shopping rise
Social commerce saw huge traction in 2021, with brands using the Meta-owned Instagram and Facebook in particular to gain social exposure. 59% of online customers are aware of social commerce, and of these, 61% are likely to buy directly from a social site in the future. That’s an impressive awareness figure for a growing trend.
Live shopping is rapidly growing in Chinese markets and has a significant valuation now. Facebook has added some new live shopping features where users can click and buy products directly from live streams. Expect this trend to develop further in 2022 as more retailers start to embrace new technologies and dynamic marketing strategies. Augmented Reality (AR) shopping may also develop further this year with Walmart in particular making a push into this space.
In 2022 we can expect the social media platforms to continue to innovate and add user-friendly features to make shopping via social media even more intuitive and seamless.
WebSell has features for retailers that want to embrace social commerce too. Customers can integrate their online store’s product inventory directly with their Facebook/Instagram account to create their social store. Contact us via the usual channels to get your social store up and running.
You can also download our free guide to social commerce to see how you can start getting traffic and sales from your social accounts.
2. Omnichannel still leads the way
Omnichannel will continue to dominate in 2022 as customers demand convenience and a shopping experience shaped around their lives. Whether they’re shopping on their desktop or browsing on their mobile device, people want a seamless experience.
Retailers can’t just rely on Google searches to find their items either. Customers can and want to find your business in multiple locations before they commit to a purchase. According to Sprout Social, almost 85% of customers want to see a product several times before they make a purchase.
Having an omnichannel strategy where your business is active and synchronized across different channels will be essential in 2022. Omnichannel goes beyond where you show your business, like your site, social media, or a Google My Business listing. It also applies to features like click and collect and curbside pickup – it’s the total view of your business.
Anything which increases convenience for your customers is part of the omnichannel experience and like in 2021, it remains of key importance in 2022. WebSell remains the best way for brick and mortar stores to get online in 2022. Our solution allows your online retail business to work from the same data source as your Point of Sale system, while offering fulfillment features like click and collect and curbside pickup.
3. Customer experience dominates
The central goal of your omnichannel strategy is to always deliver a better customer experience. One of the main ways you can do this is through your webstore’s design. It should be responsive across every device and fast enough so that customers don’t get frustrated.
Customers are typically shopping via multiple devices now, as evidenced by data from Social Media Today which shows session distribution at 64% on mobile in 2021, compared with desktop’s 33%. So, customers will visit your site on both mobile and desktop before making purchases online. There’ll be certain expectations for site design, speed, and navigation when they visit both.
Google’s page experience update has forced designer’s and developer’s to re-focus their efforts around delivering a great page experience. If you don’t, you could see your site dropping down the ranks on search engine results pages. Luckily for you, WebSell has a solution.
You want the fastest and smoothest webstore experience possible for your business. For customers using the WebSell ecommerce platform, we’ve recently launched Next Gen E-commerce, the biggest investment we’ve ever made to our core webstore experience. Next Gen delivers major upgrades to both global site speed, and user experience, where we’ve focused on simplifying and speeding up the checkout process.
Customers buying through a WebSell site will be able to check out faster than ever, meaning your customers won’t bounce or abandon carts. See how you can deliver on your customer experience goals in 2022 by watching our Next Gen webinar.
4. Personalized cross-selling
Personalization can make a huge difference to your average order values. Retailers that succeed often have a strong personalization strategy in place.
Say someone lands on your site looking for a pair of shoes. When they add something to their basket that’s the perfect opportunity to show them related products like socks, or another piece of clothing that goes with those shoes. If they don’t see anything related, they’ll just proceed to checkout and you’ve missed the opportunity to upsell your products.
Having your recommendations tailored around related items is a strong tactic that makes personalization a key trend for 2022. Machine learning technology will develop even further this year, letting customer’s personalize the entire customer journey.
There’s lots more to achieve in this area and expect retailers to create innovative ways to personalize shopping in 2022.
5. Green Commerce
Shoppers are more environmentally conscious today. In fact, 52% of consumers said they were more eco-friendly in 2021. There’s a growing trend among consumers who want the brands they shop with to include less packaging.
The next generation of shoppers appreciate the values a company stands for and will return to shop with them again if they feel they align on certain things. Environmental concerns are top of mind for everyone right now, so being responsible with regards to package materials and quantity can help you win more customers.
Going paperless, using eco-friendly packaging, or taking actions to protect the environment are ways retailers can become more sustainable in 2022.
As the world hopefully returns to normal in 2022, retailers will face a different commerce landscape. While e-commerce took on an increased role throughout the pandemic, ecommerce sales aren’t going away. Many customers have permanently moved to online shopping now.
The principles of getting sales remain the same in 2022. You need to cater for the entire customer journey from your ecommerce site to your customer service. You also need to deliver a great customer experience along the way.
Marketing where your customers are is a good thing to watch out for in 2022. Are your customers on YouTube or TikTok? Maybe you need to set up a channel and talk to them there. Spending money marketing on a channel where none of your customers are is a waste of money and effort. Concentrate on places where you can find your audience.
Continue to review your customer experience across all devices in 2022. Test the customer journey across desktop, mobile, and tablet. If you find an experience that doesn’t add up, then you need to address this with great website design.
What does your 2022 marketing strategy look like and how will you incorporate these trends into your business model?