Top 10 E-Commerce Trends to Lookout for in 2022
By Dalia Yashinsky
Friday February 11, 2022
With the onset of a new year, it’s safe to assume that we can expect new trends to emerge in the continuously-evolving industry that is e-commerce. It’s no question that e-commerce has drastically changed the way people shop. If you look at the year-over-year growth in consumer behaviour, the numbers speak for themselves. The way the current forecast is looking, e-commerce has been steadily taking over brick-and-mortar establishments, and this doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
Whether you’re just getting started in e-commerce, or you’ve been in the space for some time, in order to stay ahead, it’s essential to be aware of the trends and understand how to use them to bolster your e-commerce business.
Here are the top 10 trends to lookout for in e-commerce in 2022.
- Omnichannel Retail
Get your omnichannel strategy up and running to increase brand exposure and sales. If you don’t know what omnichannel retail is, now is a great time to educate yourself. Omnichannel retail is an integrated approach to sales that uses multiple channels like social media, websites, and mobile devices to increase sales and brand awareness.
Here’s an example of how omnichannel retail works. Say I’m scrolling through social media, and I notice an ad for a t-shirt I like from a specific brand. Maybe I’ll click on the ad, but I don’t end up buying the shirt. Later that same day I go to the mall, and I see an ad from the same company that sells the t-shirt I like. This ad reminds me again of the t-shirt, so when I get home, I decide to go online and buy it.
Omnichannel retail is kind of like sprinkling the seeds of your brand all over the internet (and it is not exclusive to the web) so that more eyeballs can get to your brand and think about purchasing your products. The best way to do this is to utilize as many channels as possible, so that more people will learn about your brand, which will eventually lead to more sales.
- More Payment Options
If you only offer debit cards or credit cards as methods of payment, then it’s about time that you consider adding more payment options for your e-commerce site. This really is a no-brainer, and a win-win for both customer and retailer. Tons of retailers, both online and in-person, are starting to offer alternate payment methods that allows people to pay off the purchase at no extra cost.
PayPal and Apple Pay are the obvious choices in terms of payment options, but the list doesn’t stop there. Sezzle, for example, is a fin-tech tool that lets people buy now and pay later. Sezzle pays the merchant for the purchase immediately, on behalf of the consumer, and it’s at no extra charge to the consumer.
Incorporating these types of alternative payment options is a great way to improve customer service, and increase sales. People will appreciate the flexibility, and the fact that they don’t have to pay the full-amount up front, should they choose to go with that option.
- Augmented Reality to See Purchases
Take the guesswork out of the online shopping experience by integrating augmented-reality on your site. When it comes to hitting that ‘confirm purchase’ button, people want to know exactly what it is they are buying. They don’t want to have to guess how something will actually look; they want the full, up-close and personal experience of their potential purchase.
Integrating augmented reality lets people see in 3D what they are buying. It’s been recently said by TechCrunch that AR is the “answer to plummeting retail sales during lockdown.” It’s also been claimed that integrating AR increases conversions by about 40 percent.
If you want to check out some excellent examples of AR in e-commerce, look at IKEA’s website, or even Warby Parker’s extremely user-friendly mobile app (which lets customers virtually try-on glasses before purchasing.)
- Growth in the Subscription Model Trend
You may or may not have noticed, buy everything is becoming a subscription. Or, as I like to call it, the trend of ‘subscripturation’ is on the rise. If you can, adopting or offering a subscription-based model for your e-commerce company can be a game-changer. Especially if you have a loyal customer-base, offering a subscription model is a great way to ensure recurring purchases and continued customer loyalty and growth.
While some industries are clearly better-suited for the subscription model, (think personal grooming brands, like Harry’s Shave Club) this doesn’t mean that you can’t test whether the subscription model works for your brand. Like most of the other trends on this list, it’s all about giving customers the option, so you may as well give it a shot!
- The Fastest Shipping Possible
People are impatient, especially when it comes to waiting for online purchases to arrive at their door. If your delivery takes too long, people will get tired of waiting and may go elsewhere. Or, they might leave a bad review due to delayed shipping. Either way, nailing your shipping and delivery time is critical to ensure a positive customer experience and increase the likelihood of returning customers.
Optimizing fulfillment and distribution is one of the trickiest parts to running an e-commerce business. Fortunately, there are tons of applications and software available today that can help make this process run smoother. Wasp InventoryCloud, for example, is an excellent resource for small to medium sized businesses to better manage their in-house inventory, and make sure you don’t run behind on order fulfillment.
- Highly Optimized Websites
While this one is not necessarily a ‘new’ trend, it’s one that’s stuck around for good reason. SEO is a term that’s tossed around casually, and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. The reality is that optimizing your e-commerce site’s SEO is one of the proven ways to heighten brand awareness and increase conversions.
If you have not already done extensive research on the top keywords associated with your company, or how your top competitors are utilizing these keywords and other search terms, then you need to be doing this to improve your SEO. As a refresher, SEO refers to your company’s rank in Google’s search results. Through modern technology, you can actually deploy two versions of your site to test which one is getting better results. This is an extremely effective way to A/B test your current marketing efforts, and to see what you can be doing better.
- Be Sustainable
The consensus is in: people care about sustainability and want to see businesses adopt more sustainable practices in their daily business operations. In the past years, google searches related to ‘sustainability’ have skyrocketed, reaching close to 50K in the month of November 2021 alone.
As a result, lots of brands are incorporating less plastic in their packaging, or going entirely plastic-free. Other companies are beginning to disclose information on their carbon footprints, like Mastercard did recently. Businesses are incorporating sustainability messages into their branding. In short, it’s important to demonstrate your concern for sustainability, and to actually ‘walk the talk’, so to speak, by integrating eco-friendly practices in your business. The earth will thank you.
- Study your Competition
Again, not a new trend, but critical nevertheless. This tip cannot not be repeated or stressed enough. While this can be time-consuming, the benefits will pay off when you keep a close eye on how your competitors are interacting with their customers, and what new efforts are being introduced in to their marketing.
Like most of the other tips on this list, there are resources and companies out there that can help you better understand the market and the competitor landscape. Semrush is a company dedicated entirely to monitoring top competitors and providing your company with relevant data points to learn from.
- Optimize for Mobile
Mobile devices are attached to people today like an appendage. With the amount of time spent on mobile devices worldwide, it’s imperative to optimize the mobile shopping experience. Many companies have opted to create their own mobile applications (which is cumbersome, costly, and time-consuming). Instead, the better bet is to simply optimize your site for a seamless mobile shopping experience. Ensure that your company site adjusts from desktop spaces to the mobile screen, and you should see an increase in your mobile sessions and sales.
- Personalize the Customer Experience
Like many things in life, a lot of it boils down to human psychology and how to best understand it. People like to feel special, and with the data available nowadays, e-commerce can customize the shopping experience for individuals based on (you guessed it) data.
Websites can organically scrape data based on the user’s online behaviour, and from there technology can help create a more customized online-shopping experience according to that user’s tastes and preferences. With that being said, to keep things kosher and cool, companies need to ensure that they are abiding by all the privacy regulations related to user data, and so on.
Besides these tips, there are endless ways to elevate your e-commerce brand and continue to drive sales and exposure. Get creative and start to implement these strategies (if you haven’t already.) Let’s make 2022 your best business year yet.