E-commerce, Trends

10 top e-commerce trends for 2022

E-commerce trends for 2022

What’s ahead for e-commerce in this new year? What are the strong patterns with staying power — and what new, emerging trends look like they’re here to stay?

According to Shopify, more than 150 million people made their first purchases online in 2020. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-commerce industry revenue in the U.S. skyrocketed from $360 million in 2019 to $469 million in 2021.

And it’s projected to exceed $560 million by the end of 2025. That represents a huge opportunity for your online brand! There are also challenges, chief among them the supply chain problems the pandemic has created.

Here we share some of the most important e-commerce trends for 2022.

1. Direct-to-consumer

This is one of the most important ways to not only establish your brand, but build relationships with customers and build first-party data about them.

While e-commerce companies can certainly have success on platforms like Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy, they lose one of the most important components: a direct relationship with the customer, and promotion of their brand. Customers are buying from Amazon, not your brand. Ask anyone who bought something on the massive e-tailer site and they’ll say they got it on Amazon — not that they bought it from XYZ Company. You are just one of millions, and you are likely competing on one thing: price. Not quality, or customer service, or value, or the benefits of your brand.

The direct-to-consumer approach changes everything. It allows you to highlight your brand and its benefits, and potentially build a loyal following of enthusiasts.

If you are selling on a marketplace and are looking for help moving to a direct-to-consumer model, talk to us! We specialize in building high-converting websites on Shopify, and helping e-commerce companies build their brand through great design and storytelling.

2. Social media shopping

 Platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok have become vital discovery engines for brands. Kantar’s report on the state of the e-commerce industry show that social commerce is going to be one of the most promising trends in the near future.

Facebook and Instagram have been favorites for brands and shoppers, and the recent roll-out of TikTok Shopping presents a massive opportunity to reach Gen Z buyers (which accounts for around 60% of TikTok users). Fashion and beauty are particularly popular on this channel and with Gen Z, so brands in those industries would do well to focus their efforts on TikTok.

3. Personalization

Creating personalized experiences and offerings for your visitors remains one of the best ways to differentiate your brand and build engaged relationships with your customers. Research by Accenture states that 91% of consumers are more likely to interact with brands that know customers’ preferences and provide unique, individualized offerings. Check out their Personalization Pulse Check, a fantastic report on this with dozens of ideas and inspiration you can take away.

But personalization doesn’t just end on your website. Think about all the other ways you can customize your brand to the user, from apps and your social media channels to your marketing and e-mail campaigns.

One “magic trick” is to send a personalized thank-you e-mail to customers after a purchase. The e-mail marketing company Klaviyo revealed that thank-you e-mails have an astounding 67% open rate and a 6.3% click-through rate. That’s a 352% higher open rate and 329% higher CTR compared to regular email campaigns.

4. Site speed and optimization

The user experience on your website has been one of the most important impact areas since online shopping began. How fast your site loads and how user-friendly the experience is are make-or-break aspects for your brand’s success.

This only becomes more and more important with the hugely increased number of e-commerce stores out there. With literally millions of online shopping experiences to choose from, customers will quickly leave the ones that lag or have a clunky UX, over those that are fast, visually pleasing, and easy to use.

This means that speed optimization is more important than ever before, along with excellent website design.

The Shopify Speed Optimization Playbook

Download our free Speed Optimization Playbook, and mention this blog post for 15% off any speed op or website design project with BrandYak!

5. AI-assisted upselling and cross-selling

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning do a good job of predicting shopping habits based on browsing and shopping history, says Oracle Netsuite. “While no human brain could customize a website for every unique visitor, AI is up for the task. While very few retailers have the volume of data needed for true AI, some ERP and CRM systems include machine learning features to assist in cross-selling and upselling.”

6. Augmented reality

This once-emerging trend has gained in popularity throughout the pandemic, as people moved from in-person shopping experiences to online. In a retail store, the customer can feel and touch the product. They can try on a shirt, test out a product, play with a toy.

Oleksandr Shykolovych of Improvado says that during global lockdown, it was essential for businesses to provide clients with in-store experiences without leaving the comfort of their homes. With AR in retail, users have more opportunities to search for new products, compare, try them on, and make purchases.

He quoted Azad Abbasi, the CEO at Genius XR, on how AR is opening a new era for ecommerce and retail.

“Now that AR has reached such impressive levels, we are now able to preview products through our phones or tablets in a way that makes it seem as if we are right there touching them.
For example, say you are considering buying a new bicycle. With AR, it would now be possible to preview it at full scale and take a look at every angle, from any perspective you want, and really look closely at all the details.”

Improvado.io

What’s more, Abbasi predicts that AR will become the “normal” way to shop online in the next five to ten years.

5 Reasons Content Marketing Works

7. Content marketing

While this is often used as a buzzword, it’s anything but trendy. It’s been a vital pillar of e-commerce success and brand-building for more than a decade, and its importance continues to grow.

Content is one of the best ways of getting found in the search engines, moving to the top of Google search results, building organic traffic, and helping your ideal customers find you.

Generating high-quality, original content that is of interest to your customers is one of the best marketing strategies an online store can implement. Engaging articles, blog posts, and/or website content keeps your visitors on your site longer, and is one of the top ways to organically rank higher in the search engines and drive traffic to your website.

In short, content should be the foundation of your marketing strategy. Check out our article on 5 Reasons Content Marketing Works.

8. Livestream shopping

This takes social media shopping one step further. Shoppers can click on a shopping bag icon within the stream to browse the products being featured in the stream and even visit the product listing and purchase the product without ever leaving the broadcast.

In China, livestream e-commerce shopping is already highly popular, predicted by Forbes to reach $446 billion USD in 2022, which would be 15% of total online sales.

Livestream shopping is starting to take off in the U.S., with sales of $6 billion in 2020. The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival is the largest of these.

Check out what Forbes has to say about it. SproutSocial also gives some great tips on how to get started with livestream shopping.

See it in action at Bambuser

10. Subscription models

You just have to look at the massive success (and revenue) of companies like Netflix and Spotify to realize the power of a subscription model. In the retail industry, the subscription box is a particularly successful model that has exploded across industries from food and cooking to beauty and health.

That said, the subscription model hasn’t really been established yet in the e-commerce industry. This presents huge opportunities for brands who pioneer this. Subscriptions solve one of the biggest problems in online retail: customer retention. Compared to other verticals, retention in e-commerce is very low. Subscriptions can be a solution to that. In fact, WHOOP said that subscription-based businesses retain up to 65% of their customers in a 12-month period.

Consider ways in which your brand might be able to create regular subscription boxes, or offer paid subscriptions for access to additional services or products. These could be benefits such as:

  • Free or discounted shipping
  • Exclusive discounts for selected products
  • Special occasion benefits (birthday, company anniversary, etc.)
  • Exclusive loyalty programs
  • Early access to new products
Photo by Roberto Cortese on Unsplash

9. Seamless online purchases & payments

Customers expect quick and easy purchase processes, often with only a few clicks (or even one!). Between online payment apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay, to direct Instagram and other social shopping, brands absolutely must make sure the purchase and payment process is as frictionless as possible.

What’s more, multiple payment methods are a must these days. Simply offering a “credit card payment on your site” option is no longer enough. Implement the ability for customers to pay using the aforementioned apps with one click, via PayPal, or even consider offering a payment plan for large purchases.

Sources:

Shopify YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgQkG_ZXs_w&t=45s)
Statista.com
Kantar.com
Klaviyo.com
Improvado.com
NetSuite.com
Forbes.com
SproutSocial.com

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