There’s no question that e-commerce has changed the way we shop. If you look at the year-over-year growth in consumer behaviour, the numbers speak for themselves.
With the onset of a new year, expect to see new trends emerge in the ever-changing industry that is e-commerce.
There’s no question that e-commerce has changed the way we 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, to stay ahead, you need to be aware of the trends and understand how to use them to bolster your business. Read the rest of this blog to learn about the top trends to be on the lookout for in 2022.
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 describes an integrated approach to sales that uses multiple channels like social media, websites, and mobile devices to increase sales and brand awareness. The idea is to make use of all the channels available to increase brand exposure; rather than focusing on just one or two.
Here’s an example of how omnichannel retail can be effective: 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.
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 thats lets customers pay off the purchase at no extra cost to them.
PayPal and Apple Pay are the obvious choices in terms of payment options, but the list doesn’t stop there. Sezzle 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. Incorporating alternative payment options is a great way to improve customer service and increase sales. People will appreciate the flexibility, and the fact that they have the choice of paying the full-amount up front or not.
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 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 exceptional examples of the use 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.)
You may or may not have noticed, buy everything seems to be becoming a subscription. I like to call it the trend of ‘subscripturation.’ 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 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 business. 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!
People are impatient, especially when it comes to waiting for online purchases to arrive at their door. If delivery takes too long, people will get tired of waiting and feel tempted to go elsewhere. They might leave a bad review due to delayed shipping.
Perfecting the shipping experience and delivery time is critical to ensure a positive customer experience that significantly increases customer retention and overall reviews. 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 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.
This is obviously not a ‘new’ trend, but it’s stuck around for good reason. SEO is a term that’s tossed around all the time, and everyone has an opinion on it. The reality is that optimizing your site’s SEO is one of the tried and true 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 SEO. 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.
The votes are in: customers care about sustainability and want to see businesses adopt sustainable practices in their overall business operations. In past years, google searches related to ‘sustainability’ have skyrocketed, reaching close to 50K in the month of November 2021 alone. Many 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. It’s become an expectation 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.
Again, not a new trend, but critical nevertheless. This tip cannot not be repeated or stressed enough. Doing this properly is time consuming, but 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 into 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.
Mobile devices are attached to people today much like an arm or a leg. Our mobile devices have become appendages, so to speak.
With the amount of time spent on mobile devices, 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). Your best bet is to simply optimize your site for a seamless mobile shopping experience. Ensure your site adjusts from desktop screens to mobile seamlessly, and you should see an increase in your mobile sessions and sales.
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. Sites can organically scrape data based on the user’s online behaviour, and through the collected data, technology can create a more customized online-shopping experience based on that user. 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.) Make 2022 your best business year yet.
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