It is no secret to those of us in business that eCommerce is an ever-changing industry – every year, several new trends come up that can help your business grow and compete with your competitors – and 2022 is going to be no different. If 2020 accelerates the growth of eCommerce, 2021 proved rapid growth is here to stay.
As 2020-2021 was besieged by the pandemic, shopping behaviors were left forever changed. All markets and sectors that were behind in the development of online shopping platforms were forced to accelerate their digital transformation. Consumer behaviors have changed drastically. Lower in-store traffic, coupled with an increasing preference for powerful digital experiences, means customers are pivoting their demands of brands. Consumers of 2022 are demanding that retail companies bring new customer experiences to maintain an accelerated pace of digital evolution.
Having an eCommerce business is no longer a luxury; it is an essential requirement that a retailer must have to bring in sales in the post-pandemic years. In this year alone, global eCommerce retail sales grew by more than 25%, emphasizing the importance of having a retail eCommerce business. Experts are anticipating e-commerce industry sales to reach its first $1 trillion in 2022. This revenue surely reflects a very bright potential for e-commerce business, and Group FiO is ready to assist our clients with the tools and trends they need to be ready to take their share of that growth. Here are the Top 5 trends we predict will be a crucial component of that acceleration.
Trend 1: Consolidating Your Technology Stack
In light of recent global events, digital commerce has become the main route to market for the majority of industries. However, for many years prior, businesses became accustomed to buying all sorts of technologies that offer niche features and solutions – without considering the full range of functionality of each of them, or the siloed data in departments that aren’t giving you a unified understanding of your data or the customers it represents. Often, it is possible to begin using a tool to a greater extent, and then remove the obsolete tools – this saves costs and complexities and improves process efficiencies.
In 2022, we will begin to see a sharper focus on eCommerce profit and loss, which will lead to eCommerce teams looking at which of their tools can be removed and replaced with other pre-existing technologies already integrated.
If your eCommerce platform is difficult to maintain and keep stable, it’s likely due to the amount of 3rd party integrations and lack of customization ability, making the foundations of your platform unstable. Choosing a hybrid-SaaS platform, like FiO’s Insight Marketing Platform, that is endlessly customizable and highly scalable to ensure stability is the way to move forward for 2022. With a platform that brings together disparate pieces of your tech stack into one cohesive unit, you’re able to maximize the data you already have on your customers and make it actionable, a crucial component to marketing success in the year ahead.
Trend 2: Getting Personal
As we have told you many times before in this blog, personalization of a customer’s online shopping experience is the key to keeping them satisfied. Consumers crave customization. They want help finding the products that they need and suggestions for items they may want in the future based on their personal preferences and previous buying histories.
Want proof? A recent Forrester poll indicated that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers personalized content and promotions, and those that do so are experiencing a 20% uplift in conversion rates for website users who are shown personalized content.And the benefits don’t end there. The same study indicates that consumers who have been offered positive personalized recommendations are 46% more likely to consider themselves loyal to the brand that provided these successful, customized suggestions.
Your eCommerce platform should offer personalization tools that bolster customer loyalty, to enable you to tailor your customers’ experiences. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to begin considering a re-platform. FiO’s Customer Loyalty Platform does exactly that. By providing both the data-driven power and capacity needed to give you a single 360-degree view of each customer, you’re able to create deep personalization that will keep you competitive in 2022 and beyond.
Trend 3: AI Optimization Will Continue to Rise
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already revolutionizing the online shopping experience and the use of this technology will become even more ubiquitous in the coming year. Early adopters of AI and machine learning tech have been able to create and deliver personalized online experiences by helping shoppers visualize products and how those products can meet their needs. Similarly, AI-powered chatbots are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ability to deliver exceptional customer service.
In 2022, AI will take on a more strategic role by helping brands find new customers. This can be accomplished through analyzing algorithms that compare shopping trends in conjunction with brand offerings, examining sales channels as they relate to shopping trends, and delivering the insights brands need to perfect their marketing, sales, and pricing strategies. Brands can take this beyond dashboard analysis and partner with technology providers like Group that can provide the capability for them to take immediate action based on data-driven insights. Group FiO can help your brand create automated functionality in order to proactively manage sales margins, improve competitive standing, and drive online conversions – in real-time.
Trend 4: Social Media Shopping
Social Media: it isn’t just for sharing pics of your family and pets anymore. Nor is it just a “legitimizer” for brands. Purchases via social media are gaining popularity. Facebook and Instagram are the most common social media platforms consumers use for purchasing online. According to an eMarketer study, the number of social buyers in the US is expected to rise from 60.6 million in 2019 to 108 million in 2025— that’s more than a 75% increase in mobile shopping over just a few years.
Social commerce is mostly driven by influencer marketing. From micro to macro, brands hire influencers to create friendly content that does not look like an ad – this is called user-generated content (UGC). UGC has been proven to be more effective in brand advertising, as 71% of US consumers said that product recommendations from friends on social media were influential in their online purchasing decisions.
Retailers can reach these online shoppers by setting up a Facebook Shop and using it to create a shoppable Instagram page. These platforms also provide many tools for listing products and creating ads to help drive more sales. According to the 2021 Shopper Experience Index, almost 1/3 of consumers in the US rely on social media to learn about new products, and 39% of 18- to 34-year-olds have already purchased at least once through social media.
These digital trends will continue to evolve, and it is most likely that such evolution will continue in the direction that omnichannel is pointing.If you are looking to incorporate omnichannel strategies into your brand, Group FiOcan help by enabling seamless retail across channels, allowing you to build customer experiences that are tailored for every single shopper and provide top-notch customer service.
Trend 5: Headless Commerce
Another emerging trend that may drastically affect the future of e-commerce is the adoption of Headless Commerce. Headless Commerce means a solution that separates the e-commerce platform from the front-end layer. This allows limitless innovation possibilities.
Traditional e-commerce platforms constrain brands to just the front-end design while keeping them locked into the rigid processes of monolithic solutions. Since headless commerce platforms don’t control the front-end design, brands have more freedom to create the type of user experiences they desire to provide.
While not a new concept, it’s only been over the last few years that larger e-commerce ecosystems have embraced the headless model. With online shoppers having little to no tolerance for inconsistent or fragmented shopping journeys, brands will need to deliver on increasing expectations in order to remain relevant. The agility that headless commerce provides will enable brands to deliver the type of experiences online shoppers are increasingly demanding such as fast, easy, and frictionless shopping and checkout experiences, detailed e-receipt capability, and more – all of which will also help brands reduce shopping cart abandonment. If the headless commerce concept is completely foreign to you, Group FiO is here to help by creating a unified system that gives you flexibility on the backend, SEO, content marketing, and digital experience capabilities via our Insight Marketing Platform.