The 6 E-commerce Trends Of 2022.
The past two years have seen a surge in e-commerce in response to pandemic related closures, the growth of large-scale, virtual-based retailers such as Amazon and the need to expand customer accessibility and streamline businesses for large and small customers alike.
Given this rapid rise in e-commerce activity, 2022 has seen a continuation of many of the practices embraced in 2021 while others are slowly refined to meet market demands and improve efficiency.
While there are a variety of nuances and tactics available to stay competitive in the future of e-commerce, the following 6 trends will have the greatest impact on e-commerce success in 2022.
Meet customer expectations
Customer retention is a driving force not just in e-commerce but in business overall. The challenge with e-commerce is that there is no way to provide face-to-face engagement that can “read” and accommodate customers’ preferences and interests. All interaction is done virtually and in an anticipatory manner.
In order to stay ahead, virtual retailers are embracing a variety of approaches that revolve around the interplay between logistics, brand management and customer satisfaction. The surge in online retail means that customers have greater expectations for what their experience will be like.
Brand management that incorporates unique, personal storylines while also branching into social media and engaging consumer desires and requests makes for more entertaining and engaging retail.
Clearly communicating and reinforcing fast and efficient delivery times is perhaps of greatest importance, as the internet marketplace demands fast, easy and effective commercial transactions to meet customer expectations.
Improve efficiency with AI
Business success is all about improving efficiency, and AI-based applications are becoming the foundation of e-commerce success. AI can be utilized in a variety of formats. AI-based algorithms can improve evaluating customer behaviour patterns to match what customers are searching for with what they want.
AI can aid in content creation in terms of the home page and landing page copy as well as improve logo generation and ad campaign creation. AI can also improve customer support features with chatbots that conduct surveys, answer questions and recommend products.
Amplifying the impacts of AI are features such as voice search shopping which greatly simplifies the online shopping experience and virtual reality features that help customers visualize products before they arrive.
For retailers, AI-infused inventory management can vastly streamline product selection and updating procedures while maintaining timely delivery schedules. As AI platforms, such as virtual product interaction, continue to grow, its application will continue to transform e-commerce in 2022.
Lowering advertising costs
Given that digital advertising alone can cost between $1250and 10,000/ month, many online retailers are searching for more cost-effective solutions to reach potential customers.
Likewise, given that many platforms, such as Apple iOS and Firefox, are specifically limiting third party cookies, gathering information to track customer preferences is becoming more challenging.
That doesn’t mean that reaching customers is impossible, though. Using social media, such as TikTok and Snapchat, can continue to engage customers while relaying valuable information and providing sufficient customer lifetime value.
If social media and social media ads aren’t reaching customers, old standbys such as email marketing, photo and video sharing and even joining a digital directory remain reliable means of promoting your goods and services.
Additionally, group buying can reduce costs for customers and retailers alike. A trend that gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in smaller urban centres in China, group buying allows many goods to be bought in bulk and then distributed through a connective network usually facilitated through a social media platform (such as WeChat in China).
Bulk purchasing lowers costs for customers while lowering costs for distributors and retailers, particularly since advertising can be localized to the main purchasing party rather than trying to accommodate an entire region.
Moreover, group buying can bring products and goods into regions where it would otherwise be cost-prohibitive, essentially expanding networks where advertising revenue would be wasted.
The 6 e-commerce trends of 2022
Alternative financing trends
Traditional fundraising means, such as business lines of credit, capital-for-equity investment and business loans are beginning to lose appeal in the e-commerce world given the long processing times and high standards for credit history or collateral that impede fast-paced operations.
Revenue-based financing offers a popular alternative where fluidity and flexibility maximize growth possibilities. Rather than charge a fixed interest value and payment schedule, Revenue-based financing allows recipients to pay a flat rate coupled with revenue-based adjustments: higher earnings lead to higher repayments, and lower earnings result in lower repayments.
Likewise, Revenue-based funding doesn’t require collateral or established credit history, only historical earnings or projected earnings. While there is less regulation for this type of lending, it offers much greater flexibility for online start-ups or diversifying operations trying to keep pace with a rapidly changing marketplace.
Given the near-universal spread of e-commerce as a business platform, it shouldn’t be surprising that embracing a global sales potential is a growing trend for 2022. E-commerce sales were over 4 trillion dollars in 2020 and are predicted to exceed 6 trillion by 2024, or 22% of the marketplace.
Given that approach, vendors should be adept at creating global brands and platforms that can appeal to consumers across borders.
Interestingly, e-commerce has even greater appeal in emerging or growing markets such as Latin America, which showed nearly 37% growth in online sales in 2020, and China, which comprises 52% of the global e-commerce market.
Capturing foreign customers requires some egalitarianism, cultural accommodation and fluidity relative to domestic markets. For example, providing even pricing values that end in 0’s rather than .99, as is common in the United States, appeals more to Asian and Latin American customers, while providing diverse payment platforms, such as through digital wallets or bank accounts, credit cards or cash upon delivery.
Of equal importance are customer service and logistic platforms that accommodate regional differences and demands. Different countries and cultures have different attitudes towards handling malfunctioning products or returns and there are also differences in how customers wish to interact with customer support;
accommodating these differences, such as through diverse language interfaces to accommodate users from different cultures, can lead to smoother and repeat transactions.
Likewise, ensuring that supply chains and production centres can accommodate global demand and provide goods in a timely manner will ensure that your products will continue to appeal in 2022.
Sustainability has not just become a catchword but a purchasing preference that will continue to grow in 2022. Surveys conducted by Nielsen revealed that 73% of consumers are willing to purchase more sustainable products while surveys conducted by NYU Stern School of Business showed that 50% of packaged goods sold between 2013 and 2018 were those marked sustainable.
E-commerce is the latest realm to heed the call to meet consumer demands for more sustainable products and services.
There are a variety of ways that e-commerce businesses can achieve greater sustainability. Offering environmentally sensitive and non-toxic products with clear and transparent labelling can appeal to consumers’ concern for personal and environmental health while reducing environmental impact.
Purchasing carbon credits, switching to alternative energy or fuel sources or using more efficient equipment for your business can reduce your business carbon footprint.
Using more sustainable packaging, or reducing packaging overall, can reduce consumer waste, and addressing any waste present in the supply chain can decrease the material and energy costs that impact your business as well as the environment.
Retailers can offer buyback programs for used goods that either repair or resell these goods, improving the circular economy and creating greater efficiency for all.
Ultimately, sustainability for your business and the environment revolves around similar principles. Providing transparency for your customers with clear products that meet their needs in an efficient manner and consistency throughout your corporate structure that prioritizes customer wellness is the core of a lasting business.
Taking advantage of these trends can help any business, whether burgeoning or established, capture the growth potential of e-commerce in 2022.