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15 eCommerce trends to watch out for in 2022

From how we work to how we shop, the pandemic pumped its foot down on the accelerator of the digital world so fast, eCommerce businesses still have whiplash. An Post delivered a record breaking 3.3 million parcels per week in December 2020, a 230% increase from the year before, signalling that Covid-19 forever changed the eCommerce world.

Two years later, having an eCommerce store is no longer a luxury. Even for traditional brick and mortar shop owners, it’s become essential to sell online if they have any hope of surviving future lockdowns and competing against their agile eCommerce counterparts. With more and more businesses moving online, the competition has never been so extreme. 

Your best weapon to emerge victorious in 2022 no matter what this pandemic-fuelled world throws at you? Keeping one step ahead of emerging eCommerce trends to stay focused, ready, and competitive. Here are 15 of the most crucial eCommerce trends you need to prepare for in 2022.

  1. Voice eCommerce

Online shopping via smart speakers like Google Nest and Amazon Echo is steadily rising. A report by OccStrategy predicts sales made through voice will reach $40 billion in the US by 2023. If you look at PWC‘s report, which said 71% of people prefer voice search to typing queries, this comes as no surprise. 

Irish eCommerce businesses can optimise their website for voice search by targeting more conversational or long-tail keywords like “where’s the cheapest place to buy trainers” rather than “cheap trainers”. Many voice searches are question-based, so focus on delivering quality answers to commonly asked questions – especially on FAQ pages. 

  1. Visual eCommerce

In 2022, we’ll see an increase in 3D product visualisers and AR to help consumers make informed buying decisions. Early adopters are paving the way for visual shopping innovation, like Nike, who developed an app that scans your feet to recommend shoe sizes and IKEA, who created a visualiser that shows you how furniture will look in your home.

With more and more people buying online, businesses can reduce returns and push their customers towards conversion by enhancing the visual experience of their products. Letting customers “try before they buy” and see a realistic view of products with 3D mapping or videos will be vital in simplifying the buyer journey and getting more sales in 2022.

  1. Subscription models

A report by MoEngage tells us that the customer retention rate for eCommerce is only at 38% compared to 63% for retail. So, to increase retention, businesses will look to subscription models in 2022. You don’t have to be the next Netflix or Spotify to offer a subscription option. There are many ways to get customers to stick around.

Take Savage x Fenty for example. This Rihanna-led lingerie brand gives customers discounts on their monthly underwear haul for a monthly fee. If they don’t want to buy one month, they get credit to their account. Along with loyalty points, free shipping, and VIP access to new products, you can customise your subscription model to suit your business.

  1. Sustainable shopping

70% of consumers agree that addressing the climate crisis is more important now than ever (GlobalData). So, in 2022, we’ll see even more customers shopping in an eco-conscious manner, supporting local businesses, and championing brands that use sustainable production methods and packaging. 

By showing customers that you’re committed to sustainability, whether it’s by offsetting your carbon footprint, donating to climate-driven causes, or using eco-friendly delivery methods, they’ll be much more likely to choose you over a less sustainable competitor. Bottom line? If you want more profit in 2022, take a sustainable approach. (Your conscience will thank you.)

  1. AI-driven personalisation

According to Personalisation, giving customers personalised product recommendations increases conversion rates by 915%. If AI continues evolving at today’s pace, we expect significant innovations in personalisation to happen this year, and business owners will pay more attention to its revenue-boosting benefits. 

According to Epsilon, 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers a personalised experience. So if you want to tempt that 80%, it’s time to incorporate personalisation into your customers’ online shopping experience with product recommendations, abandoned cart emails, and highly targeted and relevant ads. 

  1. B2B pivots to eCommerce

With 44% of millennials making corporate buying decisions (DemandGen), B2B will operate differently in 2022. Millennials will expect the convenience of B2C online shopping from B2B businesses. In a report by eMarketer, 41% of people said that self-service functionality is one of the top three ways B2B companies could make it easier for them to shop online. 

Where older generations prefer to get their information directly from sales representatives, millennials are more likely to do their own research and choose the most convenient option. In 2022, we’ll see customers preferring to work with B2B suppliers that let them easily order online, set up automated orders, and check their account information. 

  1. Direct to consumer approach

Over the past two years, we’ve seen a spike in direct to consumer businesses with brands as big as Nike deciding to sell directly, something destined to continue well into 2022. So, how can retailers prepare for stockists going “DTC”? 

  • Create solid contracts that protect you from financial fallout if a brand you stock decided to go DTC
  • Ask brands you stock for feedback on your eCommerce store, this can help you fix issues before they cause them to leave
  • Survey your partners to identify who might be at risk of leaving, this way you can strategise to keep them onboard

If one of your partners has already decided to start selling directly, look at it as an opportunity rather than competition. If they stay with you, you can combine customer data from both channels for more targeted marketing campaigns and even have them test new product launches before scaling to all stockists. 

  1. Social eCommerce

eMarketer predicts that social buyers will increase by 75% between 2019 and 2025. We can see why. Consumers now shop while they scroll and checkout directly on major social media apps. The younger generation often uses social media to discover new brands and get inspired by the latest trends. Combine that with shopping? It’s a commercial no brainer. 

According to Bazaarvoice, 39% of 18-34-year-olds have purchased at least once through Social Media. So if you haven’t already taken advantage of these value-rich shopping channels, now is undoubtedly the time. Pandemic or no pandemic, Social eCommerce is on the rise, so you better get ready. 

  1. Live shopping

As Jeff Malmad, executive director of Shop+, recently said, “Influencers want to be rich, brands want to grow, and consumers are addicted to social and shopping—it’s all a very powerful combination.” This is why live shopping has taken over China and is slowly making its way around the world. 

Live shopping involves an influencer or brand live streaming a product demonstration and answering questions. They often include giveaways or discounts only available on the live stream to increase engagement. Amazon Live has taken live shopping a step further, eliminating the need for two apps and livestreaming demos directly on their website. 

  1. Second-hand and vintage shopping 

Closely linked with consumers’ hyper-focus on sustainability and, in some cases, loss of income due to the pandemic, second-hand and vintage eCommerce will continue to grow in 2022. We will see more second-hand marketplaces popping up and traditional brands launching a second-hand or vintage section to satisfy eco or budget-conscious shoppers. 

To capitalise on this trend, eCommerce owners should identify ways to introduce second-hand, upcycled, or vintage products into their offering. Not only does this expand your market and improve customers’ perception of your brand, but it’s also an excellent way for you to make a profit on clothing that would otherwise be donated or sold on websites like Depop. 

  1. Q-commerce

In 2022 we’ll see an increase in Q-Commerce (Quick-commerce), where businesses deliver goods on the same day or within just a few hours of purchase. This is already commonplace for food businesses that use services like Deliveroo for food delivery, but demand in fashion, beauty, and electronics is expected to grow this year.

The younger population is accelerating demand for quicker, more flexible delivery times. Companies like Buymie are quick to cash in on this by crowdsourcing delivery drivers to deliver groceries and essentials within hours. In 2022, this delivery method will become more popular and expected with non-food businesses. 

  1. Paperless digital returns

As online shopping becomes the default over the coming years, we’ll experience a greater preference for eCommerce businesses with simple returns processes. This means digital forms that customers quickly fill out online and a tracking system to inform them when their return has been received, approved, and refunded. 

Not only is paperless more sustainable, but it’s also more convenient. In 2022, we’ll also see an increase in drop-off points which let customers return their packages in high-traffic areas. The returns process can be a dealbreaker for your customers, so making it as simple, fast, and cost-effective as possible will help you compete this year. 

  1. Video consultations

In 2022 eCommerce businesses will create more informative shopping experiences with video consultations. Video consultations are fantastic for helping shoppers get a more in-depth view of their desired products without having to leave their house. It also benefits older shoppers who mightn’t be as comfortable with online shopping. 

The idea is that users can simply press a button on your website to call your shop or warehouse and talk to an employee who will answer their questions about a particular product and show them how it looks in real life. This will be a game-changer for minimising returns and increasing online sales. 

  1. Out-of-home delivery lockers

With more supply chain issues and employee shortages forecasted for this year and the ever-evolving Brexit challenge, eCommerce businesses are looking at innovative ways to optimise their logistics processes. One such method is by using out-of-home delivery lockers as a pickup point for customer orders. 

Already popular in Asia, out-of-home delivery lockers are now popping up everywhere in European countries too. They give consumers the convenience of collecting their deliveries whenever they want and offer a streamlined customer experience. For eCommerce businesses, it means cutting delivery costs and maximising delivery efficiency – a win-win.

  1. Shoppers avoid UK eCommerce

A recent survey by KPMG stated that two thirds of Irish people are buying from UK sites less frequently due to Brexit custom charges with 38% saying they haven’t bought from UK online stores at all since Brexit. How can Irish eCommerce stores take advantage of this trend? 

  • Perform competitive research on your UK counterparts to develop more targeted online campaigns. 
  • Expand your on-shore supply chain and avoid transit through the UK to limit Brexit’s custom fees. 
  • Encourage support for “buy Irish” and “shop local” campaigns and use “avoid UK custom fees” as a USP on your website and online ads. 

Looking ahead to the future of eCommerce

Even as the pandemic subsides, the increasing shift towards online shopping is here to stay, with a predicted 95% of purchases being facilitated by eCommerce by 2040 by Nasdaq – a statistic that’s looking increasingly likely given the rapid pace at which the eCommerce and digital world at large is moving. 2022 is going to be even more competitive, so do your best to keep up the pace.

We hope this article has given you some food for thought as you prepare your 2022 business plans and marketing strategies and offers some interesting insights to drive innovation and stay ahead of the curve. If you’d like to learn more about growing your eCommerce business, we’d love to hear from you here at Ireland Website Design. 

We’re Ireland’s leading eCommerce web design specialists. With our process-led and results-driven digital marketing services, we help eCommerce business owners amplify their online presence and accelerate sales. 
If you need help cutting through the noise, increasing online conversions, and significantly improving customer retention, get in touch with us today to craft your ultimate eCommerce strategy.

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