It is time to Tune-up!
No one has ever imagined such an utter digital transformation as we have been experiencing since the COVID-19 outburst. 2020 onwards, it seems that the market has been capsized by blooming online sectors, massive penetration of the new technologies, and novel customer experiences.
Luckily being part of the new digital age, the world of eCommerce makes no exception! In 2020 alone, its share of the global retail trade rose from 14% to 17% (see UNCTAD). As the 2021 Shopify Plus’ annual report on global commerce trends simply puts it “Years of change have happened in weeks”.
Yet, what are the practical consequences of these developments for our online shops? What do the “new normal” and “next normal” in eCommerce imply and how do they relate to the way we manage our eCommerce business successfully?
Finally, which trends are going to endure, and what does the future of eCommerce hold for the post-COVID era in 2022?
By starting from the “new normal” in eCommerce, today, we are going to outline the top eCommerce trends 2022, which are expected to shape the future of eCommerce. We will also be looking at the “next normal” by answering the questions above. Finally, we will highlight some practical tips to help us respond faster to the upcoming eCommerce trends in 2022.
1. What is the “new normal” for eCommerce?
Let us see what this buzzword implies for the world of eCommerce.
A possible definition
Earlier this year, this is how Shopify Plus pictured the notion:
“Offline spending shifted online. Products rarely bought online are now eCommerce staples. And immediacy, convenience, and speed are top consumer demands. This is the new normal.”
Since this sets the scene for the post-COVID changes, let us look at the main features in detail.
2. Key eCommerce trends in the “new normal” age
A new wave of online spending
As spending shifted online, the number of global online buyers increased tremendously, and consumers started buying online new product categories. This led to record-high competition for new clients and many new eCommerce brands were not prepared to rival the old successful eCommerce businesses.
New online customer expectations
New customer requirements have emerged to form new online shopping standards (e.g. common expectations for free deliveries or multichannel innovative experiences). In addition, consumers started buying new product categories such as groceries, health and hygiene products, etc.
Fulfillment as a top customer requirement
COVID consumers appeared to insist on free, fast, and branded deliveries. They also favored brands that supported the environment and appreciated socially responsible engagement. As Shopify’s report highlights, 41.8% of consumers would like the brands they shop from to be socially responsible.
Branding with a human touch
Building an eCommerce brand had become more and more difficult as the big sales happened on eCommerce marketplaces, which welcomed unbranded searches for products. Yet, this also increased the importance of the relationship that brands built with their customers, as well as the quality of customer experiences they offered.
Customer retention as a top priority
As the price of online advertising went increasingly higher, customer retention became superior to new customer acquisition. Another strategy brands extensively explored was to search for new sales channels such as voice-powered shopping, implemented on mobile devices by virtual assistants.
If you are impatient to find out more, take a look at this 4-minute video, visualizing the main insights of Shopify Plus’ report.
3. What does the “next normal” hold for the future of eCommerce?
So far, so good. But what would the “next normal” in the post-COVID era be, then? What eCommerce trends 2022 are we to expect to sustain? Let us see what other analysts reveal.
4. Top 10 eCommerce trends in 2022
As 2022 is approaching fast, the expectations towards the top eCommerce trends that are going to mark 2022 become more and more topical. Here is what our selection of top 10 eCommerce trends 2022 includes:
- Stronger focus on eCommerce personalization, often achieved by artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer experiences, relationships, and overall satisfaction;
- Increased use of voice commerce since it speeds up the shopping process and already is the fastest-growing sales channel in markets such as the US;
- The fast spread of chatbots and automation to save resources, provide 24/7 service, and reach more people;
- Employment of better UI/UX as it leads to greater customer retention;
- Growing cross-border shopping which opens multimarket options and new expansion opportunities for successful eCommerce business;
- Increasing mCommerce as it holds a significant share of the online retail (e.g.70% according to an analysis);
- Increasing use of visual stimuli such as images, video, and virtual reality but also online visual merchandising and searching by images;
- More and more sustainability and CSR as it exerts a serious impact on forming customers’ decision to buy;
- Increased inclusion of more and more payment options to reduce cart abandonment;
- Prevailing social commerce as it is key to achieving a true omnichannel experience.
5. Continuous innovation: the future of eCommerce
A key feature describing the future of eCommerce which deserves individual treatment in our outline also is the continuous drive for innovation pursued by brands globally. It may be identified in each stage of the customer’s journey. It may even cover both the online and physical world (take, for instance, the introduction of drone deliveries).
So, it may be helpful to consider innovation in case you need expansion and multi-market positioning.
Some practical tips to help you adapt
Now, let us see what we can do to anticipate the changes in the forthcoming year.
Tip No. 1: Prioritize customer retention to new customer acquisition as prices in the second instance go increasingly higher due to increased competition
Tip No. 2: Pursue omnichannel experiences as a possible strategy to win new customers
Tip No. 3: Strengthen your mobile eCommerce channels
Tip No. 4: Create new digital experiences (for example, new payment options, automation, etc.)
Tip No. 5: Think up new fulfillment strategies (for instance, by free delivery)
Tip No. 6: Invest in your brand “human touch” (let’s say, try personalization)
Tip No. 7: Categorize your customers and treat them differently (e.g. old vs. new customers)
How did you fancy our piece of advice? We encourage you to compile your list of improvements.
Being able to adapt to the “next to normal” is certain to keep you one step ahead of the competition. By considering the eCommerce trends 2022 you are already empowered to devise your strategy for retaining and regaining customers.
Should you need any help with adjusting to the new trends, do not be shy to contact us.