With the development of digitalization, the e-commerce niche has become a driver of key transformations in the global economy, and the COVID-19 pandemic has given e-commerce an additional bonus. Changing consumer habits, the struggle for the attention of the buyer forced companies to switch to doing business online. E-commerce continues to strengthen its position – Group M analysts predict an increase in its share in the global retail turnover to 25% by 2024. E-Commerce trends in 2022!
In recent years, the development of e-commerce, we have seen a lot, from process automation to augmented reality technologies. Let’s take a look at what e-commerce trends will be relevant in 2022 and what the future has in store for us.
Expansion of the e-commerce market: a global trend for the coming years
The pandemic and its consequences have caused the rapid development of e-commerce. If before the appearance of the coronavirus, the forecast of the Data Insight agency for the volume of the e-commerce market in Russia indicated the figure of 3.6 trillion rubles in 2022, then after the invasion of COVID-19 this figure was already 4.4 trillion rubles. By 2024, analysts plan a turnover of 7.2 trillion rubles against 5.6 trillion under the scenario excluding the pandemic. According to experts , in 2022, global sales in the e-commerce market will exceed $5.5 trillion, by 2025 this figure will be $7.4 trillion.
The interest of buyers in remote interaction with sellers continues to grow. If before the pandemic, the key factor in attracting consumers was to improve the shopping experience, then during the COVID-19 period, restrictions on offline purchases and demand for the delivery of goods additionally influenced the decision to go online. As a result, consumer habits have changed, new solutions have been actively adopted by users. In modern realities, they are no longer perceived as advertising campaigns, but as important conditions that shape purchasing behavior.
E-commerce trends in 2022 aim to create the most convenient buying process for the consumer with a quick resolution of all his questions and doubts.
The rise of mobile commerce
Along with an increase in confidence in online shopping, there is also an increase in sales from mobile devices. To some extent, this is due to the high frequency of use of smartphones and tablets. But the key role is played by the comfort and convenience of shopping using mobile devices.
Adjust and Sensor Tower have published their mobile commerce analytics results from 2019 to the end of 2021. Experts predict a further increase in purchases using smartphones. In 2021, 54% of online sales are from mobile e-commerce, the market volume exceeds $3.5 trillion (20% more than in 2020). App installs are up 10% year over year.
It is important for startups to take this trend into account when creating e-commerce products: use the mobile first strategy (adapting the site for smartphones), take into account the features of purchases from mobile devices, offer alternative payment options, make the interface and functionality intuitive (conduct usability testing), and etc.
Direct sales to the end customer (D2C)
The global trend is direct interaction between the manufacturer and the buyer without intermediaries and dealers – Direct-to-Consumer (D2C). Brands, companies strive for direct contact with the retail consumer.
D2C sales can save a lot of money for both parties, but success in such an entrepreneurship requires a good knowledge of the target audience, their needs, the best ways to meet them, as well as control of customer touchpoints. By developing e-commerce on their own and minimizing intermediary chains, manufacturers are adopting retail experience and methods of interaction with the buyer.
Omnichannel is the combination of disparate channels of interaction with the client into a single system to organize a seamless shopping experience. This e-commerce trend involves sales literally everywhere: the path to a purchase can start with a search engine, go through paid content, social networks, an online store, offline points, and so on. At the same time, it is important to synchronize the channels with each other, observing the unity of communications.
One of the omnichannel trends is the use of CDP (Customer Data Platform) instead of CRM. CPM systems record every interaction with the consumer, but they cannot combine information from different sources, keep records of the virtual activity of customers. CDP platforms collect data from individual channels into a single profile, build end-to-end communication. As a result, the company’s income is growing not only due to the effective attraction of a client, but also its retention, transfer to regular customers. The transition to CDP is expedient for startups as they develop, when there is already a lot of data about consumers. CRM is enough for small projects at the initial stages.
The personalization trend is always relevant: it is necessary for e-commerce to improve the shopping experience, build brand loyalty, retain the client, offer him a product that is most suitable for filling the need that has arisen. Online recommendations on the choice of goods, instructions for use and other master classes, guides that answer user questions acquire value.
Marketing personalization is associated with the collection of consumer data to provide relevant results, create mailing lists with a personal message, offer individual discounts (for example, on a birthday).
Buyers are already accustomed to fulfilling their own needs without performing uncomfortable actions for them, which can be conversations with sellers, waiting in line, paperwork, and so on.
Automation solves many problems:
- facilitates the purchase process – as a result, the client base grows, sales increase;
- frees employees from routine operations – as an example, chatbots can answer standard questions, automate payments, scan articles in warehouses, and so on;
- increases labor productivity;
- accelerates business processes;
- eliminates errors due to human factors and so on.
Automation tools include the development of various software (CRM, ERP), solutions in the field of robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Analysts at IDC estimate the size of the AI market in 2021 at $327.5 billion, by 2024 this figure will be $554.3 billion (an annual growth of 17.5%). There is a growing demand for robotization of routine processes, bots combined with conversational intelligence.
In the field of e-commerce, AI built into software allows over a third of specialists to be offloaded. He successfully replaces sales assistants, talks about products, solves customer problems, implements the personalization trend: gives recommendations, compiles product selections based on shopping behavior and order history. AI monitors inventory in the warehouse, maintains document flow, and optimizes marketing policy.
Analysts predict an annual growth of the chatbot market by 24.3%, by 2025 its volume will reach $1.25 billion. This means of communication with the client greatly simplifies the purchase process and saves employees’ working time.
In e-commerce, chatbots select products (by color, size, other characteristics), provide advice, answer questions, notify about the order stage, and accept payments.
Voice commerce is used to search for goods, services, make purchases, track orders. Sound assistants (Siri from Apple, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Alice from Yandex, Google Home) are becoming personal sales assistants. They lead the consumer to the purchase, consult, remind about incomplete orders, conduct surveys, collect feedback, replace call center employees.
Voice shopping is great for buying everyday items that don’t need additional visual stimuli: groceries, household items, and more. Analysts predict an increase in Voice Assistant to 8 billion by 2023.
One of the ways to stimulate sales and meet customer needs is video consultations with product demonstrations. For example, the Eyezon service makes it possible to organize personal live broadcasts at the request of users.
In e-commerce, the implementation of such solutions is appropriate for the sale of goods that need a visual stimulus: clothing, shoes, interior items, electronics, and so on.
The trend of online shopping through marketplaces continues. Many consumers prefer to buy everything they need in one place, combining products of different categories and brands in the basket. In addition to a wide and varied assortment, among the advantages of marketplaces for customers are the convenience of ordering, delivery and return of products, for entrepreneurs – a large audience coverage, a low entry threshold.
But there are also disadvantages: competition with other sellers, difficulties with positioning your product/brand (it is difficult to make it recognizable), difficulties with the implementation of marketing methods due to restrictions in communication with the consumer, compliance with the rules of the site, the need to coordinate promotions, loyalty programs. It is advisable to consider the marketplace as the main (or the only) distribution channel only at the initial stages of the project; in the future, the company needs omnichannel.
Creating your own online trading platform is not easy: it is within the power of entrepreneurs who already have similar experience or decide to scale their offline business. The price of developing a marketplace is high – in addition, startups will need to invest heavily in marketing and user acquisition.
The CRO (conversion rate optimization) trend is aimed at creating a positive shopping experience, which is especially important in highly competitive e-commerce areas. The process of shopping on an online platform should be comfortable, simple, understandable to the user, bring him any benefit (tangible or intangible). Only then does the potential buyer become a real one.
Conversion optimization allows you to:
- Increase sales and bottom line – conversion rate optimization is performed without increasing advertising costs or reducing the price of a product. Sometimes small changes to a landing page can make a big difference in CR.
- Reduce the risk of making wrong decisions — optimization is not based on subjective opinions and intuition, but on the results of research, calculations, analytics, and hypothesis testing.
- Increase user loyalty through a successful shopping experience.
The CRO algorithm includes the stages of collecting and analyzing data, offering insights, ideas, hypotheses, testing them, studying the results, implementing suitable options, and testing their real performance.
Zerocoding is a trend that allows startups to quickly create an MVP and test hypotheses for performance. The approach involves the use of ready-made solutions without writing code. Known zerocoding tools include:
- Tilda – for launching landings, multi-page sites.
- Ecwid – for creating online stores.
- Adalo , Glide – for developing mobile applications.
- Airtable – for creating a database.
- Zapier – for linking different services.
- Integromat – for developing chatbots, automating workflows.
If, during testing, the hypothesis demonstrates its efficiency and demand among the audience, then it is advisable to involve developers.
PWA (Progressive Web App) is a website that looks like a mobile application. You can use it even in the absence of the Internet. Creation and support are cheaper for the company: now you can not create a separate web resource and an application for smartphones (iOS, Android).
The site runs in a browser, but has all the technical advantages of apps: fast loading, user-friendly interaction, high engagement rate. According to AliExpress , PWA increased site conversion rates by 104%.
Social Commerce and Influencer Partnerships
The social commerce development trend involves not only redirecting users from social networks to an online store, but also direct sales on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and so on. Some platforms and instant messengers are at the testing stage (YouTube, TikTok), others have already launched shopping options – Facebook Shops , WhatsApp (Shop function), VKontakte. This greatly simplifies the process of interaction between the buyer and the client: after looking at the product overview, he can buy it without unnecessary transitions and clicks.
The influencer marketing industry continues to grow – companies use influencers to promote their product and attract customers from the blogger audience. Trust in influencers has been growing in recent years, and it is worth paying attention not only to the number of subscribers, but also to the involvement of the public. Influencer marketing can improve a company’s reputation, significantly increase sales and repeat referrals.
The trend includes the use of augmented reality (AR) technologies in e-commerce, the creation of virtual clothing (digital only) or a virtual showroom.
Trying on a wardrobe using AR capabilities improves the shopping experience, reduces the number of product returns. The latter aspect is most valued by retailers, since returns cause significant damage to online trading companies.
In addition, virtualization acts as an additional tool to attract an audience, distinguishes the company from competitors: users are interested in visiting an online fitting room, seeing a carpet or furniture in their own interior, and so on. 71% of consumers are ready to make purchases on platforms where augmented reality technologies are implemented, and 40% are willing to pay extra for such an opportunity.
The retailer is extremely profitable purchases by subscription: in this way he gets regular customers. In addition, such a business model makes it possible to make accurate forecasts for the company’s income.
For the consumer, a subscription facilitates the process of regular purchases, eliminates the need to repeatedly place orders for goods of constant demand.
Variety of payment options
One of the key e-commerce trends is the availability of multiple payment methods. The bigger, the better. If the client does not find a suitable option, the risk of losing it is high. Ease of payment and variety of payment methods are often the determining factor when choosing an online store.
In recent years, alternative payment options and fast payment systems have been rapidly spreading. According to TAdviser , only for 7 months of 2021 in the Russian Federation the volume of contactless transfers using Pay technology grew by 36%, the number of payers increased by 2.5 times.
It is advisable for retailers to provide for the possibility of paying by standard methods (by card number, to a current account, in cash upon receipt), as well as using electronic, digital wallets, fast payment systems, QR codes, by link, cryptocurrency, and so on. Of course, it is necessary to ensure the security of transfers.
It is important to consider ways to buy in installments, credit. Increases customer loyalty with the BNPL option, which allows you to purchase goods immediately and pay later. If the client approves this form of payment, he pays the amount for the purchase in installments over a certain period.
What to do today to become successful tomorrow – summing up
All described e-commerce trends in 2022 are aimed at providing convenience and ease of shopping, implementing solutions for consumer comfort. Buyer behavior depends not only on the quality and “need” of the product, but also on the conditions of interaction with the seller: if the process of searching and selecting goods, placing an order causes difficulties for a person, he will immediately leave the online store. Online trading aims to quickly cover the needs of the client, dispel his questions and doubts about the purchase.
Many of the listed trends did not originate today, but remain relevant (marketplaces, automation, personalization, and so on). Others have just embarked on the path of development – direct sales through social networks, virtualization or, for example, “green” principles. The latter trend is not as widespread in Russia as in the West, but the demand for environmental initiatives is steadily growing. Solutions to protect the environment include recycling of raw materials, the use of eco-packaging, the production of goods from biodegradable materials, the transition to electric vehicles and others.
In e-commerce, it is important to take into account not only current market trends, but also user preferences for different products. In some areas, automation will come first, in others – communication with the client, in others – flexible delivery and return conditions. Conduct surveys, study reviews, test hypotheses and make the right decisions.