Ecommerce has revolutionized the way we shop. In today’s world, you’re just a click away from ordering anything and then receiving it at your doorstep within days. You can order products at nearly any moment — when you’re watching TV, listening to music, or doing household chores.
Recently, lockdowns and work-from-home arrangements have only accelerated the switch to online shopping. It’s estimated that the number of online shoppers will soon reach 2.14 billion. When you take into consideration the world’s population (around 7.8 billion), that means approximately 1 in 4 people shop online.
Because of this, online businesses need to be aware of the latest ecommerce trends to stay both relevant and competitive. For example, Amazon was the first to offer free shipping and quick delivery. Today, many of the major ecommerce players have done the same.
To make sure your store is as competitive as possible, here’s a comprehensive list of emerging ecommerce trends in 2022. Let’s dive right in!
There’s an unspoken rule in the ecommerce industry — customers should have the flexibility to choose their preferred payment method. This is exactly why most online stores offer multiple payment options including credit cards, EMI, PayPal, cash, and gift cards.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are also emerging as viable methods of payment. Even though crypto started off as fringe technology, it’s now accepted by the masses. On top of that, there’s a growing percentage of people who consider crypto the future of currency.
Prominent banking and payment platforms (such as PayPal and Visa) now allow their customers to transact with crypto, and US-based customers can also use PayPal’s “Checkout with Crypto” feature. Through PayPal, your customers can convert their crypto into fiat currency (like dollars and euros) based on the current exchange rate.
A survey conducted by Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) found that around 36% of small to medium-sized businesses in the US now accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. There are even governments trying to launch their own cryptocurrencies, such as El Salvador, which has started to accept crypto as an official form of payment.
Tech giants like Microsoft have also adopted crypto. Customers can load up their Microsoft account using Bitcoin, which can be used to pay for Microsoft apps, Xbox Live, and other digital content. The wide acceptance of crypto from governments and prominent companies will surely act as a catalyst for making crypto mainstream.
This is precisely why you should adopt crypto, too. Here are some benefits of allowing your customers to pay with cryptocurrency:
Cryptocurrencies leverage blockchain technology, which does more than simply accept payments. Blockchain keeps safe records — like a ledger — and keeps track of transactions that cannot be altered. Blockchain’s implementation in the supply chain, and the increased transparency that comes with it, can provide greater confidence to your customers.
To stay ahead of your competition, your ecommerce business should make sure to embrace this new and exciting form of payment.
We’re all in the middle of a transition from product-centric business models to customer-centric business models. Businesses are delivering what the customers demand — rather than creating a product and finding customers who want it.
The current market is both competitive and filled with similar products, and that means winning customers requires you to offer tailor-made solutions that really resonate with them. AI and machine learning algorithms allow businesses to deliver the personalized shopping experiences customers crave.
So, how does AI work? When customers purchase items, the AI captures their data. AI harnesses this data to learn about customers’ buying behavior – like how they shop and what they search for – and uses that information to curate product recommendations. Analyzing that much data in real-time is not feasible for humans, but it’s no problem for AI. And that’s just one reason Artificial intelligence can be extremely lucrative for businesses.
Since AI is able to make unique recommendations to each buyer, the likelihood of customer purchases also becomes much higher. Customers expect businesses to treat them like individuals, and AI can make that happen.
Like crypto, chatbots are becoming mainstream. Studies show that more than 2/3 of online customers interacted with them in 2020. Chatbots are becoming more and more personalized, and they’re able to offer a much-improved shopping experience for online shoppers.
In the fast-paced world we live in, customers can get frustrated if they don’t find the product they want in a few clicks. Chatbots can help make personal shopping recommendations that lead to sales.
Just as in-store sales agents assist shoppers, chatbots can do the same for your online shoppers. They help you cross-sell, upsell, and make recommendations based on past purchases.
Apart from becoming valuable sales associates, chatbots have also been widely utilized to offer 24/7 support and reduce expenses that come with hiring a round-the-clock support team. You can add answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) in the chatbot’s system so they can instantly solve the most common problems. By integrating the live chat function, you can also let your support staff monitor conversations and jump in when the bots are struggling.
If you aren’t using chatbots for your ecommerce business, now’s the time to start.
Despite an online store’s convenience, there are still some factors where physical stores outperform ecommerce. A study shows that around 30% of consumers prefer physical stores so they can see and feel products before purchasing.
Augmented Reality might help bridge this gap. Through AR, potential customers can see items they plan to purchase as a 3D model. This can be a gamechanger in the fashion and home decor industries, as customers are able to really understand the product before purchasing.
IKEA’s Place App is an excellent example of using AR, by allowing customers to test out furniture at their homes or offices before purchase.
A primary concern when purchasing furniture is figuring out whether certain pieces fit into certain spaces. Shoppers also want to know whether or not potential pieces would complement existing furniture. IKEA Place solves these issues. Customers can simply point their camera at a location they’d like to put an item they’re thinking about purchasing, and then they can browse through IKEA’s product catalog and “place” it in their desired spot.
In the Place App, customers can see products from different angles, try out different colors, and ultimately find the most suitable piece for their space. By taking “try it before you buy it” to the next level, AI allows customers to see furniture where it would go — without having to actually move it there.
As you can see, augmented reality provides an immersive buying experience for your customers, and has a real potential to increase your sales.
We’ve all witnessed the adverse effects of global warming and climate change, and as governments become more proactive in conserving the environment, consumers are also becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases.
According to Shopify’s Future of Commerce Report, approximately 50% of customers prefer to purchase from brands that demonstrate a clear commitment towards sustainability.
Simply put, promoting sustainable products boosts your sales. As more businesses adopt this strategy, it can be challenging to determine which brands are “greenwashing” their brands, and which ones are truly taking initiatives. Because of this, customers prefer visibility over companies’ supply chains.
They want to know where products are produced, how they’re distributed, and how they’re managed. Pangaia, for example, is a clothing brand that shares the science behind the sustainable materials they use.
By honestly communicating your business’ impact on the environment, you have the chance to gain the trust of your customers and maximize your revenue.
As the trend of data privacy proliferates, businesses are getting serious about data protection. Last year, Apple launched iOS 14.5, which allows users to opt out of sharing data with Facebook. ecommerce brands have suffered since they can no longer access accurate data for ad targeting.
This iOS update drastically reduced ad efficiency and led to a big dip in revenue. As data from third parties like Facebook gets phased out, brands need to explore new ways to collect information about their customers.
The most effective way to achieve this is by collecting data directly from their customers — which is called zero-party data – and use that data to personalize their shopping experiences. Using zero-party data gives brands greater data control and makes them more self-reliant.
There are several options when collecting zero-party data. You can conduct quizzes, send email surveys, and add conversational pop-ups to your site. Post-purchase feedback from your customers will also allow you to get valuable nuggets of information.
Increasingly, voice assistants like Siri and Alexa have gained popularity and are becoming a big part of many people’s lifestyles. Customers are getting much more comfortable conducting searches with their voice, too. That’s why your ecommerce website should be optimized to allow users to search for products using voice — especially from mobile devices.
As more people adopt smart speakers, voice assistants are being used to take care of daily tasks and online shopping. This creates an opportunity for you to optimize keywords and rank for voice searches. At the bare minimum, you should make sure your address, phone number, and email are available through voice search.
As per Juniper Research, the total number of digital voice assistants will reach 8 billion by 2023, and the value of voice commerce will exceed $80 billion. That’s exactly why you should invest in technology to upgrade your conversational commerce capabilities.
Social media platforms used to be predominantly populated by Gen Z. However, due in part to the lockdowns and pandemic, even the Millennials and Baby Boomers are now highly connected on social media.
Social Media content creates opportunities for people to both discover and buy your products. It’s estimated that social commerce sales will reach $2.9 trillion by 2026. On top of that, around 36% of US social media users make direct purchases through social media channels.
Social media platforms are making a strong push towards social commerce. From Facebook Marketplace, to Pinterest boards, Instagram shop, and even Whatsapp business, brands should make sure to take advantage of these platforms.
Using data from social media, brands can also better understand consumer behavior and use that data to target people who are most likely to purchase the products. Each social media platform has its pros and cons, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Deciding which platforms to target — and what kinds of communities you want to build — are strategic decisions that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Ultimately, brands need to get creative while using social media. In order for your content to resonate with your audience, you must understand them thoroughly — and then deliver the correct message in their preferred language.
Now that you’re aware of the latest ecommerce trends, you should try your best to adjust your business strategy accordingly — and reap the benefits! As the volume of your ecommerce transactions increases, it’s crucial to efficiently manage your inventory and deliver on time. These two factors can severely impact your reputation.
As a savvy business owner, you should use inventory management software to get real-time visibility of your inventory and on-time stock replenishment. By integrating this software with your ecommerce store, you can also gain valuable insights into your store’s performance and metrics.
If you’re interested in inventory management software for your ecommerce business, book a call with our Cin7 experts to see how we can help scale your business.
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