You run a business in the highly competitive eCommerce industry. Your days are spent planning to improve your conversion rate, reach new customers, and adapt to recent eCommerce trends.
Evolution is part of any business — what works this year may not be as profitable or as effective in the next. Without riding the coming wave of new trends, you run the real risk of getting left behind. In eCommerce, the industry is far more aggressive. Competition between companies and online merchants is fierce. Trendy products and services — other than essentials such as food and digital products — rarely last for years. Much like everything else on the internet, audience interest and attention are transient.
The entire eCommerce ecosystem became more frenetic in 2020. The global population was forced indoors and adopted social distancing protocols due to the pandemic. There wasn’t much room for in-person dining and shopping. Everyone turned their attention to online services. They utilized online stores to shop for everything from food to personal essentials. People had little choice but to get their needs met online.
As a result, the already saturated eCommerce market grew by up to 44%. It added up to 22% of the world’s total retail sales. But that was only the first stage. Eventually, the dust settled and the eCommerce industry found some footing. This transformation created trends in the products that customers shop for. It affected strategies and campaigns used by online stores and marketplaces.
Now that the market is so broad, customer experience rules the day. Companies now use chat support, eco-friendly packaging, personalized thank you cards, and more. The customer is solidly at the center of the eCommerce shopping experience.
The Purpose and Functions of eCommerce
Our evolution into a user-centric experience in eCommerce wasn’t sudden. It’s been gradual. However, the best practices have trended to revolve increasingly around user comfort and positive experience.
The purpose of successful eCommerce trends is to stimulate site users and visitors into making a purchase. Vendors hope to improve the conversion rate for their business. Moreover, happy buyers become repeat customers. They often encourage other customers to make a purchase. After all, one of eCommerce’s main tasks is to cater to the demand and solve the customer’s problem, satisfying their needs.
Another aim of eCommerce this coming year is to improve communication. Customers enjoy giving feedback. They appreciate the feeling of being heard by companies. Whether they’re happy or unhappy, they’ll let the company know. Today, they expect that their feedback matters.
Stay Ahead of Customer Happiness: Notable eCommerce Trends Projected for 2022
Maintaining and improving your conversion rate in the eCommerce industry is critical. Your business needs to stay on top of incoming eCommerce trends, particularly those that emphasize positive customer experiences. Start implementing them now if possible. Commit to adapt to these trends and you’ll future-proof your business.
Listed below are some of the biggest eCommerce trends that analysts and experts project to take root by 2022.
Prioritize an Omnichannel Strategy
This strategy refers to selling and marketing on multiple platforms. This is increasingly important as diversifying the ways customers can find your products makes you more visible. It also improves your conversion rate and reinforces your authority.
Suppose your name pops up on major selling sites such as Amazon and eBay or other specialty marketplaces that facilitate the distribution of products to your niche. In that case, it gives your business the appearance of size and authority. According to a study, 46.7% of customer searches come from Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. More than half of the units sold via Amazon come from third-party sellers. Visibility in social media is always a plus. Approximately 37% of users research products and brands through social media before making a purchase.
Optimize for Voice Search
In recent years, people have become more accustomed to interacting with voice-operated devices and features. Examples include Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri. Using voice commands makes performing tasks such as searching for businesses, asking for directions, and even online shopping even more convenient.
As such, eCommerce companies should prioritize optimizing their sites and pages to be responsive. The goal is to be compatible with platforms these AI assistants search to improve conversion rates. More and more users will be looking into this technology to make their lives easier when they need information.
This technology isn’t fully developed yet. It continues to release updates to make its functionalities more sophisticated, but it’s already a great feature for users. Your brand needs to be prepared to adapt to it sooner rather than later.
Voice Shopping Will Take Centerstage
Along with voice search comes voice shopping. This has already taken hold within the U.S. in a “smart speaker market share.” The smart speaker market is projected to increase by a whopping 55% by the next year. This proves that customers want to use voice assistants in their homes to do more than just search for answers. One of the most common tasks they want voice assistants to perform is to shop for them.
It’s still complicated. Customers have to describe in detail what they want. They must articulate the product, product packaging, ingredients, and other vital information for the voice assistant to return proper results. Unless they have a device that comes with a screen, there are no visual cues. Vendors must make sure their website is optimized to contain the right indicators that allow people to find your products via voice shopping.
It’s also a priority to make the shopping process friendly to voice commands as well. Your website needs to be able to respond to the automated assistant. Product listings must be able to describe the steps a user must take to confirm.
As mentioned earlier, mobile commerce is rapidly becoming the norm. Smartphones have become the most active form of internet access today. Mobile users are so numerous that Google’s algorithms have changed their priorities. The algorithm now scans and checks websites with mobile-friendly design and features and puts those at the forefront of SERPs.
M-Commerce has grown just as rapidly, with more customers making their purchases over their smartphones. To improve your conversion rate, adding features that will help mobile shoppers can give you an edge. Using filters as a virtual dressing room, geo-targeted promo codes, mobile GPS pins to the nearest branches, or even something as simple as a mobile payment option gives you a distinct advantage over the competition.
Eco-friendly practices have become one of the most critical trends in the past few years. More businesses and consumers are starting to understand how vital it is to use sustainable products and create eco-friendly packaging. One survey found that half of its respondents preferred products made of sustainable materials and companies that use eco-friendly components and packaging. Up to 75% of them wanted to do away with packaging (especially plastic packaging) altogether.
Green consumerism is now a significant focal point for many businesses, even tiny businesses that want to make an impact. Their eco-friendly packaging and other touches — water-activated paper tape, recycled paper package padding, cardboard boxes, biodegradable plastic parts, reusable freebies like metal straws, and more — attract customers who want to do their part to fight waste and non-biodegradable trash.
This concept made waves last year when Amazon first debuted it. It has since gained some traction with companies such as FedEx and Alibaba preparing to adopt it. It takes shipping into unheard-of levels and creates a unique service that many customers would be willing to pay for just to see it happen.
Furthermore, it’s another way to enforce contactless payment and delivery. There would be no need for delivery personnel to come to a person’s residence to deliver the package. Better still, drones aren’t restricted to the traffic and roads to which land delivery channels are constrained. They can make same-day deliveries from the nearest distribution or fulfillment center.
While there’s still a long way to go when it comes to nationwide (much less global) implementation — along with specific difficulties along the way concerning a perishable product, packaging that withstands potential drops, and other issues — it’s a promising start. The carbon footprint of drones is a lot smaller compared to freight trucks, vans, and other land-based delivery options.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Some years ago, the widespread fame of Pokemon Go introduced consumers to the wonders of augmented reality. Now, it’s widely available and viable for commercial purposes. Many businesses have been implementing it for various features.
Adding AR features provides a unique experience for customers. For example, it can give them the utility of “trying” an item on before they make a purchase, the same way they would if they were in a brick-and-mortar store. As such, it improves the conversion rate as it eliminates buyer uncertainties.
Clothing stores have begun using AR to create virtual dressing rooms. Customers can try on clothes before buying them. Some salons offer hair color testing features to see if a particular hairstyle will suit a customer. IKEA uses virtual reality to scan and measure a room. Buyers can see what a piece of furniture would look like in their home before buying it.
As you can imagine, these types of eCommerce trends aren’t just there to dazzle. They also serve an integral purpose to the buyer experience.
Social Media Enters Online Shopping
Social media has become more than just a marketing vehicle for eCommerce. Now it’s a selling platform as well.
Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram now have their shopping features which improve the conversion rate by lessening purchase steps. Customers can see a product getting advertised on a company’s Facebook page. They can then buy them straight away through a Shop Page or Facebook Marketplace.
Similarly, Instagram now has a much-anticipated shopping feature. Users can click on a photo and see tags that indicate the names and prices of the featured products in the photograph. After that, it’s a matter of making the purchase right inside the Instagram app. This cuts out the rest of the steps that typically lead a customer to a company’s page or selling platform and create an account for purchase there.
As part of the movement to improve conversion rates through positive customer experiences, headless eCommerce was designed to give companies more significant control over their site’s front-end design. It also helps create personalized customer experiences. Changes made in the front end of the design don’t affect back-end functionality.
This way, companies can change and adapt the front-end design more efficiently than ever. They can respond to special events or holidays, or revamp website appearance every so often to fit their customer base’s mood and style. They can even transform the design for web, mobile, and tablet displays as needed. Significantly, they can modify the SEO of their pages as well, all without messing with the complex shop functionality in the back end to make it work.
Increased AI Use in Ecommerce
Finally, there is the increased use of artificial intelligence or AI. You might have already seen this done via chatbots installed in a business page’s social media platform messenger or directly on the website. The AI can act as an FAQ or helpdesk for customers with common concerns, removing the need for a human customer service rep.
Another use of AI is to detect and predict user preferences. AI can study your customer’s browsing and buying patterns. It can then make intelligent recommendations of similar products that they might also be interested in. It helps keep customers in the store longer and find what they need on your site.
Trends in the eCommerce field continue to grow by the day, month, and year. More eCommerce trends than ever are springing up. With the advent of more technology, there are plenty of opportunities for online businesses to gain an edge over the crowd by hopping onto the forecasted trends right away. This allows them to deliver customer-centered experiences and demonstrate that they are at the cutting edge in their industry.