New year comes new trends! Are you getting set to bid farewell to 2021 and hello to 2022? While the year 2020 and 2021 was all about the race to digital transformation and social commerce, 2022 is going to be more about the evolution from omnichannel adaptation and the inevitable shift to unified commerce

76% of US customers purchase online, and e-commerce revenues are expected to double by 2024. Ecommerce has levelled the playing field for brands with direct-to-consumer business models capable of providing an exceptional online experience. However, even businesses that were formed in an omnichannel world must stay one step ahead of ecommerce trends to keep up with customer demands and avoid being overtaken by more agile competitors.

According to a Statista analysis on e-commerce platforms, this is the future of retail:

Those retailers who offered innovative pickup options – curbside, BIOPS, in-store, and drive-through – grew more than 60% faster than those who did not over the final five days before Christmas. Meanwhile, customers flocked to social media for more than just inspiration: purchases made through a social channel referral increased by 104%.

Here are the 7 hot retail tech trends & how-tos to kick off 2022 with a bang in the world of retail and ecommerce.

Retail Trend #1: Retail has evolved from omnichannel

According to a Harvard Business Review report, 73 % of customers utilised multiple channels and e-commerce sites to discover and purchase new products. In 2022, even as omnichannel continues to expand, the future ready ones will have already made the move to unified commerce.

Today’s customers prioritise convenience over anything else. An omnichannel strategy delivers that convenience by establishing a seamless experience for customers whether they are shopping on a Computer, searching for things on a smartphone, or picking up items in a physical store via click and collect services. Businesses that are investing further in omnichannel strategy must look at adding enablers to their entire ecosystems when building experiences. Experiences now must be built on an ecosystem that brings business, technology and future vision together. The ecosystem must be enabled to continuously evolve and deliver scalable experiences that can be expanded to new customer rouchpoints that continue to emerge. This is what the core principle of Unified Commerce is.

Retail Trend #2: The emergence of headless e-commerce

Headless-commerce technologies are software architectures that separate what the customer sees (the front-end interface) from core commerce processes such as payment processing and inventory management (the back-end software). Essentially, the technology enables easy selling over a wide range of channels.

Businesses may be quick to adjust to market changes by using portable backends, data, and data structures. Most importantly, the headless architecture allows businesses to provide multi-platform purchasing experiences by showing the optimal frontend tools for each platform/device.

Retail Trend #3: The rise in mobile shopping (Mobile Commerce)

Mobile shopping allows customers to buy things from anywhere in the globe using just their smartphones. Globally, there will be 2.14 billion digital buyers in 2021, with smartphones accounting for 57% of online retail orders.

To leverage this, businesses must first make their online store mobile-friendly. An e-commerce website should be compatible with various types of devices, such as smartphones, desktop computers, tablets, and so on. Further use of numerous mobile payment gateways will assist businesses in thriving in the mobile shopping arena. Consumers benefit from the presence of payment methods such as Amazon Pay, credit/debit cards, and e-wallets.

Retail Trend #4: AI -More personalized marketing and products

The year 2021 was a watershed moment in the retail industry. AI and Machine Learning (ML) are increasingly being used by e-commerce businesses to offer personalised shopping experiences through smart product suggestions and predictive search. According to Juniper Research, global retailers would spend more than $7.3 billion per year on Artificial Intelligence (AI) by 2022. AI spending in retail is predicted to reach $19.9 billion by 2027, expanding at a 34.4 % CAGR from 2020.

Furthermore, helpful AI is the finest choice for meeting the needs of every consumer. As a result, consumer retail spending on chatbots is expected to rise to $142 billion by 2024, up from $2.8 billion in 2019. Chatbots help online customers from the minute they log in until they check out, and they address customer inquiries and complaints promptly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More powerful artificial intelligence can assist shops with demand predictions and personalised shopping experiences.

Retail Trend #5: Same-Day (or Faster) Delivery

The data is clear: we’ve hit a tipping point, and ecommerce is now easily accessible to individuals of all ages. When we push the “buy” button on a desktop computer or smartphone, we can have nearly anything delivered to our homes, often on the same day.

If offered the option of free shipping, 90 % said they would purchase online more frequently. Furthermore, 24% of buyers said they would pay extra to qualify for free shipping. Retailers who offer free delivery have a 20% greater conversion rate than those who do not.

Retail Trend #6: Social media shopping

According to an eMarketer research, the number of social shoppers in the United States will climb from 60.6 million in 2019 to 108 million in 2025, signifying a more than 75 % increase in mobile buying in only a few years.

Shops are bespoke storefronts on Instagram and Facebook for businesses. Sellers may build highlighted product groupings and customise the design of their Shop with banners, photos, colours, and buttons. The same Shop can be accessed from both Facebook and Instagram, so once set up, vendors can reach a large worldwide audience on both platforms.

With Shops, Facebook is reaching out to companies in a more direct way than in the past. This is part of Facebook’s effort to provide users with a personalised shopping experience in the app’s “Shop” destination, which we anticipate will become more prominent to users in the near future.

What is metaverse and how will it work?

Consider it the internet brought to life, or at the very least rendered in 3D. Zuckerberg has defined it as a “virtual habitat” that you can enter instead than merely seeing on a screen. It’s essentially an universe of infinite, linked virtual communities where people can meet, work, and play utilising virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone applications, and other technologies.

Things include attending a virtual concert, taking an online trip, seeing or creating artwork, and trying on or purchasing digital apparel. “A lot of the metaverse experience is going to be around being able to teleport from one experience to another,” Mark Zuckerberg says.

Retail Trend #7: Augmented and Virtual Reality; Even more AR-powered shopping experiences

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) bring online shoppers closer to things by displaying them in vivid detail in ways that have never been seen before on the web.

AR technology is expected to be used in over 120,000 webshops by 2022. This Christmas season 2021, Cadillac Fairview launched  PORTL, a unique and groundbreaking holoportation technology that brings fashion displays to life, at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. The first holoportation in history.

With the advent of online shopping, webshops and e-commerce enterprises must use these technologies to exhibit items more engagingly, resulting in improved consumer experiences.

What are you most thrilled about in terms of innovative retail trends for 2022?

Next read!

  1. A Tale of Two Paradigm Shifts – “Shoppertainment And Live Stream Commerce”
  2. 3 ways in which Unified Commerce helps B2C businesses offer hyper personalized experiences to consumers
  3. The value pitch: Scale-up your ecommerce business with Salesforce Commerce Cloud
  4. Phygital malls, localization and AR: There’s no avoiding it, APAC consumers demand digital!
  5. 2021 Is Half Over! Pivot or Persevere – 4 APAC Retail Trends

Sources

Note: Some of these sources have collected their data from various other places. In most cases, they provide additional information regarding these. Retail Customer Experience, McKinsey & Company, Retail Dive, Forbes, Insider Intelligence, Emarketer, Statista, Harvard Business Review, Juniper Research, Economictimes.

Abishek Balakumar