Digital is indeed the new way of life. And as digital technology grows, so does the commerce industry. Each year, new trends emerge, making shopping easier for consumers and helping businesses flourish. eCommerce sales have been on the rise since 2018, with the pandemic further accelerating this growth.
According to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, online consumer spending in the U.S. reached $791.7 billion in 2020, a 32.4% increase from 2019. Even before the pandemic, eCommerce was already thriving. However, due to extended isolation and nationwide lockdowns, people were forced to depend on online businesses even more.
This exponential growth is not just happening in the US but across the whole world. Digital Commerce 360 estimates that online global consumers spent around $4.29 trillion in 2020, up from $3.46 trillion in 2019.
As retailers continue to take on the digital landscape and provide their consumers with a smooth shopping experience, the future of commerce remains bright. In 2022, the progressive changes that surfaced in 2020 will carry on, alongside several new trends that pave the way for more innovative business marketing strategies.
What Will 2022 Bring to Commerce?
The best customer experience is rooted in personalization. Through this, a consumer's wants, needs, and goals are incorporated into the shopping experience. It comes in many forms, including personalized product recommendations, abandoned cart messaging, and order follow-up messaging.
59% of shoppers believe it's easier to find products on online stores that provide a personalized experience. Furthermore, 56% are more likely to come back to an eCommerce site that gives product recommendations. Personalization offers consumers an exclusive shopping process, making each of them feel like they are valued.
2. Mobile Commerce
With the enduring popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices comes the ever-growing success of mobile commerce. In 2020, smartphone users all over the globe reached 5.22 billion, a 1.8% rise from the previous year.
Convenience is mobile commerce's most significant advantage. People can shop anywhere, anytime they want. It's fast and interactive, with plenty of room for personalization. This is also a big win for businesses, as it boosts conversion rates and revenue, even outside business hours.
3. Voice Search
Typing in search queries is passing its heyday. Voice search is quickly transforming the world of commerce by influencing search results, consumer experience, and shopping decisions. It's a huge time-saver, as consumers can find what they need online even faster by speaking, and not typing.
A Google study reports that 27% of the global population uses voice search on their mobile devices. They use it to research products, place orders, reorder items, and track deliveries. They also utilize it to review purchases and contact customer support. Today, more and more businesses are monitoring voice search developments to further optimize their landing pages for future sales.
4. Diverse Payment Options
Paying for online purchases is no longer just a matter of convenience. Apart from a secure, quick process, customers now go for the payment options they are most comfortable with. And we’re in that period of the digital age when typing long credit card numbers is already considered inconvenient. The more payment methods a store offers, the more likely it is to attract more potential purchasers.
Shopify reports that about 7% of consumers abandon their shopping carts because the online store doesn’t provide a wide range of payment methods. Offering hassle-free payment methods, like contactless payment and digital wallets, can reduce cart abandonment, increase revenue, and improve customer experience. It also contributes to a faster checkout process and a shorter waiting time. Your POS system should help you with this.
5. Sustainable Commerce
Companies that implement environment-friendly practices will undoubtedly dominate the market in the years to come. According to GWI, 60% of internet users say they are willing to pay more just to get eco-friendly products and support brands that advocate sustainability.
Smaller businesses would be wise to focus on executing greener business practices. This gives them a competitive edge, as more and more consumers are more likely to support eco-friendly companies.
6. Artificial Intelligence
AI is all around us, from autocorrect features and search algorithms to social media and facial recognition. It affects not just our day-to-day lives but also the world of commerce. Artificial intelligence is gradually shaping the future of commerce in a way that it helps automate several processes, boost productivity, collect data, and gain customer behavior insights.
One of the most widely used AI programs in the eCommerce sector, chatbots help simulate conversations in messaging apps and websites. Drift’s 2020 State of Conversational Marketing report says that usage of chatbots jumped by a whopping 92% from 2019. Chatbots are getting more brilliant than ever, so more companies are using them to meet customer expectations.
7. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) superimposes computer-generated visual elements into the real-life environment. This technology is gradually penetrating the eCommerce industry, helping consumers gain real-time interactions with the products and services they're trying to learn more about without leaving home.
Although several businesses are not yet ready to incorporate AR in their marketing mix, its popularity is unstoppable. Consumers are interested in coming across AR features in their daily shopping experiences. A survey conducted by Google found that 66% of people are interested in shopping using AR technology. Moreover, more brands are investing in it.
8. Influencer Marketing
The influencer marketing trend is a billion-dollar industry, having grown from $1.7 billion in 2016 to an estimated market size of $9.7 billion by the end of 2020. By 2021, it’s expected to grow $13.8 billion in 2021. As different social media platforms continue to flourish, influencer and brand collaborations will carry on.
Millions of shoppers all over the world turn to their favorite influencers for purchasing advice. Statistics show that 49% of consumers rely on influencers for shopping recommendations. Marketers and business owners are taking advantage of this by teaming up with influencers to promote their products and services. From referral programs to contests and giveaways, online personalities help create brand awareness and social engagement.
9. Video Marketing
The video marketing trend shows no signs of waning, as it offers an excellent way to promote offerings and capture the attention of more audiences. Today, videos are used not only to sell and promote but also to educate. They provide opportunities for businesses to establish trust and eventually gain their target market's loyalty.
A HubSpot report shows that 54% of consumers want to see more videos from companies they support. Another study, this time by Wyzowl, reports that 96% of consumers have watched an explainer video as part of their research process about a product or service. Authentic video content no doubt helps increase sales, educate audiences, and raise brand awareness.
10. Minimalist Designs
To eliminate all unnecessary elements is to prioritize aspects that matter the most. Minimalism is a concept that goes beyond just color schemes. It’s an essential aspect of digital platforms, advocating clear messaging by putting the spotlight on designs that look simple and clean.
People usually consider websites with visually complex designs to be less beautiful. This is why eCommerce websites prefer minimalist designs — neutral backgrounds and simple graphics present products in a basic yet refreshing manner. There’s no need to accentuate other elements, just the key selling points. Sales and conversions may increase since only the most meaningful content is emphasized.
The Bottom Line
The digital landscape and commerce sector are constantly evolving, but one thing remains the same: the goal to make every modern-day shopper’s experience fast, smooth, easy, and enjoyable. Trends come and go as time progresses. But marketers and business owners should continually learn to win their target market’s loyalty through innovation and seamless experiences.