12 E-commerce Trends to Watch in 2022

David Adamick
26 November 2021
9 min read

As we see out the remaining weeks of 2021, we can look back on what will be nearly two years of accelerated innovation and transformation in the world of eCommerce. Two years during which those in eCommerce will certainly have recognized the heightened degree of competition this broader, braver new purchasing platform now presents.

And indeed that eCommerce is an ever-changing industry, forever subject to the next wave of trends businesses may choose to adopt for remaining competitive and profitable. 

So, what’s in store for 2022? Rest assured our current innovations will continue apace, but in the meantime here are 12 eCommerce trends online retailers can expect to grow in relevance. 

Contents

  • Visual commerce / AR technology

  • Social media channels 

  • ‘IRL’ shopping

  • Maximizing Video Commerce

  • Voice search shopping

  • AI-assisted online shopping & on-site personalization 

  • Searching from multiple platforms 

  • Responsive mobile design

  • Multiple payment options

  • Streamlined Technology/SaaS

  • ‘Headless’ & API-driven commerce

  • Sophisticated site search

Video Commerce & AR Visually Enhanced Shopping

Incorporating video content into the purchasing experience continues to flourish as an effective way for eCommerce businesses to grab the attention of prospective customers and inform them of products and services.

Video shopping provides the most immediate and comprehensive means of connecting with consumers and addressing their requirements and desires effectively.  

AR - Augmented Reality

Further enhancing this experience is the use of AR technology to give shoppers a more 3-dimensional feel for a product offered online.

AR can be particularly effective in describing clothing or furniture and there is no doubt that eCommerce businesses should be adding AR-enhanced visuals that maximize an online product’s tangibility. 

Some polls conducted in 2019 established that 35% of shoppers would shop online more if they could ‘try on’ a product virtually, with 22% being less likely to visit brick and mortar stores if AR enhancement were available on their usual e-commerce outlets.  

Shopping Stories

As one rather shining example, all-in-one virtual shopping platform providers HERO last year introduced Shoppable Stories, a carousel format of video ‘snacks’ potential customers can access 24/7, and one which also features the same associates who assist customers in-person in brick and mortar stores.

Here, retail brands can welcome shoppers and recommend new products as they would in real life. In the meantime, customers can decide on a suitable level of engagement, shopping the story as they browse, liking videos or initiating chats or video calls to continue their journey. 

Shoppers, meanwhile, can choose their level of engagement, shopping the story as they browse, liking their favourite videos, or initiating a chat or video call to continue their shopping journey.

Social Media Channels - 'Social Commerce'

As social media continues to play such a prominent role in our lives, so does our reliance on mobile devices increase. Over 90% of social media users access their preferred platforms in this way, with 54% using such platforms to purchase goods.

In response, more and more platforms are integrating ‘social commerce’ into their applications whereby consumers can buy products from third-party retailers without having to pull themselves away from whatever their media engagement is at any given time. 

As one example, Instagram launched the Shopping tab in 2020 so that users can search for new products. Similarly, Facebook encourages retailers to use its storefront and has made it even easier to upload products and services. Pinterest promotes items for sale by way of buyable pins. 

‘IRL’ Shopping

Taken further, there is likely to be an increase in the new year in ‘live shopping’ (or ‘IRL’ - ‘in real life’), a mobile trend by which social platforms allow brands to directly link to products they’re talking about via their own live streaming features. This way, both shopper and retailer are catered to. 

Maximizing Video Commerce

In this new augmented reality, it will be increasingly important that a site leverages the different elements of user-generated content and interactive content and videos.

Ways to optimize video e-commerce content:

  • Changing default products from JPG or PNG to a WebP format to improve quality and loading speed.

  • Using QR tagging to connect and blend offline and online content.

  • Creating 360-degree images or videos of best-selling products.

  • Creating interactive 3D visuals.

  • Investing in visual search tools that enable shoppers to search for products via images.

  • Repurposing user-generated content on product pages to boost conversion rates.

AI-Assisted Online Shopping & Onsite Personalization

Through artificial intelligence, online shoppers can enjoy a more automated, tailor-made, personalized experience. 

As AI accumulates data about a customer’s product preferences and buying habits, it better equips itself to apply this information to enable personalized product recommendations and an enhanced, increasingly seamless online purchasing process. 

Moreover, the more AI is able to refine its ‘human’ characteristics, the more effective it will be in relaying the important sense of ‘brand concern’ to customers.

The results of implementing a personalized shopping experience have been proven with shoppers indicating 110% greater tendency to add items to their baskets, and a 40% likelihood of spending more than they had initially planned.  

Voice Search Shopping

As ‘Alexa’ broadens her residency in our everyday lives, so increases the frequency of using voice search when purchasing products and services. It is, in fact, predicted that by 2025, 75% of households in the U.S. will own a smart speaker.

This will only create more opportunities for e-commerce businesses to capitalize on keywords and content and is, therefore, a commercial dimension they should consider accordingly. 

Of the eCommerce trends for 2022 and beyond, voice search will become both reactive and proactive. For this, companies will recognize more and more the need to form this content to accommodate natural language requests and thus maximize their customers' UX.

The added benefit to this will be an improved familiarity with their customers’ preferences, one based on recent queries, where they live, local weather etc. 

Searching from Multiple Platforms

Customers will only interact with a brand when it’s easy to do so. As they diversify the ways in which they search for products i.e. via smart speakers, work devices, mobile phones, laptops, etc., so must online retailers respond to this diversification by ensuring their platforms are optimized to accommodate these channels.

Smooth, integrated and relevant search experiences are crucial for engaging and retaining shoppers as well as maintaining conversions and sales. 

Responsive Mobile Design

The points above are precisely why it remains crucial that a retailer’s platform be fully optimized for mobile phone format. As online shopping continues its migration to this format, those businesses who neglect the necessity of responsive mobile design will continue to lose out on opportunities.  

With the innovations in mobile commerce naturally comes a prospective customer’s diminishing patience with any site that does not provide a rapid and seamless experience. 

Some estimations claim up to 73% of online sales will be done via mobile devices this year. Any eCommerce business should sit up and take note. 

Multiple Payment Options

This rapid and seamless experience also means greater ease with purchase payments. Which means providing more ways for users to make them. The customer will invariably have individual needs when it comes to such methods and may very well cancel an order when a site presents difficulties in completing the purchase.

Therefore, offering a wider variety of payment methods to the customer will continue to do well for conversion rates; even more so for eCommerce sites that enable purchasers to securely store payment details on-site. 

Taking this one step further is a concept of assigning to the customer a unique purchasing ID with all personal payment, shipping and billing data stored in a centralized wallet service.  

Streamlining Technology and SaaS

More focus on e-commerce P&L will mean that retailers become more discerning about what tech tools are of actual use to them, and which have become redundant accessories. In the past, businesses were used to purchasing a host of technologies, some of which habitually fell into disuse once certain ones proved over time to be more relevant than others.  

Now, online retailers may begin to re-evaluate their tech stack and consider replacing those obsolete tools with technologies already integrated, and learn to exploit these to their full range of functionalities in them. This will save costs, reduce complexities and increase efficiencies across the business.  

Too many 3rd-party integrations and a lack of customization can prevent stability in a platform. Therefore, online businesses may increasingly consider greater flexibility and scalability in their SaaS setup to ensure better consolidation and stability. 

Innovation in ‘Headless’ and API-Driven Commerce

‘Headless’ commerce is a format in which a site’s e-commerce platform is decoupled from its fronted presentation layer. It is a format that is being adopted increasingly owing to the flexibility it allows on the backend, along with accompanying SEO, content marketing and digital experience possibilities it presents. 

It also affords more control over content and customer journey at the check-out phase of the purchasing process. 

Sophisticated Site Search

An advanced site-search facility helps customers clarify both their needs and the right keywords to locate the products and services which correspond to these needs. 

With the increasing sophistication of this function also comes a greater tolerance for typos and mistakes by users who do know what they’re searching for. This means a heightened capacity for site-search to intuit and aid in the search process, making for a smoother conversion process and thus a more satisfying customer experience.  

Some typical features of this advanced facility are:

Auto-complete & auto-suggest

Also known as auto-suggest, this function will intuit and complete what a user is entering into the site search.  As the customer’s query becomes more evident, the auto-complete's corresponding best match can then be selected and clicked on, thereby ensuring a quick, seamless and successful search process for the user. 

Related Searches and Suggestions

This feature is increasingly commonplace on the eCommerce platform and continues to present golden opportunities to retailers to showcase their most popular products to customers searching for similar items. By helping users discover new products and services, it facilitates both cross and up-selling potential and makes for an enhanced site experience. 

Typo Tolerance

This micro bit of AI accommodates typo errors to intuit and identify the correct item that is being queried. Words that are similar in spelling are considered as a match, something particularly helpful for the mobile user trying to navigate a tiny keyboard or a global user who may be unsure of a word’s correct spelling.  

Choose your E-commerce Trends

If you’re an online retailer, what is crucial is not so much that you embrace all eCommerce trends you come across in 2022 and beyond, but that you are able to identify and adopt those which are most relevant to your business. Do some analysis first - detailed analysis.  And if in doubt, why not just ask your customers what they want?

Remember: though trends may vary in nature, what unifies them is the objective to both ease and enhance a customer’s e-shopping experience. And as it is undeniably a consumer’s market, technological innovations will only continue to serve this end.

As experts in platform design and innovation, Startup Development House can help you at every stage of your e-commercial aspirations. So if you’d like to find out more about gaining a solid advantage in the ever-changing world of eCommerce, drop us a line at hello@start-up.house

Sources:

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