We have seen the pandemic shape the world of eCommerce over the last two years, and as this begins to slow, we can expect it continue to do so as consumer behaviours begin to shift once more. Here are three emerging trends to prepare for in 2022.
#1 The growth of social commerce
Social commerce is the buying and selling of products directly within social media platforms.
With the emergence of new platforms such as Tik Tok which led to the #tiktokmademebuyit trend and the growth in online sales, platforms are evolving quicker and deploying new initiatives worldwide to allow users to buy directly within their platforms.
Within Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest you can find digital storefronts which are hosted directly within the social platforms and allow users to browse product listings without leaving the platform. And through Instagram and Facebook users can make purchases directly within the app. YouTube, Tik Tok and Twitter are also making moves to disrupt this space with the launch of ‘shop now’ features.
Social commerce allows you to get in front of more potential customers and Facebook provides an opportunity for small businesses to create a better shopping experience if they lack website development resources.
#2 Continued increased desire for local and independent businesses
‘Shop local’ has been a growing theme, with users becoming ever more conscious about who they are buying from. Not only has the desire for local and independent businesses increased, but consumers are also looking for ethical and sustainable businesses within this landscape as well, with a sharp rise in ‘green consumerism’.
Major retailers have already started making plans to implement more sustainable practices, so independent stores will need to adapt quickly to introduce new measures to reduce their carbon footprints to remain relevant and competitive.
#3 The further emergence of AI and AR
Consumers will have growing expectations of personalised experiences when they visit retailers’ websites, which in turn leads to a growth in visual commerce. Through AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality) retailers can customise experiences through initiatives such as virtual fitting rooms and store assistants.
AI can help to predict customers’ behaviours through their past purchases and browsing behaviour to increase upsells and cross-sells.
Visual search tools will also become a staple for ecommerce and AI will help to power these initiatives.
Overall retailers need to be present at all stages of the funnel with a multi-platform shopping experience, showcase their values and offer personalisation to reduce barriers to purchase.
Find out how to get ahead of the curve with eCommerce and scale your business through Enterprising Barnsley’s eCommerce support programme. This is a six-week opportunity available to businesses in Barnsley, free of charge, where I and other industry experts will show you how to use online channels to increase sales and reach new customers. Apply here.
This project is one of seven Prioritised Recovery Projects, part of a £2 million economic investment, funded by Barnsley Council and Sheffield City Region. As part of Barnsley’s Economic Recovery Action Plan, these projects will help the local economy bounce back from Covid. The programme aims to support people, businesses, traders, charities or community organisations to safeguard existing jobs as well as creating new jobs and businesses.