As the end of 2021 approaches, most retailers are hyper focused on the holiday season and its associated challenges. However, with a quickly evolving market and significant shirts in customer expectations, wise marketers will be looking to the top ecommerce trends for 2022 that will dictate commercial success.
For those operating in the explosive world of ecommerce, staying on top of consumers’ evolving tastes and demands can be a large undertaking. Compounded by an extensive network of partners, platforms, and technologies, marketers must optimize against the opportunities poised to generate the greatest return. These are the top trends in ecommerce for 2022:
The average user spends 155 minutes per day on their mobile device, splitting time between news, social media, cat videos, and, at an increasing rate, shopping. Mobile commerce, or Mcommerce, accounted for 3.5% of total US retail sales in 2018, jumping to 5.5% in 2020, and expected to reach 10.4% by 2025. Perhaps more startling to consider is the expectation that over 44% of ecommerce sales will be made on a mobile device by 2025. As retailers consider the needs of their current and future buyers, it is clear a mobile friendly shopping experience is a top priority.
However, creating a mobile friendly shopping experience extends beyond a mobile optimized website. Retailers focused on partnerships that facilitate streamlined discovery and product engagement, as well as the integration of mobile wallet providers stand to gain a significant advantage over competitors whose experiences slow or prohibit a quick and seamless purchase. As retailers expand the available features and tools across shopping channels, they must ensure the brand experience generated on one platform can be matched when accessed via mobile device. This is particularly true for immersive or interactive components, which can be clunky if not designed with mobile in mind.
Google made headlines earlier this year with advancements to Google Lens and visual search, but the tech giant is far from the only player capitalizing on consumers’ expanding interest in using visual tools. Names such as Snap, Amazon, Pinterest, and Target are among the largest players who have leveraged visual search to promote their own or their partners’ products. Pinterest CEO, Ben Silbermann, predicted the rush to visual back in 2017, stating “a lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords.”
It is not hard to understand why brands are eager to add this feature to their digital properties; 62% of Gen Z consumers want to be able to discover and purchase products through visual search. More than 50% of adults have tried or are interested in trying visual search for retail shopping. Given the immense focus on customer experience as a key differentiator among competitors, delivering against this interest is not only an attractive option for retailers, it is a necessity.
Particularly as the percentage of commerce completed on mobile devices increases, consumers will choose to shop with brands who make their journey from discovery to purchase as smooth as possible. Where keyword search delivers a diverse set of results that may or may not match what a consumer is shopping for, visual search allows the user to directly search for a specific item of interest, turning them from consumer to customer.
While consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, they have not willingly accepted the limitations that come with digital shopping. Of these, product appearance, size, and fit are primary offenders. Across industries, brands and retailers have begun to integrate more immersive technologies to bring products to life where consumers are shopping, even on their mobile devices.
Augmented reality is at the top of consumers’ wish lists, with 71% saying they would shop online more if they could experience the products in AR. With applications ranging from virtual try-ons to home design, augmented reality and the 3D technology that powers it are no longer restricted to the virtual gaming world, but rather are crucial tools for some of the largest brands and retailers in the world. Retailers using AR include Wayfair, Home Depot, Target, and WalMart, with brands from Nike to small and newly launched D2C companies capitalizing on the interactivity of AR to appeal to buyers.
Aiding in this growth is the evolution of 3D configurators and WebAR, which allow consumers to view the exact product they are shopping for to be brought to life in front of them. Compared to traditional photography or videography which limit the product views to those provided by the brand or retailer, product visualization software puts the power in the buyer’s hands. This has become an attractive feature particularly for brands operating on platforms such as Shopify, with products enabled with AR driving 94% higher conversions compared to those without AR.
The time spent by consumers on social media is not a new trend for 2022; however the recognition of social platforms as revenue drivers for brands (and the platforms themselves) has emerged as a key strategic focus. Social commerce is expected to drive $52.5 billion in sales by 2023.
2021 saw steady growth in not only the volume of sales through social commerce, but in announcements of partnerships and platform features that enable users to discover and purchase products. Livestream sales, in app check out, and integrations such as that between Shopify and TikTok are early signs of a burgeoning market that will be key in 2022 and beyond. For brands looking to enter the market, the potential virality that can be achieved through social media is an enticing draw, as is the leverage provided by collaborations with notable users or platforms themselves. Even brands who are well established have found success and value in pursuing new avenues in social commerce. A key contributor to Wal-Mart’s efforts in changing its primary image of the low cost provider to a hub of trendy styles has been the retailer's focus on meeting consumers on their favorite discovery platforms, and in particular, TikTok. Since the end of 2020, the retailer has hosted several live shopping events on the platform.
After the rollercoaster of change retailers have experienced over the last two years, there is a light of opportunity in 2022. eCommerce will continue to grow, and for the brands who act on the emerging trends for 2022, positive results and growth of their own are sure to make it an exceptional year.
Ready to learn more about taking advantage of the top ecommerce trends for 2022?