Here at Capforge, we always mention that online shopping is ever-changing, and if you want to stay relevant and generate sales, you have to keep up with the latest e-commerce trends. Consumers welcome new shopping experiences, and businesses will need to adapt and create new strategies for growth.
The pandemic has taught us that online shopping is here to stay, and it will be for a very long time. As more and more people make online purchases, brands must display their capability to adapt and overcome. With that said, here are the top e-commerce trends that will shape the online landscape in 2022.
1. Speedy delivery is key to customer satisfaction
Despite the logistical challenges businesses face, the vast majority of consumers still expect their orders to arrive on time. Same-day delivery has become the norm thanks largely in part to Amazon’s lightning-fast Prime shipping, and the pressure is on for businesses to meet consumer expectations.
It’s worth exploring your carrier options and seeing who can provide you with fast, consistent delivery speeds. For example, FedEx offers same-day shipping to your local area, while UPS offers next-day or second-day shipping. Choose a carrier that can meet the demands of your consumers and establish a point of contact to communicate your expectations.
While it may not be feasible for every business to offer same-day shipping, the best you can do is give your customers realistic delivery times. If you’re still facing supply chain issues, you can add a notice to your website and explain the problems you’re encountering.
2. The arrival of conversational commerce
If you haven’t heard of conversational commerce before, don’t worry. It’s a growing area of commerce that aims to provide a more meaningful shopping experience to customers. Chatbots and messaging assistants have become indispensable as they allow brands to communicate with their audience instantly.
The ability to respond to inquiries quickly is a feature that most businesses should have by now, as it keeps customers satisfied. Research reveals that 40% of customers expect brands to reply within an hour, and 79% expect a response within the day. That means you only have a one-day window of opportunity to make a positive first impression.
There’s more to conversational commerce than just replying to messages. Businesses also use chatboxes to book appointments, schedule visits and even sell products since it’s faster and more convenient for customers. Take advantage of automation technology to ensure the availability of your brand.
3. Digital transactions are the new norm
As we navigate the pandemic, businesses slowly replace in-person transactions with digital ones. QR codes are a great example of this as they help minimize contact between staff and customers. People can scan QR codes to pay or view a menu, which millennials and Gen-Z shoppers prefer.
Digital transactions are a major component in today’s e-commerce space as it helps businesses reach new consumers and create a safer, more convenient shopping experience. Not only that but going digital also boosts employee productivity and efficiency, leading to increased profitability for your business.
4. Video content is more valuable than ever
There’s a reason why consumers want more video content in 2022, and that’s because videos provide more information than a simple image or blog post. Whether adding videos to your product listings or creating content for video-sharing websites, consumers want an in-depth look at the products/services they want to purchase.
You don’t even have to create hour-long videos to keep your customers engaged. We live in an era where short-form content dominates the online landscape. Think of YouTube shorts, Instagram Stories, and Facebook stories. Short-form videos are great for giving your audience bite-sized information which can pique their interest and keep them hooked to your brand.
Live stream shopping is also a new trend that brands should consider. Facebook Live is one example where brands can interact with their audience while showcasing their products.
5. Curbside pickup is a major plus
The global supply chain has yet to recover from the effects of the pandemic, and brands are still figuring out how to serve their customers best. Thankfully, shoppers are leaning more towards curbside pickup (also known as click and collect) to acquire their goods.
Many people cite long delivery times and expensive shipping fees as reasons for preferring curbside pickup, which is great for businesses still experiencing logistical hiccups. By using your store as your distribution center, you can still secure sales online and provide customers with the products they need.
According to Statista, click and collect retail sales in the U.S. skyrocketed to 109% in 2020. They expect sales to grow at a rate of 15% for the next two years, meaning now is the perfect opportunity to offer curbside pickup from your brand.
6. Social media selling is taking over
More and more brands are experiencing success with selling on social media, and for a good reason. If you want to generate more revenue, you have to go where the people are. Around 82% of the population uses social media in the U.S. alone, and that percentage equates to 270 million users. Imagine the potential sales you can generate when you target the right demographic with your marketing efforts.
The great thing about social media platforms is their flexibility. You can set up shop on Facebook and add your products there. You can also set up your Instagram feed as a product catalog to link your website in the descriptions. The choice is up to you to turn your social media pages into full-fledged sales channels.
7. Quality content remains king
One e-commerce trend that will never go out of style is the quality of your content. Whether it’s a well-written product description to an informative blog post, good content helps solidify your brand image and allows you to connect with your audience personally.
Each brand should provide timely, factual, accurate, and unique content. Why? Because it helps you establish trust with your readers. Demonstrating your knowledge and expertise is a huge plus to consumers, especially first-time buyers new to your brand.
Another reason why quality content remains king is because of search engine results. When you take the time to optimize your content, you increase your chances of ranking high on the search engine results pages (SERPS). Brands that land on the top three results will benefit from increased traffic and gain more visibility online.
8. The power of influencer marketing
When you’re in a market that’s full of competition, it can be difficult to differentiate yourself from the rest. The question is, how can you convince your audience that your products are better than your competitors? The answer is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing takes the concept of word-of-mouth marketing to a new level. Customers are more likely to purchase a product that their family and friends recommend, and it’s no different with influencers. Collaborating with a prominent figure gives your products a vote of confidence and assures the buyers of their quality and effectiveness.
The key to influencer marketing is collaborating with someone who shares your brand’s values. Don’t just look at the follower count; look at how the influencer fits with your brand image as a whole. Can the influencer communicate your message with your target audience? Does their persona connect with your customers on a personal level?
Competing in a saturated market doesn’t mean you’re at a disadvantage. Leverage your options, and take advantage of what influencer marketing offers.
9. Reputation over reviews
Don’t get us wrong; product reviews are important for establishing your brand’s credibility. But according to research from Baymard Institute, consumers are becoming more skeptical of direct-to-consumer (DTC) reviews. The main concern shoppers have is that DTC reviews can be fabricated, thus affecting their buying decision. More and more people resort to third-party reviews from websites and communities to validate the quality of a brand’s offerings.
While securing positive reviews is a must, brands should focus on the bigger picture and learn what people say about their business. You can only do so much to strengthen your brand image, but the core essentials remain the same; provide excellent customer service, and continue to interact with your target audience.
The quality of your products will speak for itself once the customers receive their orders. After making a sale, it’s what you’ll do next that will make a huge difference in your brand’s reputation.
E-commerce trends are like ebb and flow; they are never constant, just ever-changing. As 2022 continues to roll, we’ll likely see new trends emerge as consumer behavior changes. To maintain relevance, brands must keep their eyes peeled and be ready to adapt to upcoming trends. Otherwise, they’ll get left behind by the competition and struggle to solidify their place.
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