“Normality will return to our lives in 2021”.
Looking back at 2021, the above statement hasn't quite lived up to the expectations; normality didn't return to our lives, and nor it did for the e-commerce industry. If anything, last year made things even more challenging, and the same is true for online merchants and their businesses.
At the same time, however, opportunities have also opened up. Many in the e-commerce industry, therefore, draw a positive conclusion of the year. Regardless of whether you belong to the latter group or not, in 2022 you should focus on staying ahead of the curve and keep an eye on the new trends; and since you're reading this article, it's clear that you understand this. So, let's not beat around the bush - below you'll find our up-to-date list of the 10 most important e-commerce trends in 2022.
2021 has, yet again, brought some new insights. For example, the Coronavirus will also accompany us in 2022 too. This means that not only our purchasing behavior (online vs in-store) but also our consumer behavior will continue to be strongly influenced by it. For example, it shows that people spent less money on cars or travel last year. Instead, they rather invested heavily in other categories such as housing.
This being said, have you also bought a new kitchen last year? Or a new couch, smart home device, or home office equipment? You are not alone! It is fair to assume that also in 2022, online retailers will not lack orders and sales in this area. In addition, there are new trend categories like health products. Your Super is just one of many examples of supplements that are already noticeably trending.
Smartphones are part of the daily lives of almost everyone who belongs to the target group of online retailers. The increasing use of our daily companions offers great opportunities for online retailers in 2022.
By now, you'd expect that all e-commerce websites will be optimized for mobile use, however, this is still not the case. You might think that in 2022 all e-commerce sites will be optimized for mobile use. But this won't be the case. Hence, with a mobile optimization of your website, you'll already leave some of your competitors behind in the organic search. Moreover, having an optimized website also plays a crucial role in preventing website bounces and abandoning purchases. As such, improving customer experience in regard to mobile commerce should be your top priority.
Social commerce is not new, but its use is very likely to break all existing records again in 2022. Social commerce can be seen as an extension of your e-commerce activity. The purchase takes place within one of the numerous social media platforms such as Instagram or TikTok. So, what role does social commerce play for online retailers and why should it be one of the trends in 2022?
One example that predicts a bright future for it is that 97% of Generation Z use social media as their #1 source of pre-purchase inspiration. Almost 2 out of 3 Millennials see it the same way. This means that two very attractive user groups for many online retailers are positively disposed towards social commerce. With increasing age, the average purchasing power of these people will increase, which suggests further long-term growth of social commerce.
In addition, Shopify's partnership with TikTok and Shopify's integration with Instagram simplify the sales and payment process for online merchants and shoppers. The same applies to direct sales via Pinterest.
Hand in hand with mobile and social commerce also goes the increasing importance of video content and live shopping. In fact, data shows that in many respects video content is one of the most successful channels for marketers and companies. It's no coincidence that wyzowl's Video Content Report, published annually since 2015, shows a consistently positive trend. For example, 86% of companies used video content in 2021 (up from 61% in 2015). Moreover, 93% of marketers who use video content see it as an important part of their strategy and 87% speak of a positive ROI in this context. In 2015, that was only 33%! In addition to that, webinar usage also increased from 46% in 2020 to 62% in 2021, 91% of which were considered a success, making it a reasonable assumption that webinars will continue to play an important role in 2022.
Live shopping is another phenomenon that has come to stay. Taobao, Alibaba's live stream sales platform, for example, has 40 million followers. In the U.S. alone, the live stream market was estimated to reach $11 billion in 2021, and Coresight Research predicts it will grow up to $25 billion by 2023. We, too, second that prediction, and here are some of our reasons to back up this trending phenomenon:
Voice search is one of the other trends that have literally been waiting in the wings for some time. Alexa, Siri, Bixby, Google Assistant, Cortana, or whatever else they are called, the voice assistants from Amazon, Google, and Co. have long been part of our lives and secured their seat as the (nearly) invisible roommates in our apartments and houses. The use of this technology also has an influence on e-commerce that should not be underestimated. According to estimates by Juniper Research, voice search, i.e. searching via voice assistants, is expected to lead to $80 billion in sales in 2023.
What does the trend of increasing online shopping via voice assistants mean for e-commerce? For SEOs in particular, it has a number of implications that can help them stay one step ahead of the competition. This is because the increased searches via voice are also changing the relevant keywords. 70% of voice searches via Google Assistant are applied in natural language. This is in clear contrast to the traditional keyword-based search via the Google browser.
As a result, more questions are asked and there is a chance to win with so-called long-tail keywords. At the end of the day, however, voice searches are also converted into text, so with some slight changes, the highest quality and most relevant content will continue to prevail over that which is only optimized for voice search. However, for similarly "good" content, this optimization could well be decisive.
In 2022, many online retailers will continue to choose an omnichannel sales strategy. The number of online marketplaces is increasing and sellers are trying to be visible to their target audience on as many sales channels as possible. With bundled fulfillment, such as the one offered by byrd, it is easy to sell through multiple channels, maximize revenue, and still control fulfillment centrally. Of course, it is important to find out in advance which marketplace is best suited to which market and your target group. To facilitate your choice, we have summarized the most important online marketplaces per country.
To portray sustainable e-commerce as a new trend would be naive. Building on the growing attention and importance of this topic, green business processes will become even more important in 2022. The characteristics of the products will continue to play a decisive role. In addition, the relevance of sustainable packaging, climate-neutral delivery, and environmentally friendly fulfillment is rapidly increasing as well.
Sustainable consumption is one of the defining megatrends of our time. The shift in values towards sustainability and the growing buying power among the younger generation further bolstered this trend.
Therefore, to ride the wave of sustainability, you should optimize your processes; for example, try to store your goods as close as possible to your customers. This way you can reduce shipping distances and minimize the harmful impact on the environment. There is also no reason not to talk openly about your efforts. True to the motto "do good and talk about it", showcase certificates and quality seals. This will help you attract new customers, give existing customers a better feeling and minimize the price sensitivity of your buyers.
The second half of 2021 in particular, has shown that fulfillment is not just a cost factor, but in many cases is the most important success factor for online companies. This won't change in e-commerce in 2022. Indeed, overburdened supply chains, lack of resources, and labor shortages have not only led to rapidly growing costs. Rather, delivery times have also been severely impacted, and in many cases, there has even been a total halt in deliveries.
Is there anything more frustrating than not being able to fulfill orders that have been placed? Most often, the direct result of that are lost profits and dissatisfied customers. As was the case in 2021, many dropshippers have not received any goods from their producers during the peak season, resulting in them not being able to generate income during the most profitable time of the year.
For this reason, many of these dropshippers have changed their business model and now store their products in order to have some leeway and to be able to "buffer" delivery problems.
Also for traditional online retailers, there were plenty of challenges to be solved. The increase in the amount in online shipments was almost impossible for parcel delivery companies to handle, which led to bottlenecks and longer delivery times, especially during peak times. By cooperating with so-called 3PLs, however, online sellers can gain flexibility and much-needed resilience in logistics.
Order fulfillment companies such as byrd work closely with numerous parcel services, which allows them to switch to other couriers if necessary and in the event of the failure of another parcel service provider.
For the very reason mentioned above, 2022 will be a successful year for those merchants who invest time in accurate planning. Yes, the Coronavirus makes accurate planning extremely difficult or sometimes even impossible. We all have experienced that things can change within a few weeks. Still, it will be critical, especially when it comes to inventory management and marketing campaigns, to plan as accurately as possible while keeping as much flexibility as possible. Having a Plan B and Plan C ready will allow you to be proactive as conditions change, while much of your competition will be reactive. So with best-case - worst-case planning, you can always be in control and make rational and informed decisions instead of frantic and impulsive actions.
In terms of marketing, you should definitely factor in rising prices in the advertising market. PPC for paid channels is increasing rapidly in many industries, which means that organic channels will continue to gain in importance. This includes a good SEO strategy but this also calls for a close and understanding relationship with your customers.
Originally, the end of Chrome's third-party cookies was announced for January 2022. However, many retailers can take a deep breath as this was now postponed to the end of 2023. But postponed does not mean canceled, and so 2022 will be a year in which the foundations for a successful transition should be laid. E-commerce marketers will have to find even more creative solutions in the future. The bond with your buyers will become more important than ever. The same goes for understanding your target group. Who are your customers, how and where can you reach the best and most cost-effectively? A sense of the big picture and an understanding of the customer journey will be the key to success here.
As you can see, 2022 also has some challenges in store for you. At the same time, however, the e-commerce trends 2022 also clearly show that there will be many opportunities this year to set yourself apart from the competition so that at the end of the year you can look back on a certainly turbulent, but also successful business year. We wish you the best of luck. Should you be searching for a good 3PL and fulfillment partner; we at byrd would be more than happy to help you with your logistics and support you in reaching your goals. See you soon!