Consumer habits made a monumental shift in the last two years, forcing businesses to pivot and find new ways to meet customers where they were at. With an estimated $1 trillion on the table for online sellers this year, here are five things set to be huge in 2022 when it comes to online shopping:
Augmented reality skyrockets
Augmented reality (AR) has always been big, but with people stuck in their homes for the last two years, things have gotten serious. When a user can manipulate and spin an item, retailers see 94% higher conversion rates. The return on investment is clear but what can you do to get started?
- Remember, AR isn’t as intensive as virtual reality (VR) – AR simply adds things to the world around you that already exists. A relatively easy way to embrace AR for household products is to offer preview placement. Let users see what that sofa, or that canvas, looks like in their house.
- New features come with new challenges for users. Make sure to display instructions when you’re implementing any kind of AR integration.
We’ve mentioned this before, but social commerce is kind of a big deal and it’s only getting bigger in 2022. By 2025, in the US the social commerce market is predicted to hit $79.6 billion.
- Create a Facebook Product Catalog that automatically updates using information from your website. You can integrate with Shopify, WooCommerce, and more, and run dynamic ads that feature your products.
- Investigate where you can be social selling and make sure you’re integrating with your website – remember that social selling is important but at the end of the day owning your product catalogue on your own website is going to futureproof your store.
- Create an automated bot checkout (using technology like WhatsApp for Business) to keep service levels high while preventing abandoned carts.
- User-generated content is always going to perform well on social media. Combine this with tagged products on a platform like Instagram and you have a way to build natural feeling relationships with potential customers.
It’s time to embrace sustainability in your business. With a recent study finding that 70% of people want companies to do more to address environmental issues, it’s clear that sustainability will be big in 2022 for consumers. But, what do customers really want?
Recent studies have found that avoiding packaging waste is a big deal for consumers, whether they’re ordering locally or from overseas.
It’s also important that sustainability isn’t just skin deep. Sustainability is often interlinked with Ethical considerations for consumers. Don’t just greenwash your products, be transparent on your sustainability plans and why you’re trying to make a difference.
- Delivering on sustainability promises can be hard but the packaging is also a huge deal. Get rid of the plastic where you can and embrace reusable options. For example, TedBaker has removable parcel slips on their boxes so the boxes can be reused.
- Sometimes slower is better. Offer users the option for a slower delivery but a more sustainable delivery partner or solution. Whether they’re ordering locally or they’re shipping internationally.
- Lower returns. Reducing returns not only cuts down on costs but will reduce your impact on the environment. You can achieve this through great customer service (pre and post-purchase) as well as through virtual try-on features.
- Some retailers are taking the extra step and making sure packaging is reusable, like H&M who have a shopping bag that’s also a clothing hanger (and is 80% recycled materials)
- Ecommerce providers like Zest offer their customers the option to return their packaging whenever they receive a new box.
- In Cayman, people ordering internationally often already consolidate their packages when it’s offered. Make sure your customers know they can do this and the benefits to the environment.
Hyper personalisation & localisation
People like it when you know them, authentically. Over 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers personalised content so personalising your products can increase revenue. Not sure where to start? Something as easy as product recommendations on your product pages can increase order values tremendously.
Localisation can also work very well if you sell internationally.
- Spend time studying your customers. At the very least the language on your website should speak to them in a manner that resonates with their challenges, goals, and life.
- A/B testing is your friend when it comes to refining personalised content. Use something like Google Optimizer or HubSpot and start comparing conversion rates with different imagery and language.
- Make sure you’re personalising your communication too. Using something like ActiveCampaign you can set up highly personal emails that trigger based on behaviour, time of year, day and even weather.
- In some countries, like the Cayman Islands, a lot of the population use VPNs meaning that tailoring content to IP addresses is not always enough when it comes to geo-targeted content.
Embracing NFTs, crypto & web3
Look, crypto has been around for a long time but perceived volatility and a steep learning curve has slowed down adoption in eCommerce – it looks like 2022 could be the year of change.
With payment platforms like Paypal, Visa, and Revolut embracing cryptocurrencies, 2022 is set to open the door for crypto in eCommerce settings too.
We’re not saying you need to run out and learn everything there is to know about the Bored Ape Yacht Club but taking a brief glance at non-fungible tokens (NFT) marketplaces you can see there’s a lot of money moving around in this space. If you have the right product and right audience, enabling payments with cryptocurrencies can increase sales for you.
Don’t believe the hype? Titans like Microsoft, Starbucks, Tesla, Coca Cola and Expedia all already allow users to pay with crypto.
- If you’re not quite ready for crypto, enabling the use of digital wallets (like Apple Pay and Paypal) is going to broaden your appeal instantly.
- Ready to hit it big? Woocommerce already integrates with several large cryptocurrency gateways including Coinbase.
- Using Shopify instead? Coinbase and BitPay work with that too.
- Brands like Gucci have embraced the age of digital products, and you can too whether that’s by selling digital experiences or by producing NFTs. Brands like Tribute – an entirely digital clothing brand – have shown us that there’s a space for high-end fashion and the metaverse and where they meet there’s also revenue.
So, what next?
When we think about the future of eCommerce, and when you’re thinking about the future of your online sales, keep in mind how much has changed since 2020 and how much could change in the next two years.
Before COVID-19, just 9% of consumers in the US shopped for groceries on the web and now over 63% purchase online regularly. All that to say, the most important thing is to be prepared to shift and not to underestimate the growth potential.
What e-commerce boils down to is people connecting with people. Make yourself a master study of people, partner with a great full-service agency, and you’re on the way to skyrocketing your sales in 2022.nIf you’re ready to grow your sales in 2022, get in touch with us today. We’re happy to have a free, no-obligation, call with you.