Top 12 Retail Innovations Shaping eCommerce in 2022
As a result of the pandemic, retail digital transformation is accelerating. The latest retail innovations are all about eCommerce and brands need to evolve their online offering to stay competitive. Luckily, we’ve got 12 retail trends that will help your business stand out.
Top 12 retail innovations shaping eCommerce
2021 saw the growth of AR experiences and influencer marketing, while the coming year is likely to see advancements in social commerce, AI technology and quick commerce.
Let’s take a look at all the top retail trends for 2022.
1. Omnichannel experiences
In 2021, Amazon attracted 50% of all eCommerce sales. Other industry leaders like eBay, Rakuten, AliExpress, Walmart and Etsy own a sizable section of the market too. So it’s no wonder brands are selling their products across multiple retail sites and marketplaces.
However, consumers have come to expect integrated experiences across these platforms. But 78% of retailers still don’t provide unified experiences.
That’s why 2022 will see online brands adapting an omnichannel approach to their sales channels. Through the use of Where to Buy solutions, digital shelf tools, centralised help desks and a variety of other tools, consumers will be able to cross between channels seamlessly.
2. Greater adoption of DTC channels
The growth of direct-to-consumer brands slowed in recent years. But then the pandemic changed how we shop.
As supply chains stalled and stores closed, DTC businesses were well-positioned to take advantage of the online shopping surge. In 2020, DTC sales in the US grew by 45.5%. That’s twice as much as previously predicted.
While growth is expected to slow to 20% this year, the recent boost to the sector along with steadily increasing sales means it will remain an attractive option for brands. Not only will this allow them to reach customers directly, but it will also empower them to collect first-party data – which will be extremely valuable in the cookieless world that 2022 presents.
3. AI driven assistance
As a result of the pandemic, in-person interactions were limited. However, brands leaned into retail innovations to add a personal touch to the online customer experience.
With the help of smart product recommendations, custom search results, shopping assistants and other automated merchandising, brands seamlessly directed customers toward suitable products. Many online stores even stepped up the use of AI-powered chatbots and virtual try-ons.
By embracing AI, retail brands can transform customer data into memorable experiences that meaningfully impact sales. We expect this to be one of the biggest retail innovations in 2022.
4. Voice commerce SEO
With people spending more time at home, the popularity of smart speakers has surged. A massive 50% of UK adults now own one. (That figure stood at just 20% back in 2019.) Similarly, ownership in the US jumped from 24% to 32% over the past year.
With this in mind, there is no doubt that voice search will play a key role in the future of retail. In 2022, brands can expect to see more shoppers check out without ever looking at a screen – especially on Amazon. In fact, by 2024, it is anticipated that 54% of shoppers will be doing this.
By focusing on voice SEO, stores can benefit from a boost in traffic and conversions.
5. eCommerce sustainability
50% of consumers believe they are more eco-friendly than when the pandemic began. And it would appear that this desire to go green is impacting their purchases. Recent research indicates that 41% of US consumers actively seek out brands with strong social and environmental values.
So how will brands adapt? According to PwC, around half of consumers want sustainable products, environmentally friendly packaging and less plastic.
Sustainability has never been more important to shoppers so brands need to prioritise it fast. In 2022, this will be one of the leading retail industry trends across all sectors.
6. Personalisation by personality
Although it’s been around a while, eCommerce personalisation is continually evolving. 2022 will see brands improve personalised experiences by focusing on psychographic profiling, as well as shopping behaviour.
Algorithms can now analyse a visitor’s behaviour to determine their personality. Some stores also use quizzes to gather this kind of information. In fact, for online styling services like Stitch Fix, this is central to their product offering.
In 2022, content and product recommendations will look beyond past purchases to reflect shoppers’ personalities.
7. Further adoption of social commerce
In 2021, an estimated 35.9% of US consumers made a purchase through social media. When you consider the new features added across TikTok, Snapchat and Facebook, it’s no wonder social commerce is on the rise.
In 2022, more brands will sell directly through social media. But there will be new retail innovations in this area too. Most notably, retailers are likely to start selling on Twitter.
Throughout 2021, the company has been developing shoppable posts, Buy buttons, product pages and other shopping features. It’s only a matter of time before they launch.
8. Brand identities on Amazon
Amazon was once notorious for making brand building difficult. But this is quickly changing.
Over the years, Amazon has introduced a bunch of tools for brands, including storefronts, A+ content and Amazon Live. Just recently, it announced Brand Metrics and Amazon Brand Lift too. It is also expanding where brands can appear on the marketplace and introducing a feature that allows customers to follow their favourite sellers.
The marketplace will continue to develop tools targeted at members of the Amazon Brand Registry and we anticipate that brands will start to seriously invest in their presence on the site.
9. Stores will introduce experiential retail
With the recent rise of eCommerce, retailers need to give shoppers a reason to visit their local stores. That’s why experiential retail is one of the key retail trends for 2022.
By providing unique in-store experiences, retailers can get shoppers through the door and stand apart from the competitors. Nike, for example, offers a basketball court and fitness classes at its flagship store. While Vans’ latest location is also an art gallery.
When done right, these experiences should boost sales and build brand loyalty. This is what the future of retail holds for brick-and-mortar locations.
10. Shoppable livestreams
Shoppable content is everywhere lately, but livestream shopping is set to get much bigger in 2022. That’s because it has become a key focus for social media giants, such as Instagram and Facebook.
They’re all running shoppable streams with the help of well-known content creators. Plus, Pinterest just launched its livestream shopping feature, while YouTube announced that its livestream shopping is now available to all brands.
A number of other media companies, including Comcast, have plans to launch their own shoppable livestream channels. So there is no doubt that this will be one of the biggest retail innovations for 2022.
11. Quick commerce
Customer expectations are constantly growing – especially when it comes to shipping. That’s why quick commerce will be big in 2022.
This superfast delivery method is on the rise thanks to services like Instacart, Deliveroo and UberEats, which drop off groceries in less than an hour. In China, companies also use their own warehouses to deliver highly perishable foods, like seafood, in under an hour.
But quick commerce isn’t just for groceries. Tech store Currys is trialling 30-minute deliveries in London, while Amazon Prime Air uses drones to offer quick commerce in the US.
12. Supply chain transformation
The growing demand for omnichannel retail and quick commerce means supply chains will need to make major adjustments to keep up with current retail trends.
As a result, we’ll see greater adoption of efficient cloud technology and automation. In light of staff shortages, automated storage and retrieval will be key. In fact, the market is set to double in size by 2025. As UPS and Walmart begin to roll out self-driving trucks, 2022 will also be a key year for automated vehicles.
Finally, thanks to mounting public pressure, cutting emissions is also central to the future of retail logistics. In the coming year, companies will drive sustainability through smarter vehicle assignments.
All these retail innovations are simply responses to emerging consumer needs. The future of retail is about much more than convenience. Brands also need to put personalisation, memorable shopping experiences and social responsibility at the heart of their strategies.