2022 commerce and e-commerce trends revolve around tech stacks, customer data, customer service, supply and demand, and overall CX.
Retailers once again demonstrated their flexibility and ingenuity in 2021, pivoting in new ways to overcome the many challenges facing their industry. As we look at retail trends for 2022, things aren’t any easier. Retailers remain under pressure to evolve.
The industry continues to be one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic. As the omnicron variant spreads rapidly, retailers are struggling with labor shortages. Some have been forced to cut back hours or temporarily close locations. And they still deal with supply chain issues and out of stocks.
Retail 2022: Top 10 trends
As the pandemic continues its trajectory and technology trends and customer preferences both continue to change, what’s ahead for retail in 2022? How can retailers drive growth and revenue amid so much change?
- Provide a digital-first customer experience
- Follow a direct-to-consumer strategy
- Reinvent the physical store
- Adapt to changing buying behaviors
- Centralize customer data
- Design hyper-personalized marketing
- Drive customer loyalty
- Achieve supply chain visibility
- Commit to customer centricity
- Prioritize sustainability
Omnichannel retail CX
COVID put omnichannel retail into hyperdrive, making it one of the top retail trends for 2022. If a customer finds a product they like on your web shop, can they continue that search in person in-store? If not, can your retail staff help them consult a digital product catalog? Even better, can they access the customer’s profile to see what items they’ve favorited online?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to embrace a digital-first strategy focused on retaining, not acquiring, customers.
Companies that succeed in 2022 will bridge the online and offline divide, fully integrating systems and software to create an omnichannel experience that encompasses their entire brand – from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce stores.
Customers are coming back to physical stores, but their behavior and demands have changed for good. Many customers are sticking with the e-commerce options they turned to in the early days of the pandemic. Omnichannel offerings that encompass online and in-store experiences will encourage them to keep coming back to your store, site, or mobile app because the more they buy, the more you can customize their promotions, offer them rewards, and built their trust.
This omnichannel approach could involve running the same promotions in store and online or ensuring customer service personnel online can help resolve problems with a product purchased in a physical store.
Omnichannel personalization is the new frontier. Here, we explore how brands can build customer loyalty by delivering personalized experiences on the channels that matter most.
Reinventing the physical store
You’re likely paying a high rent for your store, so you need to not just maintain foot traffic, but think of new ways to extract value from this asset.
Imagine, for example, a salesperson doing an Instagram Live event in your store that’s streamed to your website’s buying platform – while the products being demonstrated pop up for web visitors to add to their shopping cart.
2022 is the year for retailers to rethink what purpose a store can fulfill beyond simply letting customers go in and buy things, especially if physical shopping becomes less of an option. Whether it’s using your shop as a fulfillment center, offering click-and-collect services, or a rotating menu of events and entertainment, now’s a great time to identify innovative ways to use your store to keep customers happy.
Social commerce is a huge opportunity for any company that sells products online. See how you can harness the power of social influencers to sell more.
D2C, first-party data and personalizationeMarketer’s “D2C Marketing Trends Roundup” forecasts direct-to-consumer e-commerce sales to reach US$174.98 billion in 2023, up from $111.54 billion in 2020.
Smart retailers will learn from D2C brands how to use information collected directly from customers to understand exactly what those customers want. With this first-party data, you can continually update your product offering, move into new categories, and discover new ways to sell and new communities to target.
This can’t be achieved if you’re using outdated, siloed customer data pulled from separate databases and systems. Advanced technology solutions enable retailers to collect and aggregate customer data to build accurate customer profiles that provide insight into their needs and wants.
Centralized data enables you to design hyper-personalized marketing campaigns at scale. For instance, in just a few clicks, you can choose a strategy to increase average order value, see the most effective use cases to help you achieve this, and activate pre-populated use cases with content, creatives, and cross-channel workflows.
Find out how adidas and other brands are creating personalized CX to connect with customers for better engagement and ultimately, more sales.
Boost customer loyalty with supply chain visibility
We know it’s cheaper to retain a loyal customer than it is to acquire a new one. But all it takes is one bad experience to lose that customer. Retail winners in 2022 will use intelligent tools that let them follow through on their promises to customers.
For example, if a customer wants to return a product, do you have the technology to make that experience seamless for them while efficiently sending the product back into your sales cycle?
To deliver in this way for your customers, you also need robust supply chain and inventory systems that help front-office demand signals communicate efficiently with back-office inventory systems. Many retailers lack the end-to-end value chain visibility that supports a connected business; for example, running marketing departments that are siloed from ERP systems.
Achieving this visibility will help reduce friction across the business and enhance your ability to retain loyal customers.
Online sales soared during the holidays and so have online returns, driving up costs for retailers and frustration for consumers.
Make it your mission: customers first, sustainable always
Customers are demanding more individualized attention, and you need to create a business model that puts them at the center of your business. With the right retail platform, you can fold customer-centric initiatives into your CX to take loyalty and marketing to the next level in 2022.
Ensuring everything you do is carried out with the customer in mind includes collecting customer data with trust and transparency. Win trust by demonstrating your commitment to privacy, applying data privacy best practices, and communicating these practices across your web store and social media channels.
Your customers will continue to prioritize the environment and sustainability when making buying decisions. Use the data you have to understand what’s important to them; whether it’s having access to healthier alternatives, reducing plastic packaging, supporting fair-trade practices, charitable donations or social causes.
But make sure your efforts are sincere: consumers can spot greenwashing or performative activism a mile away.