Worldwide retail e-commerce sales are forecast to reach almost $5 trillion in 2021 and are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion or higher in 2022. With the world unanimously pivoting to online convenience for their shopping requirements, there has never been a better time to embrace this wave.
But, what are the e-commerce trends of tomorrow? We’ve updated our list to showcase the top 10 emerging e-commerce trends poised to make a major impact in 2022 and beyond.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
E-commerce businesses are using AI and Machine Learning (ML) more and more to create personalised shopping experiences via smart product recommendations and predictive search.
According to Juniper Research, global retailers will fork out close to $7.3 billion each year on Artificial Intelligence (AI) by 2022. AI spend in the retail market is expected to reach $19.9 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 34.4% from 2020.
Additionally, helpful AI is the best solution to tend to the requirements of every customer. This is why chatbots are poised to facilitate consumer retail spend by up to $142 billion by 2024, rising from $2.8 billion in 2019.
Chatbots assist online customers from the moment they log on right through to checkout, and handle customer queries and complaints instantly, 24-7. More advanced AI can help retailers with demand forecasting and personalised shopping experiences.
2. AR and VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) help bring online shoppers closer to products by showing items in vivid detail as they have never been presented online before.
Over 120,000 webshops are projected to utilise AR technologies by 2022. WeAreBrain developed the AR Praxis Vloercalculator that uses AR technology to make multiple plans of rooms in a user’s house, accurately measuring the available floor space.
With the rise of online shopping, webshops and e-commerce businesses need to leverage these technologies to showcase products immersively, creating better customer experiences.
3. Headless e-commerce
Headless e-commerce architecture gives e-commerce businesses high degrees of flexibility to customise and upgrade their site ad hoc without compromising on speed or efficiency. This means that content can be displayed beyond websites and apps – from kiosks to smartwatches and beyond.
With portable backends, data, and data structures, businesses can be nimble to adapt to changes in the market in real-time. Most advantageously, headless architecture enables businesses to offer multi-platform shopping experiences by displaying the best frontend tools for each platform/device.
4. Social media shopping
There are currently 3.78 billion daily active social media users and roughly 54% use social media to research products. This is creating a groundswell of businesses tapping into social commerce: where users can purchase directly from social media platforms.
Instagram’s Checkout is leading the charge in this regard, but competitors are hot on their heels looking to take advantage of this promising marketing and sales channel.
Now, users don’t need to be redirected to an e-commerce website to make a purchase as the process is simplified allowing users to make purchases directly on a social media platform.
5. Live shopping
Live stream shopping, or just live shopping, is a hybrid between traditional home shopping TV, live video streaming content marketing, and influencer marketing all rolled up into a clever term “entertainmerce”. Of all the e-commerce trends, this is one that has developed a strong presence in the Asian market.
Chinese live shopping sales are expected to reach $423 billion by 2022. Apparel and fashion products are leading the categories with a 36.6% cut (followed by the beauty sector at only 7.6%).
6. Video as the sales rep
The pandemic forced businesses to adopt new approaches to customer care and sales, with the most interesting being the rise of video consultations. Much like a chatbot assistant, customers are able to engage directly with sales representatives via video links to find out more about products and to answer any queries.
In some instances, sales reps try on clothes or use products in real-time to show the customer on the other end of the video call just how the products look, feel, and function.
7. Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) payment options will rise
The recent introduction of short-term financing options like BNPL is growing in popularity in the e-commerce space. In an attempt to make online purchasing more seamless, BNPL plans allow users to pay a portion of the fee upfront with the remaining instalments to follow in the future.
Apple has teamed up with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and is set to launch Apple Pay Later to rival existing BNPL competitors, proving that the move toward short-term financing options is only going to become pervasive in the future.
8. Consolidating your technology stack
For e-commerce businesses with platforms becoming difficult to maintain and keep stable, it might be a good idea to consolidate their tech stack and remove redundancies. More and more, platforms gather integrations that cause slow speeds, clutter, and bloat.
We see more businesses opting for a hybrid-SaaS platform that can be endlessly customisable and scalable to ensure stability.
9. Sustainability and ethical practices are important
Consumers are becoming more sustainably and ethically conscious and aware that our purchasing habits can impact our environment. We see a rise in green startups and sustainable entrepreneurship in the coming year to fight against the problems facing our world.
E-commerce businesses will adopt sustainable measures in their business operations and/or actively market themselves as green to align with customers.
10. Customisable products
Top e-commerce businesses are beginning to sell products that can be fully customised by consumers through the use of digital manufacturing technology and interactive content, such as AR and VR. This takes customer engagement and satisfaction to new heights by inviting them to become partners in the design and creation process.
Leading shoe brands Vans and Nike are leading the game in customisable products, offering online shoppers the opportunity to design their own shoe style online. Businesses need to leverage customisation and personalisation into their e-commerce strategy to take advantage of this consumer-engaging trend.
Although a few of the items on our list are not entirely new, their continual critical importance to the success of e-commerce is why they still find themselves in forecasting trends. These technologies are already showing how they can best serve e-commerce retailers in the digital era, and as the tech evolves in functionality and sophistication, the results will be far superior customer satisfaction. Aiming to please customers at every touchpoint, reducing hassles and providing personalised efficiency will drive engagement and brand loyalty.
So there you have it, those are some of the e-commerce trends set to shape the world of electronic commerce in the near future.