Ecommerce Trends 2022: Experts’ Predictions

Ecommerce Trends 2022

The rapid growth of ecommerce continues to drive an evolving retail landscape as businesses look to keep up with customers’ ever-changing demands. In 2021, global ecommerce sales have reached $5.4 trillion, and they are expected to rise even further to $5.9 trillion in 2022. This increasing demand will require retailers to adapt their ecommerce strategies and tap into the latest trends, to ensure they are able to compete in a crowded marketplace.

In this piece, we explore some of the ecommerce trends we see as being key in 2022 and speak to a range of industry experts for their thoughts on how retailers can capitalise in the year ahead.

This article discusses 15 key ecommerce trends that will become more and more significant throughout the retail industry in 2022 and beyond.

1. Social commerce

Social shopping, or social commerce, gives shoppers the ability to purchase directly through social media. This means every aspect of the buying journey takes place on social media, from discovery and research, all the way through to completing the purchase.

Live shopping is another key ecommerce trend expected to grow throughout 2022 as social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok utilise their live streaming features. Brands and retailers will be able to give demonstrations of products, bringing personality into video content while interacting directly with customers and linking through to chosen products – creating a similar environment to an instore experience, but over mobile devices.

Beth Horn, Director & Head of Industry, Retail & Ecommerce at Facebook tells Modern Retail that she sees driving product discovery as being one of the key elements of social commerce that will develop in 2022: 

“The last 18 months have transformed shopping as we know it. As we look ahead to 2022, it’s our collective responsibility to enable shopping and transacting wherever people are comfortable taking action. That means having a seamless shopping experience across your site, your mobile app, your mobile site, and finding ways to surprise and delight people along the way. 

“I think we’ll see more experiences in AR and VR, bringing virtual try-on to the masses. We’ll see the influencer economy become even more important in brand building and acquiring new customers. Ultimately, given how much loyalty has been disrupted over the past year and a half, we have to work to not just capture people’s wants and intent but to actively create them. Intent ecommerce is a $4.2 trillion market, but all of consumer spending is 15 times that value. This is where driving discovery commerce becomes critically important, and the brands that embrace this are the ones that will thrive.”

2. Voice shopping

By 2022, almost half of UK households are expected to own a smart speaker, with the value of voice transactions rising from £0.2 billion to £3.5 billion in the coming year. Retailers that optimise for voice search through the likes of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistants will be able to capitalise on this. It will be key for retailers to optimise their voice search strategies, making sure they rank for phrases and keywords that meet voice search queries.

Ecommerce Trends 2022 - Voice Shopping
Ecommerce Trends 2022 – Voice Shopping

3. Chatbots

Chatbots are becoming more and more popular across the ecommerce industry, helping shoppers to complete purchases, providing customer service and offering product recommendations. There are two main types of chatbots; smart chatbots, which use AI to respond accordingly, and scripted chatbots, which follow a predetermined path.

As the growth of ecommerce continues, using chatbots can drive efficiency by saving retailers time while also improving customer service. However, it is vital to ensure that your chosen chat platform enables you to offer your customers what they need.

Catherine Erdly of the Resilient Retail Club, says: 

“We will likely see continued growth in virtual chatbots and other such technology which will help triage the majority of queries easily and quickly. And we will even see these being adopted by smaller businesses as the technology becomes more accessible, affordable and easily integrated into platforms such as Shopify.”

4. Personalisation

Personalisation has become a key ecommerce trend in recent years, with  80% of consumers being more likely to buy from a retailer that features personalised content, and this is expected to play an increasingly important role throughout 2022.

Retailers are benefitting from tailoring ecommerce recommendations based on previous actions, purchase history, browsing behaviour, demographics and all other data. Providing a tailored ecommerce experience boosts conversion rates significantly, with a 20% increase in sales when experiences are personalised and 44% saying they are likely to become repeat buyers after a personalised shopping experience.

Komal Helyer, VP of Marketing at Pure360 highlights that personalisation should consider every element of the shopper’s interaction with a retailer, saying: 

91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. Consumers want a personalised experience, and by not delivering on this, retailers will lose shoppers to competitor retailers who do.

Many email marketing tools have in-built personalisation capabilities and not just for the larger budgets. Marketing teams of all sizes have access to technology that allows them to deliver better-personalised customer journeys through both email and the web. 

Ecommerce brands looking to succeed in 2022 will be at the forefront of personalisation implementation. Personalisation isn’t just first name or understanding the consumer’s demographic, it goes well beyond that. We’re talking about understanding consumer behaviour, needs and purchasing habits. In 2022 we will see successful commerce brands using personalisation to reduce friction in the buying process. 

Smart marketers will be using personalisation to not only increase revenue but also to increase trust and usefulness. It’s essential that marketers take stock now. This is the time to start thinking about how to not only maximise revenue this festive year but how to retain and grow these existing and new customers throughout 2022. Keep up with this trend by planning now and ensure you’re using all the technological capabilities to build as many relevant personalisation tactics into your mix.”

Wulfric Light-Wilkinson, GM EMEA at Wunderkind, formerly BounceX, tells Modern Retail about the importance of cookie-free commerce for personalisation in 2022, explaining how it is a great opportunity for retailers to deepen the relationship with their customers: 

“Google has confirmed that, by 2023, third-party cookies will become a thing of the past – but even though the deadline is only 18 months away, the majority of retailers are understandably still somewhat reliant on cookie-powered targeting to acquire customers, and these organisations need to urgently consider how they will adapt to a cookie-free world.    

To succeed going forwards, retailers will need to focus on customer relationship management (CRM), optimising their owned channels and delivering relevant, personalised customer experiences at the most opportune times. They should consider the end of cookies as a golden opportunity to engage with customers and focus on capturing first-party data, which will prove far more valuable to them in both the short and long term. 

Our research has found that 40% of retailers can currently only identify between 26-50% of their web traffic, while 23% can only identify a quarter. This means the majority of brands are potentially missing out on masses of revenue from existing, returning customers, and are failing to adequately capture new ones. 

By investing in cookie-free technology that enables them to recognise a larger proportion of their web traffic, retailers will be able to better identify new and returning customers, even when they use different devices. Only then can brands power personalised engagement, through emails and text messages, that will drive revenue at scale while building stronger customer relationships. 

We expect that 2022 will see retailers make greater efforts to reduce their reliance on ‘rented’ audiences and to double down on optimising their owned channels. This will allow them to grow out their marketable lists organically, on their own platforms, and keep shoppers in their loyalty loops to improve customer engagement and grow CLV.”

Jessica Murphy, Co-Founder of True Fit highlights how the continued growth of ecommerce in fashion retail is transforming the way in which shoppers try on garments: 

“True personalisation depends on a collaboration between customer and retailer. We help brands better understand their customers, by bringing together fit and sizing data from 80 million active True Fit members, 17K+ brands and over 2.9Bn fashion transactions (over just the past two years). This foundation powers fit personalisation for our retail customers and provides rich data sets and insights back to our partners consisting of that shopper’s cross-market brand, price point and fit preferences. 

According to Forrester, ecommerce transactions are expected to make up 36% of total fashion retail by 2022. The world as we know it has certainly changed, we are seeing a strong digital shift at True Fit – membership for our Fashion Genome is up 70% over pre pandemic levels – signalling a very important shift in shopper behaviour: Shoppers are not only coming online more (or in some cases for the very first time) but they are shopping differently across new brands and retailers. We see lots of ‘online window-shopping activity’ across retailers, up 35% over this same period last year. This indicates a strong intent by shoppers to continue some of their newly adopted behaviours and in some cases accelerate a shopper’s confidence and comfort with trying new brands. 

The fitting room is no longer in the store – it is at home when the shipment arrives. Turning traffic into loyalty means building trust from the very first interaction a shopper has with a brand. Fit is a trust exercise. Prioritising size and fit personalisation for shoppers is critical to driving customer lifetime value and brand loyalty.”

Finally, Catherine Erdly of the Resilient Retail Club, summarises why retailers should personalise to make communications relevant to customers: 

“One thing is clear, building a community and creating genuine connections between customers and companies is going to continue to be a really important part of businesses strategies going forward. To help maximise their marketing spend, retailers need to be focusing on building a real connection based on values and beliefs between the customer and the business as well as if at all possible building a community around a business, so that they can have an engaged community which goes beyond people simply carrying out a transaction with them but actually focuses on shared values and beliefs.”

5. Customisable products

Another method of personalisation that retailers can introduce is the customisation of products. This growing 2022 ecommerce trend enables shoppers to customise items online and have them delivered quickly, whether they are searching for a unique looking product, or want to engrave a pre-existing item. Nike By You is a fantastic example of a retailer making the most of customisation.

Marc Sach, Creator of Fuzzballs, highlights the importance of retailers offering more unique products through customisation: 

“2022 is going to be an interesting year for retailers. Those that have listened to their customers and watched them seek out smaller brands and businesses online over the past year or two looking for unique, themed or limited edition products will do well if they can also offer their customers unique products and brands they haven’t seen before. Those that offer up the same tired product lines will see customers have fatigue and are looking for something they haven’t seen before or that they can’t get anywhere else. Those customers certainly will shop elsewhere to find something different. 

Fuzzballs has seen a huge increase in our customers and fans loving and wanting unique limited edition items from holiday-themed merch, to more unique limited edition themes like national pizza day or summer vacations. Customers love having something that feels exclusive or matches their personality at that time so they can really show off what they are all about and they really love to have a collection of things that all match to really cement their passions for that brand or theme. 

The retailers we work with certainly have noticed customers love seeing new brands like Fuzzballs appearing and offering something new with a large collection of constantly changing designs and products they can collect and show off to suit their every mood.”

6. Live shopping and video consultations

Live shopping and video consultations have become a popular ecommerce add-on. Taking the industry by storm throughout lockdown, retailers benefited from providing virtual shopping experiences to shoppers stuck at home, and this trend has since continued. Whether it is a one-on-one video call for a truly personal shopping experience, or mass live shopping events, retailers are able to enhance the online experience and convey key selling points while simultaneously increasing customer spend. Live shopping has become an ecommerce trend that retailers should explore, as it can help to build a community as well as a feeling of togetherness and exclusivity.

Sarah Friswell, CEO at Red Ant, comments: 

“Virtual consultations will be used as an extension of clienting. Customers want to be able to shop on their own terms, and sometimes this means from the comfort of their living room rather than in a store. Retailers will need to be able to facilitate this over the long term, and that means ensuring their virtual services are able to integrate both new and existing customer data – simply offering a top-layer video call with no data behind it will not be fit for purpose.”

7. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Artificial intelligence, or AI, can be used to predetermine customer preferences and offer personalised experiences on websites. This can be an effective method of interpreting data and automating customer experience based on a range of chosen factors.

Azita Martin, VP & GM of Artificial Intelligence for Retail at technology multinational Nvidia outlines the importance of becoming one with the customer through the use of AI in data processing:

“Retailers sit on massive amounts of data but often have trouble processing it in real-time. AI lets retailers parse the data in near real-time to have a 360-degree view of their customers,  in order to provide more personalized offers and recommendations that drive revenue and customer satisfaction. In 2022, you’ll see many retailers offering hyper-personalized shopping experiences.”

Furthermore, retailers can employee machine learning (a subset of AI) to:

  • Introduce dynamic pricing
  • Make tailored product recommendations
  • Offer customer service through chatbots etc.
  • Identify the highest spending customers
  • Tailor ecommerce journeys to customer type

8. Faster payment options

Convenience is a common theme across many of the ecommerce trends that should be key in 2022 and beyond, meaning fast, secure payment options are essential. Retailers should look for ways to make payment as quick and hassle-free as possible for customers. This can be done by choosing a method that offers one-click or quick payment, preventing retailers from missing out on conversions.

With 44% of UK consumers giving up on a purchase if their preferred payment option wasn’t offered at the online checkout, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes such as Klarna are also becoming increasingly popular.

Click here to learn everything retailers need to know about “Buy Now, Pay Later”.

9. Flexible delivery options and fulfilment technology

An enormous 45% of shoppers abandon purchases because they are not satisfied with the available delivery methods, highlighting the importance of flexible delivery options. Embracing fulfilment technology and offering flexible delivery options will be important ecommerce trends in 2022.

Some of the ways that retailers can improve delivery experiences for customers include:

  • Allowing customers to specify delivery time slots
  • Parcel lockers
  • Click and collect (also known as ‘buy online, pick up instore’ or ‘BOPIS’)
  • Enabling customers to track deliveries
  • Giving customers the option to reschedule delivery

Technology is also expected to simplify the process of fulfilment in the retail industry, helping to streamline processes and deliver a seamless customer experience.

Callum Campbell, CEO of Linnworks, explains the importance of streamlining the retail fulfilment process, saying: 

“Retailers have been forced to rethink their fulfilment strategies and focus their resources towards streamlining commerce operations in the wake of the pandemic, natural disasters, shipping delays, and congestion at ports. It’s clear these challenges aren’t going away. It’s no longer a matter of ‘getting by’ in the present; retailers need to prepare for what’s likely to be a tumultuous 2022. 

Despite these challenges, consumers’ expectations haven’t changed. Consumers still expect to receive purchases within the same timeframes as before, meaning retailers need to constantly evaluate operational continuity to stay ahead of the current climate, and be set up for a more resilient future. A solution we’ve seen and will see many retailers turn to is multichannel fulfilment, which helps build a seamless end-to-end experience for customers across selling channels such as marketplaces and social, as well as owned channels such as a retailer’s website and app. However, the challenge here is viewing and managing inventory across multiple channels. That’s where automation comes in. 

To minimise delays, retailers are looking to automate order, inventory, stock and listings management, plus shipping carrier management and shipping communications. The key is simplifying their tech stack and selecting a solution that enables them to manage all commerce operations from one central dashboard or location, and make adjustments in real-time. 

In the short term, retailers can ease consumer worry through more transparent communication. When it comes to planning for the future, adopting a ‘total commerce’ model will enable a cohesive and multichannel approach to fulfilment.”

Rob van den Heuvel, CEO and co-founder at Sendcloud agrees with the importance of flexibility: 

“There are a couple of trends that I believe will impact ecommerce, specifically in fulfilment. First of all, flexible delivery is becoming the norm rather than the exception. 67 per cent of UK shoppers say that flexibility in delivery is key to them. They want to decide where, when and how to receive an order themselves. Couriers are increasingly meeting this demand by offering flexible delivery options. Take for example the rise of on-demand delivery services such as Zapp, or look at traditional couriers such as Royal Mail who are testing Sunday deliveries. If retailers want to engage their customers in the long term, they must embrace these kinds of flexible delivery options. 

As a result, we expect carriers to focus more on consumer-centric technology in 2022 as well. In response to huge parcel volumes, carriers have been pushing hard to expand their delivery capacity in 2021, investing heavily in staff, warehouses and their fleet. However, in order to meet the desire for flexibility, couriers will have to rethink their operations in order to put the customers’ needs first. 

Finally, we expect cross border ecommerce to take off again in the coming year. In the UK in particular, cross border shopping saw a major dip as a result of Brexit. As both retailers and consumers are now getting more used to customs processes, we expect this to rise again.”

Ben Kaye, Ecommerce and Order Management Expert at Mintsoft, highlights the need for retailers to embrace the technology that can help boost their fulfilment operations: 

“If there’s one industry that has peaked during the pandemic, it’s ecommerce. With the levels of online shopping set to continue to increase, online retailers are feeling the effect of the rising demand of order fulfilment. 

Implementation of technology is a great way for online retailers to keep up with the demand of ecommerce and multi-channel selling and scale their business as needed and a trend we expect to see more of. Both fulfilment and shipping play a significant role in the customer journey, especially when you consider that the point of delivery can often be the only face-to-face interaction customers will have with your brand. 

Automating processes is a great investment for ecommerce businesses as it will ensure accurate and timely deliveries. Order management systems (OMS) provide solutions such as inventory and shipping management, meaning the accuracy of orders and courier selection is made simple. These types of cloud-based solutions also integrate with various sales channels and systems, so that processes are streamlined, errors are reduced and a more consistent service is delivered.”

10. Visual commerce and technology

Visual commerce is another ecommerce theme on the rise, with customers wanting to enjoy an instore experience without having to travel to a physical location. It is a one of several key emerging ecommerce trends that will continue to develop throughout 2022 and there are plenty of ways that retailers can tap into visual commerce in the year ahead:

360-degree imagery

Creating 360-degree imagery or video content allows customers to view products in a similar way to how they would instore. Using this on best-selling products is a great way to draw attention to popular items.

User-generated content

Featuring user-generated content on product pages, such as customer imagery, works to increase conversion rates and build trust with shoppers.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality in ecommerce allows shoppers to overlay products in their chosen settings, as you can see in this Argos AR-enabled app. It helps customers to make confident purchase decisions through the visualisation of products in their intended locations.

Virtual reality

Retailers are set to benefit from virtual showrooms, allowing customers to make their way through VR stores without having to leave the comfort of their own homes. Virtual reality can be interactive, creating opportunities to explore certain areas of a VR store or click on specific products to see more in-depth information.

Jonny Webber, Head of Ecommerce at fragrances retailer Perfume Direct, explains: 

“Almost all emerging ecommerce trends are focussed on improving user experience, so I envision this will be taken to the next level in 2022. Another trend I think we’ll see is brands investing more in creative visual content to showcase their products on their websites. I believe the norm will become interactive imagery/videos and user-generated content, rather than the traditional static product image on a white background. One thing’s for sure, it’ll be interesting to see what the (hopefully) post-pandemic landscape looks like next year “

Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief of ReHack Magazine agrees that VR and AR could play more of a role over the coming year: 

“I think technology is going to be one of the most important trends retailers can capitalise on in 2022. It was already becoming important for retailers to be knowledgeable about digital marketing and social media in 2019, and then the start of the pandemic in 2020 really pushed that need ahead. COVID has got consumers used to buying everything remotely, so I could see technologies like AR and VR becoming more important for retailers like furniture and home decor brands. Additionally, I think we’re going to see the most success for retail brands that are able to really get their SEO and voice search strategies together.”

Ecommerce Trends 2022 - Virtual Reality
Ecommerce Trends 2022 – Virtual Reality

11. Connected commerce

Connected commerce involves the integration of different platforms to create a consistent purchase experience for customers at any time, in any place and on any device. This means there must be collaboration between different sales channels including apps, websites, social media platforms, email marketing and any other platforms used for ecommerce. 

Branding, messaging and customer service should also be consistent, regardless of where a customer wants to place a purchase.

12. Sustainability

The continued rise of green consumerism has meant that more consumers are demanding eco-friendly shopping and those retailers that are able to provide it are most likely to gain loyal customers. In fact, 65% would be willing to spend up to 20% more on sustainable purchases.

Packaging and delivery play a key part in the sustainability of any ecommerce business model, so retailers must put thought into ways that they can reduce their carbon footprint and have a positive impact on the planet. These are clearly among the most crucial ecommerce trends of 2022 and beyond.

Matt Price, Ecommerce Manager at retailer Harts of Stur, comments: 

“I think as a society, we are becoming much more aware of the harm that we are doing to our planet and the concerns that arise from this understanding is something that is having an increasing impact on our purchasing decisions across a whole range of industries. 

Consumers are starting to demand that retailers are offering choices and taking action to limit their environmental impact. Although this has arguably been driven by younger generations, I believe it is something that all age groups understand as an issue and it’s not something that is going to go away. 

As retailers, we need to work hard to put an ethos of sustainability at the forefront and provide products to our customers which are more eco friendly, deliver them in recyclable or biodegradable packaging, and, long term, do our best to aim for carbon-neutral business practices to offset the impact that we have on our environment.”

Stu Conroy, Founder of full-service ecommerce agency Activ8, explains the ways that retailers can make their last-mile logistics more sustainable and environmentally friendly: 

“Ecological responsibility and sustainability are becoming more frequently expected by online shoppers, especially younger demographics. In line with changes to product packaging and ingredients, order fulfilment is facing its latest logistical challenges to provide customers with a greener way to receive their items. Because of complexities like location, geographic regulations, traffic, and customer requests, last-mile delivery is often an intricate problem to solve. 

In fact, for ecommerce businesses, last-mile deliveries can account for over 50% of the total supply chain spend. So, as consumers become accustomed to online purchases, the demand for faster delivery and customer service will continue to increase, greatly impacting the costs and environmental impact of retailers. However, through a combination of strategically distributed stock between customer locations and fulfilment facilities along with live delivery support and optimised transportation routes, 2022 presents an opportunity for brands to begin winning the battle against logistics inefficiencies. Recent studies have also suggested that alternative technological solutions such as electric vans, e-bikes, and drones used for domestic delivery can greatly reduce costs and emissions, as well as appeal to customers’ desire for a greener solution. 

Although there is no single solution that can resolve the need for more efficient and ecological logistics, the brands that can provide customers with an eco-friendlier option are set to be at the forefront of the next big revolution in logistics.”

Jonny Webber, Head of Ecommerce at Perfume Direct, adds: 

“Customers are demanding faster and more flexible delivery options, so I think same-day delivery with ‘last mile’ delivery partners like Ryde will become very popular. This is also a great opportunity for brands to become more ‘green’ with their delivery solution, as in most cases they use bikes and electric vehicles to make deliveries. Brands that prioritise eco-friendly and sustainable practises will have a huge advantage over their competitors in 2022, with so many consumers now actively seeking out purpose-driven, sustainable brands.”

Click here to read top tips to create a one-of-a-kind ecommerce experience in our Retail Stars feature on Perfume Direct.

13. Mobile shopping

With more than half of all purchases taking place on a mobile device, there has never been a more important time to consider your mobile shopping experience.

Websites must be optimised to create a streamlined ecommerce journey, with 40% of shoppers going to a competitor after a negative mobile shopping experience. Considering 79% of people have made a purchase on a mobile device in the last six months, these statistics alone emphasise the importance of retailers having a mobile shopping offering that they can be proud of.

14. Enhanced customer service

While customer services may not be one of the forward-looking ecommerce trends of 2022, it has of course always been key, and retailers must now focus their attention on providing options that truly suit shoppers’ needs, ensuring a range of suitable communication methods are in place.

Catherine Erdly of the Resilient Retail Club, advises: 

“Customers are becoming much savvier when it comes to buying from online businesses, as many more of them began purchasing online during the pandemic or started purchasing things that previously they would have bought in shops, so customer service is going to be even more important as they expect a high level of information and ability to track their packages for example. 

The key thing as always with customer service is all about communication so therefore with potential delivery delays hitting Christmas 2021 and potentially into 2022, it’s going to be really important that customers are kept updated with any changes to their deliveries and are given the ability to monitor their own deliveries as well so that they can be more autonomous when it comes to keeping on top of when they are going to be receiving their items.”

Naeem Arif, Managing Director of NA Consulting, adds: 

“Customer service continues to be the timeless competitive advantage that retailers and hospitality businesses need to focus on in 2022. Through the pandemic, customers showed some level of patience when businesses faced delays, but this patience is now wearing thin. 

As we approach the end of 2021, we are seeing significant issues in the supply chain across the board and this is risking customer satisfaction. Having put up with Brexit and now COVID, brands really need to focus on customer service now more than ever, as customers are willing to pay for a better and reliable service.

If you are struggling to be creative, keep it simple, ask yourself ‘what will make it easy for my customers?’ and ‘what will make them feel appreciated?’ This second point does not need to be big flashy lights, it is all about being friendly and welcoming. Customers will remember this much more than how much you charged them.”

15. Subscription models

Of all online shoppers, 15% have signed up for at least one subscription service. Retailers can increase customer lifetime value by offering subscriptions, allowing shoppers to save time and money on products that they regularly purchase.

Making business more predictable and helping to forecast required inventory, introducing an ecommerce subscription model can also help retailers to plan ahead and maintain stock levels. These benefits for both customers and retailers make subscription models one of the ecommerce trends for 2022 to watch out for.

Debi McCormack, Founder of Boxcitement Subscription Boxes explains to Modern Retail that, despite the challenges small businesses currently face, the growth of the subscription model is helping her business go from strength to strength: 

“It’s getting harder to persuade customers you reach through social shopping to part with their cash, especially for discretionary products such as stationery, accessories and costume jewellery, which form the bulk of the products in our monthly subscription boxes. It’s probably a combination of factors depending on the demographic – we’ve been hit by the end of furlough, upcoming fears about energy price rises and a summer that people have understandably spent enjoying outdoors and being social rather than shopping online. 

The Apple iOS 14 update has also made it much harder to re-target those potential customers who don’t buy immediately, so these are challenging times for small businesses who have traditionally relied on Facebook and Instagram ads for their sales. We are constantly looking for new ways to market and in the near future will be looking at alternative advertising streams as well as improving our affiliate and influencer marketing programmes. 

One thing we are pleased about is that the subscription retail model is going from strength to strength – the customers are there, we just have to find new and innovative ways to find them and to allow them to find us”.

With such significant shifts in the ways that people shop, there has never been a more important time to take note of the key ecommerce trends we will be seeing more of in 2022, and find ways to implement them in ways that work for your business.

Gary Marshall, Founder of marketing agency Tonik Associates, summarises his view on the monumental changes taking place and how ecommerce can work collaboratively alongside instore retail: 

“We are at the centre of a defining period for the retail sector globally. The growth in e-retail continues to take an ever-larger portion of market share. This share however is still relatively small, but it is accelerating. There is enormous pressure on physical retail to compete with these cloud retailers in order to engage with emerging brands, change consumer mindset and be relevant to the new audience. This new arena has confused the existing physical landscape of stores, malls, retailers, and brands in understanding where they belong as most don’t know who they are competing with and have not fine-tuned their ‘why’ so consumers can relate. 

There is enormous pressure on physical retail to compete with the cloud but also to engage with the new consumers in a relevant way. Each generation evolves with their own habits that translate into a different consumer interaction. Similarly, visionary cloud retailers understand their ‘why’ but are beginning to acknowledge that they need to get closer to their audience and activate all five senses when developing their offer and creating their communities. Today’s savvy, digitally-native consumers align with the ecommerce brands because of a matching value set and are happy to engage with these brands virtually. However, their mindsets demand a closer relationship with their chosen brand and products, which cannot be totally fulfilled online. 

The pandemic has simply accelerated the focus of this movement and we are in a period of chaos. A new ecosystem that provides flexible experiential retail driven by presence, relevance, tech and data is needed to solve this. These experiences will be curated by retail chefs who “mix the ingredients in the right way” as directed by specific demographics. This creates a unique ‘micro omni retail market’ of brands from a global landscape that are given the opportunity to participate in these new markets. This is also a unique opportunity for the more local and established brands to participate in this new landscape and re-establish their place with a fresher perspective of coolness, excitement and relevance. 

The above has created the immediate need for the reinvention and repositioning of property assets (both physical and digital) in addition to providing consumers with fresh, ‘complete’ options for their retail journey, no matter where they buy.”

While Salvator Felous, Chairman at Tonik Associates, adds: 

“As Gary reflected, we are definitely at a crossroads. This is not a unique event though. Technological advances and human evolution will always push for more with both speed and sometimes wisdom. The new tools being created are adding fuel for supersonic acceleration! Since we are reflecting on ecommerce which is only one asset class under retail, we need to pay attention to the speed that a new crossroads is emerging before us, with enormous new implications that come with it. 

The creation of the Metaverse is a unique ‘business model’ shift event that will touch all the cords of branding along with how consumers behave around the retail decision-making process. Although it is important how new technological evolution or the utility of new payments systems are helping ecommerce, we need to be laser-focused and start designing ‘retail architecture’ around the three pillars of consumerism that will emerge under a new “supercharged” umbrella of B2C. 

Physical retail, ecommerce and metaverse will emerge as a three-pillar ecosystem with extremely new disciplined branding structures and utility designs. Get ready for brands to start maximising ‘brand pillars’ through the creation of physical store branding villages, where the consumer experiences the full spectrum of the brand.”

It’s clear that 2022 will be another year of significant technological advancement in retail. By tapping into some of the above key ecommerce trends in 2022 and beyond, retailers can look to meet customers’ needs and deliver an online experience that truly delights customers, grows sales and boosts loyalty.