Although the explosive growth of the past few years dropped off considerably in the second quarter of 2021 – from 65% year-over-year growth in Q1 2021 to just 1% in Q2 2021 according to SalesForce Shopping Index– e-commerce is still on its way to overtaking offline shopping as the predominant way global consumers like to shop. 

As 2022 steadily progresses, several trends are becoming more and more apparent. In this article, we will share the eCommerce trends you may have missed in 2022 and make it clear why you should harness their power to stimulate digital shopping success. 

 

Overview of the e-commerce trends for 2022

We will discuss how and why mobile commerce or m-commerce should be at the heart of your e-commerce strategy. Next up is the thundering force AI is shaping up to be and how it will change all aspects of e-commerce for good.

Another trend we will discuss is how one-size-fits-all solutions currently used by e-commerce teams worldwide are giving way to Composable Commerce. This allows teams to select and assemble top-of-the-line commerce solutions and compose them to meet their unique and specific business needs. 

We will also look at Hyper-personalization in the online buying journey and the vast opportunities it offers. Finally, to round up this article we’re going green, discussing how sustainability is incorporated in different e-commerce aspects. 

 

1) Mobile now

There is simply no denying it, with more than half of all online shopping done on a mobile device, mobile shopping or m-commerce is the predominant force in e-commerce. In fact, according to SalesForce’s Shopping Index, in 2021 over 70% of all online shopping traffic came from mobile and made up 60% of the total order share.

Mobile shopping should have the bulk of your attention when optimizing your digital strategy. Especially if you consider that by 2023 it is projected to make up 22,3% of global retail sales. (Source Shopify plus)

 

The rise of Social Shopping

Apart from the increasingly important role we allow smartphones to play in almost every aspect of our lives, the ongoing rise of Social Shopping is one of the leading causes for that growth. The sleek and polished creative work done by marketing teams worldwide is easily trumped by the power of influencers and the abundance of product reviews, exploding across social channels like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. When faced with any buying decision, consumers turn to their preferred socials for confirmation and approval.

Although Millennials and member of Gen Z frown by the very thought, Facebook still leads the pack in the US when it comes (source Statista) to buying directly from the platform, closely followed by Instagram and Youtube. Facebook Shops took the success of Facebook Marketplace as a starting point to offer direct purchasing. Instagram Shopping and TikTok Shopping offer that same advantage, finding your shoppers in their natural online habitat. So setting up shop on one or even all of these platforms is worth looking into.

Another massive influence is the increasing presence of services like Google Pay and Amazon Pay. The latter is expected to be adapted to multiple markets and serve as a form of payment for the Amazon platform and as an integrated service for other current and future third-party platforms.

 

Going mobile? Think apps

So making mobile-first the cornerstone of your digital strategy is no longer a nice-to-have. And if you go mobile, think apps. Consider the advantages of mobile apps versus traditional mobile versions of your online store. Conversion on mobile apps outperforms mobile sites by 157% (Source: Button)

On the other hand, bad mobile UI leads to much frustration with online shoppers and as a result, cart abandonment – a staggering 97% – is the highest on mobile sites. Compare that to the average 20% abandonment rate for mobile apps and you’ll have no problem convincing your team to free up the resources for that sleek mobile app.

 

Better performance with Mobile Ready Hero images

For FMCG, turning your standard packshots into Mobile Ready Hero images (MRHIs) will help online mobile shoppers find the product they need more easily. This will reduce returns and increase conversions across all your mobile channels.

Visual clarity is key for an optimal mobile shopping experience. For an online shopper to make a well-informed purchase it is essential that the key elements are easy to visually recognize. These key elements for visual clarity are also known as the 4Ws:

  • Who is the brand?
  • What is it?
  • Which variety is it?
  • hoW much is it?

MRHIs help make those key elements stand out much more, leading to better performance across all your mobile shopping platforms. If you would like to know more, visit our MRHI page here.

 

2) AI in e-commerce

Before Skynet eventually becomes self-aware, AI will improve our lives in countless ways. So it comes as no surprise that this exciting technology has made its way into e-commerce.

Buying from a chatbot

AI is well on its way to changing customer service through chatbots that are evolving and learning at an impressive rate. Back in 2017, Hubspot did a study that showed almost half of the online shoppers were already willing to buy from a chatbot. With advanced machine learning, chatbots are becoming more and more sophisticated, enabling them to understand us even better. Now they provide us with spot-on answers to our pressing online shopping questions.

Gartner predicted that around 80% of all customer interactions would be through a chatbot by 2021. So even though we are yet to hit those numbers, 2022 might be the year we manage to do it.

 

The secret behind Amazon’s success

But AI’s massive potential doesn’t stop there. By predicting shopping patterns based on previous purchases and frequencies, the AI can customize offerings at the right time and even recommend similar or complementary items. This neat little trick made Amazon the dominating force in e-commerce, making up 35% of the total revenue through up- and cross-selling.

As retailers’ abilities to capture more and more data increase, AI will learn at an exponential rate. As a result, online shopping is becoming hyper-personalized, something we will dive into later in this article.

The power of prediction based on big data also dramatically benefits the logistic side of e-commerce. For example, managing inventory is more effective using real-time information, as demand forecasting becomes increasingly accurate with each new data entry. Imagine the benefits of precise transit times for your supply chain. Or being able to identify shipping delays before they even occur.

To facilitate this, Amazon has over 200,000 mobile AI-driven robots buzzing through their warehouses. And Shopify purchased warehouse robotics start-up 6 River Systems for $450 million in 2020 to help take their warehouse logistics to the next level.

 

Bringing AI to the world of image editing

Teaching AI to chat with customers, help them pick out new products or optimize your logistics is quite impressive. But teaching it how to identify highly complex images and edit them pixel-perfect in just seconds is no small feat either. And we should know, as Bright River’s AI-driven automated editing is changing the image editing game more and more every day.

Our AI and machine learning specialists have been developing Extract, our AI-driven editing workflow aimed specifically at product imagery for e-commerce. What started as a background removal tool, from simple to highly complex objects, is steadily evolving in a suite of editing options that speeds up the editing process without comprising quality.

Using Extract, we now isolate images from their background while maintaining shadows, removing scratches and dust, and straightening and aligning the product fully automated, without human involvement. 

But we did not stop at just product shots. Extract now identifies human forms, masking even the frizziest of curls without missing a single strain of hair. Imagine the impact on turnaround times now that our AI can handle this time-consuming job in seconds. Combined with our editors’ human touch, you get consistent, high-quality edited on-model shots, online and ready to start selling faster than ever before. 

3) Personalization in e-commerce

When e-commerce first appeared in the nineties, personalization did not go much further than saying “Hi Barry” in your promotional emails. Fast forward to 2022; personalization has reached a whole new level. Driven by big data, online shopping experiences feel like they have been designed specifically for each customer. If done correctly, it will boost sales across the board. 

 

Know who you’re talking to

Hyper-personalization goes much further than recommending a nice t-shirt with that wool sweater you bought last week. It is all about contextual data now. Because retailers are getting better at collecting relevant data, a customer’s needs can currently be anticipated and met with the correct interaction at the right time.

For example, when your AI-driven bot has its next chat with your customer, it knows about the wool sweater and uses the product and purchase information to tailor its responses. This opens up a world of cross- and upselling possibilities and works wonders for your customer retention. And as you know, increased retention of just 5% can increase your profits by as much as 25% (source business2community)

 

Filling the shopping cart to match that look

But even if your customers are not chatting with the bot, hyper-personalization can be put to good use. Think about what you can do with your home page or product category pages using the correct, contextual data.

For example, if you just bought a pair of brown leather boots, populating the top rows with jeans makes more sense than tapered, slim-fit pairs of trousers. Or showing a complete look based on that sweater you bought yesterday with a 10% discount on the whole combination might persuade you to fill up the shopping cart to match that look.

According to a study done by Segment, shoppers are 44% more likely to become repeat buyers when offered a personalized shopping experience. And 80% are more likely to make the first purchase. (Source Epsilon).

The AI to power all this hyper-personalization is already out there. So the big challenge for retailers now lies in gathering and plugging in all that data. It would be wise to closely look at your current data sources from all your channels, analyze them and find ways to bring it all together to leverage the true potential of hyper-personalization for e-commerce success.

If you are willing to do the work, you will be leaving 53% of digital delivery specialists behind you as they state they lack the right technology to personalize experiences (Source Forrester). Companies like Kibo and Bloomberg offer some fantastic solutions. And while you’re at it, check out Pixyle.ai as well. They offer impressive Visual AI to offer tailor-made recommendations to your customers.

 

4) Composable Commerce

The days of standardized and straightforward e-commerce experiences are long gone. Instead, today’s online shopper has higher expectations for online shopping. Managing and matching those expectations using the one-size-fits-all tech stack doesn’t cut it anymore.

 

Ecommerce trends 2022 to get with the times

As a modern-day online vendor, you need to implement innovations rapidly to keep up with ever-changing demands. Consumers are rapidly shifting behavior and constantly expect more exciting new experiences. The online shopping space is overcrowded and setting yourself apart from the competition is not that easy when the limitations of your current tech stack are holding you back.

You could start coding from scratch, but that gobbles up huge chunks of available resources without guaranteeing swift implementation. The wiser choice would be Composable Commerce. 

 

Outpace the competition

It allows you to pick and mix the best commerce solutions and connect or compose them into custom applications to meet specific business requirements. As a result, experimenting with cutting-edge innovations is faster, easier and without much risk. Gartner even stated that by 2023 organizations that have adopted the Composable Commerce approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation. 

Composable Commerce wraps headless commerce, Jamstack, and MACH together to create the e-commerce solutions of the future. The fundamentals of Composable Commerce are: (source Snipcart)

  • Modular
    • Every component you use (shopping cart, analytics, shipping platform, Analytics, etc.) can be implemented independently and is interchangeable.
  • Open
    • You are not chained to any solution. Each part can work and be integrated with any application you are using now or will be using.
  • Flexible
    • Whatever you need, you can build. You have complete freedom to construct a tech stack that meets your specific needs. 
  • Business Centric
    • The solution adapts to your business needs, not the other way around. In a time of rapid changes, you need a tech stack that can adapt just as fast.

Like most things, Composable Commerce offers many advantages but also disadvantages, like managing multiple tools and platforms and requiring a more hands-on, DIY approach. In addition, it’s not as easy as using all-in-one solutions. But everything worthwhile requires hard work.

 

5) E-commerce goes green

A study by Accenture has shown that 37% of online consumers are now taking environmental impact as a factor into their buying decision. The same study showed that 81% expect to buy more environmentally friendly products over the next five years. And the best part of it is that over half of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products.

So as we start wisening up as a species, sustainability is seeping through all aspects of our society. And e-commerce is no exception. Going green is all the rage, and rightly so. New brands, with a green approach at their core, pop up everywhere, But well-established brands embrace sustainable e-commerce, placing it at the center of their CSR policies. 

 

Green jeans

For newly produced products, sustainability is fast becoming the standard, with Levi’s choice to use recycled materials to make new jeans as a prime example. In the fashion industry, the almighty cotton is losing ground to eco-friendlier alternatives like bamboo, lyocell (wood-based), and even recycled plastic at a growing rate.

But a greater, more immediate impact is made by the full embrace of the circular economy, with the explosive growth of Vinted as one of the trailblazers. Patagonia’s Worn Wear initiative is an excellent variation on that idea, selling items with minor fabrication errors instead of dumping them on a landfill somewhere.

Consumers look for sustainability across the entire e-commerce process, ranging from the product itself to packaging and shipping. Unfortunately, excessive or wasteful packaging can seriously jeopardize your repeat business. More and more brands are tackling that problem simply by using recycled package materials as much as possible. Or a more novel approach like H&M, which uses shopping bags that turn into clothing hangers. 

 

Helping your bottom line by helping the planet

Shipping options are preferably more green as long as it does not come at too high of a premium on the price. Fortunately, logistic companies are working hard to improve their climate-neutral shipping options, which are expected to become the preferred shipping method within the next few years.

But sustainability improvements are found in less expected parts of the entire chain. For example, apart from ordering online and picking it up in local stores, shipping products to the customer is unavoidable in e-commerce. However, many items bought online are returned because the product presentation did not match the actual product that came out of the box.

You can significantly reduce the return rate by optimizing your online product presentation – like showing the product on a model, adding video or AR, or simply making sure the colors are accurate and consistent. Better for the planet, better for your bottom line. We would love to tell you how Bright River’s solutions can help in that regard.

 

Conclusion

If you haven’t already implemented any of these eCommerce trends in 2022, now might be a good time to start. Improving your Visual Product Content is at the heart of quite a few of these trends. We would love to tell you how Bright River can help you make the most of the opportunities provided. Click here to schedule a call with one of our Business Development Managers.