The world of ecommerce is an ever-changing landscape, with new technologies and consumer behaviour driving innovation. Ecommerce brands have to remain on their toes in this environment, seek new ways to drive revenue, attract customers and drive growth.
There are plenty of trends that ecommerce brands should capitalize on to continue expanding, many of which are yet to reach their full potential or be adopted on a wide scale.
With that in mind, here are our top ecommerce trends for you to consider ahead of 2022.
- Augmented Reality
Retail presents a huge opportunity for augmented reality, particularly when it comes to ecommerce.
Consumers are accustomed to buying online without being able to view the product first hand, but some products require more than just imagery to convince a shopper that it’s worth buying.
For example, when shopping for furniture, customers often want to touch the product, determine its quality and assess how it looks in a mock-up room.
But AR is starting to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce websites. As the technology advances, so too does our ability to see and feel these products through AR.
AR has been around for a while, but it’s not gone mainstream just yet. According to research published by VR Intelligence in October 2019, we aren’t far off where they predicted it would be.
And as consumer adoption increases, so too does advertising spend, with ad revenue from AR devices predicted to grow significantly by 2024.
Augmented Reality ecommerce Statistics
Augmented reality remains in its early adoption stage. However, if these stats are anything to go by, it is likely to become widely utilised throughout the ecommerce industry.
- 71% of shoppers would shop at a retailer more regularly if AR was offered.
- Overall, more than 43.7 million people in the U.S. were predicted to use AR on some kind of device at least once per month in 2020.
- 32% of consumers have used mobile augmented reality (AR) apps.
- 57.15% of consumers surveyed by Vertebrae would like to place items they are considering purchasing in their environment (e.g. furniture, appliances)
Along with those stats we also have to factor in the introduction of and growing availability of 5G. This is expected to increase retailer interest in AR and VR experimentation because of the improvement in bandwidth.
Augmented Reality Ecommerce Example
A great example of an early adopter who got the use of AR right is IKEA. The IKEA app lets you see what your furniture will look like in any room, and it uses augmented reality to do so.
The phone’s camera pictures an accurate 3D render of the item that can be moved anywhere on screen for inspection from all angles.
2. Guided Shopping
The rise of Algorithmic-guided selling is quickly becoming a must for the modern ecommerce website. A Gartner survey found that 51% already use or plan to implement this technology in their company.
Many retailers forget about the importance of providing customers with proactive assistance when they are in an ecommerce store, but it’s important for B2C stores to have guided selling solutions – or at least to start thinking about them. If you’re unsure of guided shopping it could be a potentially great split test to run on your website to see if it outperforms your current solution.
Guided shopping experiences lead to quicker purchases, increase in average order value and reduce customer confusion, which will ultimately save them time. Furthermore, customer experience plays a huge role.
Without these two elements, ecommerce sites are likely to lose out on conversions with customers paralyzed by choice and unsure on how to navigate through to purchase.
Guided Shopping Statistics
- 86% of customers who experienced personalization said this influenced what they purchased to some extent.
- 83% of shoppers need support during their online journey.
- 44% of shoppers said they would become repeat buyers after personalized experiences
Guided Shopping Examples
A shining example of best in class guided shopping example comes from Sephora’s Beauty Insider.
Beauty Insider asks users to choose a range of characteristics, such as skincare and hair concerns, and hair colour.
Once you’ve selected all the options that are relevant Sephora presents some ‘personalized picks’ direct from their experts.
The recommendations are supplemented with great copy and powerful imagery. Everything is there to entice the user to add a recommended product to their cart.
Sephora also uses this opportunity to collect information so it can build a 360 customer view. Thanks to this guided shopping experience it knows what future content to send to customers based on their preferences and concerns.
3. Sustainability & Transparency
We can’t lie, this has been a trend for the past few years, and we hope it always will be. Customers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, and that is impacting the purchasing decisions they are making. Brands will need to take notice.
In fact, a recent survey found that 50% of respondents wanted more sustainability in the fashion industry, and 75% wanted to see less packaging.
Many businesses are finding ways to be more eco-friendly by going paperless when possible, using biodegradable packaging and using recyclable supplies.
Environmental Ecommerce Statistics
- 45% of consumers are interested in finding brands that are sustainable or environmentally responsible.
- 66% of global consumers said they would pay more to purchase from brands committed to making a positive social and environmental impact.
- 48% want brands to offer more affordable eco-friendly products
Sustainable & Transparent Ecommerce Example
The shoe company TOMS are a great example of brand transparency on sustainability. In fact, they have a whole section of their website dedicated to it.
TOMS regularly produces an “impact report” which goes into even more detail around the work they are doing to help create a thriving planet.
It’s a 32-page document which shows all the good causes TOMS are involved in. Proving they aren’t just paying lip service to these important global issues, TOMS are actively and consistently acting on their promises.
- Visual Search & Commerce
Visual search has the potential to completely change the way we interact with ecommerce retailers and how we discover new brands and products.
It takes marketing to the next level by incorporating user-generated content, interactive videos, 2D/3D Configurators and even AR into your product’s visual presentation.
These different types of content can be used for all sorts of different purposes from advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram ads right through to email campaigns targeted at customers who’ve already shown interest in what you’re pushing out there.
Ecommerce marketers are well aware of the importance of high quality product photos from a conversion point of view, but now they also need to ensure these are optimised for search and discovery.
Visual Commerce Statistics
- Research from The Intent Lab found that when shopping online for clothing or furniture, more than 85% of respondents respectively put more importance on visual information than text information.
- Research from Visense found that 62% of millennials and Gen Z customers want visual search capabilities – more than any other new technology.
- Over 600 million visual searches are carried out on Pinterest Lens – the visual search tool inside Pinterest – every month
Visual Search Examples
Ecommerce brands really have two options when it comes to visual search.
Firstly, they can ensure product imagery is optimized for discovery via platforms like Pinterest Lens and Google Lens. Alternatively, they can build their own.
Below are two examples of visual search in action. You can see for the fashion and beauty industry the use cases are instant. In future, we may see locations being shoppable for the travel industry.
At Google’s Search On 2020 event they briefly stated that Google Lens now recognizes 15 billion products. In their December ’18 announcement Google stated they could recognize “more than one billion products”, which shows just how far the technology has come in a short space of time.
As we’ve seen above, visual search trends will continue to grow. Platforms like Pinterest are a threat to Google’s core business (search), so this will be an area for them to keep a close eye on and develop.
From Google’s point of view, two core business opportunities are aligned. They have a new user base that prefers visual search, and they can see it’s growing. Secondly, businesses are slowly starting to adopt advertising in visual search and AR as we highlighted earlier.
They will be working on a way to successfully monetize visual search to future proof its core business.
ASOS Style Match
Alternatively, you can try and become the search engine yourself.
ASOS was one of the first ecommerce brands to make use of visual search when they introduced “Style Match” back in 2018. According to their 2020 ASOS round up the functionality was used 1.8 billion times, finding 16 million “perfect matches”.
So, let’s say you’re reading a magazine article and a model has some boots you really like, and you’d like to know where to get them from, simply take a snap, upload it to ASOS and it will show you if they have similar designs in stock. See the example below.
As an early adopter, and based on stats released by ASOS, it’s safe to assume this is a functionality that has driven revenue for ASOS and one that customers appreciate.
5. Social Commerce
Social commerce is simply the process of selling products directly on social media. The complete shopping experience from finding a product to checkout is done seamlessly on a social media platform.
Social media has long been a channel most ecommerce marketers use to drive sales. But in the next few years social media will be able to directly contribute to product sales.
We’ve seen platforms like Pinterest and Instagram slowly but surely work their way to this stage. In 2020, three of the major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest) revamped their social commerce offering to support ecommerce retailers.
Image Source: https://www.bondcap.com/report/itr19/#view/80
Image Source: https://www.bondcap.com/report/itr19/#view/79
For these channels it’s where consumers spend most of their time, and they also play a large role in the research and discovery process.
These moves make sense and will please a lot of platform users. For brands, it’s an opportunity to create another sales channel with the potential to drive more revenue.
Social Commerce Statistics
- According to research from eMarketer, the number of US social commerce buyers accelerated 25.2% to 80.1 million in 2020 and will grow another 12.9% to 90.4 million in 2021.
- 70% of shoppers turn to Instagram for their next purchase
- Compared to people on other platforms, people on Pinterest are 80% more likely to say they’re always shopping.
- 62% of people said they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Facebook stories
Social Commerce Examples
There are a few ways that brands can use social commerce from shoppable Instagram posts to setting up a Facebook shop. Below are some of the best creative examples we could find.
A straightforward example that most ecommerce brands should be making the most of comes from Nike Women. This is a standard shoppable Instagram post, but the magic happens when you click view products.
Once the view products button is clicked Instagram brings up all the products that are seen in the post.
If those white running shoes were the product that caught your eye, you can click on their image to find product details and proceed to checkout.
Whilst these types of posts have been around for a few years, there are still creative ways you can use them – Instagram will no doubt be working on other ways to monetize its platform.
What’s more, they work. Magnolia Boutique drove a 20% increase in Instagram revenue thanks to using these types of posts.
“We’ve seen a traffic increase of 4% increase WoW since starting the shopping campaign and a 20% increase in revenue WoW,” says Susan DelPriore, Magnolia Boutique
Some of these trends have been around for a while, but their impact will begin to shape the future of ecommerce and retail. The end destination seems to be that retail will be everywhere.
The majority of ecommerce brands that see growth in the next 5-10 years will be selling across multiple platforms and channels, and be available wherever their audience spends most of their time.
Hopefully, these trends and examples inspire you to think about your next step and add fresh ideas to your marketing strategy for 2022 and beyond.