We are all starting to get tired of having to frame almost every discussion in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we cannot deny that the outbreak and its consequences have changed the world. It has certainly changed the way we do business, and it has unquestionably changed the online world. Companies that didn’t sell via eCommerce before the pandemic have had to make a move now. Those that ran eCommerce platforms as a sideline to their physical stores are now increasing their investment in digital sales. Businesses that were doing all or most of their sales online before the pandemic are now working to maintain and increase any advantage they may have enjoyed as a result of their head start as the field rapidly expands and becomes more competitive. In 2022, the first year that we might describe hopefully as “post-COVID,” both consumers and businesses are looking at eCommerce in a new way. The result is the rise of several rising eCommerce trends, which all businesses and digital marketers will need to be aware of if they hope to get and stay ahead.
Let’s take a look at some of these trends which you will need to keep ahead of if you want your eCommerce platform to thrive in the near future.
8 trends defining eCommerce in 2022
More money is being spent online than ever. More businesses are competing in the eCommerce space, which means that consumers have more choices. It is no surprise, then, that much of what is happening in the way we do business in the world of eCommerce revolves around service and customer experience. Keep these eight trends in mind as you build or update your eCommerce platform.
1. Customers have set the bar higher than ever
As we said, customers have more choices, and they are more discerning than ever when it comes to product differentiation, price, delivery and service. All businesses already know that the customer is king, and that remains the case – only more so! Customers expect more – and businesses have to give them even more than they expect. A business selling through an eCommerce platform needs to meet its customers through multiple channels, provide impeccable support through automation, bots and agents, fulfill orders quickly and efficiently, and go above and beyond to give them a reason not to shop elsewhere. That is the new standard for eCommerce. Fulfilling these lofty requirements entails the use of sophisticated, responsive data analytics and digital marketing tactics, which must be built into the eCommerce platform.
2. Increased focus on brand identity
Customers engage with brands before looking at products. Some shoppers will indeed get to your site through a specific product search. However, increasingly, customer engagement is built and sustained by making a strong case for your brand. Not all brands are household names – in fact, most aren’t. Therefore, independent brands will have to spend more time and energy on developing their brand identity to crystal clarity and then communicating their strengths to potential customers via social media, email marketing and other channels. Anchor your market around your brand identity and clarify how you can add value to your customers’ lives. That is how leads are built, converted, and transformed into long-term brand loyalty.
3. Live shopping is on the rise
If you haven’t heard about live shopping yet, you will soon. Better yet, you could and should become one of its trailblazers. It is a practice that has already become popular in many Asian countries. It is a great way to create interactive experiences for your shoppers. These experiences can help you build loyalty among your existing customers, as well as attract new ones through social media. Global brands have been creating these experiences for a long time, but the technology is now available to even the smallest online seller.
4. Personalized customer experiences are increasingly important
Telling your brand’s story and creating experiences such as live shopping are tactics that serve to deepen your relationship with your customers. If there is anyone point, you take away from these trends, and it should be the need to build your customer relationships. Your customers don’t just want to buy products; they want to build authentic relationships with brands. Another way that you can contribute to this need is by personalizing your UX. You may say that customer personalization has always been important – and you would be right. However, it is ever more important to approach your personalization efforts with responsive, precise, data-driven action. Personalization only works if the data it is based on is correct, complete and as comprehensive as possible. Merchants need to work on platforms that enable them to “own” their customers’ data (with specific applications to the merchant-customer relationship). More importantly, however, businesses must use this data thoughtfully. It is not enough to feed it into a third-party marketing package hoping that this will increase leads and sales.
5. Third-party cookies are a thing of the past!
Google has announced that third-party cookies will no longer be used in 2023. True, that may be a few months away yet, but you need to adapt to this change right now. The end of cookies means that you will no longer be able to gather information on potential customers or run advertising materials such as personalized ads, audience extension ads, or retargeted ads. Without proper preparation, this may severely limit the reach of your ad campaign and the efficacy of lead generation. Prepare for the loss of traffic and revenue from ads by increasing your focus on SEO, social media and content marketing.
6. Content marketing is central
Businesses will need to develop new ways to reach new customers and build long-term relationships. One way to do this is with a carefully crafted post-purchase strategy that incorporates well-designed and executed marketing content. You cannot afford just to let your customer go after the sale. Provide them with content that will enhance their purchase and their experience of your brand. You could start with the usual post-sale emails and review requests, but you can go further. You could create content around the post-purchase experience, such as how-to videos or other content explaining how to make the most of your product. This could build a sense of community around your brand and products if done well. Ideally, this content should be useful for the established customer and easily shareable and filled with information that might drive potential buyers’ purchase decisions.
7. Group buying is becoming more accepted as an upselling and brand loyalty tactic
Group buying is another trend that started in Asia and is gaining traction among western companies and buyers. Group buying or collective buying is offering reduced prices when a set minimum number of customers make a purchase. It is a great way to upsell within an established customer network while attracting new buyers. Effective group buying offers require careful use of social media platforms, which must be linked to your eCommerce platform. It provides a great way to increase sales through discounts. Discounting is not a favored selling tactic among many merchants. However, group selling enables you to offset reductions in unit prices by boosting the number of items sold at a given time.
8. Delivery times can make or break a sale
When shopping online, shipping and delivery timelines are central to many customers’ decisions. A shopper who has several items in their shopping cart and is just about to proceed to checkout may abandon that cart if the delivery time doesn’t meet their expectations. Unfortunately, delivery times are not always within your control. The important thing is to optimize your delivery options as much as possible and make sure that you communicate these times to your customers clearly and upfront. Then, once you have made that promise, you must keep it at almost any cost. If you fail to deliver when you say you will, you will quickly lose your customers’ trust. No matter how good your products are, they may refuse to return simply because they couldn’t get their items when you said they would. You can always diversify your delivery options, for example, by allowing customers to split orders, collect items if necessary, or provide a premium priority delivery option if you can. Pre-order functionality is also a great option, as it helps to build excitement around your products. Again, communication is key. If you are going to offer an item for pre-order, make sure the customer knows how long they will have to wait before their package finally arrives.
Hassle-Free ECommerce Platform For Your Online Business
Where does your eCommerce platform stand regarding these trends? You may need to update your current platform and services or even build a new one. Terracor Business Solutions specializes in creating customizable, scalable eCommerce solutions that can be tailored to any business, regardless of size and sector. Our zeckoShop eCommerce package is designed for seamless integration and endless possibilities. Among the benefits of zeckoShop are:
- Secure Communications
- Modular Platform Design
- Increased Visibility
- Professional Support
- Sell Globally
- Master Your Content
- Branding and Design
- Built for Growth
By building an eCommerce site with zeckoShop, you can futureproof your online sales strategies and stay ahead of all of the current eCommerce trends and those still to come. For more information, take a tour through our products, watch our instructional videos, or contact us.