A new year is soon upon us and we can proudly say that the e-commerce phenomenon survived another year with a global pandemic. Or maybe we should say because of a global pandemic? Lockdowns and closed physical stores have most certainly driven e-commerce entrepreneurs to solve problems and evolve the online business even further.
We have collected some important points to keep an eye on, or for you to start thinking about implementing in 2022. Maybe you can check them off already?
1. AI is everywhere
It’s no coincidence that Artificial Intelligence is first on our list. It plays a leading role in driving innovative solutions and customer experience. It helps companies customise their customer approaches, improve their internal workflows and create innovative ways to surprise and satisfy their customers. As a result, e-commerce companies can maintain a competitive edge in the market, attract more customers and increase revenue.
AI is often mentioned along with Big Data because it has traditionally required large volumes of data to function. It is because of this that AI solutions have been most useful for the biggest players because most e-stores don't have enough data for AI to be able to draw relevant conclusions. But with the new generation of AI, specifically built for e-commerce, large amounts of data are no longer required to deliver great results. This means that AI, as a technology, will be available for more businesses. Many e-retailers have already started to implement it with substantial increases in, among other things, conversion rates.
2. The rise of social commerce
Social commerce means that you can buy the products you see on social media directly on the current platform. The Covid pandemic boosted the entire e-commerce industry as more people needed to shop online due to quarantine and restrictions. This in turn has led to the social media platforms having to step up when it comes to the ability to shop directly in the app (Instagram and Facebook for example).
When new tools for consumption appear, new marketing opportunities tend to emerge and this is also the case with social commerce. The opportunity is spelled influencers. They are becoming even more important to collaborate with because of the great impact they have on your consumers. The reason why is all about Social Proofing and that's why you ought to include it in your marketing strategy.
In other words, social commerce is a two-pronged trend. One part is about technology and that you need to make sure your e-commerce directory is properly connected with the relevant platform. The second is about using influencers and social proofing to expose your target audience to your products.
3. Voice search is here to stay
Many of us are already used to, for example, turning on and off the lights at home via a voice assistant. Companies like Amazon have long implemented voice navigation and in 2021, several companies have invested in optimising their content for that purpose.
There are generally two types of voice search. One is about commerce via a home assistant, where both input and output are based on voice. It works most effectively when it comes to recurring purchases and low involvement decisions. The other, more suitable for exploratory and inspiring searches, where the voice is used for input but is combined with a visual output on a display.
Therefore, be sure to prepare your e-commerce for the type of voice search and that you think will be used most on your website.
4. Help your customers to visualise your products
Personalising experiences will continue to be incredibly important in 2022. Most e-retailers are already showing their products in 2D and maybe even 3D. But with the help of VR and AR, you can bridge the gap even more between in-store and online stores. Enabling the user to see a 360 ° view of a product, or using AR to see how the product fits into their own spaces, adds another dimension of showing the user how a product is right for just them.
5. Make sure you are sustainable at all fronts
More people expect their brands to take a stand. For instance environmental, political, or gender equality. This is of course due to a mixture of several things. The world is changing and new generations are gaining more purchasing power and positioning themselves as business leaders. This moves the market from the most profitable in money to the most profitable for everyone at all levels. Whether it's about sustainability, gender equality, or ethics.
6. E-commerce for B2B is taking off
The coronavirus has revealed inefficiencies in the sales process also for the B2B market.
A survey conducted by McKinsey (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/these-eight-charts-show-how-covid-19-has-changed-b2b-sales-forever) indicates that more than 75% of B2B customers prefer to buy and interact online.
It's no longer just about small and fast online orders. It is now more efficient, and coveted, to be able to acquire larger quantities via the web.
So for those B2B brands that have not begun their digital e-commerce journey, it's time to start!