The year 2021 inspired incredible change in the e-commerce industry as a result of the effects of Covid in 2020. From improved automation to artificial intelligence to virtual and augmented reality, the pandemic caused a paradigm shift from “the normal way” of things to “the new way.”
These new changes forced many e-commerce businesses to pivot to a new way of doing business.
A quick example is how Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, couldn’t meet the one-day delivery for non-edible items and same-day delivery for edible items it promised its Prime customers.
To fix this, Amazon introduced “Amazon Scout.” This fully electric autonomous-delivery system rolls down the sidewalk at a walking pace and delivers right to customers. With a big player like this in the e-commerce business pivoting to an advanced delivery method, a chain of new trends in e-commerce will emerge.
The lasting effect of the pandemic positions the U.S. e-commerce industry to hit $1 trillion by 2022—and below are five trends that will contribute to that.
1. Voice Search for Shopping
Whether you’re at home, in the office, or practically anywhere, simply speaking to any of your voice-enabled gadgets makes things a whole lot easier. It’s no wonder why voice-search AIs like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant are tapping into it.
Current stats estimate the voice-assistant-speaker market to reach around $4 billion in 2022. With voice shoppers expected to increase by 55 percent and voice shopping hitting $40 billion by 2022, it’s safe to assume this will be a trend.
For e-commerce-business owners, this creates an opportunity to employ voice-search-optimization strategies to rank for keywords and phrases that perfectly suit voice-search queries.
2. Demand for Personalized Products
It’s almost impossible to fully satisfy a customer—and having him or her sort through multiple categories doesn’t exactly solve the issue.
However, personalizing the product makes a difference in customer satisfaction due to customers’ exclusivity when purchasing. In exchange for this, 22 percent of consumers are ready to share their data.
Nike, for example, in its Lunarglide shoe edition, allows customers to create their designs and choose their preferred colors. It’s the same for Enfamil, which requests due dates of babies from expecting mothers to provide personalized information throughout the pregnancy.
More brands are adopting this practice, and in 2022, most e-commerce businesses will do the same as personalization makes customers’ shopping experience easier and strengthens brand loyalty.
3. Customer-Service Management With Chatbots
For mid-sized and large e-commerce businesses, customer service is a big part of the business. Handling customer queries is one part; solving those queries is another—and few businesses can afford to hire thousands of customer service representatives to do that.
Meanwhile, the advancement of chatbots in the past few years simplifies the way customer service runs. Integrating chatbots into your customer service is the best move you can make now, as they can perform many different tasks:
- Collecting feedback from surveys.
- Answering frequently asked questions (FAQ).
- Suggesting product recommendations.
- Informing about current sale offerings.
All of these tasks can facilitate faster, more accessible communication with thousands of customers at once, each with personalized responses according to the customer’s queries.
4. Augmented and Virtual Reality for Shopping
Visiting an online store and shopping for any item of your choice feels good, as it saves you time and effort. However, there’s a gap between what you see online and what it looks like when it’s delivered.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) fills this gap by showing you what the product looks like in real life and how it’ll fit into your everyday lifestyle.
This gives consumers the confidence to make smart buying decisions. Around 71 percent of consumers agree they’ll shop more often from e-commerce brands that use VR.
Based on this, an estimate of over 120,000 stores will be using AR in 2022 to offer a better shopping experience for customers.
5. Omnichannel Selling
Focusing on a single channel for selling your products and making the most of it by having customers come directly shows you’re doing everything right, especially in customer acquisition.
However, this limits your chances of connecting to other interested customers on various channels. Stats from Sprout Social show that about 84.9 percent of customers won’t purchase an item until they’ve seen it multiple times. Global Web Index also shows that 37 percent of users use social-media channels to research products and brands.
Meanwhile, expanding your reach to social media platforms and major online-retail websites like Amazon, eBay and Etsy puts you directly in front of your potential customers.
This trend is the key driving point for major companies like Amazon, with 52 percent of units sold on its website coming from third-party sellers. To maximize this opportunity for your e-commerce business, start pushing into new markets to attract a broader audience.