E-commerce became ‘the’ go-to during the pandemic. Here’s what’s ahead for 2022.
Consumer shopping habits are constantly changing, but the last two years have shifted trends into overdrive. E-commerce became the go-to source for buying essentials, browsing entertainment and fighting boredom during the height of the pandemic and continued to reshape the buying and selling experience into 2021.
With COVID protocols lifting alongside vaccines and boosters turning life slowly to normal, it’s easy to wonder which online shopping trends will disappear and which will emerge as we head into 2022?
COVID-spurred shopping innovations will remain and thrive
Online shopping isn’t going anywhere. We’ll likely see a continued high level of e-commerce spending in 2022. Why? It goes back to why e-commerce thrived in the first place – the robust selection enabled by the web along with the convenience of shopping online. Consumers love the ease of buying on a site, then receiving their item at their doorstep. Their preference for avoiding any hassle and getting their products quickly and efficiently will result in innovations that arose during the pandemic, like curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in-store, remaining long after COVID is gone.
Even before shelter-in-place orders were issued, people were tired of dealing with long lines and big crowds when shopping. Curbside pickup and BOPIS eliminated that headache by allowing customers to order online, then either stay in their car while their products were delivered or quickly grab their purchase and avoid the influx of people waiting to check out.
According to McKinsey research, 60% and 47% of consumers plan to continue using BOPIS and curbside pickup, respectively. Brands and retailers should follow what consumers want and provide these services to keep up with demand if they’re not already.
Social commerce will play a pivotal role in reaching younger consumers
Gen Z and millennials spend an average of 4.5 hours a day and 3.8 hours a day on social media, respectively. With so much time spent on sites like Instagram and TikTok, both demographics are almost exclusively reachable on social platforms. In fact, 51% of 18 to 25-year-olds have «discovered» products they’ve purchased on social media sites. Brands and retailers hoping to expand to younger consumers need to be there also. But it won’t be enough to have a presence; brands and retailers need to adopt social commerce to entice younger consumers.
Social commerce — the buying and selling of goods directly within a social media platform — meets younger consumers where they are by providing the shopping process in the app they’re using. When they see an item they like, they can purchase it without being sent to the retailer’s site. This allows for a seamless customer experience, free from disruptions and other barriers to sale. Brands and retailers can expect a rise in revenue from younger consumers by incorporating social commerce in their selling strategies.
Marketplaces will experience continued growth
Department store giant Macy’s announced it’s tossing its hat in the omnichannel retailer ring with the launch of its own marketplace later next year. This decision was made in part to capitalize on the popularity digital shopping is currently experiencing. Going into 2022, we’ll see marketplaces continuing to undergo explosive growth, with more retailers opting to sell on existing platforms or embark on creating one of their own.
Although the vaccine has encouraged consumers to start shopping in person again, a subset still prefers the convenience of shopping at home. By expanding into e-commerce marketplaces, companies can reach this group and provide them with massive catalogs of products that they may not get in-store. Marketplaces can also give brands and retailers the chance to try new markets at a relatively low cost, compared to opening a physical store, because everything is online. If brands and retailers aren’t on a marketplace next year, they risk missing out on a key audience and more revenue.
Online shopping is a permanent fixture for consumers. By anticipating trends like curbside pickup, social commerce and marketplaces, brands and retailers can head into 2022 knowing where to focus and hone in their e-commerce strategies for consumers.
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