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This blog post has been updated on January 27, 2022. 

Things move quickly in the e-commerce world. In fact, it’s safe to say that the industry is always evolving, with new trends and technologies emerging all the time. As an online retailer, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the latest e-commerce trends if you want to remain competitive.

By knowing what’s on the horizon, you can plan your business strategy accordingly and stay competitive in this rapidly changing landscape. So, what are the 10 essential e-commerce trends to watch out for in 2022? Keep reading to find out!

Here are 11 essential e-commerce trends in 2022 and beyond

Whether you’re a fledgling e-commerce business or an online retail veteran, by keeping on top of the developments in e-commerce and devising actionable tactics to help you respond to the changing needs of your customers, you’ll be in with a good chance of winning and retaining customers. Where appropriate, adopting the right platforms, tools and technologies can help grow your business in a sustainable way.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

1. Green delivery & sustainable packaging

The pandemic revealed that the e-commerce sector is producing an unprecedented amount of carbon emissions, with the industry giants coming under scrutiny for their role in the increase.

Managing to find time between space flight preparations, Jeff Bezos and his team at Amazon has committed to a number of initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint, aiming to be net-zero carbon by 2040.

Many e-commerce retailers have already introduced environmentally friendly delivery services, such as H&M’s bicycle couriers or FedEx with a 100% replacement of its pickup and delivery fleet with battery-powered vehicles by 2040. These developments are great news for companies wanting to get ahead of the curve in planet friendliness.

Green delivery in ecommerce.

Be a leader. Stand out from the crowd.

Maybe your intentions for becoming green shouldn’t be rooted in how it can benefit your business. But the simple truth is that it does. Society is far more engaged, informed, and conscious of the environmental impact all businesses have on our beloved planet. Therefore, becoming a green-friendly business will impact your reputation in a positive manner. But how?

We uncovered consumers’ environmental concerns and their preferences in our recent study. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • More than half of European online shoppers are concerned about the impact of e-commerce on the environment
  • 8% of them say that they would cancel an order if green delivery is not available
  • 78% of European consumers think packaging materials of products ordered online should be fully recyclable
  • 67% say that retailers often use too many packaging materials when shipping their orders

Why not be a pioneering e-commerce brand and get ahead of your competitors? Upgrade your online store by turning these and many more insights into your competitive advantage. Sustainable e-commerce should be at the forefront of every ambitious online retailer in 2022.

2. Greater flexibility

Flexibility has always been important to consumers, though it is now a higher priority than ever. 71% of European consumers will actively choose a company that has more flexible delivery options over another. Plus more and more online retailers are choosing to work with a variety of shipping carriers to offer more choice to customers and to provide plan B services if problems arise.

multicarrier shipping in e-commerce

So, when you’re reviewing your shipping strategy in 2022, why not be a step ahead of your competitors and offer multi-carrier shipping and a wider variety of shipping services in general? You could offer different shipping methods and combine them with various carriers, letting your customers decide how to get their items in the most straightforward, cost-effective way possible – they’ll thank you for it, we promise!

These are most definitely rising trends that you won’t want to miss in 2022. So, if you need help with making it happen, let us know. We are specialists in helping ambitious online retailers to adopt a multi-carrier strategy, automating a wide variety of shipping processes, and generating shipping labels super quickly – without any errors.

3. Advancements in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

AR and VR concepts are pretty mind-blowing already but get ready for even more crazy developments as it’s expected there’ll be a 57% increase in Gen Z shoppers who use AR before making a purchase within the next five years.

Virtual reality in e-commerce.

Whatever the future holds for both consumers and the retail world, as we edge towards a ‘new normal, there are certainly some exciting developments happening in AR and VR in 2021 and beyond! More and more online retailers offer AR and VR tools that allow users to scan a familiar environment such as the home or office to see how products integrate and look.

Here are some examples of brands that are killing it with AR and VR:

  • Sephora lets customers try make-up looks and take photos with the outfit they are wearing.
  • Zara offers customers the chance to view holograms of models wearing their purchases by hovering their phone over a package in a store.
  • Amazon’s AR View app allows customers to view products in their homes before making a purchase. Every product is rendered to size and scale so customers can be confident they’re making the right decision.
  • IKEA’s Studio app enables users to capture entire fully-measured 3D room plans complete with placements of the current furniture. Customers can add new wall colors, furniture, storage and shelves, and other accessories and decorations. These refreshed designs can then be exported in 2D or 3D.

4. Voice-based online shopping

According to a global study conducted by Wunderman Thompson, voice-based online shopping will gross over $40 billion by 2022 in the US and the UK alone, which is a market share of 18%.

While some voice search technologies got off to a tricky start in terms of user experience and concerns from privacy advocates, the technology is set to become a fully-integrated fixture in e-commerce customer journeys in the near future.

5. Mobile payment methods

According to investment experts LearnBond, the global mobile payment market will reach a record $6.7 trillion by 2023, with the European share thought to be around 0.067% of the total.

Mobile payment solutions in ecommerce.

Consumers love the convenience of mobile payments such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. They streamline transactions and customers have confidence in their security credentials.

They also have a number of important benefits for busy, customer-focused e-commerce merchants like yourself, removing the need to manually input details, and boosting conversions by making it super easy for customers to checkout.

6. Conversational AI & omnichannel strategies

Conversational AI is a technology that facilitates human-like interactions between brands and consumers. Gone are the days of creepy robotic voice simulations. Today’s chatbots and voicebots use sophisticated machine learning to deliver a seamless user experience.

Sephora, eBay, SnapTravel and H&M are some companies that already use chatbots. They’re great for handling your FAQs, suggesting product recommendations, sending shipping information, and promoting offers.

They can even prove effective during the actual sales process. So, consider them a firm e-commerce trend for you to watch in 2022!

7. Seamless personalization

Advancements in machine learning, sophisticated website tracking and powerful website apps offer unprecedented personalization opportunities for when you want to offer that human touch.

Check this one out to see a great simple, but highly effective personalization strategy. The fashion retailer uses geolocation technology to show clothing based on the weather the user is currently experiencing. So, when it’s fine and sunny your customer will be treated to tempting beachwear and when it’s chilly the latest parkas or scarves.

This is a personalization activity designed to reach out to the customer with the most relevant, useful products right when they need them. The result? Higher conversions, and happier customers.

Also, Salesforce states that 66% of consumers expect the companies they shop from to understand their needs and preferences, so if personalization isn’t already integrated into your customer experience strategy, now’s the time to get started!

8. Social commerce

Did you know that the average user will spend 2 hours and 24 minutes a day on social media? That’s a hell of a lot of cat videos! Joking aside, social commerce is becoming increasingly common and it’s well worth considering getting on the bandwagon before your competitors do.

TikTok’s users, for example, spend an impressive £37 million every year through the app which is the most downloaded product in Apple’s App Store.

Naturally, the other social media platforms are keen to capitalize on this uptake in social e-commerce. Facebook and Instagram have introduced live streamed shopping experiences where consumers can interact with brands as they showcase new products or collections, asking questions and/or buying products without leaving the app.

All in all, we expect social commerce to rise considerably as the platforms evolve. It’s certainly a powerful tool for retailers, shortening the customer journey from inspiration to purchase, and boosting customer loyalty and conversions.

9. Blockchain in e-commerce

Blockchain is a modern technology for the transparent, secure storage and transfer of information that works without a central supervisory authority.

The food industry was one of the first sectors to use blockchain: in their case, to combat food scandals. It is expected that other sectors (such as fashion) will also start using it.

That’s smart because consumers are increasingly concerned about transparency with regard to where products come from. So think about it: how can you apply blockchain in your online shop?

10. Changing expectations in shipping services

Consumers demanding swift shipping services at a reasonable price is nothing new, expectations for delivery times are not always being met. According to the consumer research report, almost half of European consumers abandon their shopping cart when the estimated delivery time is unknown or too slow. If standard delivery is selected, consumers expect delivery in around 3 days,and the maximum number of days they are willing to wait is close to 5.

As with so many elements in shipping services, offering flexibility and choice is key, especially when it comes to serving the lucrative Millennial market. While two thirds of boomers prefer standard home delivery, only 51% of Millennials agree, preferring weekend delivery, day delivery or evening delivery for their goods. To persuade customers to order, and to avoid cart abandonment you should offer multiple shipping options, where possible.

11. SMS for e-commerce

E-commerce has continued to grow along with the way consumers shop and interact with businesses. Mobile commerce has gained popularity in the last decade and email marketing has been one of the main players marketers use to communicate but SMS marketing is quickly becoming the preferred B2C communication channel. SMS marketing is a tool for marketers to communicate with existing customers that have given permission to the sender. Text messages are sent out when a business responds to an event or action. SMS notifications are clear and concise and usually include a text message of up to 160 characters, a call to action and an option to opt-out.

SMS for e-commerce simply makes sense, with an open rate of 98% and clickthrough rates with an average of 35%, SMS has the best response rate of any B2C communication channel. SMS marketing is a leading, affordable and easy way to cut through the noise of other communication channels including email and overcrowded channels such as social messaging channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A final word about e-commerce trends for 2022

As you can see there are a number of exciting trends for e-commerce merchants to stay on top of in the coming year. It’s a great idea to keep abreast of how the sector is changing and embrace the right tech and the most appropriate industry trends that will help you grow your business sustainably.

We hope that this article has inspired you to prepare well for the e-commerce trends of 2022. Doing all you can to ensure your success in 2022 is critical with all the competition out there, thanks to the big players entering the marketplace. Make sure you boost your strategies based on the above insights, keep listening to your customers, and keep checking our blog and social media for the latest e-commerce insights!

Want to find out more?

Gain further insights into European consumer’s thoughts on green delivery, international online shopping, future trends, among others, with industry differences, key market insights and local differences of Europe’s largest sales markets – and use them to your online store’s advantage.

Iris Dings

Iris Dings is Head of Content at Sendcloud. With her great passion for online marketing, e-commerce and logistics, she is always looking for content that can help you with your online business.

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