Over the next two years, ecommerce is expected to reach 21.8% of all global sales, cementing its status as one of the most popular online activities worldwide.

So, as more and more people turn to online shopping and new ecommerce stores pop up daily, it’s more important than ever for ecommerce businesses to stay up to date with current trends. Not just so that they can boost conversion rates and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive industry. But also so that they can continue providing a user-oriented experience that’s the key contributor to a long-lasting, successful business endeavour.

So, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and continue working on taking your online store to the next level, these are the ecommerce and retail trends you need to be aware of in 2022.

D2C – Direct to Consumer

When it comes to trends you can’t afford to ignore in 2022, the top spot goes to the Direct to Consumer business model.

Globally, a growing number of shoppers are choosing to shop with brands that design, produce, market, and distribute products on their own. And, it’s no surprise. This type of approach to retail allows shoppers to enjoy lower prices, more lenient returns policies, and faster shipping. And, if things happen to go bad, consumers can rely on customer service provided directly by these brands, ensuring a much faster and efficient solution than dealing with centralised customer service centres that have to overcome multiple silos to solve simple issues like returns or refunds.

Of course, the potential gains of committing to D2C doesn’t mean that retail brands should turn away from omnichannel sales. However, future-oriented businesses will want to start thinking about the changing consumer sentiment and make any necessary preparations to ensure they stay relevant over the coming years.

Headless Commerce

As web design advances towards a higher level of user-friendliness, it’s important for ecommerce brands to adopt technologies that benefit them just as much as they appeal to end-users.

Unfortunately, with most CSS ecommerce sites, front-end changes are cumbersome to implement. And, they often hold the risk of complicated back-end challenges that rely on professional developers and take days to perfect.

Headless commerce offers a welcome solution to this problem. This type of site structure allows more creative freedom for marketers and a better overall user experience for web visitors.

Headless commerce makes it easier to create attractive storefronts and quickly revise marketing messages. Additionally, this type of web structure also contributes to better overall UX, mainly thanks to faster load times and fewer barriers to internationalization.

Ecommerce Won’t Be Enough

While the 2020 pandemic forced many people to start shopping online, research shows that consumers are looking forward to going back to physical stores in 2022. This is entirely understandable, especially when we consider that brick-and-mortar shopping still holds some advantages over ecommerce.

With this in mind, retail brands need to start thinking about ways to improve the online customer experience. The best strategies for 2022 include:

  • Adopting m-commerce before it is too late. By 2024, mobile commerce will account for a significant portion of all retail generated worldwide. So, retail brands have to embrace the trend of smartphone shopping and start optimising website experiences for smaller screens and on-the-go browsing.
  • Streamlining returns and shipping policies. Brands need to invest in improving the delivery experience with online commerce if they wish to compete with programs such as Amazon Prime. This will not only make customers happier to shop with the brand but also drive value. That makes it easier to sell the business down the road (which is one of the more popular exit strategies nowadays).
  • Exploring advanced technologies. As shoppers struggle with getting the same experience online as they would in-store, ecommerce brands can look towards implementing emerging technologies like AR and VR. These allow customers advantages like trying on clothes without going to a physical store or seeing how items would look in their homes. By removing some of the risks associated with online shopping and doing a better job at managing customer expectations than mere images and videos, AR and VR can play a significant role in removing common consumer objections and boosting ecommerce conversions.

Sustainability Is Becoming a Growing Concern

In 2022 most shoppers will still make purchasing decisions based on price and convenience. But, research data also shows that buyers are increasingly making value-based decisions, choosing to support sustainable brands, local businesses, and companies committed to fair labour practices.

Taking this into consideration, retail brands need to start thinking about ways to effectively communicate the values they stand for.

Sustainability, for example, will become an important selling point in the coming years. So, to appeal to eco-conscious consumers, consider offering carbon-neutral shipping or committing to supply chain transparency.

Crypto Payments

According to a recent survey by PYMNTS, more than 60% of cryptocurrency owners purchased coins so that they could be able to transact.

With this in mind, it’s time to start thinking about ways to make crypto a possible payment option in retail and ecommerce stores. Big names like Starbucks, Tesla, Microsoft, and Home Depot, already accept crypto. And, with payment processors like BitPay, CoinBase Commerce, and PayPal, small businesses can follow suit.

Social Commerce

Lastly, while looking for relevant ecommerce and retail trends to adopt in 2022, don’t forget the role that social media plays in people’s lives.

With people spending more time browsing socials to discover products to buy, it’s only logical that retail brands need to start bringing the shopping experience to these online spaces. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok have all started rolling out social selling features, making social commerce easier to adopt than ever.

Of course, the best way to use these channels isn’t just to sell. By combining sales with content and influencer marketing, small businesses can break into competitive niches, grab user attention, and make it easier than ever for consumers to acquire their products.