Consumers adapted during the pandemic. With stay-at-home orders, travel changes, and the introduction of work-from-home, the internet played an increased role in many households. And most of the ways consumers pivoted are unlikely to change post-pandemic, especially when it comes to e-commerce. From seamless checkout processes to diversified online payment options and personalization, many businesses embraced the changes and enjoyed increased engagement and sales.
Now, one-third of consumers are unlikely to return to in-store shopping, thanks to the many e-commerce choices. But all those choices mean that online retailers need to stay competitive in 2022. This article provides insights on what to prioritize.
Personalization in B2C e-commerce will remain a priority
Mass-targeted b2c e-commerce offerings are quickly dying as more consumers embrace personalization. People no longer want to be seen as another statistic – they want to purchase from brands that see them as individuals. That’s why 77% of customers are willing to pay more to brands that offer personalized experiences.
Personalization could also benefit your brand. For instance, you can send out more targeted ads and emails and embrace real-time and customized website conversations with customers. All these perks result in more engagement and higher sales numbers. However, to embrace b2c e-commerce personalization, you will need to:
- Invest heavily in understanding your target audience: Learning what customers want, their pain points, and perspectives is essential. It can help you create experiences that are in line with your target demographic, improving their engagement and brand loyalty levels.
- Commit to segmentation, targeting, and profiling: Dividing customers into specific demographics helps you cater to each demographic individually. You can launch marketing campaigns and create buyer journeys that are frictionless.
- Embrace 1:1 personalization: This type of personalization helps you deal with customers as individuals with the help of AI. For instance, it allows you to recommend products and content that are in line with the buyer’s stage in the purchase journey.
- Focus on data privacy: Consumers care how their personal data is used. Since personalization is mostly data-driven, embracing strong data privacy policies will help improve consumer trust in your brand.
Visual commerce will create immersive shopping experiences
The one aspect that b2c e-commerce struggles with is promoting immersive experiences. Compared to in-store shopping, you can’t try on clothes, imagine how furniture will look at home, or have a 3D view of a product. However, with visual commerce, the immersive experience gap between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores can be reduced.
Brands are slowly using visuals to improve how customers shop online. Besides working with quality images, brands are turning to 3D images, video content, and even augmented reality and virtual reality. Early on, IKEA launched an AR app that helps customers imagine how furniture will look in their homes. Bumbleride, an eco-friendly stroller retailer and Allbirds, an eco-friendly shoe brand, both created different types of interactive experiences for customers. These include 3D modeling and virtual try-on features.
Visual content can be a game-changer for your e-commerce store. Besides increasing user engagement, it improves trust and enhances product sales. If you want to embrace a specific form of visual content but are on an e-commerce platform that doesn’t support it, it might be time to shift to one that does.
Omnichannel customer engagement remains vital
Companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies have an 89% customer retention rate, while those with weaker strategies have a 33% customer retention rate. With more people preferring to shop online, forming a solid omnichannel customer engagement strategy will be vital in 2022. The trick is to ensure that you are offering a consistent experience to customers. You should build personalized customer journeys that are in line with the best practices for the various platforms your customers use.
Even better, more social media apps like Instagram and Facebook have been launching features that support selling on their platforms. This essentially means that companies that promote great customer experiences across different shopping platforms stand to gain a lot.
Conversational commerce will smooth out customer support
Customers have become more demanding. Unlike before, they expect quick responses from their favorite brands. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, companies that respond to potential customers’ requests within an hour are seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that take two hours to respond. The dilemma is that quick responses require a bigger customer support team, a cost that most companies wouldn’t want to accept.
The good news is that most customer queries are typically around the same questions. Thanks to conversational tools, businesses have automated responses to many frequently asked questions. Besides ensuring high customer engagement levels, this practice frees up time for customer support teams, allowing them to handle unique customer needs.
Automated conversational tools can be great for collecting customer feedback, recommending products, promoting sales offerings, and answering frequently asked questions. For you to embrace conversational commerce, you can:
- Update your site to enable voice search
- Embrace chatbots to enable fluid customer conversations
- Look for ways to add a human touch to your conversational commerce despite using bots
Green logistics are no longer a luxury
Many consumers are now actively invested in their carbon footprint and that of the brands they purchase from.
Over 70% of consumers are willing to pay 5% more for a green product that performs as well as non-green alternatives. For businesses, green supply chains are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity. Apple is a prime example of companies that are embracing green logistics. Its polarizing move to exclude chargers from iPhone 12 series retail boxes, helped the company save 861,000 metric tons of zinc, tin, and copper ore – a huge reduction in its carbon footprint in 2020 alone.
There are multiple ways for your business to embrace green logistics. For instance, you can optimize your fuel economy, rethink product packaging, and even use electric vehicles in your supply chain. Besides gaining customer trust and loyalty, green logistics could also help shave down operation and logistics costs.
Focus on what the customer wants
The majority of e-commerce trends in 2022 are customer-centric. Learning what customers need and embracing it in your e-commerce website and business practices will be a sure way to win come 2022. Contact us for help to improve your e-commerce site to remain competitive.