If the persisting pandemic has underscored anything it is the need for every business to have an online presence. That said, pandemic or no pandemic three-quarters of Americans will shop online. This is driving most brands head over heels to keep pace with existing market demands, and standard solutions will no longer suffice.
Looking into the future, brands want to re-steer their customers from frequenting marketplaces. In this light, recent predictions on reigning e-commerce technology trends point that 2022 will be a year where brands work on going D2C, pouring budgets into order management, payments, and inventory control technology. While this is just the tip of the iceberg that will require robust technology mettle, let’s dive into the enormity of e-commerce solutions that technology will power and bring to fruition this year and beyond.
1. Savvy brands will jump the Metaverse gamification bandwagon
For those of us still grappling with this new buzzword, Metaverse is a growing network of real-time virtual spaces that function not just as sales channels, but also as economies in their own right.
In a world of NFTs, blockchain, and immersive gamification, Forever 21 and Nike are frontrunners in transforming their brands to provide extremely engaging virtual experiences. For instance, Forever21’s latest collaboration with Roblox allows fashion influencers and users to start and manage their own Forever21 stores in a virtual world and work their way up to become a ‘top shop.’ Below is a snapshot of the metaverse experience.
Nike has launched a similar Roblox-collaborated initiative called NikeLand. The platform allows users to participate in games through their Roblox avatars at the virtual venue, inspired by Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Participants can play tag, play lava ball and dodgeball, and try on Nike gear in a virtual showroom. This is a noteworthy e-commerce technology trend in 2022 as creating such parallel world experiences helps brands not just harp on recall and loyalty, it makes the transition to online from offline shopping increasingly seamless.
2. AR will continue to impact product experiences
COVID-19 has got customers increasingly expecting view-in-room and try-before-you-buy convenience. In fact, Statista estimates there will be 2.4 billion mobile AR users worldwide by 2023, with 95 million users in the US alone. This comes as good news for brands as well. Studies suggest that 3D virtual photography is six times more cost-effective than traditional photography.
E-commerce players would do well to contemplate the short-lived nature of photography versus the endless possibilities of reusing 3D models to create images that can be edited and optimized, and inserted into different lifestyle shots, or used in interactive viewers, spinners, and room planners. AR has also earned deserved fame for enabling incredibly immersive experiences, from visualizing a piece of furniture in your living room to gauging your shoe size thus taking out the guesswork from buying shoes online.
3. D2C and personalization will go hand in hand
With customer data privacy regulations growing tighter, the looming depreciation of third-party cookies will make first-party customer data a competitive asset. Chinese, European, and North American regulatory bodies are catalyzing implementation, even as iOS 14.5 enables many users to opt out of tracking, with negative consequences for brands that rely on Facebook’s granular targeting.
The next e-commerce technology trend in 2022 that players eager to stay ahead of the game must pay attention – to garner and develop a solid relationship with their customers to guarantee future sales. Retargeting will continue to face challenges, and marketers will need to find ways to interact with customers more directly using more personalized and direct data-driven campaigns.
With considerable investments poured into customer consent and first-party data, many brands will seek to take the direct-to-customer approach. Personalization on this route is only expected to grow deeper. Plus, D2C comes with immense advantages – from mutual price benefits to the ability to collect first-hand customer information for future products and services. However, restructuring operations and delivery systems will be key to staying in business.
4. Headless is more likely to go hybrid
While 100% headless solutions have been hard, time-consuming, and complex to deploy their core value propositions continue to resonate with brands. While fully transitioned headless sites can enhance site performance, hybrid headless models are helping customers achieve their performance objectives with minimal transition efforts.
Moreover, hybrid headless platforms enable existing storefronts to adopt many of the edge performance benefits of headless, without requiring a rebuild of the site. All this within days of automated deployment as compared to multiple quarters or years in deployment time with exclusive headless systems. Players are expecting to witness newer features and services as these new hybrid platforms continue to gain traction.
5. The payments landscape will evolve rapidly
From cashierless retail to BNPL options, the past couple of pandemic years have seen considerable advancements in customer payment preferences. The ability to spread their payments across a definite period has left those especially vulnerable to the crisis, obviously smitten by such flexible payment options. This growth curve will only propel. In fact, recent research estimates BNPL transactions to reach USD 995 billion by 2026.
Digital wallets and contactless payments are also going nowhere. As of August, 68% of 3,000 US adults surveyed had used a digital wallet, up from 58% in 2020 and just over half in 2019. Having a gamut of payment options, therefore, should be on every e-commerce player’s list as seamless checkout experiences or not finding their desired mode of payment has been a persistent cause of surging cart abandonment rates.
Some of the trends outlined above are probably not new to you and your company. Yet, as an e-commerce partner for the past two decades, we know that implementation is not particularly easy. Making informed decisions requires collecting information about your customers, competitors, and the market at large.
At Netscribes we provide a comprehensive suite of e-commerce solutions and relevant insights into the right tech stack, to help you leverage the trends most crucial to your business growth. To know how we can help you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org