5 Trends in e-commerce and retail to watch out for in 2022

“There are decades when nothing happens. Then, there are weeks when decades happen.” Since the pandemic, the growth of digital has followed a hockey stick pattern, offering digital convenience to shoppers like never before. Here are some key themes that will continue to emerge in 2022 due to these changing shopping habits.

  1. Rise of Guided buying – traditional eCommerce has been driven by intended buying. Customers know what they are looking for. Guided buying helps you ensure what you buy is right for you. For example, when purchasing a refrigerator or painting your home, you want to know the best products to procure within your price range, differences between various available options, how it would look or fit in your home, etc. Bringing the physical in-store conversations online imitating the personal touch and experience would be key.
  1. Inspirational Experiences – social visual media will continue to elevate our desires. We see pictures that inspire us every day. For example, you saw a kitchen decor on Instagram that you really liked. How do you buy that entire experience instead of searching for individual products and replicating that same aesthetic at your home? Traditional eCommerce has been all about selling individual products rather than curating experiences and selling those product collections to customers. Doing the work on behalf of your customers would reduce friction with customers and elevate the shopping experience online. 
  1. Personalization – continued rise of data collection and aggregation will lead to more personalized experiences. This has been in the works for a few years, but we still receive a lot of irrelevant marketing collateral (over email, text, voice, social media, etc.). As brands learn about their customer segments more deeply, they would be able to curate experiences that appeal to the specific audience based on the consumer decision tree. Factors such as product propensity, price sensitivity, past purchases, etc., will dominate their search results such that everyone gets Netflix-like recommendations curated only for them. 
  1. Conversational Commerce – as customers increasingly rely on messaging apps to do their job, chatbots are becoming a vital partner for customers to shop. Most of the brands collaborate with voice-activated devices and chatbots to make it convenient for their customers to search, select, purchase and pay for the products they want. Picture this, you open your messaging app, type or say, “Find me a double door refrigerator”, you get a list of refrigerators with their descriptions, price, dimension, and images. Once you choose the refrigerator you desire, you say “buy this,” the appliance gets shipped to you with uber-style delivery tracking. 
  1. Loyalty – Retaining a customer is six times cheaper than acquiring them. Loyalty programs offer higher lifetime value for customers and create stickiness for the brand. Turning products and services into a subscription model is a savvy approach to increase customer loyalty. So is offering them auxiliary services such as faster delivery, free shipping, exclusive deals, etc. Loyalty offering is a long-term investment that brands need to make with a close watch over unit economics and technology support in return for a strong customer value proposition. 

Online trends will remain sticky even post the pandemic. Brands would continue to create frictionless experiences, optimizing the customer journey to be highly inspirational and engaged, thus increasing conversion and loyalty.

The article has been written by Anant Arora, Senior Director – Product Management, Lowe’s India and Kappu Jaykumar, Senior Director – Technology, Lowe’s India

One response to “5 Trends in e-commerce and retail to watch out for in 2022”

  1. sumit gupta says:

    Very well articulated Anant and kappu . If I see the technical aspect of it, Customer Data is going to play an important role to achieve all the above themes. Consumer beliefs and behaviors are changing fast. To keep up with this and perhaps even influence—those changes, companies must leverage deep consumer insights. We need to have Real-time Machine Learning models which can predict and do the recommendation and personalization on the fly based on Live data. For example – If customer behavior or pattern changes then we can show the customized promotions or offers for a particular set of customers to optimize sell and add value to the customer aswell

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