E-commerce trends and standards for 2022!

January 13, 2022 by
Frank Calviño
Photo by Artem Podrez for Unsplash

E-commerce trends and standards shift year over year. And with each new iteration, brands and companies are faced with different challenges and opportunities. 

Keeping track of the things that could give your online business the cutting edge, and also the things that have become a standard in your industry is of paramount importance for the success of any e-commerce. 

Do you want to know more about international commerce, eCommerce, and also get all the tips and news that might give your company an edge? Subscribe to Cross-Border Magazine and get your digital copy now for free! 

Today we review the e-commerce trends and standards that 2022 brings to all of us. Let us begin! 

E-commerce trends for 2022: What’s new, what’s different, what’s mandatory? 

E-commerce trends for 2022 are, in a sense, a follow-up of the lessons learned during 2019 - 2021, on how to handle online business in the middle of a global pandemic. Keep this present at all times: e-commerce is pushing towards a balance between automation and human interactions. The idea is to increase efficiency, without losing the human touch. 

Some examples of this hybrid customer service - mixing automation and human interaction - will be to use a chatbot to quickly answer the potential customer's FAQs, while also offering in the same chat service, the option to connect with a real human. 

???? In 2021 most consumers are still reluctant to trust responses from chatbots. This means that human customer service is still a major requirement for any brand looking forward to growing. ????

To achieve that, the industry is pushing in several general directions by pursuing these trends:   

  • Augmented Reality
  • Voice SEO
  • AI shops  
  • Cryptocurrency 
  • Environmental guarantees 
  • Metaverse 

Could Augmented Reality be a real deal in 2022? 

Augmented reality - AR - has been there for a while. Actually, the first AR store was done by Apple, more than 20 years ago, so the concept is not new. However, it did not become massive among e-commerce due to a combination of problems that now, in 2022, seem to be on the verge of being solved or already solved. The connection speed was, perhaps, the main issue. 

For AR to really work you need to create immersive environments and to do so, you need to render full-scale 3D objects in high resolution. This requires internet connections with high data transfer capacity, especially for mobile devices, something that 5G could solve. 

2022 implementation of 5G technologies has boosted the use of AR by several major brands like Ikea, Walmart, Amazon, Gucci, and Sephora among others. 

???? Gucci's take on AR is based on Snapchat’s AR (augmented reality) try-on lens technology, to allow consumers to test how its sneakers look on their feet.???? 

AR try-on technologies, perhaps one of the most popular forms of AR, have been incredibly successful to increase conversion. In an article published by e-commerce platform Shopify, consumers were found to be twice as likely to buy a product, if they have previously “tried it on” using AR. 

E-commerce Voice SEO: Hey Google… Where is my store? 

Voice searches have established themselves as one of the preferred ways to locate restaurants, stores, and landmarks while driving. 

Currently, according to Google, 27% of global searches are voice searches. And that is a lot! 

????  For example, reports estimate there are 111.8 million people in the US using voice search features ???? 

With a growing acceptance rate and already dominating a third of global searches on the main search engine - Google, which alone accounts for more than 90% of internet searches - any e-commerce has to take its voice SEO very seriously.

And keep in mind that voice SEO is considerably more complex than normal SEO: Google voice searches yield only one result. This means that, unlike regular SEO where you have 10 results per Google page, in voice SEO if you are not the first result, no one will know that your e-commerce exists.

AI shops: Robotized just for you! 

Interestingly, the best way to achieve a personalized shopping experience seems to be to automate the store with robots. And we are talking about bots for e-commerce and also, about full-fledged real-life robots, for traditional brick-and-mortar stores. 

Take a look at Lowe’s bet on robotization with their LoweBot, an autonomous AI-powered robot that roams the brand's stores in San Francisco, providing assistance to potential shoppers, just as a human clerk would. 

Another example, now for the e-commerce world, would be the North Face alliance with IBM. The two brands joined forces to equip the North Face online store with an AI that is based on IBM Watson AI technology and is capable of autonomously responding via chat to potential shoppers, guiding them to select their product.  

????  Olay customers can get personalized skincare treatment without having to see a dermatologist. With Olay’s Skin Advisor, another IA developed for a global brand e-commerce website ???? 

E-commerce trends that are becoming industry standards 

Some of the e-commerce trends for 2022, are slowly becoming kind of a must-have if you want your e-commerce to remain relevant. 

These trends' acceptance has increased since 2021 and many online stores, brands, and companies are embracing them as part of their natural e-commerce capabilities. Thus, turning what originally was a trend, into an industry standard. Cryptocurrency could be one of them in 2022. 

Cryptocurrency: Not just “a trend” anymore 

Currently, several global payment solutions like PayPal or Visa and Mastercard consortium, are testing or directly implementing cryptocurrency payment options in their stores. 

????  The size of the global cryptocurrency market was $826.6 million in 2020. And it is expected to grow to $1900 million by 2028. ???? 

Either as part of their accepted currencies or even as crypto marketplaces themselves, the Fintech world is strongly pushing towards a global acceptance of crypto and blockchain technologies. Meaning that in 2022, it is very likely that cryptocurrency payment options, will become kind of a standard for e-commerce, at least in Europe, Asia, and the USA. 

Greener and more sustainable 

Another trend that will become a standard in 2022, and in fact is already becoming a silent standard since 2020 at least, is to have your sustainability and eco-friendly policies published in your e-commerce.

And we're not talking about having a section in the drop-down menu that says "we love nature," that won’t cut it anymore. Nowadays, brands who wish to remain relevant must actively place the brand's vision on environmental issues in communications, digital content, and even marketing campaigns. 

???? Take a look at these campaigns by some of the world's most recognized brands, to celebrate Earth Day 2021????

Being vocal about environmental issues pays off: For example in the USA, products that had a sustainability claim on-pack accounted for 16.6% of the market in 2018, up from 14.3% in 2013, and delivered nearly $114 billion in sales, up 29% from 2013. According to a Harvard Business Review report based on an NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business survey. 

And it's not just in the USA, a report by Deloitte UK on how concerned consumers are about the environment showed that more than 60% of those surveyed have tried to reduce their carbon footprint and their use of plastics. 

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the consequences of our wasteful consumption. And brands that are aware of this, and talk about it honestly and publicly, are sure to attract attention to their e-commerce.

The Metaverse: You hear that Mr. Anderson?

In the cult classic The Matrix there is a famous quote from the villainous agent Smith “You hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability…” 

And pretty much like that is sounding the Metaverse right now: as an inevitable evolution of the current Internet.   

The implementation of one or several permanently online environments - that’s the Metaverse - will definitely change both the way companies and brands interact with the public, and also the way e-commerce is conceived and executed. 

The three main changes that the Metaverse will bring to the battlefield of e-commerce would be the consolidation of a global unified market, the automatization of supply chains, and the empowerment of a global culture. 

And in 2022, we could very well start seeing and experimenting with some of these changes first hand. Brands like Nike, Gucci, Coca-Cola, Burberry, and Balenciaga have launched Metaverse-inspired marketing campaigns. 

???? Wendy’s launched an entire global metaverse marketing campaign using Fortnite. Wendy's avatar - the eponymous doll - played a game of Fortnite that was live-streamed on Twitch in a game mode called Food Fight. In this mode, players join two teams representing Fortnite's virtual restaurants, being team burgers or team pizza. ???? 

For example, in 2021 Gucci collaborated with Roblox by selling several rare Gucci items on the Roblox platform. For two weeks, the fashion house created a unique virtual garden exhibit, accessible exclusively on Roblox. The virtual exhibition was part of Gucci’s Archetypes, a 2-week immersive multimedia experience in Florence, Italy, that explored and celebrated the brands' 100th birthday.

These are the main six e-commerce trends and standards for 2022! Keep close track of them, and perhaps this 2022 could end up being an amazing year for your online store! 

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