6 digital commerce trends to look out for in 2022
This year is almost over and most companies are facing financial planning for 2022. This means we’re required to determine where our companies need to invest in order to guarantee more sales, better margins and more satisfied customers.
Most of us have spent hours gathering information about this year’s performance and how it compared to previous years. Yet we’re all most interested in what the market is going to demand next year. And that look towards the future is very frightening, since we don’t have a magic ball, nor do we want to go wrong.
Just a few weeks have passed since Mark Zuckerberg presented not only what was going to be the new name of his company, but also what the future is going to look like: an ecosystem with augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), 3D models, teletransportation, avatars and many others — all aimed at generating immersive experiences across multiple areas of our lives.
Over at VTEX, we too believe in a world built upon collaborative ecosystems, in which digital will play the main role. Digital does not only mean establishing a B2C ecommerce channel or having a WhatsApp Business profile, neither is just having an ERP for your processes. Digital goes well beyond that: it means to digitize sales channels, tools, processes, people, culture… Basically, every single aspect of a company!
In this context, I want to highlight six of the most important digital commerce trends we as a leading platform believe are going to allow brands to truly shine this 2022.
1. Backoffice Omnichannel
Some of you may wonder: why backoffice? As I previously mentioned, shoppers are already behaving in an omnichannel way. The missing piece of the puzzle is omnichannel brands.
For that purpose, brands need to: choose an omnichannel platform, integrate all systems (e.g. ERP, CRM, ecommerce platform, WMS, etc.), unify company policies and, most importantly, processes, people and culture. Everything starts with the culture, as we need to make the whole company believe in omnichannel in order for the strategy to truly and fully work. This is the only way in which we can commit an omnichannel service to an already omnichannel client.
Above all, please remember that:
- According to Google, omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher customer lifetime value (CLV) than those who shop using a single channel;
- 50% of shoppers expect to be able to buy online and pick-up in-store, according to Forrester;
- The purchase frequency and the average order value (AOV) are 250% and 13% higher, respectively, in omnichannel operations compared to single-channel scenarios;
- Likewise, customer retention rates are 90% higher for omnichannel versus single-channel;
- The number of orders placed online and collected in-store increased by 208% during the pandemic.
2. Collaborative Commerce
In VTEX’s DNA rests the belief in a collaborative world, which can be testified by our huge marketplace efforts.
In the commerce universe, you can either be a seller in a marketplace, or become a marketplace yourself. Today, companies like Amazon, JD and Alibaba, are among the most valuable companies in the world, with incomes bigger than the GDP of many countries, or even bigger than those of traditional retailers (e.g. Walmart, Carrefour, Inditex, Home Depot).
Unifying this marketplace trend with omnichannel is a value promise to end-customers to be everywhere they need us to be. And it has become very clear that our clients need us to be everywhere, but mostly in those places in which they can do one-stop-shopping.
Life is changing and so are shoppers — thus, so should online retail channels. Remember you have an opportunity of being both a seller and a marketplace and you can always embrace the vision with VTEX’s integrated offering.
3. Social Selling
Social selling goes way beyond having a social media presence. With more than a third of the population having accounts on social media platforms, this channel must be monetized. One of the ways to achieve that is by having tools that allow call centers, customer service, community managers and salespeople to convert a social contact into a sale.
Regardless if they are through a WhatsApp message, a text message, an email or a DM on Instagram, all those contacts are potential customers. Investing in the right tools and training the people at your disposal are both key steps in enhancing the ecommerce experience with social media.
VTEX, through its native Telesales / Social selling module, is the perfect solution. You can empower your team to turn every contact into a sale by allowing them to manage the entire sales process on behalf of the client, identifying the sales person who made it possible, and at the end, allowing the client to pay by themselves through a safe link that will be sent through any of the contact channels available. Isn’t this amazing?
4. Live Shopping
Closely tied to the previous trend is Live Shopping, which is yet another way to monetize social content.
In a nutshell, Live Shopping is none other than the online shopping experience that combines live video streaming with the functionalities of a traditional digital store. It is generally considered by many industry experts to be the new trend to gain immense popularity in the western world.
VTEX made it possible for Live Shopping to be not only a dream of retailers, but an actual reality. Indeed, various ecommerce sites powered by VTEX in Latin America are already successfully implementing the strategy using the VTEX Live Shopping App.
This is a native module in which you can bring together the social and the ecommerce, allowing clients to buy while they interact with your company. This is certainly a way in which we can comply with the type of future we’re building and proposing: collaborative, immersive, experiential, personalized.
5. Headless Commerce
Headless is a new reality, and it’s part of that collaborative ecosystem. By decoupling front-end customer experiences from back-end commerce services, headless brands can gain the flexibility to put the customer at the heart of the online experience and bring any commerce experience to life.
By having headless tools, we’re able to connect individual parts (functionalities) of independent platforms, in order to deliver one whole, unique experience. What headless allows is bringing together many wonderful companies that offer great capabilities, but that brought together could really form a one amazing solution.
What we need to make sure even now, not only for 2022, but also for the long term, is to invest in platforms that are headless. Those are the platforms that know the power of a collaborative approach over any sales channel, have the ability to outperform the average of the market and that will, without a doubt, allow you to achieve all of the company’s goals.
Having a headless solution like VTEX, will enable you to be that innovative ecommerce business that makes the customer journey unique and customizable. If you wish, you can dig deeper into headless here.
6. Speedy last-mile delivery
Have you heard about 15-minute cities? Increasingly, we’re hearing more about this trend in which the world is moving towards building cities that offer everything a human being needs, in a 15-minute radius. Think of groceries, doctors, schools, family, entertainment — whatever a person needs the most will be less than 15 minutes away.
What this means for brands is that convenience is gaining more and more importance. And convenience means to be present wherever and whenever the customer wants.
This poses huge challenges for brands. They need to either develop more brick-and-mortar stores (operating for both online and offline sales), start implementing the concept of dark stores, ally with fulfillment operators or open new distribution centers.
Additionally, this will call for more (and faster) delivery options, thus implying partnerships with third-party logistics (3PL) companies that offer services such as 30- or 60-minute delivery, curbside pick-up (also known as drive-thru) and scheduled deliveries.
We’re even seeing physical stores being restructured in order to be open for the public whilst having “backstage” space as a fulfillment center for the digital operation. For sure, this will be a strategy we will notice become stronger every year.
Buckle up, the future is here
These six trends detailed above will allow ecommerce brands to build a unique value proposition, thanks to an innovative approach, in which you will be investing in tools, people and culture. Betting on this formula will guarantee great results for online stores wishing to differentiate themselves or increase their ecommerce sales.
Keeping that in mind, I wish everyone good luck in their planning and don’t forget a magical 2022 is up to us. Let’s go for boldness!