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10 eCommerce trends to watch in 2022

Riley Cullen's Layout avatar

In a saturated online market, starting or optimizing an existing eCommerce business can be overwhelming. To maintain your relevance, your SERP rankings, and your sanity, you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve when planning your seller strategy.

Here are our top 10 trends to watch as you’re growing your eCommerce business in 2022!

Augmented reality

AR, or augmented reality, is a way to create an interactive experience of an image or product through a device, projecting it into a real world view. Think back to when Pokemon Go was released and how exciting it was for fans to see these creatures projected onto their real-world environment—now imagine how you can do the same with your products.

IKEA was an early adopter of this technology, and many furniture companies since have followed suit in an attempt to keep up. In 2017, IKEA first launched its Place app, allowing shoppers to select a product and, using their phone camera, see how it would look in their home using 3D modeling. Plugins like AR for WordPress and AR for WooCommerce make getting started simple for sellers new to the technology.

Cookie-free Chrome

Google Chrome’s third-party cookies are going away. For sellers who use cookies to place ads, this is an issue, because Chrome currently holds about 63% of the market share among browsers worldwide. Google has been talking about this change since 2020, and though the deadline has been pushed until 2023, marketers should be planning their new strategies and laying the foundation for a strategy that doesn’t rely on cookies.

Other browsers have been restricting and limiting third-party cookies for years, and Chrome is planning to replace them with Topics: a process of analyzing a user’s browsing history and sorting searches into categories of interest. In 2022, preparing to transition to a cookie-free Chrome is crucial for continued success.

The voice (search) of the customer

Voice-to-text used to be a solution for those who had a hard time typing on a mobile device, but that trend is changing. As the technology advances, more and more users are turning to voice assistants to make their purchases—and this is especially true with the growing presence of in-home smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo.

A 2021 study from Juniper Research found that eCommerce transactions by voice assistants will reach $19.4 billion by 2023, which is a huge increase from the $4.6 billion reported in 2021. Optimizing your online transactions for virtual assistants can help you claim a larger share of those sales.

Preference for small, ethical, and sustainable business

The purchasing power of Millennials and Gen Z should be top-of-mind for brands, because these demographic segments will make up the majority of the consumer market for the next few decades. If there’s one thing we know about these groups, it’s that they’re purpose-driven customers who want the products and services they purchase to align with their personal values.

These consumers are more likely to support a business that’s sustainable and/or supports a cause they care about. This is a huge boon for direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses and “Mom-and-pop shops” that take their business model online, as a growing segment of the market is becoming more concerned about where they’re spending their dollars. In fact, D2C sales more than doubled between 2018 and 2021, and projections say the trend should continue.

Big data creates intimate experiences

Online privacy continues to be a topic of interest, especially as more users are opting out of data sharing functions when presented with the option to do so. That being said, a survey of 1,000 adults found that 80% still preferred a personalized retail experience online.

Using the data you collect to help inform and build personalized experiences online is a great way to increase customer engagement and build brand loyalty. 

Headless is taking hold

As the market share of headless sites continues to rise, headless eCommerce experiences are becoming more attractive to sellers because it allows them to decouple the frontend site presentation from the eCommerce elements of a site. This way, you can attach different “heads,” or styles of presentation, to a single backend, making it easier to display content across multiple channels, such as your websites, apps, digital kiosks, eCommerce platforms and more.

Headless sites increase your flexibility as a site owner, and it’s especially useful to large retailers that want to improve the total experience (TX) of their site, which refers to the combined experiences of your users and customers as well as your own employees, like your developers and marketers. 

Video is vital

As in years past, data shows customers love video content. High quality video production is key, and your site needs to be able to support these large files if you’re going to invest in video.

87% of marketing professionals surveyed for Wyzowl’s annual State of Video Marketing Report said video has helped them increase their traffic, and a whopping 94% said it was beneficial as an educational tool to increase understanding about their products or services. 

Optimizing the omnichannel experience

Create a seamless experience across your email, social, and site channels so customers see you as the professional authority you are. This year, it will be especially important to focus on your buyers’ ability to purchase via social media as more transactions are coming directly from advertising efforts on these sites.

TikTok recently introduced TikTok Shopping, Facebook (I won’t call it Meta, Zuckerberg can’t make me) sales continue to rise, and Pinterest and Instagram continue to be popular sales vessels as well. With the social commerce market expected to grow three times faster than the traditional eCommerce model, there’s never been a better time to tighten up your social selling strategy.

Protect user data

Small retailers will continue to be a target for cybercrime because hackers know they have access to their customer’s personal financial information. Nearly half of all retail organizations were hit with a ransomware attack in 2020, and the trend is likely to continue.

While small businesses have a tendency to be overconfident in their ability to fight a cyberattack, companies with fewer than 100 employees are actually more likely to be the subject of an attack than larger enterprises

Pay any way

Consumers want to use their preferred payment method, and when they’re denied that opportunity, many will simply abandon their cart and shop elsewhere. A survey by Smart Insights shows that a lack of multiple payment methods accounts for 8% of abandoned carts.

While you don’t need to offer every possible payment method, having options for traditional card payments, digital wallets like Apple Pay or Venmo, and even one-click pay or split payment options allow more flexibility to your customers upon checkout.

Progress over perfection

As the web evolves, new trends, threats, and strategies crop up every day. The key to digital success is continued optimization and partnering with the best providers for your site creation, hosting, and maintenance.

Check out Flywheel managed hosting and all of WP Engine’s other hosting services, including eCommerce-specific hosting solutions to help generate more traffic and more sales this year!

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