E-commerce/
Customer Experience/
DXP

Nine e-Commerce Trends for 2022

What will the future hold for e-commerce in 2022? Here are nine trends that we believe will have the most significant impact on the digital world. Technologies like blockchain, Big Data, or machine learning will influence (or continue to influence) the development of companies and shape customer experience throughout 2022.

1. Digital Transformation of B2B Sales

The Covid-19 pandemic has unexpectedly transformed B2B sales, shifting it towards digitization and automation. Business customers want to buy remotely and expect an increasingly higher level of self-service. Does this mean that sales reps are no longer needed? No.

It turns out that B2B buyers who had no contact with the seller during their customer journey are more likely to regret their purchase decisions. That is why companies wishing to increase customer loyalty must balance digital initiatives, self-service, and contact with another human.

"By 2025, one in five B2B companies will use artificial intelligence / machine learning to proactively slow down customers’ journeys by connecting customers with sales reps during digital commerce interactions."

Gartner

How can you merge digital and direct sales on the B2B market?

Identify key moments where cart abandonment may occur and where high-value deals increase. This will allow you to automate marketing and sales processes. Only specific events should initiate contact with a sales rep, who will further manage the sale.

2. Big Data

Big Data analytics (BDA) development has led companies to significantly increase their market competitiveness. How are datasets revolutionizing the e-commerce industry and increasing sales rates?

The introduction of forecasting algorithms allows businesses to accurately predict trends and stay ahead of the competition by implementing new strategies to increase sales. Thanks to Big Data analysis, companies can compare the prices of competitors' products and services globally and optimize their proprietary offer's value. Based on historical data, companies can predict potential demand, which lets them efficiently manage orders and inventory without wasting products or using unnecessary storage. Appropriate use of data allows teams to create personalized offers for users and optimize customer service, improving the consumer experience.

Source

A Big Data Platform is an IT solution that combines several Big Data applications and tools (or at least their functionalities) in one solution. These platforms enable companies to store and analyze constantly growing masses of information, transforming it into organized, practical business analyses.

3. Blockchain 

Blockchain has gained popularity as the technology behind cryptocurrencies. It currently plays a more significant role in the e-commerce sector. However, the possibility of paying with a digital currency is not the only innovation that will revolutionize the experience of both consumers and retailers.

Blockchain in e-commerce can be described as a decentralized technology that records every completed transaction – registering consumer orders, payment details, order tracking, goods delivery, or product returns. The transaction history can be viewed across the web, which means that data entered into the blockchain cannot be deleted, changed, or corrupted.

"47% of companies experienced a fraud in the past 24 months. This is the second highest reported level of incidents in the past 20 years. The most common types were customer fraud, cybercrime, and asset misappropriation."

What are the benefits of blockchain technology for e-commerce?

  •  It allows for identity verification by multiple trusted parties.
  • It offers the highest level of security for customer databases and CRM systems by storing data in an encrypted format using a hashing algorithm.
  • It enables sellers to reduce operating costs by bundling payment processing, inventory management, product descriptions, and other services. This makes the purchase and maintenance of separate systems superfluous.
  • Blockchain transactions do not go through traditional banks, making the flow of funds almost instantaneous.
  • This technology also allows storing ‘smart contracts’, which enable companies to automate tasks like payments.

4. Total Experience

Total Experience (TX) is a business strategy that puts human experiences first. According to this approach, people are an organization’s most valuable capital, regardless of their relationship with the company (they may be employees, clients, business partners, etc.). By providing a consistent brand experience to all stakeholders, you can achieve sustainability across the business.

TX strategy challenges the silo-like structure of modern organizations and allows us to look at them holistically. As a result, every member of the entire company can see the big picture and focus their efforts on achieving strategic goals.

"By 2026, 60% of large enterprises will use total experience to transform their business models to achieve world-class customer and employee advocacy levels."

How do you implement a Total Experience strategy?

Establish an interdisciplinary team composed of people responsible for managing experiences in various areas, such as Customer Experience, Employee Experience, or Digital Experience. As the first step. look at the organization as a whole; then you can create processes that will solve the common problems of various stakeholders.

5. Conversational Marketing

Customers don't want to wait days or hours for a response when they contact a company; research shows that over 80% of customers want a quick response to their inquiries. Even if it's in the middle of the night, people want what they're looking for straight away. They'll readily turn to your competitors if they can't receive the information they need. That’s why it is good to consider conversational marketing as a powerful strategy to build personal relationships between consumers and your company.

Conversational marketing is based on dialogue: 1-on-1 interactions in real time between the customer and the brand. It can be used in many communication channels (email, phone, Messenger, WhatsApp), but chatbots are most commonly used for this purpose.

This type of product often depends on Artificial Intelligence mechanisms. They enable chatbots’ continuous improvement, which is important – it translates into a constant improvement in the quality of service.

6. Composable commerce

Composable commerce is a term coined by Gartner analysts to describe a new approach to e-commerce architecture. As the complexity of shopping processes and the number of points of contact between the brand and the user increase, e-commerce needs different solutions than the monolithic systems that dominated the market just five years ago.

Instead of a complex system that is supposed to provide all e-commerce functionalities, the composable commerce approach proposes an architecture based on:

  • Microservices (each business functionality is developed and managed independently of the rest).
  • APIs (which allow the sharing of data between programs).
  • Cloud computing.
  • Headless architecture (the front-end presentation layer is separated from the back-end logic).

"Digital commerce platforms are experiencing ongoing modularization in a cloud-native, multiexperience world. Application leaders responsible for digital commerce should prepare for a ‘composable’ approach using packaged business capabilities to move toward future-proof digital commerce experiences."

Mike Lowndes, Sandy Shen

Gartner, Composable Commerce must be Adopted for the Future of Applications

7. Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation is about identifying and automating as many business and IT processes as possible. It applies not only to specific tasks but also to their degree of automation. Thanks to hyperautomation, companies can create a scalable business model that will ensure the organization’s sustainable development. However, its implementation requires the coordination of many tools and technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, or business process management systems. .

Hyperautomation is the next step in digital transformation. Easy and quick access to terabytes of data has enabled the automation of many processes currently performed by employees. However, hyperautomation is not intended to eliminate humans from processes. Its aim is to identify critical moments when humans should take the lead. Thanks to this approach, companies can increase the processes' effectiveness and employees’ productivity by allowing humans to focus on strategically important tasks.

8. Low-Code and No-Code Programming

The function of low- and no-code platforms is in their name. Creating working applications, websites, and systems is no longer available only to the mysterious caste of developers. In no-code platforms, you can know absolutely nothing about coding and still build an app using graphical programming tools, drag-and-drop systems, and simple logic. Low-code platforms are similar in function and processes, but they require a basic understanding of underlying systems and code. Both can even provide features like Artificial Intelligence as part of business applications and software.

"Half of all new low-code clients will come from business buyers that are outside the IT organization by year-end 2025."

There are already multiple low-code and no-code platforms that can make app and software development much more accessible for small businesses and organizations, both externally and internally. Shopify allows you to build an e-commerce platform; WordPress lets you quickly develop a new website. The future, though, lies in the accelerated development of professional-looking applications, serving all branches of your business, with little to no coding required. This trend has already been noticed by players big and small (including Google and Microsoft) who are offering platforms to build your applications in no time.

9. Sustainable Development in e-Commerce

The pandemic also resulted in increased consumer awareness of sustainable development. Retailers and brands are under increasing pressure to adapt their operations to ESG: how the company behaves in terms of E – Environmental responsibility, S - Social responsibility, and G - Corporate governance.

Sustainable development in e-commerce is conducting business processes so as not to deplete natural resources and to support a long-term global ecological balance. The key is to find a compromise between meeting the needs of current customers without jeopardizing the rights of future generations.

"People are going to want, and be able, to find out about the citizenship of a brand, whether it is doing the right things socially, economically and environmentally."

Mike Clasper

President of Business Development

Procter and Gamble (Europe)

How does technology support business in the implementation of sustainable development?

  • Artificial Intelligence - AI technologies, in particular machine learning, can help sellers improve the accuracy of forecasting product demand and better monitor when replenishment is needed, preventing wasted resources.
  • Internet of Things - IoT integrates smart sensors with database management platforms to monitor (as an example) food waste. In the case of machines, it indicates the need for maintenance and enables remote diagnostics.
  • Predictive analytics - Predicting trends and consumer behavior changes based on historical data requires the implementation of a system that integrates and analyzes all recorded information. This type of implementation allows for the accurate allocation of company resources and investments.