In 2022, the world of retail ecommerce sales is expected to make about $5.5 billion worldwide. Ecommerce sales in the United States alone accounted for more than 13% of all retail sales in the third quarter of 2021. The ecommerce business is booming and will continue to grow year over year.
As technology evolves and ecommerce becomes more accessible, entrepreneurs and businesses need to get more creative in how they attract customers to their online stores. Over time, the online retail space has become more and more competitive. If you’re looking for ideas to improve and expand your own online retail business, check out what to expect in ecommerce trends in 2022.
1. An emphasis on simplicity
Many brands have taken a minimalistic approach that allows them to focus on perfecting a core product. It also reduces choice overload — the idea that access to too many choices makes decision-making more difficult and less satisfying — which can be a relief to consumers.
Companies that focus on limited offerings often begin with only one or two products. For example, Bonobos launched with only one style of pants. Within three years, they had amassed more than $9.5 million in revenue.
The bed-in-a-box startup, Casper, launched in 2014 with only one mattress and sold $100 million worth of mattresses in less than two years. Today, Casper continues to make profits selling only three types of mattresses.
In recent years, the idea of “less is more” has resurfaced and gained popularity, affecting consumer behavior and online marketing. The desire for some level of minimalism is related not only to the number of products but also to how the products are designed and marketed.
For example, Billie’s mission is to sell female razors and shaving supplies at low prices. The brand only offers a few more cleaning accessories, and they maintain a simple product design and mission: to create safe, gentle, clean, and affordable products for women.
A simple product should be presented with a similarly simple brand image and identity. Apply the same uncluttered, back-to-basics approach when it comes to your product’s website design. A minimalistic and clean web design has been found to increase ecommerce sales.
However, just because an ecommerce brand begins with only one or two products doesn’t mean they have to maintain that limited offering. Many brands started more minimal than they are today but eventually branched out and increased their catalog based on user feedback and to compete in the ecommerce market.
2. Influencer and social commerce — especially on Instagram
One of the most effective ways to expose people to your ecommerce business is through influencer marketing and mobile commerce. When you employ leaders in a specific industry to share your brand’s products and messaging with a key audience, you provide the social proof consumers tend to look for in the spaces they spend the most time in (their mobile devices and social media).
Consumers seek product recommendations from influencers nearly as often as they do from friends. Whether they’re on a social media platform watching an influencer livestream about a product or browsing through their favorite shopping app, make sure to invest in an omnichannel marketing approach to remain competitive.
The influencer market is estimated to be worth around $16.4 billion in 2022. Influencer marketing is such a big business that, as of 2021, 18,900 firms offer influencer marketing services, and influencer marketing platforms have raised $800 million in funding.
Influencer marketing has especially taken off on Instagram, where mobile shopping thrives in a $100 billion industry. And all that money isn’t just being funneled to celebrity endorsers or people with millions of followers — it’s often making its way into the pockets of micro-influencers, those with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. When it comes to product discovery, micro-influencers should not be overlooked.
La Croix’s influencer campaign has focused heavily on Instagram users, with sometimes only a few hundred followers, and it’s had immense success. In addition to increasing sales of its sparkling water, the brand’s work with micro-influencers has made it the inspiration behind everything from pop art to Halloween costumes, showcasing how its influencer-marketing tactics have established an authentic connection with its core audience.
FabFitFun is another great example. Its hashtag #fabfitfun has more than 366,000 posts on Instagram, and the #fabfitfunpartner hashtag has more than 19,000 posts on the social network.
This underscores how engaged FabFitFun’s Instagram audience is and how its supporters — both subscribers and influencers — enjoy its offerings.
3. Employing user-generated content on social media
Brands have been taking advantage of influencer partnerships for some time, and now more of them are discovering one of the greatest benefits of social media campaigns: user-generated content (UGC). The photos and videos that social media users share about brands can be fertile ground for unique and engaging content. If you don’t have an active audience already, encourage them to take photos of your new products as part of a loyalty program.
This type of content brings authenticity to brands because it enables consumers to see how real people — not models, celebrities, or other endorsers — actually use a product, which aids in purchasing decisions. More than 64% of social media users will seek out UGC before making a purchase, and recommendations from other consumers lead to 76% of consumers purchasing that product.
Beauty brand Glossier employs UGC across its social media accounts, sharing users’ images as well as messages about the brand and its micro-influencer pool. With more than 2.6 million people on Instagram, the platform drives 70% of the company’s growth.
Reposting fans’ content makes the Glossier feed feel more like a community and encourages even more people to create content. That increase in demand and engagement also allows the company to raise the bar on the quality of its content.
Doritos is another great example of employing UGC on social media.
Its Instagram account is made up entirely of UGC from its fan creation site, DoritosLegionoftheBold.com, where customers can create marketing images and videos in hopes of getting them shared by Doritos.
4. Personalized customer experiences
Personalization is a critical component of company success and customer retention, which can help consumers connect to brands and simplify their online shopping experience. In one study, customers expressed that a highly personalized shopping experience made them 110% more likely to add additional items to their baskets and 40% more likely to spend more than originally planned.
“Experience is the new loyalty,” Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, a global ecommerce payment provider, said. “It’s one of the key drivers for consumers to return to a retailer’s site or app.” Optimization of your product pages will influence and draw in loyal customers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can help you in your efforts to collect data on your customers and provide personalized experiences for each part of the customer journey. This includes the use of chatbots to direct your customers where they need to go and offering a variety of payment methods in which the customer’s last payment is easily saved for next time.
For your email marketing campaigns, generate personalized product recommendations via email based on consumer behavior and provide exclusive offers to subscribers. Automation can also help reduce shopping cart abandonment by drawing your customers back to their carts.
If you sell many products, displaying related or suggested products can boost your sales and increase customer retention. For example, Amazon often includes an “X product you may like” section that makes recommendations based on your past behavior.
5. Brands supporting social values and environmental efforts
Today’s consumers are more conscious of how their shopping habits affect the world at large. Over half of Americans surveyed believe that it’s important for companies to take corporate social responsibility. Consumers want to put their dollars behind sustainable products and brands dedicated to social causes and environmental efforts in all aspects of their operations.
Companies can engage in these sorts of activities in a variety of ways, from employing local workers and using renewable resources to supporting social causes or donating a portion of their profits to charitable causes. The more you can do to leave a positive impact, the more connected your consumers will feel to your brand, and the more likely they will spend more on your products and services.
For example, diamond company Brilliant Earth uses recycled precious metals and gives back to charities that assist communities where it operates. Consumers that are in the market for high-end jewelry but who are concerned about ethically sourced materials would be much more likely to purchase from Brilliant Earth than other companies without the same business practices.
tentree, a clothing brand that plants trees across the globe for every item purchased, is another great example of a company that’s dedicated to sustainability and effectively attracts eco-conscious consumers because of it. This brand could target Gen Z’ers, as climate change and protecting the environment is their top concern.
The pandemic was especially influential in focusing people’s attention on the environment. Experts estimated that in 2021, $150 billion would be spent on sustainable consumer goods alone.
Outdoor brand Cotopaxi, which donates 1% of its annual revenue to global poverty alleviation, made millions of dollars within its first two years of operation. The company is B Corp-certified, meaning it’s focused on using the power of business as a force for social, environmental, and economic good, and Cotopaxi frequently highlights its efforts to give back on social media. For example, on social media, they frequently use the phrase “Do Good” and the hashtag #gearforgood to highlight their mission. Their most recent “Do Good” post is used to raise awareness and funds for those suffering from the war in Ukraine.
6. Sellers diversifying their sales channels and capabilities
One of the top ecommerce trends of 2022 is unique to sellers, especially smaller merchants looking to grow their businesses.
While many sellers launch their businesses on ecommerce platforms like Shopify or sell their products exclusively on marketplaces like Etsy, GoDaddy is making it easier for sellers to expand their reach and list their items on multiple marketplaces. This allows sellers to list inventory from one central catalog to numerous ecommerce marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Walmart.
When Jin Lin of JJ Designer Jewelry wanted to make his products available to more customers by selling on platforms besides his own website, he turned to Sellbrite , which streamlined the listing process. He now sells on Amazon, eBay, Walmart and BigCommerce.
Editor's note: Sellbrite is now GoDaddy Marketplaces & Social.
One downside of online retail versus brick-and-mortar stores is the inability to try on clothing before you purchase. Even though many ecommerce stores offer free returns, some folks don’t want to deal with double-checking that they were adequately refunded for a returned purchase. That’s why some companies like Amazon offer a “try before you buy” option.
Ecommerce trends in 2022: Which ones will work for you?
Commerce trends may come and go, but to compete in the ever-changing space of online retail, ecommerce businesses need to pay attention to them.
Looking to the future of ecommerce, it is becoming more and more likely that ecommerce stores will eventually use virtual reality for consumers to virtually try on clothes. Augmented reality (AR) clothing might be the next big thing that will help reduce online shopper returns and increase revenue for the ecommerce industry.
While not everything that works for one business will necessarily work for yours, consider why a certain trend is taking off. Is it improving consumers’ shopping experience? Is it leading to a higher conversion rate? Is it increasing the number of repeat customers?
Just because a trend isn’t a good fit for your brand doesn’t mean there’s not a core best practice at the root of it that can translate to your unique ecommerce business.