Top 6 Trends That Will Shape Retail In 2022
The growing prominence of technology has greatly changed the landscape of retail over the years. AI-powered solutions are changing the nature of retail and 2022 will be a year for more change owing to the speed at which innovation is occurring and the added acceleration of digital adoption because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
2021 was a difficult year for a lot of retailers because of the pandemic, but it also paved the way for innovation and change. Customers’ shopping habits have evolved, and retailers will have to evolve to match their needs.
Experts believe that the line between digital and physical will blur in 2022 (source). Consumers will expect the efficiency and convenience that technology provides, in the physical world, and the personalized service that a human sales rep delivers, in the digital world. AI and NLP will play a big role in delivering this hybrid retail experience.
We put together a list of 6 key factors that will greatly impact retail in 2022
1. Customers are going to want the one-stop shopping experience
Publicis Sapient released a press release in 2021 that stated that 39% of shoppers were more likely to buy from a marketplace like Amazon because they offered a wide selection of products under one roof.
Customers are looking for convenience, the ‘mall’ experience where they can shop for all the products they need without having to bounce from website to website and enter checkout details multiple times. Creating this one-stop shopping experience will be key for retailers going into 2022.
One way of achieving this is by selling both through a branded online store and a marketplace like Amazon. This gives you the best of both worlds and is especially needed for retail stores that sell limited products.
2. Hybrid retail – a combination of online and in-store shopping will increase
A majority of purchases, especially since the pandemic, are happening online. But that does not mean brick and mortar retailing is dead. It is, in fact, very much alive, and enabling a hybrid shopping experience between online and offline is what customers will demand in 2022.
Integrating processes and data between digital channels like the e-commerce store and social media with the physical retail store is essential for delivering omnichannel service. This does not just benefit the customers, but even the business. Retail marketers, for example, are losing out on conversion data because they do not track users who purchase in-store but gain awareness about the brand through online ads.
Hybrid retail will be achieved by implementing solutions that tie digital channels with in-store processes, for example, BOPIS: ‘Buy online pickup at store’ which allows customers to place an order online and pick up at the store, by providing shop at home service, through virtual shopping, augmented shopping, etc.
3. Social commerce will be more prominent
A brand is never truly delivering an omnichannel experience until it allows its customers to go through the entire purchase journey across channels, uninterrupted, and complete the purchase from any of these channels. And, social platforms will play a big role in this fulfillment process going into 2022.
A survey report by RetailDive stated that 43% of retailers who sell on social media reported they generate half or more of their revenue from social platforms.
It’s not just about promoting products on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram but also allowing consumers to purchase these products from right within the social platform without having to bounce off to another site.
4. Technology will drive contactless shopping
With the pandemic still looming, contactless shopping will continue to be the norm in 2022, and AI will play a key role in driving virtual shopping.
Amazon Go is a prime example of how retail will shape up in 2022. Amazon Go stores allow users to pick items and walk off while camera vision-enabled cameras around the store sync with the store app to track purchases that customers can pay for remotely. This minimizes contact, speeds up the shopping process, and makes shopping more convenient.
Virtual reality will allow consumers to try and test products from home giving them the experience of in-store shopping remotely.
Augmented reality will make shopping experiences faster by providing information on devices that give consumers all the information they need, digitally.
Voice search will be more popular in 2022 and retailers will have to work towards optimizing their stores for voice search.
5. Personalization will be an influential factor for sales
The power of AI and predictive analytics will be used to deliver more personal experiences. AI-enabled solutions will give retailers the ability to deliver dynamic store experiences – e-commerce sites that dynamically display products based on the visitor’s past interaction history.
A 2018 report by Barilliance stated that product recommendations accounted for up to 31% of e-commerce revenues. AI-powered dynamic product recommendation takes this a step further by tailoring the customer’s online experience right from the time they enter the online store, by using their past interaction data to determine what products they are most likely to be interested in.
6. Voice commerce will be more prominent
A 2017 TechCrunch Article forecasted that 55% of households will use voice assistants by 2022.
Retailers will have to focus on two key factors moving into 2022 – optimizing their stores for voice searches, and delivering the ability for voice-based shopping within the store.
SEO has been a key factor in driving organic traffic to retail stores, and moving into 2022 voice search optimization will become equally important.
Voice bots are an example of how stores can deliver voice assistance for shopping. An NLP-enabled voice bot will allow consumers to converse with it using speech and the bot then displays product recommendations based on the search query.
Voice-enable virtual assistants will also become popular in physical stores.
Embracing technology is going to be the key to survival for retailers as we move into 2022. Technology was always going to be the frontier of retail, the Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated this movement.
Investing in tech solutions is going to pay off in the long run. Retailers will be able to deliver personal experiences, acquire vital consumer data and make more informed decisions, leverage automation to reduce operational costs, increase sales through AI chatbots, etc.
As the pandemic eases, purchases will increase and retailers will have to be ready to take advantage of this spike. The best time to digitize was yesterday, the next best time is now.
AskSid is a global conversational solutions company that partners with retail brands to elevate shopping experiences by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence. Our capabilities extend beyond support automation, extending to insight extraction, analysis, and business opportunity generation, all by leveraging the power of conversational data. We combine domain expertise and cutting-edge technology to build a Retail AI Brain for our clients, that mines insights from conversational data and becomes the basis of the business opportunity creation we offer. The power of actionable customer data has allowed us to create value and bring change to global brands including AkzoNobel, Danone, Wolford, Akris, and Himalaya. AskSid has live implementations in 23+ countries and supports 100+ international languages, managing millions of satisfied customers the world over.