More than two years have passed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted the lives of people everywhere. This healthcare crisis changed not only the way people live, work, and have fun, it also altered consumer behavior, forever changing why, how, and where people shop. According to the International Trade Administration, however, while most industries received numerous blows during the crisis, e-commerce sales have been growing steadily for years, and the pandemic only boosted this increase even more. However, with lockdowns and social restrictions now gone and customers returning to in-store shopping, many are left wondering what the future has in store for e-commerce.
According to a new study, while many customers are now indeed returning to in-store shopping, e-commerce also remains strong. New trends like live shopping, Direct-to-Consumer sales, and new payment methods can help e-commerce thrive in 2022 and well beyond. Here are some of these new trends.
Why live shopping matters
When discussing the trends that will probably define the e-commerce industry for years to come, live shopping cannot be ignored. With many people already favoring video as a format, live shopping is also becoming more well-known and liked by shoppers around the world. As a combination of entertainment and online shopping, it offers an interactive, personalized shopping experience perfectly adapted to the digital age. Moreover, it allows shoppers to watch a live presentation of the product, ask the most important questions about it almost immediately, and buy with just a click — all this without wasting time or money.
Live shopping is not only essential to US shoppers, it’s also important for future-oriented companies like Walmart. The American retailer recently announced it will expand its partnership with Talkshoplive — a social shopping platform designed to link traditional retail to scalable live commerce. Their new deal includes developing eight new live shopping experiences and regular programming scheduled through March. According to Casey Schlaybaugh, Vice President of Brand at Walmart, the company is excited to use the live shopping platform as a tool to connect with its customers, “bringing both entertainment and product information to one place.”
Direct-to-Consumer sales and strategies
Another important trend in 2022 is Direct-to-Consumer (D2C), which means selling directly to the final consumer and bypassing other traditional retail partners. This new approach requires good communication between a manufacturer and its clients on most, if not all, channels. While the adoption of D2C strategies has not been as popular as other new trends in e-commerce, more and more companies are now understanding its benefits. D2C allows companies to develop a better relationship with their customers and achieve higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) while pricing flexibility and access to first-party data are other important advantages of D2C.
According to Forbes, a good D2C strategy ultimately allows a company to approach retailers in a position of power, therefore gaining a new advantage in negotiations. Managers can decide to use their first-party data to show retailers why their company can be successful, and they can also use the same data to prompt retailers to sell products they wouldn’t otherwise consider. To sum up, D2C sales and strategies are not only useful in building sustainable relationships with customers but they can also be used in building strategic partnerships with other companies or retailers.
Adding new payment methods
Unlike live shopping and Direct-to-Consumer strategies, new payment methods are not an original trend, nor are they exclusive to e-commerce. In fact, diversifying payment methods may be just another way for companies to create a more comfortable shopping experience for their customers. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions, which allow consumers to pay in interest-free installments, contactless payments, and cryptocurrency, are all growing in popularity. While the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly contributed to this trend, consumers were already adopting these payment options before the crisis, and they will definitely continue to use them well after its end.
As online shopping grows and evolves, so are the payment methods available to both retailers and customers. Companies should probably note the fact that cryptocurrencies have already become indispensable for many people, and some shoppers seem to prefer them because they come with some advantages, like transaction speed. Similarly, other customers prefer BNPL solutions that allow them to save time and buy what they want sooner rather than later, while others opt for contactless payments simply because they are easy to use. Whatever the case, new payment methods can contribute to the success of a business, and knowing which new payment methods to add can ultimately increase conversions.
Adapting to the post-pandemic reality is by no means an easy task for online retailers in the US and abroad, but companies can now use these new trends to boost their sales and profits. While there is no guarantee for success, live shopping, Direct-to-Consumer strategies, and adding new payment methods all provide online stores with new opportunities to outshine the competitors.