With the pandemic continuing to shape the connected world, the next year will be about crafting shopping experiences that celebrate customers’ unique preferences while championing collaboration to establish seamless shopping journeys. Here are four trends for retailers and brands to look out for in 2022:
1. Inspiration-Led Shopping
After two years with nowhere to go, we keep hearing predictions for a ‘Roaring 20s’ for fashion, where extravagant outfits will take over as people go out again. Combined with advances in social and visual commerce, this will usher in a new era for e-commerce, one where shoppers excited by a return to normalcy will rely more on visual inspiration.
The brands that will stand out will make inspiration-led shopping easier by focusing on capabilities like, shoppable Pinterest boards, TikToks, and Instagram grids; shoppable livestreams; and highly visual, immersive on-site experiences including visual search, curated inspirational or UGC galleries, video content, etc.
2. The End of Dead Ends
Brands and retailers suffer from abandoned shopping journeys and searches — to the tune of about $300 billion per year. 2022 will be about overcoming the problem of dead ends — including unsatisfactory search results, irrelevant product recommendations, and even out-of-stock items.
Innovative brands and retailers already invest in solving this problem in two ways: The first is a smarter merchandising strategy bolstered by detailed product tags derived from visual AI. This ensures that searches turn up only the most relevant products. And the second is by using those tags to power alternate product discovery methods, like recommending visually similar items when products are sold out or there are no search results.
3. Privacy-Conscious Personalization
It’s no secret that consumers prefer personalized experiences. In fact, 84% are willing to pay more for personalized service. However, amid growing privacy concerns, 2022 will be ‘the beginning of the end’ of personalization that relies heavily on demographic data.
Instead, brands and retailers will make better personalized recommendations based on alternate sources of data — such as deep product data — that capture the tiniest visual details of the products that customers interact with on-site. This way, shoppers get hyper-personalized experiences that align with their unique preferences without giving up personal information.
4. Tech Ecosystem Consolidation
With the average e-commerce brand using dozens of website tech solutions, consolidation is the next inevitable move. Brands and retailers will seek out full-stack solutions to end reliance on siloed technology, gain a unified view of data, and create connected customer experiences.
We can see this already in the product discovery ecosystem, where solutions like visual and text search, personalization, recommendations, and product tagging are integrated into a single platform. This allows retailers to better understand shoppers, connect them with the right products, and create powerful experiences with fewer with unified data.
Brands and retailers have plenty of opportunities to embrace in 2022. To stay ahead of the curve, the key is to focus on how the pandemic has impacted consumers and to cater to these emerging customer behaviors and needs.
-Vered Levy-Ron, CEO of Syte, a product discovery platform for retail.
A seasoned executive with extensive business development and general management experience, Vered was formerly general manager and VP at Taboola News, VP of business development at nanotechnology incubator Landa Labs, and CEO of HumanEyes Technologies.