The retail industry is changing, and 2020s trends are already starting to pop up. The biggest of them all: omnichannel retailers are winning. As consumers continue to demand an improved customer experience, retail stores will have to keep up with the times or fall behind. Here’s what you need to know about the latest trends that will impact your business in 2022—and beyond.
More online stores are setting up physical locations
While it’s true that e-commerce is the way of the future, physical stores are still important. They can help you reach more customers, build brand awareness, and sell more products and services.
A retail location gives you a chance to engage with your customers on a personal level. You’ll have more opportunities to show them what makes you different from other companies in your industry.
You can appeal to shoppers who prefer buying in person by offering personalized service—or at least something that feels unique compared to shopping online. A local store may offer better customer service than an online retailer because they can give shoppers one-on-one attention rather than fielding orders through phone calls or chat windows. According to a commissioned Forrester Consulting study conducted on behalf of Shopify, 59% of consumers say they’re likely to look at a product online and buy in-store.
In-person shopping not only allows customers to touch, feel, and try on your products, but it also fosters a sense of community that has been sorely lacking since COVID-19. Keep in mind the in-person shopping element when launching a pop-up shop or considering opening a brick-and-mortar store.
Retail store associates becoming omnichannel
In 2022, retailers should focus on providing a seamless shopping experience across all channels. Customers have grown accustomed to being able to shop from anywhere and in any way they want. They expect the same from retailers.
To meet these new demands, retail associates are becoming omnichannel too:
Virtual shopping. A virtual store links an e-commerce platform on a website to live chat, video chat, and other smart contact channels. This enables businesses to communicate with their online customers as if they were in a physical store and it enables customers to enjoy the benefits of in-store shopping from the comfort of their own homes. Shoppers can ask questions, virtually try on products, and get expert recommendations through real-time connections, just like they would when browsing in person.
Appointment-based shopping. Customers can book appointments online or by phone and then arrive at the store on their preferred date and time for pickup. This mode of shopping is all about personalization and establishing customer relationships that will build loyalty for the brand.
This shift toward an integrated omnichannel experience will allow retailers to cater more specifically to individual customers—as well as give them better insight into who those customers are—which will help them improve their marketing efforts over time.
Social selling through videos and live streams
According to Astound Commerce, there was a 76% increase in live stream shopping purchases during the pandemic, for good reason. Video and live content is a great way to reach your audience because it helps you build trust with your audience, convert them into paying customers, and educate them on products or services.
Your videos should be short, engaging, and written in the first person so they feel like they’re conversing with you instead of watching a product pitch. A live session can also benefit from this type of approach as well since it allows you to interact directly with consumers in real-time via live streaming platforms.
Buying online, picking up in-store (BOPIS)
To meet customer expectations, retailers all over the world are implementing the BOPIS model. By combining online shopping and in-person pickup, this popular retail strategy provides customers with the best of both worlds. This process can be initiated by the customer or retailer, allowing customers to avoid shipping costs if they’re willing to pick up their order from a store location. The benefit for retailers is that it helps them avoid returns, as the customer will see the product before purchasing and make sure it fits or meets their needs.
BOPIS also encourages customers to buy at retail locations when possible instead of ordering everything online—which means more foot traffic into your store where they might find something else they want to buy!
PwC reports that 41% of consumers are willing to pay a charge for same-day delivery. While this shipping strategy sounds like something you’d find at an Amazon warehouse, it’s also possible for your business.
In order to offer same-day delivery, retailers need to have inventory at their store locations that can be purchased and sent out within 24 hours of customer purchase. This will require you to work closely with your suppliers so they can deliver in time for customers.
In addition to having the ability to send products quickly, offering same-day delivery can increase sales because it gives shoppers the convenience of shopping from home without worrying about running out of time or missing out on sales due to poor planning ahead.
Contactless transactions are on the rise, and mobile wallet usage is growing rapidly. To demonstrate, 25 million Filipinos use mobile wallets like GCash and PayMaya to make payments through their smartphones.
Contactless payments are convenient for consumers because they’re fast and easy to use. They’re also secure—they allow you to pay with just one tap or wave of your device at checkout (no need for swiping or inserting anything into a reader). Contactless payments are also suitable for retailers because they get customers to spend more: studies show that people spend five times more when paying by contactless than when paying by cash.
Consumer journey continues to become omnichannel
The consumer journey is the process of how consumers engage with a brand. It starts with awareness, moves to consideration, and then ends in a purchase. The journey has become increasingly complex as consumers demand more from brands—more personalized service and content that can be accessed anytime.
As you’re creating your omnichannel strategy, it’s essential to understand where your customers are in their journey at all times. You need to ensure they have access to resources when they need them most: right when customers begin researching your products or services, during each step in their buying decision process, and after they’ve made their first purchase or become a repeat customers.
As you can see, the retail landscape is changing, and omnichannel is at the forefront of that change. We hope our list of trends has given you some insight into what to expect in 2022 and beyond. If you’re looking to convert your retail store into an omnichannel brand or planning to expand your existing omnichannel strategy, we at Omnirio do all the leg work for you! Book a free consultation with us today.