6 Retail Trends Experts Are Eyeing in 2022
2021 was another banner year for e-commerce, but less kind to brick-and-mortar-reliant businesses. Some retailers are licking their wounds; others are counting their cash thanks to smart e-commerce moves and investments as shopping shifted heavily online over the past 18 months. What’s next? What’s top of mind for decision makers in the ecosystem, and where do they see opportunities and major shifts?
To find out, I reached out to a group of industry peers, experts in their respective fields, to find out what’s standing out most and what they’ve got their eyes on for 2022.
Supply Chain Diversification
In wake of the continued supply chain crisis, retailers are looking for new and creative ways to offset the reality that inventory just will not be there at the most crucial of times. Solutions geared toward drop-shipping, expansion of seller networks, marketplaces and shipping expediency solutions continue to be top of mind. A sound customer service platform will also be paramount in easing the tensions of eager consumers, scraping to get their hands on any available merchandise. — Tony LaRusso, Vice President of Managed Services, Fenom Digital
"Re-Commerce" was a notable movement in the past year with more unlikely brands stepping up their game and launching dedicated e-commerce destinations, including Ikea and Levi's. I think the fashion rental market is going to get even bigger and the trend for retailers like thredUP and The RealReal is going to continue to blow up. — Jennifer Ryan, Director, Marketing and Partnerships, BORN Group
Chatbots are certainly on the rise, but I’m still not seeing the quality of execution and experience meeting the goals that most believe that chatbots can produce. The more intelligent and specific the machine learning algorithms can be, the more compelling that experience will be. — Jon Panella, Group Vice President, Publicis Sapient
In looking at 2022, retailers are beginning to look outside the scope of traditional experiences and offer consumers a futuristic approach to their shopping experience. Most notably with the integration of blockchain technology for things like bitcoin payments, and the ability to sell NFTs on their e-commerce platforms. — Dylan Runne, CEO, Fenom Digital
Ryan from BORN Group also brought up NFTs, saying, “The jury is still out on NFTs. Fashion and the artworld are embracing this and putting it to good use, but not a good fit at The Macy's Day Parade.”
Uptick in Retail Media Spend Due to Better Data Intelligence
Brick-and-mortar retailers, which lost billions of dollars during the pandemic as they helplessly watched inventory obsolesce on their shelves, sit on treasure troves of first-party data. A heightened desire to future-proof revenue combined with the opportunity presented through increased regulatory and social pressure on the use of personal identification and profiling as a means to target advertising is driving retailers to more fully monetize this often underutilized asset. As reliance on first-party data becomes mission-critical for marketers, retail media spend will burgeon. — Doug Huntington, CEO and Founder, FatTail
Democratization of Retail
When the internet was young(er) and still evolving, a few firms were able to consolidate shoppers into walled gardens, much like AOL consolidated users into its early service. However, many brands and retailers really don’t want internet gatekeepers between them and their customers. Therefore, new technologies are emerging that match the services offered by enormous tech firms, like visibility, convenience and speed, but in a decentralized way. I'm very bullish on democratized retail — i.e., where shoppers see nearby inventory as nodes on a network (like Uber). I think that's the path forward for retail as a whole. — Mike Massey, Founder and CEO, Locally
All of these categories are compelling and will be rich with developments this year. They're also only a snapshot of the continuing business transformations evolving retail strategies, online and offline, as businesses seek new channels of growth and improving customer experience.
Jenny Hopkins is director of partnerships at Marketplacer, online marketplace platform technology used by businesses and entrepreneurs to create successful marketplaces.
Related story: Top 3 Retail CX Trends for 2022
Jenny Hopkins has more than 12 years of experience in e-commerce strategy, sales, and partnerships. Before joining Marketplacer, she worked for BigCommerce (BIGC), where she built and executed Enterprise GTM strategies with more than 30 Enterprise partners in the US. She lives in a 230+ year-old house in Northern Vermont in search of the perfect apple cider donut.