2022 poses big challenges for eCommerce brands. While eCommerce has been booming since the pandemic began, nobody knows for sure what the approaching post-COVID world will bring. Not only that, but 2022 will usher in major changes to the way we interact online and track customer data.
Here are a few eCommerce trends to take note of while the year is still young.
The End of Third-party Cookies
Google announced that it is ending the use of third-party cookies in 2023, which leaves only a year for eCommerce brands to react to this massive change.
The end of cookies means that you will no longer be able to gather contextual information on potential customers or run ads like personalized ads, audience extension ads, or retargeted ads. Without proper preparation, this may severely limit the reach of your ad campaign and the efficacy of lead generation.
In 2022, marketers will begin to adapt by intensifying efforts on SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing to make up for the eventual loss of traffic and revenue from ads.
Focus on Building Community
Building communities around or within brands will be a major trend this year due to the loss of the cookie and the impact of COVID-19 on online engagement.
According to a study by Accenture, COVID-19 has upended the concept of consumer engagement on and offline. A shift has occurred from transactional to relationship-based engagement. This is partly due to lockdown and isolation, but it’s also a result of a consumer’s need to consider their own safety when engaging with brands. Brands that have adapted (with services like grocery delivery or virtual showrooms, for example) have been rewarded with loyalty.
This trend is not likely to go away with the pandemic, and marketers need to respond by creating communities that maintain and reinforce relationships.
An obvious example is the sense of community among Apple customers. Brands can also create targeted communities on social media or web portals, such as Sephora has done with their Beauty Insider Community.
Diversifying Video Content
If you hadn’t noticed, most of the internet is shifting to video-based content. 66% of consumers rely on video content as their #1 source of information. That’s why social media brands like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube continue to soar in popularity.
Relevant eCommerce brands will update their websites with more diverse video content, including:
- Landing page videos
- Background videos
- Product page videos
- Product demonstration videos/How-tos
- Testimonial/Review videos
Most traditional text-based web pages will begin to incorporate video. Adding original content to your social pages often will also be important.
eCommerce brands without massive budgets can take advantage of free video download from stock video sites or use automated animation tools to create quick videos without spending a lot of cash.
The Metaverse’s Big Bang
Facebook’s rebranding to Meta in late 2021 brought the term “metaverse” into the mainstream. This expansion of the virtual world will incorporate virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and smart technology into our daily lives.
What does that mean for eCommerce brands? Imagine if someone could use their phone’s camera to “try on” outfits from a Shopify store. Or, what if a customer could test a golf club on a virtual green before clicking the buy button? How much more likely would you be to stay at a hotel if you could take a virtual tour of the room before booking?
These experiences are coming in 2022 (some are already here). Brands that embrace these changes will gain an edge over others.
The metaverse will also provide opportunities for brand communities to become stronger and more interactive. Interactions will no longer be limited to shares and likes. Consumers will be able to interact face-to-face with brand avatars, influencers, and each other in virtual forums.
2022 may bring the end of the pandemic (we hope!), but it’s just the beginning of a huge shift in online social trends and content marketing. Use the above trends to guide your marketing efforts, and your eCommerce brand will flourish this year.