The megatrends for eCommerce technology include advancements in social commerce, visual commerce, mobile commerce, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, and the implementation of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) features.

This article will get you up to speed on the latest developments and learn more about what is trending in the near future. 

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1. Social Commerce

Social commerce is the use of social media and social interaction in some context along with eCommerce. 

Examples of traditional social commerce include:

  • Ratings and review systems
  • User recommendations
  • User referrals
  • Endorsements by social influencers
  • Forums
  • Online communities
  • Social media optimization and advertising
  • Social applications
  • Sharing the online shopping experience with others

Today it is not enough to simply build an eCommerce website. Digital marketers should also consider innovations in the retail industry. These innovations include additional sales promotion channels. The most powerful for this kind of media is social networks.

Statista suggests that the value of social commerce sales will reach around US$2.9 trillion by 2026.

The February 2021 State of Social Media Investment report by Sprout Social notes that among 250 US marketers surveyed, 85% of large companies, 84% of medium-sized companies, and 57% of small companies already sell on social commerce platforms.

Influencer Marketing Hub notes traditional advertisements are ignored and disliked by social media users. Instead, clever digital marketing includes integrating ads within the context of social media posts in ways that provide useful information without an irritating sales pitch. 

User-generated content is highly beneficial if a company engages in active reputation management. Building brand loyalty is the key. Social media users want to feel attached to a brand. When they are engaged, they are more likely to share user-generated content, increasing the effectiveness of social media campaigns. 

By following the best content marketing trends, you can reach consumers who use search engines to find exactly the product they want. Social commerce can help capture users' attention who are just surfing the Internet without knowing what they are looking for or even intending to buy.

Megatrend: This trend is the buying and selling of products and services directly within a social media system without the customer having to go elsewhere. Hootsuite calls this the frictionless marketplace. The pathway of the customer journey from discovery to purchase is one fluid interaction. Leaving social media to go to a website is a thing of the past.

2. Visual Commerce

Visual commerce uses compelling imagery at the forefront of a brand's marketing campaign. The visual media may be high-resolution photos, well-produced videos, or augmented reality overlays. Visual commerce aims to enhance the normal visuals that web users expect to see. 

An example would be a photo of a food product that looks so enticing you can almost smell the delicious aromas and imagine the mouth-watering taste. Another example is using a 360-degree drone fly-around video of a luxurious mansion for sale. When produced well, these videos are breathtaking and make a property look gorgeous from a bird's eye view.

One of the most common eCommerce mistakes is using low-quality content for websites and apps. Visual commerce combines visual content and AR technologies to enhance the visual quality of your brand as a way to increase sales.

Technology implementation should have a well-developed content strategy. For example, you can greatly optimize eCommerce with videos. The unique experience they can provide to the user means they may be more likely to buy something.

Megatrend: The trend is using AR to help 

potential customers put themselves in an immersive product experience with powerful visual imagery. Let the customer enjoy a virtual environment enhanced with products mixed with elements from the customer's world. An example of this would let them see how new furnishings would look in a room in their home or how fashionable clothes would look if they tried them on in a virtual environment.

3. Mobile Commerce

Statista reported that in 2019, global mobile eCommerce represented 67.2% of all eCommerce sales, which was the equivalent of $2.3 trillion in US dollars.

According to Statista, by 2024, the number of mobile shoppers in the US is expected to exceed 187 million. In 2022, the expectation is for smartphone shopping to increase to $432 billion, up from $339 billion in 2020.

In 2022, businesses must consider mobile experiences as a major part of their eCommerce strategy.

Snapchat for business suggests the following success strategies:

  • Provide customers with a seamless shopping experience on their mobile devices
  • Reach audiences where they already are by using social commerce
  • Connect with customers across multiple channels and customer touchpoints by implementing omnichannel marketing
  • Empower target audience members with personalization
  • Use location-based marketing to drive foot traffic to physical locations
  • Create immersive experiences for customers using AR.

Megatrend: There is also a trend among e-commerce retailers to introduce progressive web apps (PWA) into their business. A PWA allows online stores to target mobile devices and increase their revenue. PWA app development is less costly than creating native mobile apps, but it helps achieve the same goals.

4. Integration of AI tools

AI tools include chatbots, voice shopping, and visual searches. In 2020, digital marketers rated AI as one of the top five tools used to provide outstanding customer experiences. 

The growing interest in AI solutions has led to the emergence of various e-commerce chatbot solutions that address different business challenges, including increasing sales.

Voice shopping, also called voice commerce, allows customers to use their voice with a compatible smart device to shop. AI uses natural language processing of voice inputs to enable customers to browse an online catalog, ask questions about products, get product ratings, check availability, determine the price with shipping, and place orders. 

These newly improved AI-driven systems are not the clumsy voice recognition systems of the past. They are highly sophisticated. The best ones feel very personable, like having a human assistant while shopping. Shoppers enjoy engaging in a conversation with these virtual assistants. The AI-driven systems turn these conversations into sales.

Visual search enables a way to shop using your mobile camera. Google image search and Pinterest are useful for those who have an image of a product they captured and want to know more about it. 

In 2018, Pinterest reported over 600 million visual searches each month using Lens. Lens is a browser search tool that works with Pins and also Google. Since then, the number of visual searches has grown 140% year-over-year. ARinsider reported in June 2021 that searchers use Lens over three billion times each month. Lens now recognizes more than 15 billion products.

AI analytics come from monitoring key performance metrics (KPI) in real-time. It is vital that the system automatically monitors all the critical dimensions of any particular KPI. Any unexpected variation needs to trigger a notice to the attention of the human network monitors.

One example of this is the need to measure sales performance and payments processed. If there is a variation in the types of payments processed, this may indicate a technical glitch. 

Suppose all bank cards are being processed correctly except for one type. That one type is failing. Suppose the percentage of sales normally made using this payment method is small. In that case, the failure of processing payments using this method may go unnoticed if not brought to the attention of the human network monitors by the AI-driven KPI monitoring.

Megatrend: Artificial intelligence technology continues to improve the quality of eCommerce analytics and helps companies gain new insights into their customers' behavior.

5. Implementation of AR/VR features

The use of AR and VR continues to transform the eCommerce environment. AR and VR help companies create innovative marketing campaigns and build brand awareness. Virtual showrooms allow customers to explore a vast array of items with the backdrop of their real environment. 

For example, there may be a huge inventory of furnishings that can be browsed online in a virtual showroom with plenty of customized choices that could not be on display in a brick-and-mortar showroom.

Experts predict virtual fitting rooms will grow by 25.2% from 2021 to 2028. This will help reduce a serious problem with online shopping, which is the massive amount of $550 billion in returned items reported by Forbes.

It is fitting that we should note that another wonderful application of AR technology is seeing the choices for gift wrapping. You can choose the paper and bow from a wonderful assortment online. Then, adding a personalized card to go with the gift makes the gift-giving pandemic safe and still extremely customized and thoughtful. 

Megatrend: An exciting trend in fashion retail is the virtual fitting room. One of the most effective ways to improve the user experience for online shoppers is with virtual try-on solutions. For example, a virtual fitting room development lets shoppers try on the clothes or shoes they want by overlaying an item on a live video feed. Imagine that you could walk by a mannequin wearing attractive clothes, and then you see what you would look like wearing that outfit.

Wrapping Up

There you have it. The megatrends for the eCommerce industry are truly exciting. Mass adoption by brands of such advanced technologies as AI, AR/VR, and others contribute to the development of the market and the improvement of online store buyers' experience.

In summary, all of the advancements in eCommerce that are now available are superb enhancements that make customers enjoy the buying process and build significant brand loyalty.

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Oleksii Tsymbal
Chief Innovation Officer

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eCommerce Technology Trends for 2022