As one year ends, another starts, And with a new year comes a flurry of exciting trends that are sure to dominate the retail landscape. We've collected three online retail trends from industry experts that we can expect to see in 2022 and beyond.
The Evolving Influencer Economy
Philip Smolin, Chief Platform Officer at 100.co, explained that this year was a record for influencers, but next year would be a gamechanger. “In 2021, the influencer economy was valued at a record 13.8 billion U.S. dollars and this will continue to mature in 2022. With the rise of direct-to-consumer brands, influencer platforms have become analogous with shelf space at a retail store – limited and highly competitive. At the same time, consumers have become immune to or sceptical of influencers and their messages. This is driving brands to take a renewed look at how they select their influencers, in the same way, they would decide which store and where on the shelf to display their products. In order to stand out and shine on this “shelf”, influencers and their platforms must be authentic and closely aligned to the brand and products they are promoting/building.
Is the Customer the New CEO?
Kristen Pimpini, the Regional Vice President, ANZ, Twilio, certainly thinks so. “To define customer engagement today, we need only to draw on the famous quote from Walmart’s founder Sam Walton, ‘There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.’
“Customer engagement as we know it has been forever altered by the pandemic. Many companies across Australia and New Zealand understandably accelerated at an unprecedented pace during the pandemic, creating entirely new and innovative ways of connecting with and servicing customers, and unlocked new opportunities in the workforce. However, the B2C (business-to-consumer) business relationship remains largely one-directional. Companies are still in the driver’s seat, pushing services and goods to consumers and determining how customers interact with them,” said Pimpini.
“As we emerge from the impact of the pandemic on digitisation, we predict a flip in that model to more fluid C2B (consumer-to-business) models. The new two-way network gives the power back to consumers to become the ultimate decision-makers in deciding their terms of engagement with businesses. They become, in essence, the CEOs of their own entity and their personal digital universe.
“In contrast to the traditional B2C model, C2B engagement allows consumers to add value to the decision in how their journey travels, ultimately calling the shots in the relationship. As brands act swiftly to close the experience gap, they need to respond to consumers’ expectations of flexibility and choice in how they interact with brands.
C2B engagement demands a business to build their primary service or value-added offering that originates from the consumer, based on their insights and needs. In time, the C2B model could involve more profound ways in co-creation of product and service solutions. This means increased investments in digital solutions, which will offer greater omnichannel experiences in line with customers’ needs and empower consumers to dictate the customer journey they want with a brand.
The customer is the only boss, as Sam Walton says, and this rings true today more than ever. Australian businesses will need to quickly realise this and build flexible, tailored communications that can respond to rapidly changing customer needs across any channels, at any time that the customer prefers,” Pimpini told Power Retail.
Micro-Communities that Lead to Interactivity
Philip Smolin has provided further trends that retailers can expect to see in the next 12 months. In 2022, retailers should start building ‘micro-communities’ around their goods and products. This will offer consumers a more genuine and meaningful experience in-store and online.
“This will foster a collaborative relationship between brands and customers. So instead of spying on consumers through cookies, brands can simply ask consumers for feedback and offer them recommendations based on their likes and dislikes.” he said.
“One example of this kind of community is SAMA Tea’s monthly Zoom tea parties with the co-founders Jay Shetty and Radhi Devlukia-Shetty. Jay and Radhi aren’t just selling tea, they’re successfully building a community of like-minded consumers interested in health, wellness, and mindfulness. This can even segue into the real world, where post-Covid consumers will crave more experiential events at stores and malls.”
What retail trends do you expect to see in 2022? Let us know down below.
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