10 Retail Trends to watch for in 2022

23 November 2021

The prolonged pandemic continues to shape how retailers and brands strategize to grow their business. 2022 will be a year of investment and new partnerships as retailers position their business models, strategy, marketing, stores, and operations to flourish in a post-pandemic world. In 2022, we predict that the following trends can be expected.

10 Retail Trends to watch for in 2022

Retail Trend # 1: Omnichannel transforms every stage of the retail experience

Omni-channel retail is a multichannel approach to sales that focus on providing seamless customer experience whether the client is shopping online from a mobile device, a laptop or in a brick-and-mortar store. 
According to Harvard Business Review, 73 percent of all customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey.
Omnichannel isn’t new – even before the pandemic, consumer behaviour was shifting towards ecommerce. But when stores were forced to limit in-person shopping, online ordering and Click and collect became a lifeline for consumers needing essential goods, and for the first time, omnichannel played a meaningful role in verticals such as grocery and hardware.

Retail Trend # 2 : Social Commerce

Social commerce refers to native shopping experiences on a social media platform. It offers shoppers an even more seamless way to shop online. Instead of clicking through to a third-party website, users can make purchases right from the social media app or site.

As social media became the one -stop -shop for real -time interaction, entertaining content, and shopping inspiration, the lines between app user and retail consumer blurred. Social commerce, as a result, has introduced hyper -personalized end -to - end shopping experiences, built on a treasure trove of real -time customer data. The consumer journey has inverted. Now, 90% of product discovery and decision - making are completed before consumers arrive at a store.

Social commerce is on the rise. In 2020, we saw a partnership between TikTok and Shopify, and the Facebook shops. US Social Commerce sales are expected to grow by 35% to surpass $36 billion by the end of 2021.

Retail Trend # 3: Customers value inclusivity and sustainability

Consumers are increasingly concerned about social justice and climate change, and they’re willing to change their loyalties to brands that are more in sync with their values. They want to see retailers take meaningful steps such as protecting mental health, hiring diverse employees, carbon labelling, comprehensive recycling, sourcing products ethically and fairly.   

The events of the past year continue to raise consumers’ awareness of the world in which they live, work, play —and shop. As many as 88% of US and UK consumers are more receptive to a brand if they know its values. The need to build trust with consumers has amplified Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) conversations. Resulting initiatives have included environmentally -conscious material sourcing, socially -minded product inclusivity, and a governance model that prioritizes transparency.

Retail Trend # 4: Resale is not a fad

Resale is not a fad. It is increasingly popular and relevant across retail sectors. Secondhand apparel, for example, is growing 11 times faster than traditional retail. The business model’s rise is partially attributable to consumer affinities for store treasure hunting, individualism, and sustainable products. Immense market opportunity in resale has invited a stream of entrants and inspired an emergence of in -house resale offerings and resale -as - a -service platforms. But as it matures, competition for customer acquisition stiffens.

Retail Trend # 5: Engaging customers with experiential retail

For companies maintaining physical locations, it’ll be key to distinguish themselves from online retailers by providing unique in-store experiences. Though the reality is that brick-and-mortar stores will sell less, they have the opportunity to provide value by strengthening customers’ relationship to the brand. Immersive experiences, aka “retailtainment,” can bring the brand alive in a way that digital means can’t.

Take Nike’s Time Square flagship store, for example, which has a basketball court with cameras to record shots and treadmills with screens mimicking famous running routes. Though it’s not a huge sales driver, that’s not its purpose. It’s become a huge tourist attraction that boosts brand engagement and awareness.

There’s no mistake that innovative retail initiatives will continue to shift to the virtual space, but that doesn’t mean the physical space won’t remain an important one. If used correctly, it can complement its online counterpart to bring a brand to life and give it an edge against competitors.

Retail Trend # 6: Online Stores in Offline Spaces

 Many direct to consumer brands like Yuppiechef started online, but have since launched and expanded their physical presence over the past few years. Most of the digital brands opening stores sell apparel, which makes sense; it’s a category where shoppers benefit from interacting with the product in person.  While the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly slowed the openings of new brick-and-mortar stores, we’re still seeing offline experiences from previously online-only brands.

Retail Trend #7: Technology helps staff deliver the competitive advantage

Experiential retail also highlights the ways that staff are a key competitive advantage. Whether customers are shopping in person or online, interactions with skilled and knowledgeable staff are essential. With technology, retail staff can access optimized data to deliver more personalized experiences. Technology also gives staff tools to support customers in their journeys across multiple channels.

New shopping experiences have heightened expectations of the store associates who deliver them. As “omni associates” who bridge the online -offline divide, they also provide expertise, deliver experience, and efficiently fulfill online orders. To remain competitive in today’s labor market, companies are investing in talent development to support longer - term, more rewarding careers in retail.

Retail Trend # 8: Same-Day Delivery

It wouldn’t be a retail industry trend roundup without mentioning fulfillment, especially when sales from same day delivery pioneers Checkers and Takealot/ Mr D are higher than ever.  It seems like customer expectations for shipping times are only getting faster.
In the age of instant gratification, shoppers want their orders ASAP.

Retail Trend # 9: Increased Focus on Personal Health and Self-Care

In addition to the pandemic changing major consumer businesses, COVID-19 also changed the items that online shoppers prefer to purchase. During the midst of the first wave of the pandemic, consumer attitudes focused heavily on purchasing personal health products. In fact, according to shopping trends reported by Accenture, 34% of consumers are increasing their purchase of personal hygiene products while cutting back on more discretionary categories.

These changes in spending habits extended well beyond the first wave of the pandemic, as lockdowns increased all over the world. With the rise of these lockdowns, came a rise and a focus on consumer health. Online grocery brands should note these changes, and prioritize the ways they can support healthy lifestyles for consumers, shoppers, and employees.

For instance, consumers are modifying their personal habits such as cleaning more surfaces, increasing their handwashing, and more than 85% of consumers plan to continue these habits following COVID-19. Such changes present opportunities for new personal hygiene offerings.

Retail Trend # 10: Livestreaming will continue to grow in popularity

Livestreaming has grown in popularity over 2020 and 2021. Home based consumers found livestreaming to be a way they can engage when shopping online. Consumers spent hours watching celebrities and influencers hosting entertaining shows on various topics designed to sell.