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By Elissa Quinby, Global Director of Retail Insights, Quantum Metric

If eCommerce companies and retailers have learned anything in the past two years, it’s that they can no longer rely on the pre-pandemic ways of doing business. Volatility with supply chains and inflation have forced retailers to keep evolving. Here are my eCommerce trends for the year ahead.

With certain goods, people will become more brand agnostic

With supply chain disruptions making it harder to purchase certain items, customers are less brand loyal. With people waiting months for goods to arrive, consumers will focus less on brand loyalty and more on finding the most efficient way to purchase what they need. But rest assured that people will remain loyal to brands as well, especially in categories like toys, video games, and apparel.

Finding new ways to collect consumer data responsibly will be key

With Google planning to stop tracking third-party cookies in 2023, brands will be tasked with rethinking their approach to collecting customer data. For retail and eCommerce companies, the future will involve collecting data in ways that provide instant value to the customer. This can be done through gamification and shopping profiles that help personalise their offerings without compromising consumers’ personal data.

Retailers will continue to strive towards one-to-one eCommerce personalisation When it comes to retail and eCommerce trends, one thing is obvious: businesses must continue inching towards one to one personalisation. This means delivering personalised shopping recommendations for each shopper.

To achieve this, brands need to continue aggregating and utilising first-party customer data. They will need to get better at micro-segmentation, which means understanding what different customers want based on their age, geographic location, and other important factors. Testing and optimisation will become even more important as retailers strive towards true 1-to-1 personalisation, especially as brands contend with younger shoppers with no brand loyalty.

People will choose brands that align with their values

Amidst various lockdowns, consumers have had time to stop, reflect and realise the extent of the damage being caused by wasteful shopping habits. This ever-increasing focus on the environment, combined with the current economic climate, means that many consumers are moving away from unsustainable products.

With growing consumer momentum to embrace circular and sustainable fashion choices, the fashion industry is leading the way by offering increasingly sustainable choices. A Quantum Metric survey recently revealed that more than a quarter of UK consumers intend to ‘make do and mend’ in 2022, rather than buying new items.

This year, shoppers, especially GenZers, are voting with their money. Rather than buying on a whim, this influential group of consumers wants to support brands that align with their values. To meet this trend, retailers must focus not only on providing high-quality goods at the best price but also on providing a knockout customer experience. Mission-driven brands with commitments to social issues like sustainability will undoubtedly win.

eCommerce returns process will improve

If there’s one area that continues to frustrate online shoppers, it’s returns. We can all agree that the return process can be a nightmare, especially when brands don’t clearly communicate their return policies. Can you drop the item off in a store, or do you need to ship it back yourself?

As the eCommerce space continues to evolve in 2022 and beyond, retailers will need to offer super flexible returns policies, with more options and ease.

From supply chain issues to rising expectations from consumers, eCommerce has much to contend with this year. However, DTC brands as well as traditional retailers that keep these trends in mind will be well-positioned to address these challenges to reach new audiences and thrive in the year ahead.

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