The retail industry is rethinking the shopping experience in 2022, from redefining how we shop and sell to evaluating the huge leg up independent retailers have on the competition.
To help retailers lean on their strengths and build up their strategies, Square teamed with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 consumers and 500 retail owners and managers about where industry trends are headed in 2022.
What they found was eye-opening — the who, what, where, and why behind our shopping experience are going through a metamorphosis, triggered by omnichannel technology and automated tools.
The 8 biggest trends for the retail industry
1. Selling online is nonnegotiable — no matter what you sell.
Online shopping is essential for consumers and table stakes for retailers. Today’s shoppers make 37% of their monthly retail purchases online. And for retailers selling online, 51% of their revenue comes from internet sales.
2. Omnichannel tools create more meaningful shopping experiences — but education is key.
Everyone’s moving to e-commerce (which is why you need an omnichannel strategy), but 32% of retailers say not knowing their options stops them from selling items through newer online and social marketplaces. And 29% say keeping shopping experiences consistent across online and physical channels is a challenge.
Even though retailers are going digital, it’s not an all-or-nothing situation. “Consumers clearly value and use flexible omnichannel experiences, like buying online and picking up or returning in store,” says Roshan Jhunja, GM at Square for Retail.
Shopping habits are evolving, so an integrated solution that ties together multiple channels from front- to back-of-house operations can help retailers find success.
3. Automated technology helps retailers get a handle on the labor shortage.
Nearly 1 in 3 retailers are worried about being able to attract and retain staff in 2022. To help pick up the slack, 72% of biz owners are using (or plan to use) automation to decrease their team’s time spent doing hands-on work .
Streamlining order tracking, managing customer loyalty programs, and communicating with customers are the top three areas where retailers say automated technology will help fill staffing gaps.
4. With supply-chain issues continuing, same-day delivery gives retailers a clear advantage.
Nearly 2 out of 3 shoppers prefer delivery over pickup when shopping online. However, only 38% of retailers currently offer same-day delivery. And with shipping delays and supply-chain issues holding other online purchases hostage, same-day delivery gives local businesses an opportunity to get products out faster than big e-commerce players.
5. Social commerce is one of the biggest digital trends in the retail industry — and it’s booming.
From selling on Instagram to launching an online store, retailers are experimenting with multiple ways to meet the evolving needs of customers, with 75% of those surveyed now selling on social media.
Social selling, brought to you by e-commerce tools, helps retailers reach more customers at a time when people may be even more glued to their devices. And it’s working: 43% of retailers that sell on social platforms say 50% + of their revenue comes from social media sales.
If you’re interested in trying social selling, see how Square can help you get started quickly with products you already rely on.
6. Interactive retail experiences bridge the gap between a store’s online and offline parts.
As customers get more comfortable buying products through social media, it opens up a whole new way to interact through those platforms.
Enter virtual experiences. More than 1 in 3 retailers plan to invest in livestream shopping in 2022, while 30% also intend to implement virtual reality (VR) shopping.
Through livestreaming and VR, online shoppers get to know a product before they commit to it.
7. The borders between retail and other industries continue to blur.
The pandemic not only sparked business pivots but also fast-tracked industry mashups that were already taking place. Mixed-use concepts, like restaurants selling branded merchandise and retailers offering digital services, are becoming increasingly normal.
In fact, more than 1 in 4 shoppers say they’ve bought retail items from a salon or spa during the pandemic, while 44% have purchased services such as meal and cocktail kits or online cooking classes from restaurants.
8. Community investments from retailers may be here to stay.
Retailers are ready to take the next step with their communities. 68% plan to participate in more community initiatives in 2022 — and around 1 in 3 say they’re going to partner with local businesses, provide supplies for local events, and donate supplies to community organizations.
FAQs on the top retail trends
What are the biggest challenges facing retailers in 2022?
According to Square’s Future of Retail Reportsupply-chain delays continue to loom as a challenge for retailers, with 48% expecting persistent delays in 2022.
Also, 29% of retail owners and managers worry about remaining competitive against larger big-box stores, and 34% are concerned about operating expenses.
What are the latest trends in retail marketing?
The pandemic has retailers putting their money where their marketing is, with 31% saying COVID-19 pushed them to expand their marketing and advertising efforts. Another 21% of retailers say the pandemic encouraged them to invest in customer loyalty programs.
What is a retail trend analysis?
Using info collected by POS systems, retail trend analysis looks at the data to identify patterns in what’s trending (and what’s not) to help you make the right moves for your business.
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