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PREDICTIONS 2022: Mobile and social

In the latest in our series of ecommerce and multichannel predictions for the year ahead we bring together industry views on mobile commerce that has become an inevitable part of retailers’ multichannel strategy.

Shoppable opportunities have diversified considerably

Alongside brand direct, there’s retailer sites, social media platforms such as TikTok, marketplaces, and now food delivery services. We have already seen Co-Op partner with Deliveroo. FMCG brands are watching this space with interest to see how they can reach consumers via these apps and ensure their products are part of the shift to ‘on demand’ consumer behaviour.

The major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Shopify and Pinterest are all rolling out ecommerce solutions at pace - social commerce growth was pegged at 37.9% in 2021 by Insider Intelligence and this is set to grow further in 2022. Amazon will benefit most from these increased budgets and is launching a variety of tools next year centred around its own DSP.

Retailers as advertising platforms is a major trend for next year. Following moves by Walmart and Target in the US, Tesco announced the launch of Tesco Media & Insight, to better address changing consumer needs. The marrying of audience scale, data and point of purchase is a tantalising proposition for many FMCG brands. It will be interesting to see how well these retailers engage with the buying community through 2022.

A similar approach to data and retail media was seen with the launch of Carrefour Links. With this platform powered by Criteo, Google and LiveRamp, supermarket chains may become new acquisitive players in the adtech ecosystem in 2022 and beyond.

David Fieldhouse, CRO, Adimo

The rise in social commerce

We’re also going to see a huge social commerce drive as social media platforms are already at various stages of testing, launching and piloting their live stream shopping capabilities.

TikTok has been the latest social platform to jump on the bandwagon of social shopping and create another link between technology and the customer experience. These platforms are great places to tell stories of products through outfits - the best way to sell fashion.

Natalie Theo, Style Director, Dressipioi

The mass digital transformation of small businesses in the B2C market

Digital transformation was at the forefront of business conversations before the pandemic, but the sudden need to convert businesses to a digital model overnight significantly sped up the process -- by as much as 6 years for many. Businesses are now coming to the end of their natural tech refresh cycles and are accepting that digital transformation is imperative for survival in the market. While large businesses are more likely to have made this jump already, smaller organisations, which have tighter resources and more restrictive budgets by nature, have been slower to make the transition. Many small businesses simply didn’t have the resources to completely remodel during the pandemic, so instead focused on making smaller adjustments for survival. Now, these SMBs, which account for around 99.2% of businesses in the UK, will be the ones leading this technology innovation and investing in digital transformation for the longer-term. As a result, the level of digital innovation we see from SMBs will be on a level akin to that seen from entrepreneurs in the 1980s.

Beyond that you’re going to see a lot of industries adopting technology to support better customer engagement. We’re already seeing this in the UK’s mature market, with industries like healthcare, utilities, even buying and selling cars, increasingly moving to a more digital model. Ultimately, their product hasn’t changed but the way they interact with consumers has evolved with apps, chat bots, SMS and WhatsApp for reminders, conversations and alerts. Big brands like Uber and AirBnB have mastered this technique, and innovative start-ups are integrating these lessons into their business models. However, the SMBs that got through the pandemic with limited and underdeveloped digital migrations will now be adjusting their models and their communication methods to meet this expectation. We’re going to see some very fast-growing companies in this space, as a pressure to differentiate mounts and the ones who engage well, with a great digital service, will be the one to own the transaction.

Paul Adams, senior director - United Kingdom & Ireland, Twilio

Livestreams ecommerce will boom

Top influencers are going to be at your favorite store on a Tuesday and live stream their shopping experience. It might be on Instagram, Tik-Tok, YouTube, or even a brand’s own platform, like the Nike app. There are a number of ways this can be executed, and 2022 is going to be the year we see those strategies come to life.

Gaurav Devdutt, assistant vice president, Innovation

Introduction of new channels

Over the past few years, particularly in response to the pandemic, the ecommerce space has grown exponentially, with sales expected to hit $1 trillion in 2022. But this landscape is evolving. We’re now seeing the rise of new channels as retailers look for innovative ways to expand their customer base. Social commerce is one of them, and many social platforms have been scaling their shopping features, to give users an in-app, frictionless shopping experience. This new capability is reshaping the sales lifecycle, helping to streamline the buyer journey from click to purchase and improving conversion rates. And we can expect this to continue to grow in 2022. Following the announcement of Facebook’s transition to becoming Meta, Zuckerberg believes that the metaverse will “host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce”. It seems that social commerce is set to transform ecommerce over the next year. To stay ahead of the curve, retailers should look to incorporate social commerce into their online experience – to improve customer loyalty, amplify their brand and increase sales.

Mel Tymm, Industry Principal, Naveo Commerce

Time spent on shopping apps expected to increase

Influencer marketing isn’t slowing down, but it is set to change. TikTok recently launched built-in live streaming capabilities in order to keep the conversation flowing organically, taking note of the speedy uptick of short-form video apps in China, which have proven to be successful. In fact, according to App Annie, time spent on shopping apps will increase by 40% by 2025 - opening the door for businesses to use social media and other consumers’ preferred platforms for social commerce and shoppable ads. Shoppable videos can be made on a variety of platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Amazon, and YouTube.

Irene Yang, marketing director at Nativex


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