Four Predictions for Retail in 2022

In times like these, when change is rapid and constant, correctly anticipating the future can be a huge strategic advantage when it comes to retail customer experience.

We’ve seen the growing complexity of customer journeys — to the point where more than half of customers engage with three to five channels during each journey.

So, what does the road ahead hold? Here’s four trends and evolutions that should be on every retailer’s radar:

1. Hyper-personalization

The idea of “personalized” experiences really arrived when retailers began tailoring product recommendations based on our browsing and purchase histories.

Today, retailers are getting better and better at collecting and applying customer and operational data — and in 2022, we’re going to see that result in some truly hyper-personalized experiences.

Hyper-personalization uses contextual data to anticipate customer needs and enable timely—and time-saving — interactions that can drive the propensity to purchase and create loyal customers.

Just a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit.

2. Positive shipping and delivery experiences will become the largest deciding factor to whether a brand survives.

It sounds scary, but this shift in consumer expectations actually opens up a huge opportunity for small and mid-sized retailers to compete with larger peers. Homebound shoppers got used to having fast, same-day and sometimes even overnight, delivery options during the pandemic and it’s become an expectation. The shipping and delivery experience is now one of many touchpoints that merchants can use to develop customer brand loyalty.

Small and mid-size retailers that haven’t already invested more for in-store fulfillment and curbside delivery options, should do so now to ensure that customers can enjoy the convenience of online shopping while still getting product in their hands quickly.

3. New ways to pay are catching on and will be a major opportunity for merchants to boost sales revenue.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions have been growing in popularity for years, but the trend exploded in 2021 with major retailers like Walmart and Macy’s signing on. By using BNPL apps that are integrated into a retailer’s checkout, customers can shop with thousands of stores, receive their order right away and pay for it over six weeks, completely interest-free.

Customers want convenience across the board, and young consumers especially are gravitating towards new payment solutions that are reminiscent of subscription models. These payment models are only going to continue to grow in popularity, benefiting merchants who adopt the solutions early and begin the process of educating their customers on the benefits of these interest-free payment options.

4. Retailers will need to ramp up their omnichannel strategies to meet consumers wherever and whenever they choose to shop.

For a long time, having an omnichannel strategy meant little more than simply operating both a brick-and-mortar location and an online store. The pandemic forced every retailer to create a digital presence in order to survive and now consumers are getting accustomed to this re-introduced hybrid retail model. They expect to be met with uniform and engaging shopping experiences across channels, including a store’s website, various marketplaces and on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook where more consumers are turning to discover and purchase products.

The key for retailers now is blending these digital and physical experiences to meet consumers where they are. For example, if a consumer is scrolling on Google Shopping on their mobile phone while watching television, it should be easy for them to find the product they want, order, checkout and receive it when they want.

Customer Loyalty Accelerator

The Customer Loyalty Accelerator (CLA) app for Shopify and Clover platforms helps merchants address some of these loyalty and personalization trends.  A groundbreaking loyalty program, CLA uses the power of spending-based store credits to reward return customer visits – and higher spending –generating more revenue for your store. CLA also includes a Referral Promotion feature to broaden your customer base. In addition, Clover merchants can integrate a Gift Card program right within your loyalty program for even greater reach.