Written by Caroline Stringfellow & edited by Chris Cable

For most modern brands, having an online retail presence is only the beginning. In today’s competitive commercial landscape, there are so many key players, considerations and new features, that brands need to integrate several innovations to meet buyers’ needs and expectations. We’re breaking down a few essential aspects of eCommerce that companies can use to elevate consumers’ experiences with their brands and earn loyalty in 2022.

Customization & Integration

Shoppers today value convenience, personalization and simplicity in their eCommerce experiences. Brands with a multi-channel presence promoting their products and services on social media, online marketplaces, external websites and company websites earn buyers’ attention. As people continue spending more time using social media, they increasingly turn to the platforms for inspiration and brand discovery, making it essential for brands to promote themselves on these channels. SEO functions can help target buyers based on recent purchase activity and previous cart items, appealing to customer buying habits. 

“Personalization needs to not be creepy—it’s best to do it after a user has already interacted with your site because then they’re comfortable using their data from past purchases or newsletter sign ups to personalize” - Matt Montgomery

Many companies have begun attaching buy buttons to blogs and websites so readers and site visitors can conveniently discover items related to the content they’re consuming, without the hassle of being redirected to another platform. Shopify and Magento make this function available for businesses and brands and have already seen positive results in those that use it. 

Mobile commerce sales are predicted to double by 2025 and beyond, integrating omnichannel buying options. Brands should optimize the buyers’ journey by strengthening website functions and check-out security and offering customer loyalty programs. Easy interface navigation, attractive site design, and fast load times impact the buyers’ experience and perception of the brand. Product recommendations, SEO tools, and live chat bots help customize and enhance consumer relationships. 

Seamless Payment Processing

Payment processes leave a lasting impression on buyers for better or worse – the impact of a bad experience is no sales, while the impact of a well-designed system will be conversions. The final step in consumers’ purchasing decision will make or break the transaction, making seamless transactions equally as important as convenience. 

Companies that offer multiple payment options experience less cart abandonment and more frequent transactions. Brands should accept credit, contactless pay, and even crypto in 2022. Contactless pay aided transactions during the pandemic, and have lasting benefits for both brands and consumers. In 2020, $3.9 trillion in contactless payments were processed and that number is expected to more than double by 2024. Businesses accepting frictionless pay already enjoy the contact-free, time-saving, minimal effort of these transactions. Reduced fees and loyalty perks are just a few of the other advantages.

For completely touch-free, click-free purchases, buyers use voice activated payments. Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Nest make it possible. This is particularly useful for audiences with limited mobility or access to their hands. From older populations to individuals with muscular issues and parents who have their hands full, the possibilities are liberating. 

Tesla, Xbox, and PayPal have begun accepting cryptocurrency as payment, and eCommerce businesses are advised to soon follow their lead. Brands like Bitcoin incentivize this shift with quick processing, easy international purchase processing and low transaction fees. 

Pay Later Options

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) options are exploding with success. In Q2 of 2020, there were 197% more BNPL offers than in Q2 2019, and buyers are loving it. With mail delays, paused paychecks and other considerations affecting consumers’ funds, this feature has become increasingly popular. Younger consumers lean towards it to avoid accumulating debt or having to pay credit card interest, and many of them even use providers like Afterpay and Klarna to buy relatively inexpensive items. 

The flexible payment approach has benefits for both buyers and businesses, as the third-party providers assume all credit risk so brands don’t have to deal with collection hassle or payment issues. Pay later options range from installments to financing to accepting payments within 30 days of purchase. Sezzle and Affirm are popular options, integrated by widely used platforms like Shopify, Magento, Wix and BigCommerce

Recap

Use this guide as you continue to see new BNPL options, alternative payment forms, and omnichannel customizations emerging in the marketplace. We encourage you to implement these across your eCommerce platforms and reach out to Designsensory for guidance. As always, we’re here to help develop creative solutions to lead you to success.