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Quality Digest

Customer Care

What E-Commerce Will Look Like in 2022

New tech breathes life into an established platform

Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 13:02

Getting your product into customers’ hands is often an undervalued—and under-engineered—part of your organization’s value chain. If the pandemic’s effect on our supply chains has taught us anything, it’s this: Diligent reevaluation of our modus operandi is a must for success.

When the Covid pandemic hit early in 2020, the world saw 10 years of e-commerce growth in three months, and consumers developed new ways of buying the products they wanted throughout 2020 and 2021. E-commerce emerged as a nearly pandemic-proof way of shopping and selling. Increased interest and reliance on e-commerce have led to incredible technological advances and offerings for consumers and marketers alike.

Liziana Carter, an AI chatbot expert and founder of GROW AI, fills us in on what we can expect in the world of e-commerce in 2022.

Quality Digest: How is automation changing the game?

Liziana Carter: One of the biggest game-changers in 2021 was Facebook officially opening the Instagram DM (direct message) automation API (application programming interface) and allowing all businesses to automate Instagram DMs. Large e-commerce brands immediately realized the benefits of this technology and started using the power of automated DM experiences to sell products. It’s the perfect way to meet consumers’ need for immediacy and personalization at scale.

Facebook and Instagram have become some of the primary platforms for selling. By combining the power of influencers and automated DMs on Facebook Messenger and Instagram, companies have found that they can reach far more people and make far more sales by using everything the platforms have to offer.

QD: What role will AI have in e-commerce in 2022?

LC: Conversational AI (artificial intelligence) will make the customer experience faster and more personalized, which is bound to help companies retain customers. Facebook Messenger AI is rapidly improving and can now better understand context and multiple languages.

Facebook also continues to push conversational commerce. It now allows for selecting the best chat medium for you to reach consumers via Facebook Messenger ads, Instagram direct ads, or WhatsApp ads. When creating a messaging campaign, you can specify all messaging apps you are available on (e.g., Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp). The algorithm will choose the one most likely to result in a conversation.

So, Joe may see “contact on Instagram,” while Jessica may see “message on WhatsApp,” as the call to action of an ad.

These advancements help marketers reach and retain customers, lowering the cost per acquisition. Facebook offers a built-in customer base of people with purchasing power already using their favorite platform. Conversational commerce allows businesses to create immersive experiences that matter to them and their unique needs.

2022 will see the implementation of AI in more everyday experiences, and e-commerce will be no exception. Knowledge of previous purchases and buying habits helps brands make personalized recommendations, allowing for a truly unique shopping experience from beginning to end.

According to a pre-pandemic 2019 article in Medium, personalized product recommendations for online shoppers increase conversion rates by 915 percent and average order values by 3 percent. 2022 shows only more advances in conversational AI coming down the pipeline, translating to higher sales and conversion rates not seen before.

For example, although currently only Facebook Messenger supports AI, in 2022, Instagram DM Automation will, too.

QD: Will we see an increase in augmented reality and/or virtual reality shopping?

LC: One hurdle that e-commerce must overcome is the difference between how the product looks online vs. once the consumer gets it in their hands. Integrating virtual reality, such as 360-degree views of products or virtual “try on” opportunities, is another way of catering to customers’ needs and simplifying purchases. It also creates a memorable experience for customers, and they are bound to return to make future purchases.

2022 looks to be a year of growth for virtual reality shopping. Recent studies show that the market for virtual fitting rooms will grow by 25.2 percent by 2028.

QD: Are customers ready for this evolution?

LC: If the e-commerce boom of the pandemic era showed us anything, it was that the market was ready for innovation, and innovators delivered.

Consumer markets are prepared for the next stage and need e-commerce to evolve at a fast pace. Consumers have grown accustomed to technological advances such as chatbots, suggested ads on Facebook or Instagram, and other e-commerce advancements. These trends have quickly become the status quo to inform purchase decisions and influence markets daily.

2022 e-commerce will continue to be influenced by the pandemic. As brands continue to grow and serve more consumers, they will rely more on automation, AI, and virtual marketing options to help scale their businesses.

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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.