Perhaps unsurprisingly, the recent COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for huge changes to consumer behaviour.
E-commerce innovations to look out for this year
E-commerce has always been a fast-growing and ever-changing industry, but never more so than over the past couple of years. In 2020 alone, UK consumer spend online shot up a massive 34.7%1 as digital transformation switched from buzzword to necessity.
Propelled by tech-focussed innovation, this growth - even with shops now open - shows little signs of slowing. Last year saw the rise of augmented and virtual realities, voice shopping, and murmurs of the metaverse, just to name a few. So as 2022 begins, what trends and innovations will define e-commerce over the coming 12 months?
"Ease of use will be a big thing in 2022. Mobile commerce is part of that." - Westcoast
Parcelforce Worldwide's customer Westcoast offer IT distribution, fulfilment, cloud enablement, configuration and enhanced logistics. For their Group Operations Director Andy Newberry, mobile commerce is likely to have a big impact on e-commerce this year.
In 2019, retail sales via mobile device were £50.36 billion. It is forecast that in 2024, the revenue from m-commerce will go up to £105.28 billion.2 As a result, it's likely that brands will look to better their mobile commerce proposition in 2022.
With 73% of UK consumers saying they prefer to shop through mobile devices,3 m-commerce investment looks like a very shrewd move.
Selfridges' shopping app offers personalised style inspiration: suggesting new ranges from brands that users have previously bought from, rather than individual items.4
Personalisation is a popular tool amongst e-commerce retailers already. This year, however, it's changing: with 'personalised discovery' likely to become more popular.
Netflix and Spotify have been using personalised discovery to improve their user experience for years. These platforms suggest genres rather than specific films/songs, allowing audiences to 'discover' new favourites.
Personalised discovery aims to recreate the 'thrill of the hunt' of physical shopping, arguably a necessity if e-commerce wants to continue its growth.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
"E-commerce is here to stay now. As a brand, we have significantly invested in our technological capabilities." - Hotter Shoes
Hotter Shoes have retained their title as the UK's largest show manufacturer partly due to their focus on digital transformation. This includes an investment in artificial intelligence that has really elevated the user experience of their app.
On the Hotter App, shoppers can select shoes and see how they look on their feet using the camera on their mobile and, of course, some neat AI technology.
For retailers that have the capacity to do so, utilising AI can elevate the user experience whilst also expediting despatch and supply processes. For these reasons, it's set to become an even larger part of the e-commerce industry in 2022.
54% of retail marketers are using AI-driven personalisation across channels to drive growth in their business.5 New Look has a 'style match outfit' function on their app. Users can take a photo of an item and the app will find a match for it. Likewise, Olay's Skin Advisor uses a simple customer selfie to recommend a fully comprehensive skincare routine.
Like personalised discovery, there's a sense these AI innovations will recreate a lot of the benefits of physical shopping; product recommendations and 'Try Before You Buy' capabilities.
The delivery experience
"The reason we have stayed with Parcelforce for such a long time is because we trust them. It's been such a great service for such a long time." - Westcoast
As shoppers flocked online amidst the pandemic, demands for a better delivery and returns experience increased. With reports that the e-commerce boom is firmly here to stay, these demands will only heighten in 2022.
For Westcoast, Parcelforce Worldwide's trust was key. Beyond trust, though, the most convenient delivery options encourage shoppers while 92% of customers make repeat purchases after receiving a good returns experience.6
Parcelforce Worldwide offers a range of convenient delivery options, including a timed next day delivery with a 1-hour delivery window, as well as some tech-focussed innovations of our own.
Our leading-edge, award-winning8 dashboard makes managing deliveries easier than ever. You can track the status of every delivery, sort by service, postcode, delivery day, recipient and more, whilst accessing My Parcel Live to view 'out for delivery' parcels and allocated 1-hour slots.
E-commerce will look to continue its growth this year via tech-focussed innovations aimed at recreating the in-store experience. Shoppers will be able to purchase faster on their mobile, discover new products, whilst buying and returning more conveniently than ever.
If you're interested in how Parcelforce Worldwide's delivery, returns and technologies can support your growth, visit our landing page for more information.
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 2021 E-commerce Trends and Statistics in the UK, Osome, 2021
 M-commerce retail sales UK 2019-2024, Statista, 2021
 38 Mobile Commerce UK Stats and Facts to Know in 2021, Don't Disappoint Me, 2021
 The impact of AI on the UK retail industry, Retail Economics, 2021
 Klarna, Rethinking Returns, 2019
 Best Customer Experience winner at the Delivery Excellence Awards 2020