eCommerce might be more popular than ever, but the industry is still relatively young. That means plenty of changes are underway as brands continue adapting to the future of retail.
Recent retail trends have skewed toward making supply chain unpredictability more manageable. Nearly every eCommerce brand has had to navigate surging orders, carrier delays or warehouse bottlenecks in recent years. By implementing new shipping strategies and investing in the latest fulfillment technology, brands have settled into the new normal and are better positioned for the future of retail.
Same-Day Delivery Strategies
Keeping up with the competition is tricky in a fast-paced market like eCommerce. Major brands have shifted customer expectations to the point that same-day or next-day delivery is thought of as the norm.
Solving this problem might sound expensive, but with a few relatively minor adjustments to your brand’s fulfillment process, you can cut costs while providing a speedy delivery option.
Flexible supply chain
One of the most prominent retail industry trends has been brands prioritizing a flexible supply chain, or the ability to quickly adapt to a changing logistics environment. Traditional warehouses that operated under the same conditions for years before the onset of COVID-19 were caught off guard when the workload for carriers, warehouse staff and product suppliers suddenly changed.
Avoiding these bottlenecks is essential for maintaining a base of happy customers, leading to new strategies in fulfillment. Curb-side pickup, for example, emerged as a means of relieving some of the pressure on warehouse staff by having customers pick up orders from the warehouse or storefront themselves. With a lower output requirement, warehouse workers can maintain a steady output without the threat of overwhelming fulfillment requirements.
Automated Warehouse Technology
An important piece of the flexible supply chain puzzle is technology. Whether it’s wearable tech that tracks warehouse progress, customizable robotics or warehouse management software, retail in 2022 is turning to innovation as a shipping solution.
In a retail environment that can sometimes be volatile, cutting costs and staying efficient is essential. Modern fulfillment software solutions can optimize inventory management, suggest pick and pack strategies and provide real-time carrier rates.
Smart warehouse technologies have also gained momentum as a retail trend in 2022. Modern wearable technology tracks packages throughout a facility, while allowing warehouse staff to complete multiple tasks from a single location. Other tools like automated label printers or intelligent conveyor systems help cut down on the errors that come with the manual picking process, reducing costly misships or product returns.
Social Sales Channels
Social commerce is one of the fastest growing retail channels in 2022, turning Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin into the latest battleground for online retailers.
In addition to opening your products to more potential customers, social media fosters the interactive aspect of your eCommerce store. By interacting with your products online before making a purchase, customers get a deeper connection with your brand. With a level of trust and familiarity between the buyer and seller, customers are able to make informed purchases and are more likely to return in the future.
Let’s take a look at some emerging interactive retail trends that can help provide a rich customer experience.
Livestream shopping is when customers view a live video of someone else interacting with a product before deciding on a purchase. While they’re commonly featured on social media platforms, livestream shopping can be hosted via webinars or direct video calls with customers.
Unboxing videos, for example, are a popular form of livestream marketing where brands send streamers products and have them open the packages live. The audience then gets to see the host’s unfiltered reaction to the item, giving them an authentic review of the product’s pros and cons. By providing a link to the product on the stream’s page, customers can immediately decide whether to place an order.
Livestream shopping can also be utilized to showcase a brick-and-mortar store. Having a host walk through the aisles of a store or warehouse can give customers an idea for what to expect when they show up in-person. If an exciting new line of products comes in, featuring them through an Instagram or Facebook live stream can help drum up interest and advertise what your brand has to offer.
AR & VR Shopping
Virtual reality and augmented reality, or VR and AR, is a rising media technology that has a lot of online retail potential. According to Zion Market Research, the augmented reality market is expected to grow to $128 billion by 2028.
The immersive and highly interactive environment that AR provides lends itself to eCommerce. Customers can try on clothing, interact with products or even test drive vehicles with this technology. Ikea was one of the first major brands to adopt augmented reality with their Ikea Place App, which allows customers to view how pieces of furniture would look in their existing room before making a purchase.
Online retail might be going through significant changes, but that opens up the potential for new and creative strategies that cut costs on fulfillment while generating new customers.
If you’re looking for a partner to help modernize your warehouse and help scale your brand, contact the Software Experts at ShipHero today.
Click HERE to Schedule a Meeting Today
Aaron Rubin, Founder & CEO
About the author: Aaron Rubin is the Founder & CEO of ShipHero. He is responsible for planning and executing the overall vision and strategy of the organization. Rubin’s greatest strengths are leadership, change management, strategic planning and a passion for progression. He is known for having his finger on the pulse of ShipHero’s major initiatives, his entrepreneurial spirit, and keen business acumen. His leadership of ShipHero is grounded in providing excellent customer service that drives improved business operations. His passion for ShipHero comes from the culture and his ability to have an impact on the lives of employees, customers, partners, and investors.