As we head into the last few weeks of 2021, it’s normal to start thinking about the upcoming year. And there’s a lot of advice out there for bigger businesses! But what can smaller indie retailers expect in 2022? Read on for ten of my predictions.
1. Omnichannel Retail Will Continue to Expand
Because retail has changed so much over the past decade—heck, over the past two years!—having ONE ecosystem where all the parts speak to each other is becoming the norm. From your POS to your eCommerce platform to your inventory management system to your marketing, customers are expecting an integrated, omnichannel system.
One interesting tidbit to consider: more micro-merchants are selling on Shopify than ever before. In fact, Shopify is growing 2-3 times faster than Amazon eCommerce for smaller retailers! I highly recommend Shopify to retailers wanting to create a more seamless and connected experience for themselves and their customers.
Savvy Shopkeeper Resource: Listen to episode 78 for an in-depth overview of creating an omnichannel strategy for your retail business.
2. Sustainability is Here to Stay
The general population is embracing the sustainability movement more than ever. They want to know we’re making an effort.
You don’t have to be a refill shop or sustainable-living store to incorporate this into your business, by the way. Inside of the Shopkeepers Lab Facebook Group, we have a monthly discussion called Sustainable Saturday. We share ideas about what we can do as retail business owners to lessen our carbon footprint.
Some recent ideas have included reusing shipping supplies, buying recycled materials, recycling in our stores, electronic receipts instead of printed receipts, selling antiques, vintage, or used items, and instead of plastic shopping bags using brown paper bags or selling reusable totes. These are all practices we should be implementing in our stores because our customers will appreciate it.
3. Digital Excellence is Becoming the Norm
Customers prefer shopping from sites that are easy to navigate, order from, and pay on. They want websites that are easy to understand and up-to-date. And they want directories that are clear, current, and valid.
I talk more about this in my newest digital book, Get Your Retail Business Noticed. Your digital presence is essential to getting noticed!
In a recent Shopify webinar, I learned that there are three key things that consumers NEED from eCommerce sites: delivery status tracking, ratings/reviews, and product filters. If you think about what features you like to use when shopping online, these are probably high on your list, too. Small retailers can stand out by offering some of these features that we expect from larger companies.
Savvy Shopkeeper Resource: Listen to episode 63, where I discuss a few critical tips for eCommerce stores.
4. Shoppable Posts Will Continue to Integrate the Shopping Experience With Social Media
A shoppable post allows customers to click on an image and get a link to purchase or view more information. This can either be directly on Facebook/Instagram, or the link can direct followers to the product listing in your online store.
Personally, I’ve seen just how effective this is. When I switched our online store to Shopify this year, I loved how easy the platform is for us AND our customers. It was worth it to switch to Shopify and set up shoppable posts.
5. Social Selling Will Be Even Bigger
Just like last year, social selling continues to grow. Software like Comment Sold and Vajro make this easy for retailers—they allow customers to comment “sold” with the item number. The software automatically generates and sends an invoice to them.
Social selling can also be done manually, though, especially if you’re not doing it regularly.
Savvy Shopkeeper Resource: Read this blog post about how to host a Facebook Live clearance sale.
6. Video is Becoming the Best Way to Connect with Customers
Whether it’s FB Lives, IG Reels, or TikTok, video is here to stay. If anything, those using video as part of their marketing efforts will grow and shine!
I know how challenging it can be to do video, and I recently stepped into my own discomfort by recording my first Savvy Shopkeeper reel. It was surprisingly fun—even if I was perspiring!
Savvy Shopkeeper Resource: If you didn’t catch episode 85, it’s a popular one, and I highly recommend it. I talk about how retailers can embrace using videos for their business!
7. SMS/Text Marketing Will Continue to Grow in Popularity
Some retailers aren’t even utilizing email marketing, so this one might feel like even more of a stretch. But it’s definitely gaining in popularity, and some customers DO prefer it.
If you personally get annoyed with emails or text marketing, I want to remind you that you may be allowing your personal opinions or preferences to hurt your business. Listen to episode 79, titled Are Your Personal Opinions Hurting Your Retail Business, for a new perspective.
8. Customers Expect More Payment Options
Adding additional payment options is important to consumers. You may have opinions about specific payment platforms, but in the end, it’s what YOUR customer wants and appreciates that’s important.
So go beyond simple credit card payment options, and look into offering alternative payment options like PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. Customers also like buy-now-pay-later solutions, like Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, and Sezzle.
We might even see cryptocurrency (like bitcoin!) become a popular payment option in the future. It’s a bit foreign to me, too, but I see it coming.
9. Everyone Wants More In-Person Connection (aka, the COVID Effect)
Our customers want more in-person connections and experiences.
When I asked members in the Shopkeepers Lab what they thought we should expect in 2022, this was the response from multiple members, in one way or another. Whether it’s through workshops, in-store experiences, or other connection points, customers are ready to connect with you in person.
10. Supply Chain Issues Aren’t Going Away
So many of us wish this weren’t true, but supply chain issues will continue into 2022. I think these issues will improve, but I also believe it is crucial to have a plan. What can you do to prepare in case these continue to affect your business in the new year?
Savvy Shopkeeper Resource: Listen to episode 93 for nine tips to help indie retailers mitigate supply chain problems.
Need Help Deciding What to Implement? Ask Your Customers!
Hopefully, you’ve got some ideas of what to work on in the upcoming year. If you’re not quite sure which of the ten trends I’ve listed is most important for your retail business, you should poll your customers and ask them!
You can send out a survey via email or have a survey tied to a giveaway in-store.
*Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links or referral codes, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link or using the code. I make recommendations because I genuinely believe they are useful to shopkeepers. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
- Shopify for omnichannel eCommerce
- Episode 78: an in-depth overview of creating an omnichannel strategy
- Get Your Retail Business Noticed eBook
- Episode 63: tips for retail eCommerce success
- Blog post on how to host a FB live clearance sale
- Episode 85: embracing video for your retail business
- Episode 79: are your personal opinions hurting your retail business?
- Episode 93: mitigating supply chain issues
- Join the Shopkeepers Lab
- Add your name to the waitlist for Master Shopkeepers
- Sign up to receive my free NEW & improved 100+ post ideas for your social media!
- [01:59] 1. Omnichannel Retail Will Continue to Expand
- [03:42] 2. Sustainability is Here to Stay
- [05:27] 3. Digital Excellence is Becoming the Norm
- [07:43] 4. Shoppable Posts Will Continue to Integrate the Shopping Experience With Social Media
- [09:04] 5. Social Selling Will Be Even Bigger
- [12:12] 6. Video is Becoming the Best Way to Connect with Customers
- [13:28] 7. SMS/Text Marketing Will Continue to Grow in Popularity
- [14:18] 8. Customers Expect More Payment Options
- [16:17] 9. Everyone Wants More In-Person Connection (aka, the COVID Effect)
- [17:36] 10. Supply Chain Issues Aren’t Going Away
- [20:50] Need Help Deciding What to Implement? Ask Your Customers!