New trends are always emerging in the e-commerce space, and this year experts anticipate even more exciting things to come. Today’s, online shoppers seek out online shopping platforms that not only offer ease-of-use and convenient payment options, but also embrace the latest technologies to make the overall shopping experience more exciting.
South Africa’s e-commerce has seen massive growth and innovation in recent years, according to The Online Retail Industry in South Africa 2021 report, and bigger companies are investing heavily in tech or acquiring startup online retailers as sales soar. A study by World Wide WorxMore than R30-billion in online sales was recorded in 2020, growth which was most certainly driven by Covid-19 lockdowns that moved people away from traditional in-store purchasing.
Also read: The Biggest Coffee Trends of 2021
However, even with an easing of restrictions, online buying remains extremely popular amongst South African shoppers, a trend that looks to continue. Data by Statista market and consumer data projects 31.6 million South Africans could be converted to online shopping by 2024. The move towards online shopping is likely to be a lasting trend in South Africa, with reluctance to visit public places and mingle with crowds an ongoing factor in many people’s decision-making.
So, with South African shoppers eager to spend their hard-earned Rands online, what trends and innovations can we look forward to in the coming year? Check out this list of emerging trends abroad, which will invariably reach South Africa in 2022:
Social selling and chatbots
While chatbots and social selling is already being used in industries like insurance and troubleshooting in South Africa, more mature e-tailers who are open to experimentation may look to integrate tools like social selling and chatbots to further enhance the online shopping experience for consumers.
More payment options
One of the bigger developments online shoppers can expect this year is the emergence of more payment options. Consumers like to be presented with a choice. This extends beyond the products on sale to shipping and payment options that customers can select during checkout.
Payment options such as instalments; buy now, pay later; and interest-free credit will ensure e-commerces is more accessible, and remove barriers to purchasing bigger-ticket items online in South Africa. Diversified payment options also mean that the e-commerce experience is better aligned to the diverse budgets and spending habits of consumers, and help to create trust in the positioning of ecommerce brands as being there for buyers.
Also read: 4 Brilliant Apps for Your Smartphone
Augmented reality (AR)
Another innovation that is sure to take the online shopping sector by storm this year is augmented reality (AR). This exciting technology builds on the traditional retail idea of customers being able to examine, touch or try on an item before making a purchase.
Technological innovations such as AR will help customers to visualise how a product will look on them or in their home, and be an important differentiator for the e-commerce companies that bring this technology to market first.
Of course, environmental concerns are also starting to play an increasing role in shopping habits, as consumers dig deeper into companies’ green credentials. This year, consumers can look forward to e-commerce platforms examining every aspect of their value chain to ensure their products and processes are sustainable, especially when it comes to delivery and packaging.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will no doubt play an even greater role in the online shopping space in 2022 than they have already. If you have noticed that the best e-commerce sites seem to know what you want to buy almost before you do, then you’ve already experienced this important online shopping technology.
The integration of AI and ML is allowing sites to predict the products that are most likely to appeal to a particular consumer. AI can assess datasets and is adept at detecting and mapping out patterns, trends and anomalies. Of course, AI is only as good as the data available to it, but the increasing volumes of online transactions mean that datasets are expanding all the time.
Another big trend that is sure to see even bigger growth in 2022 is the savvy online shopper. South Africans love to shop around and find the best deal. South African shoppers are known to be price-conscious and will do their research online to find the best price before parting with their money. Price comparison sites, like PriceCheck, are already popular with online shoppers, but now, with online shopping numbers skyrocketing in South Africa, tools like PriceCheck have become more important than ever before.
Find the best prices on essentials for the New Year online with PriceCheck now.