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3 unexpected trends in US e-commerce in 2022


Published on: Jun 10, 2022

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It’s safe to say that the last two years have been full of surprises for retailers… often unwelcome ones. But our latest research into e-commerce in the US has also found a lot of innovation, original thinking, and creativity. Here are just 3 trends emerging in 2022.

#1 Sustainability

Sustainability has been a talking point for a while. But it’s only recently that brands and retailers have started to take sustainability seriously – largely because consumers demand it.

Products which are manufactured, marketed, and delivered sustainably are more popular with shoppers. They regularly outperform conventional products across multiple industries. And that’s not just based on what consumers say in surveys: people will actively pay a premium for a reduced environmental footprint.

While some retailers reduced their focus on sustainability during the covid-19 pandemic, the balance is now rapidly shifting. Green credentials are about to become essential to e-commerce success. We expect carbon-neutral delivery and packaging options to become an important focus this year.

#2 Resale platforms

Resale of pre-loved, refurbished or vintage items is big business in 2022. It’s tied to the general trend for sustainability, as well as consumer interest in nostalgic fashions from the 80s and 90s.

Several prominent e-commerce retailers are now launching their own resale platforms, such as fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing. It’s a great way to reach more customers while burnishing your environmental credentials.

But be warned: a successful resale branch depends on excellent returns management. You’ll need a smooth, affordable system for collecting items, with plenty of updates and communication with users. Customers have been demanding a better returns experience for some time, and it’s only becoming more important.

#3 Legacy brands turn to DTC

Established brands such as Nike and Levi’s, which previously focused on wholesale retail, are now taking back control of their sales. They’re opening pop-up stores and leaning heavily on direct online sales.

What prompted this trend? It may partly be due to supply chain issues: Levi’s, in particular, has switched up strategies so that stores could become part of their e-commerce supply chain. But many brands also want to connect with their customers more deeply. They’re looking for more engagement and more post-purchase touchpoints. Brands and retailers across the US are trying to connect with customers and improve the post-purchase experience. Want to know how? Read our latest report on levelling up with Operations Experience Management.

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