Trends

Key Takeaways about Commerce in the Upcoming Years [Square Report 2022 Edition]

How can entrepreneurs respond in the face of ongoing challenges and opportunities, such as social commerce? Square with Wakefield Research has surveyed 1,000 customers, 1,500 restaurant owners, and 1,500 beauty industry professionals to build the Future of Commerce reports for 2022. Prepare for many stats and learn more with us, or read the report here.

Community

Local businesses are increasingly appreciated across industries. Companies can use this fact in the future to their advantage.

  • During 2021, 68% of retailers experienced increased interest from new customers and increased purchases from existing customers.
  • In the same year, 21% of retailers and 41% of restaurants added or improved customer loyalty programs.
  • The importance of shopping local and supporting local businesses is more important than ever before, according to 95% of consumers.
  • Despite being unable to attend appointments, 56% of customers supported their local beauty and personal care businesses.
  • 39% of retailers worry that they will not be able to compete with larger retailers. One solution is to use platforms like Wepik to allow customers to customize your menu online, enhancing the appeal of the local-small business for a unique experience.

Over the last year, consumers have shown a solid commitment to supporting local businesses. In order to maintain this momentum, enterprises need to motivate customers to return and turn them into advocates.

Staffing and Automation

Automation tools can help businesses deal with staffing issues across industries. 

  • Restaurants report that 21% of their positions are currently unfilled.
  • 98% of beauty businesses agree that one integrated application to manage all business functions would free up staff for more critical tasks.
  • 90% of restaurants agree that automation frees staff time for more important tasks in the back of the house.
  • The loyalty and incentive programs of 41% of restaurants have been improved or added.

The word automation may have conjured up images of robots taking over jobs in the past. However, now, automation has become essential not only for filling staffing gaps but also for enabling employees to work on more important, impactful tasks. 

Source: Future of Commerce: 2022 Edition

Omnichannel

Omnichannel selling is now table stakes — no matter what industry you’re in.

Beauty:

  • Online sales and social media sales represent half or more of the business for 20% of beauty businesses.
  • There 37% of beauty businesses allow bookings via social media.

Restaurants:

  • Restaurants plan to offer first-party delivery even after COVID-19, while 62% plan to offer third-party delivery.
  • Even after COVID-19 has subsided, 69% of restaurants plan to offer online ordering.
  • An average of 34% of a restaurant’s revenue comes from online ordering.

Retail:

  • According to retailers, online sales currently generate 58% of their revenue.
  • 24% of retailers say additional channels would not attract customers.
  • The lack of knowledge of technology options/platforms prevents 32% of retailers from selling goods online or through social media.

Source: Future of Commerce: 2022 Edition

Offering a seamless experience across multiple channels has become a norm – this may have an impact on revenue for companies. However, business owners can keep customers interested by implementing an omnichannel strategy and using a unified set of tools to implement that strategy. 

Purchasing and Payment Habits

Meanwhile, customers enjoy various buying options and the ability to pay in several ways. For example, 36% of shoppers prefer contactless payment options, such as touchless card payments (16%) or mobile wallet apps (9%).

Beauty:

  • In addition to their service, 70% of consumers purchased retail from salons in person. In addition to buying salon retail items online, 37% of consumers said they purchased from a website, 30% from marketing emails, and 28% from social media.

Restaurants:

  • Self-serve kiosks are preferred by 79% of customers over direct staff ordering. They like them not only for fast food but also for fast-casual restaurants and fine dining as well.

Retail:

  • 37% of their retail purchases are made online each month.
  • Most respondents prefer to have items delivered to their door, but 26% prefer to order online and pick them up in person.

Consumers are used to buying on a variety of channels. People browse online and pick up in-store. Buy on social media and next return in-store. They also book hair appointments on social media, order food online, and pick it up curbside. Younger users are turning to contactless options like mobile wallet apps.

Conversational Commerce

In addition to meeting customers where they are, conversational commerce offers businesses even more opportunities to reach out to them.

  • A third of consumers say they have purchased products from beauty businesses through text messages.
  • Approximately 20% of customers book appointments via text message or chat.
  • Currently, 34% of retailers automate customer communication.
  • 42% currently offer text or chat sales or plan to do so soon.
  • Chat or text message shopping is more popular with Gen Z (25% are interested) and Gen X consumers (27% are interested.)

Conversational commerce – where sales and customer service are conducted via text or chat – illustrates the importance of omnichannel. Some customers buy items and book appointments when the right message is sent at the right time. 

Business Innovation

Customers are finding exciting new ways to connect with businesses across industries. As a result, they are adding new revenue streams.

  • 51% of beauty businesses say they will continue offering online tutorials after the pandemic, 52% say the same about virtual classes, and 41% say the same about livestream tutorials.
  • 34% of retailers are interested in implementing livestream shopping, where a host shows a product in real-time.
  • 61% of consumers bought a retail item from a restaurant in the past year.

Source: Future of Commerce: 2022 Edition

There is no longer a division between stores, salons, and restaurants. Business owners are finding new ways to reach consumers through what started as a way to survive the pandemic. Restaurants offer cooking classes and retail items such as baking equipment, just like dedicated cookware retailers (e.g., Dean Supply) do. Food subscriptions and livestream shopping are becoming more popular among retailers and the beauty industry. 

Over to You

Commerce and buyers constantly evolve, and businesses that understand shifts in these fields will reap the benefits.

As your customers exhibit different behaviors, your company should adapt to all of them. As a result of flexible tech solutions, automation, omnichannel strategies, providing various payment methods, and conversational commerce, many businesses can integrate new revenue streams with their core businesses.

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