Retail in 2022: Onwards to a Year Beyond Resiliency

By Luc Filiatreault, CEO, mdf commerce

The pandemic has permanently altered consumer shopping behavior including an accelerated shift to online shopping. The new normal demands immediacy, resiliency, agility and a willingness to take calculated risks informed by data in order to succeed in a fast-changing digital marketplace. Safety and convenience are the two biggest factors driving consumer behaviour. The only constant IS change.

While there may not be a reliable playbook for 2022 as the e-grocery and e-retail context evolves and shifts rapidly with developments around the pandemic, there are some truisms that have proven successful and can serve as pillars to build a successful eCommerce strategy:

  1. Omnichannel investment: According to PayPal’s survey in July 2021, 49 percent, consumers engaged in online grocery shopping, jumping from 19 percent in its initial survey in March 2020 - outlining increasing consumer reliance on online grocery shopping. Acknowledging the shift, a new Inmar Intelligence survey states that 87% of retail brand executives deem technology investments a high priority to upgrade their eCommerce platforms to provide more engaging shopping experiences. Integrating instore and online experiences, ease of use to find and select products/services on digital platforms and secure eCommerce solutions will dominate in 2022.

Integrating instore and online experiences, ease of use to find and select products/services on digital platforms and secure eCommerce solutions will dominate in 2022.

- Luc Filiatreault, CEO, mdf commerce

  1. Scaling delivery and pickup options: The pandemic has driven demand to ‘buy online, pickup in store’, a trend that is expected to continue. Brick-and-mortar businesses will require digital ordering interfaces and online retailers will have to improve the flexibility of customer experiences including same day pick-ups, additional pick-up locations and pick-up slot times that are convenient for customers. Retailers can tap technology solutions like order management systems or mobile store fulfillment to curate a seamless integration and execution for both front-end and back-end.

  2. Micro-fulfilment centers: Supply chain disruptions have left little room for error when it comes to managing stock/inventory and fulfilling orders. Empty shelves = critical losses for businesses. To address this challenge, stores may need to be transformed into micro-fulfilment centers to meet consumer demand. Technological solutions that link inventory to e-commerce fulfillment is essential.

  3. Curating seamless customer experiences: 2022 will require renewed emphasis on creating best-in-class, seamless and meaningful customer experiences. eCommerce touch points will need to be smoother and easier to use, providing customers with unique and transparent shopping experiences. To enable this, retailers will have to focus on technology that is flexible, scalable and has the ability to evolve at the speed of the customer making headless or API based solutions the way to go.

Consumers want their purchases instantaneously. They also have countless options to purchase similar goods and services at multiple outlets, therefore the shopping experience itself will to a great extent determine loyalty and repeat business. E-grocers and E-retailers will have to reimagine in-store experiences by integrating online and offline, increase the speed and accuracy of deliveries, create multiple pick-up options and optimize the technology linking inventory to eCommerce interfaces so they never run out of supply.