Contactless Shopping Trends to Look Forward in 2022

Consumer habits have changed a lot since the pandemic and the retail market is constantly upgrading to meet the new consumer demands. Here are a few contactless shopping trends that will scale up small businesses in 2022.

The past two years have shown us different shades of life, technology and business. Gearing up for a new year now is about understanding the new normal in 2022 and adapting your business according to the recent trends and changes.

So much has changed with the way the different levels of business work. From manufacturing to marketing, to retail selling; several aspects have got new technological touches. One such major trend that customers are prioritising is ‘Contactless Shopping’.

Why Contactless?

Consumer habits have changed a lot in the past years due to Covid19, lockdown and related cautionary restrictions. These habits are not going to wane any time soon as customers are slowly getting accustomed to them. As the buying mindset of consumers changes, there is a need for retailers to keep up with the times.

Even if the pandemic worry and restrictions ease down, people have got the hang of contactless shopping and will find it more comfortable and easier. According to a recent survey, 52% of consumers have said that they will do more online shopping in the future than they did before the pandemic. People are also preferring cashless digital transactions. Advanced trends like buying online and picking up at the store and virtual try-on are also slowly making their way into the retail industry. Such movements are seen across the globe and are driving sales. So, retailers are implementing these key trends to satisfy and retain their customer base.

Cash-Less

The shift from cash to cashless transactions is not new, but has speeded up lately. Debit/credit cards, digital wallets and payment apps are used more nowadays. Swiping machines and QR scanning are available in almost all shops, irrespective of the size and popularity.

Consumers tend to go to a different shop if there is no availability of card swiping or payment scanning facility. Not only will new customers hesitate to buy at your shop, but loyal customers might also shift bases, if you do not have such modern payment facilities.

It is not about going entirely cashless. With different customers using different modes, it is wise to adapt a few new changes and keep the business going. Having said that, cashless payments are not the only trend in contactless shopping. Retailers need to work on virtual stores and more friendly pickup and checkout options.

Virtual retail stores

Every small or big business is jumping into virtual retail stores. A virtual store is an online store where customers can browse, explore the products and buy from the comfort of their own homes.

This revolutionises the way consumers buy. It gives a similar experience as in physical stores and has gained more popularity due to the pandemic lockdowns. As people are trying to avoid crowded spaces and go out less often, setting up virtual retail stores has already become a norm. A virtual retail store will be the major boost your business needs right now.

Chatbots

Using Artificial Intelligence to enhance customer experience, thereby increasing sales, is going to be the next big thing in 2022. Customers seek individual and immediate attention. The buying experience is as important as the quality of the product. This way, using chatbots to provide personal and convenient support to the customers 24*7 will help retailers build a better brand image and reach.

This is a smarter way to boost customer experience. According to research, the global retail market is expected to spend $7.3 billion per year on AI by 2022. Retail is a very competitive space where a customer-centric approach is essential. As said earlier, product ingenuity plus a seamless buying experience is the way to boost your sales and increase your loyal customer base. From pre-order guidance and responding to incoming queries to supporting checkout and post-sale updates and educative information, chatbots can change the buying experience you offer to your customers.

Buy online, pick up at the store

Buy online and pick up at the store is widely known as BOPIS. It is a new shopping trend where customers are allowed to browse and order their products online and pick up these pre-ordered goods from the stores. This way people spend very less time at stores, avoiding crowds and the chances of contracting the virus.

It reduces the time spent queuing up & waiting at the checkout. It also reduces the chances of physical interaction with other customers. This facility is available in many of the famous brands, retail stores and e-commerce sites. Understanding the need behind this model and implementing similar modes of shopping will amplify your sales.

Other technological developments like virtual try-on features, self-checkout and in-call support from virtual assistants are being implemented worldwide to encourage and scale up contactless shopping. When both global and local markets are increasingly siding towards technological support for touchless shopping, it is essential for you to include such approaches in your business in 2022 to reap success.

Harshini Venkatasubramaniyan

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