Three retail marketing trends to consider in 2022

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Today we are back with Harmony Murphy, GM Advertising UK at eBay, to consider three key retail marketing trends for 2022. If you are a brand owner, this is essential reading as you plan your marketing strategies for the year ahead and prepare for changes coming in 2023.

To say that 2021 was an eventful year is an understatement. We saw the tightening and relaxing of Covid restrictions, shopper behaviour continue to evolve, supply chain disruptions and issues such as sustainability rocket up priority lists and, really, there was no telling what would happen from one day to the next.

With our feet now firmly planted in 2022, the businesses that come out on top will be those that stay abreast of fluctuating industry changes and customer needs and evolve their brand strategies as necessary. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at three of the key retail marketing trends that brands will need to consider over the coming year…

1. The Ecommerce experience transcends the transaction

Gone are the days when ecommerce was simply about selling products online. Shoppers’ expectations of ecommerce are rising faster than ever, and they’re now looking for experiences that go beyond the transaction.

What do they want? In today’s fast-paced and always-on world, consumers want a simple, relevant, and engaging shopping experience at every touchpoint — regardless of the channel they’re using to shop. And with consumers today having an eye-watering number of choices for how and where they spend their money (and more people than ever shopping online), brands can’t afford to rest on their laurels.

This year, the brands that come out ahead will be those that optimise their omnichannel strategies and, as part of this, explore innovative ways to bring the benefits of the in-store shopping experience to their online customers. From creating personalised, premium, and intuitive shopping experiences, to emphasising human connections and community, this will help them to streamline physical and online shopping and add value to their customers’ lives.

2. Authenticity and brand values become critical

Over the last few years there has been a steadily growing movement towards values-driven consumerism.

Today’s customers care about what brands stand for every bit as much as what they’re selling. From championing diversity and inclusion to prioritising environmental practices (think retailers that only use sustainable fabrics or cosmetics companies that use chemical-free ingredients), today’s values-driven consumers are actively buying from brands that align to their social and ethical principles.

It’s an area that can no longer be ignored and in 2022, brands will need to engrain authenticity and purpose into the heart of their organisation. From products and packaging to marketing campaigns and wider business operations, they will have to showcase what they stand for and are doing to benefit the communities we live in.

For example, with shoppers paying increasing attention to the carbon footprint of their online purchases, retailers need to consider how they can shine a spotlight on their sustainability credentials. From their products and shipping to their brand as a whole, doing this properly and effectively is going to be crucial to building brand trust and loyalty in the year ahead.

3. First-party data becomes first choice

We’ve known for quite some time that the death of the cookie will forever change the face of digital marketing. But even though Google’s decision to cull third-party cookies has been put on ice until 2023, that doesn’t mean brands and retailers should sit back and relax. Instead, marketers need to make the most of the extra time they’ve been given to act now and ensure they’re as prepared as possible for the day the cookie crumbles.

In the months ahead, retailers will have to innovate and find new ways to leverage first-party customer data to create a seamless and intuitive shopping experience for their customers at scale. To truly succeed here, they will need to be transparent about how they will use their customers’ data to improve their shopping experience. This not only shows respect for them, can also build trust and, in turn, lead to a higher conversion rate and improved customer retention.

With that said, however, marketers will also need to tread carefully when it comes to cultivating that trust. After all, there’s a fine line between personalised and creepy when it comes to using customer data, and those brands that get it wrong risk damaging valuable relationships.

With Covid continuing to impact consumer preferences, and with shopper habits shifting directions faster than ever, it’s clear that 2022 is set to be another year where brands will have to be ready to react to changing circumstances, and pivot strategies when needed to stay relevant. But if there’s one thing that remains constant, it’s that the customer is king. As such, retailers need to ensure they are providing a top-notch shopping experience to their customers if they’re to compete and succeed in what is now an incredibly competitive marketplace.


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