2022 Retail Trends: Our Top 5 Predictions

As the holiday season and post-holiday sales wrap up, it’s time to look back at the past year, as well as cast our eyes forward to the retail trends that will define 2022.

As you close the year and start strategizing for 2022, consider baking next year’s trends into your upcoming plans. 

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • Here are the 4 most important retail trends of 2021
    • Ecommerce grew as consumers and retailers redefined the in-store experience
    • Employee burnout and the struggle to hire were two of the reasons for labor shortages.
    • Supply chain delays disrupted commerce
    • POS systems were created to serve retail customers better
  • Here are the top five retail trends predictions for 2022
    • This will not stop shoppers from changing their behavior.
    • Retailers can be creative when it comes to solving hiring problems
    • Shopping experiences will be shaped by technology and automation
    • BNPL will be moving in-store as ways to change the payment system
    • In 2022, the first half will see supply chain problems (and innovative solutions) dominate.

Traditional retail is gone!

The retail landscape has changed and so should your strategy. Our free guide will show you how to navigate new retail trends.

Here are 4 of the biggest retail trends in 2021

It is hard to say that 2021 was a memorable year. Continued lockdowns by retailers, introduction of vaccines, changes in shopper behavior, and disruptions to supply chains meant that it was difficult to predict the next month.

Here are four of the most important trends for the year, now that all is quiet.

1. The pace of ecommerce growth was slower than in 2020, as shoppers and retailers felt the need for new experiences.

Ecommerce saw continued growth in 2021 even though it was at a slower rate than expected. 2020’s record-breaking 32.4%. This trend comes as no surprise, as stores gradually reopened when lockdowns eased up, but it also indicates that pandemic habits aren’t going anywhere. 

The same applies to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS), It is now used by 64% of customersThis is a major retail trend for 2021, with 20% of respondents saying that they regularly use it. 

Yet, 2021, despite eCommerce’s shift, proved to be a good year. The majority of consumersIt’s still a great experience to shop in a store. And Advertising local inventoryAnd sHoping -by-appointment  gave customers the option to findlocal retails  and shop safely for the best of both worlds. 

2. As employees struggle with stress, retail workers had difficulty hiring.

2021 saw what has been dubbed “the Great Resignation.” With as many as 4 million U.S. employees quitting their jobs in July 2021, companies have scrambled to find workers to fill a record-breaking 10.9 million open positions. 

The Great Resignation is caused by poor working conditions. Retail workers often felt burnout and decided to quit their job in order to find better opportunities. 

For retailers, the labor shortage has translated to shorter hours of operation, which has directly clashed with shoppers’ pent up demand for in-store shopping. 

3. Delays in shipping and supply chain caused chaos on eCommerce shelves. 

This painful retail trend saw shoppers continue to shop, even though retail supply chains weren’t always capable of meeting demand. Many retailers saw a slowdown in shipping and mail services. Many retailers were unable to sell their products due to this. wait times and shipping costs skyrocket—the cost to ship goods from Asia to the US ballooned from $2,000 in 2019 to $25,000 in 2021.

4. To help retailers adapt to their changing reality, POS technology has continued to improve.

With the onset of the pandemic, there was a demand for technology that can work in concert to offer seamless shopping across all channels. To make it easy for customers to shop online and in-store, retailers needed the best tools. Legacy POS systems just didn’t cut it anymore. 

In 2021, this trend was expected to continue. The most successful POS systems allowed retailers to adapt quickly to changing conditions. Commerce platformsThis was furthered by giving retailers the ability to control their whole business, including sales and inventory, from one central location. 

The top 5 retail predictions for 2022

In 2021, we didn’t see the great post-pandemic reopening we’d all hoped for. Instead, there were a few small, intermittent reopenings, while retailers and shoppers struggled to deal with the problems. 

Here’s how 2021’s speed bumps and evolutions will trickle into 2022 and what else you can expect in the coming year. 

1. 2021’s top retail trends will continue to influence how shopper behavior evolves in 2022

In just two years, consumer behavior has changed dramatically and it will continue to change. Online ordering has become almost as popular as shopping in-person. Similarly, alternative ways to pay (which we’ll cover more in detail below) have become more and more commonplace. 

This means that small to mid-size businesses that haven’t already invested in these fulfillment options or payment methods should aim to do so as soon as possible. Shoppers expect more convenience and flexibility from retailers. If they don’t, the chance of them losing sales is high. 

2. The aftermath of 2021’s hiring struggles will give power to workers, and retailers will step up in creative ways

This is the message that The Great Resignation sends: Make it easier for employees to enter your company and keep them there. 

Many big box retailers are offering education benefits as well as increasing hourly earnings to improve retention. One example is: Macy’s announced that it’s raising its minimum wage for new and current employees to $15 an hour nationwide. Macy’s, Target and Walmart are also offering education-based perks, like free or reduced college tuition. 

The good news is you don’t need to be a big box store to offer better perks to your workers. “Better” can be anything from offering higher pay to more predictable or flexible schedules or clearer opportunities for career growth and development. 

It is important to determine what motivates your staff and how you can implement those benefits. Your perks should be mutually beneficial to both you and your employees. 

3. The shopper experience in the store will improve with the help of technology and automation

Both online and in-store technology will drive growth. It could simply be as easy as giving every store associate an iPad. This will allow customers to have more personalized and sophisticated shopping experiences. Employees can access robust data such as customer purchase history and other information to use commerce platforms like Small Biz SenseIncrease customer loyalty and drive sales.  

Because larger retailers are more likely to have shipping channels, Robots and other expensive technologies they can use to their advantage, it’s in a smaller retailer’s best interest to get as close to offering an “always on” experience as possible to prepare for this trend. With the widespread availability of smartphones, retail can provide 24/7 shopping through both eCommerce and social selling. Retailers account for 43% who sell on social media reported they generate half or more of their revenue from social platforms, so if you aren’t currently utilizing either strategy, you’ll likely see growth after adopting. 

4. Other ways to make your money grow include buy now, pay later and moving in-store

Purchase now and pay laterIn 2021 it was very popular and it is expected to continue in 2022. The only difference between this year and next year is that BNPL options are now available at retail registers, instead of just online. As customers enjoy paying in installments of interest-free money for their goods, retailers and BNPL providers will likely respond to this trend by making it more common in store. 

By 2021, there will only be Small businesses account for 66%The U.S. accepts mobile payments, and 58% of them accept contactless payment options. Compare this to70% of our customers are satisfied demanding contactless payment options, and it’s clear that retailers still need to adopt these technologies to meet expectations. The retail sector will benefit from alternative payment methods.  

5. At the very least, supply chain problems will continue through summer 2022

The retail supply chain wasn’t prepared for the changes brought on by COVID, as was typical with many things. The shipping and production timelines were drastically changed, leaving retailers with inventory gaps across all industries and sizes. 

It is not expected that this trend will end until at least Sommer 2022It may even last Well into 2023. Retailers can maintain some control over their inventory count. Customers will appreciate being notified about low inventory alerts and the ability to transfer stock between different locations and warehouses. Customers will also appreciate flexible shipping and delivery options. 

A great option to decrease your dependence on physical products is to sell more services. You could do this in many ways. If you’re a musical instrument retailer, you could start offering music lessons. Likewise, if you’re a sports apparel retailer, you could try offering fitness classes. These are great “items” to add to your existing offerings to bring in more revenue while physical inventory is less reliable.   

Do you want to be a part of 2022?

Retailing is always changing. You can make it easier for customers and employees to shop. 

If you’re looking to modernize your in-store and online experience, consult our retail expertsSee if a platform such as Small Biz Sense could meet your requirements. 


Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.