Digital Trends for 2022 and How to Take Advantage of Them

January 4, 2022
The C2 Group

In 2022, we expect to see a shift across industries towards workplaces that enable collaboration and scale innovation between more diverse teams and technologies. Learn what 2022 trends to keep up on and ways to take advantage of them.

Digital Marketing
Content Management

As we leave 2021 behind, the pandemic still proves to be a catalyst for innovation, adaptation, and growth as it continues to expedite the implementation of cloud technologies across every industry. Hybrid and remote teams continue to adopt new technologies at an unprecedented pace - simply to sustain their work.

We also saw a large cultural change as organizations rethink the way they do business. Many are now facing the ‘Great Resignation’ - a rise in employees choosing to depart from their roles, rethink priorities, and challenge the traditional definition of the “work week”. As a result, we expect 2022 to see a shift across industries towards workplaces that enable collaboration and innovation between more diverse groups and technologies.

With these realities in mind, here are the web and digital trends we expect will pique marketing and IT teams’ interest as they continue to deliver superior customer experiences, drive new efficiencies, and enter new business models:

Actionable steps for digital inclusivity and accessibility

For the last two years, people everywhere made massive adjustments to how they interact with the world. Relying on the web for daily tasks became daunting for anyone requiring accessibility or accommodations. As a result, accessibility action is on the rise, with many organizations making it part of their marketing/IT budget.

It's exciting to see progress being made in digital accessibility, but companies must treat it as part of their culture rather than a checklist (though checklists for implementing web accessibility can help!). The reason for a lot of the gaps in accessibility is the lack of education and training. Accessibility is not limited to just IT and marketing teams. Accessibility is everyone's responsibility.

Recommendation: Educate yourself around WCAG guidelines and take that first step no matter how small it seems. You can also enlist web accessibility training to help teams understand the impact of inaccessible websites, learn best practices for creating digital content, and equip them with documentation to reference.

The subscription movement: increase in usership over ownership

In 2021, we saw a spike in “subscription curious” and “try then unsubscribe” consumers. In 2022, we’ll continue to see the focus on usership over ownership, as organizations find ways to sell their services as subscriptions versus products.

For example, C2 kicked off our Continuous Support and Optimization service in 2019, offering our clients a way to regularly service, upgrade, and add functionality to their web platforms.

For consumer goods B2C organizations, consider offering recurring subscriptions for products at a discounted rate. This can incentivize customers to repurchase at a higher rate. For B2B companies, you may want to consider installing a machine for a customer and letting them subscribe to the service that comes with it. Your customers will love the lack of upfront investments and the convenience included in this package deal.

Recommendation: Consider how your business model and products/services can be valuably packaged as a subscription to keep customers loyal for months and years to come.

Low-code/no-code digital solutions will become more prevalent

Known as low-code or no-code solutions (LCNC), these drag and drop builders aren’t a new concept. But as the Great Resignation influences organizations’ ability to retain top talent, LCNC solutions will become increasingly more valuable.

Employees without highly technical backgrounds can innovate, rapidly test, and create software or web solutions, like websites, portals, and APIs, to solve their own business challenges and expand their skill set. With these types of self-serving platforms, diverse teams can become software assemblers rather than software developers. 

For example, a human resources team could create onboarding tools, surveys, or a new intranet portal with minimal or no coding. Or perhaps marketing and customer success teams can develop new landing pages and easily update content without developers.

With so many specialties and departments in the mix of creating digital experiences, modern development requires multiple approaches and solutions to creating new applications and services.

Recommendation: Analyze your organization's use cases and business needs and strategize how a LCNC solution would fit into your organization's existing architecture. Review how teams are currently using digital tools, its processes and workflows, and barriers for owning and enhancing each tool.

Component-based optimization and workflows

Speaking of LCNC, design systems have shown us that by creating isolated, extensible components, we can mitigate redundant work for marketing, design, and development teams while promoting continuous collaboration and optimization. Creating a centralized location for colors, fonts, and components allows teams to produce new content and products more rapidly while maintaining a consistent quality and experience.

Teams can spend less time focusing on creating new, one-off components and spend more time experimenting, testing, and optimizing the components they already have. By improving specific facts or component variations on a website, the overall library of components can consistently grow and evolve as a trusted source for the basic building blocks for other digital products.

Recommendation: Do not hesitate the start by using an open-source design system. You can change styling afterward in just a couple of clicks. Focus first on colors, typography, and essential components. Identify common elements in your UI and convert them to components as you go. If you could use help getting started or refining what you have, reach out and our UX Design team can assist!

Customers push for more diverse payment methods (in-store and online)

The modern-day shopper expects a checkout and payment processing experience that is fast, convenient, and safe. For that reason, customers want the option to choose their preferred payment method - be in credit card, PayPal, secure digital wallets, financing, or installment and financing payments through Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solutions.

Much of the growth of BNPL solutions have been driven by younger shoppers with older generation adoption not too far behind. According to Forbes, the percentage of Gen Zers in the US grew by 6x from 6% in 2019 to 36% in 2021. Meanwhile, Millennial use has more than doubled since 2019 to 41%, and Gen Xers' adoption has more than tripled. As a result, online merchants that diversify their payment methods are more likely to reduce card abandonment and encourage shoppers to spend more.

Recommendation: If your website only accepts payments via credit or debit card - it's time to expand options. Consider adding BNPL solutions like AfterPay, Klarna, or Sezzle to your online checkout process. For in-store payments, level up to contactless payments like ApplePay and other digital wallet solutions.

Privacy regulations in a cookie-less future

Of all things to "grow" in 2022, third-party cookies isn't one of them. In 2021, Google announced Chrome would phase out support for third-party cookies by 2023. Apple also jumped aboard by launching a pop-up on iPhones that asks users for permission to be tracked by apps.

Organizations will be challenged to create the same sense of personalized web experiences with first-party cookies. While these changes are good for users and data privacy, marketers everywhere will need to rethink part of their marketing strategy. Additionally, organizations will need to rethink how they approach data collection, audience targeting, measurement, and attribution.

Recommendation: Consider how your organization currently personalizes web content for visitors. You may benefit from a customer data platform (CDP) which allows you to integrate all touchpoints across your brand's marketing channels into a single customer view. Intelligence software like Optimizely can also be used to personalize web content and product recommendations.

Virtual reality and augmented reality will become a reality

For several years, Big Tech has promised the integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into society. But with Facebook now rebranded as Meta, and pouring resources into the metaverse, we expect VR will truly take off this year.

What does this look like for businesses? We’re seeing virtual showrooms for car dealerships, virtual fitting rooms for retail brands, and virtual real estate showings for residential or commercial buyers. Ecommerce will realize the benefits of AR and VR as consumers use it as another indication for feeling confident in their buying decisions.

Recommendation: Consider how your organization can experiment with VR this year, and let consumers experience your products or services from the comfort of their own home.

Progressive Web Apps are a lower-cost, higher-converting alternative to native applications

It’s crucial for online merchants to provide an optimized website without pushing users to download the native app. Progressive web apps (PWAs) have been on the radar for years, but they will continue to drive the web forward in 2022 by bringing website surfing closer to the feeling of a native mobile application.

While traditional mobile applications need to be installed, PWAs are websites with features only previously offered in native apps (like offline access and push notifications). So, why not just develop an independent web application? Developing an app can be costly, and while mobile phones account for approximately 54% of all web traffic, less than half of mobile device users continue to download new apps each month from an app store. 

PWAs take advantage of responsive design and faster load times, giving users a great experience on the website—whether they’re coming from mobile or desktop. You can use the following JavaScript frameworks to build a PWA:

  • React
  • Vue
  • Angular
  • Polymer

Recommendation: Consider your organization's CMS functionality and enable PWA features if your CMS allows it.