It is not an exaggeration to say that things are changing. While some businesses are more successful than ever, others are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

As a small business owner, you should be researching, following trends and trying to plan for the future.

You’re in luck. We have compiled the most recent research for you so that you don’t need to do any of the legwork. We’ll be discussing seven important trends that you should keep in mind for 2022 and beyond.

7 trends for small businesses in 2022

1. Buy now and pay later options

Over the last few years, buy-now, pay later (BNPL), which was once a payment option only offered by large retailers, has become a regular sight at the checkouts of many businesses across the globe. Affirm, a US-based BNPL platform, reported that active merchants increased by 6500 to 102,000 between July and September 2021. Similar results were reported by BNPL providers from other countries.

Small businesses are required to appeal to younger shoppers and encourage impulse purchases, which is why the BNPL trend has been so popular. According to eMarketer 44% of Gen Z, and 37% of millennials will make a BNPL payments in 2022. It is a payment method that provides convenience for shoppers and increases revenue. Many businesses offering BNPL are reportedly experiencing an increase in sales and a better competitive standing.

Shop Pay allows customers to buy now and pay later. Shopify Stores offer Shop Pay, which allows customers to pay their order in a faster manner. Customers can choose to pay in full or to split the purchase into four equal interest-free installments. Customers are not subject to any hidden fees or late fees.

2. Prioritize online sales, including marketplaces

Even for businesses with a physical presence, small business trends indicate that online sales are critical for driving revenue growth and business growth.

Shopify’s 2022 Future of Commerce report cited data showing that 54% of businesses recognized the importance of focusing their online revenue to achieve their goals. Further digging revealed that 49% of businesses plan to invest more money in their online store. Do you have an online store? You can evaluate the design of your online store to determine if it could use some cash investment.

Online marketplaces are also important for businesses, with 56% of them saying that they intend to increase their investments in these platforms. This is a great opportunity for sales, with 55% of consumers saying they shop online every week or monthly. Consider building your online presence on multiple marketplace sites if you are looking to invest in ecommerce.

3. Embrace live commerce

One of the most interesting trends in small business is when founders endorse their products on an interactive livestream. This allows consumers to shop for goods in real-time. Live commerce is its name. It’s expected to bring in an estimated $25 billion in US sales by the year 2023.

Five years ago, live commerce was first established in China. It’s now possible for other countries to offer unique customer experiences through live commerce. It’s obvious that one thing is certain. No matter where you are located, live commerce is more engaging and converts better than electronic selling.

Take the case of Aldo, a Canadian shoe retailer. It had 17,000 page views and a 308% engagement ratio on its website within the first five days following a live shopping event. McKinsey also reported that live commerce implementations saw conversion rates close to 30% and a slight increase in their share among younger audiences, primarily millennials, and Gen Z.

Live commerce can be used to your advantage. TalkShopLive is a livestreaming shopping platform that allows you to showcase your products and drive sales. Installing one of these apps on a Shopify store will allow you to offer customers an interactive, real-time shopping experience.

4. Free shipping can increase average value over value

Amazon’s fast, free shipping has changed the landscape of shipping. Consumers are expecting to save money when they order delivery.

Jungle Scout’s Q1-2022 Consumer Trends Report found that shipping prices play a greater role than product price in online shoppers’ purchasing decisions. Research also found that free shipping was a key factor in increasing order value and basket sizes. According to the report, 58% of respondents ensure that they spend enough money online to be eligible for free shipping.

While free shipping has been proven to increase order value and conversion, rising shipping costs can make it difficult for small businesses. You should set a threshold to cover your standard shipping costs, customs duties and the product’s cost.

5. International shoppers: Optimize your business

Online commerce allows businesses to reach customers around the world. Attracting buyers requires being able offer a great shipping experience. Cross-border ecommerce will account for 22% of all ecommerce physical item shipments by 2022.

Shopify’s 2022 Future of Commerce report shows that shipping is still a concern. 40% of respondents said that they don’t mind paying extra for international shipping. They are also concerned about higher shipping costs and longer delivery times.

You can ease your concerns about international shipping by taking just a few simple steps. Shopify offers tools that will help you make international shopping easier, such as price adjustments for different countries and setting clear international shipping rates.

Customers should be informed in advance about any additional fees to avoid surprises. To avoid any problems upon arrival, make sure you include the proper documentation for customs. These documents inform customs officers at destination where the package is located, what it contains, how much it cost, and if it is a gift or commercial item.

6. Invest in solving supply-chain problems

The pandemic demonstrated how even small businesses can be affected by supply chain problems.

Shopify’s 2022 Future of Commerce report showed that 40% of founders thought they would be affected by delays in global supply chains. 28% of them said they would be severely impacted. Consumers were most concerned about shipping delays and increased costs, followed closely by product manufacturing delays.

Instead of cutting costs, founders invest in finding solutions to these problems. Fourty-five per cent plan to invest to increase manufacturing capacity. 44% plan on increasing their supply chain speed. 44% will invest to improve collaboration with 3PL partners.

7. Use sustainable business practices

Both consumers and businesses are becoming more aware of the negative impact that commerce has on the environment. It’s not surprising that businesses plan their operations with sustainability at the forefront of their minds.

Shopify’s 2022 Future of Commerce Report shows that 46% of businesses intend to help consumers recycle their products. 39% of these companies plan to invest to use natural, recycled or renewable materials and 39% are looking to improve the efficiency of their manufacturing process.

It is worth investing in sustainability. As you work towards a positive impact on the environment, small steps can be taken.

Knowledge can help you protect your small business.

We can’t foresee the future, unfortunately. We can still look at the pros to gain a better understanding about what’s happening right now and how it will change as time goes by.

This small business trend breakdown should give you some confidence or relief.