As the world becomes increasingly digital, the future of eCommerce is more important than ever before. As more and more companies decide to sell online, being one step ahead of the competition is the key to success. Due to that fact, keeping up with the current and future trends gets the leverage you may need to be at the top.
In this article, we will explore the eCommerce trends for the coming years and discuss how businesses can take advantage of these trends to stay ahead of the game. Whether you’re a seasoned eCommerce veteran or just starting out, this article is for you. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting future of eCommerce together!
Let’s start with some data about the eCommerce market to know where we stand.
First of all, the eCommerce share of retail sales is growing year by year. In 2023, it is expected to account for 20.8% of retail sales worldwide. What’s more, by the end of 2026, it is expected to grow to 24%. This clearly shows that eCommerce is slowly taking over the global commerce market.
Secondly, there are currently 12 to 24 million e-retail stores globally, and this number grows each day. Additionally, there are also online retail stores with about 205 million shoppers that purchase products each day.
Taking this data into consideration, the eCommerce market is growing at a rapid pace, and there is no sign of slowing down. Due to that fact, it is vital to keep up with upcoming trends to stay ahead of the competition and run a prosperous store.
Top trends for eCommerce future
As eCommerce continues to transform the retail landscape, businesses must stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies to remain competitive and meet the changing needs of their customers. Here are some of the top trends that will play a crucial role in the future of the eCommerce industry.
Automated Shipping for Speedy Delivery
From auto-email replies to appointment scheduling software, automation software is more and more utilized in today’s world. Due to that fact, the first thing worth mentioning in this blog is automated shipping. This process refers to the usage of technology and robotics to automate various aspects of the shipping process, like managing inventory, packaging, labeling, etc. This innovative technology is already transforming the logistics industry, as it helps to manage shipping processes with greater accuracy and efficiency. When managed properly, automated shipping offers numerous advantages to businesses.
First of all, automated shipping results in faster deliveries. It allows eCommerce companies to fulfill a bigger number of orders and process them faster. In eCommerce, speed is crucial to customer satisfaction. To give an example, order verification and label creation are the tasks that are performed by automation tools, which results in a smaller number of employees assigned to this work. Such employees, in turn, can be reassigned to other tasks that require human intervention.
Due to that fact, automated shipping is also cost-efficient. As required manpower is reduced to a minimum, eCommerce businesses can save money on tasks that can be performed by a machine. Another advantage of this approach is less room for mistakes. Since the data is managed by automated software, the whole process is more precise and accurate. Managing a shipping process manually would be a lot more prone to error.
Last but not least, automated shipping helps in business scaling. Having the shipping and inventory data sorted out allows to plan the business growth more accurately and meet the needs of the clients.
Payments and online checkout get more personalized
As more and more people turn to online shopping, eCommerce websites have to stay ahead of the competition by offering a personalized experience. Payment and online checkout are two crucial parts of the online shopping experience that can be personalized to suit the needs of the customer. In this paragraph, we will explore how eCommerce stores can personalize payments and online checkout to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue.
Personalized payment options
Payment options are a key factor in a seamless shopping experience. Personalization in eCommerce has become increasingly important in recent years as competition grows and customers demand better experiences. In this case, when customers shop online, they want to have a variety of payment options to choose from. This approach will reduce the risk of abandoned carts and make the payment process easier. Here are some examples of how it can be done:
1. Multiple Payment Methods
Try to provide various payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, etc. This allows customers to choose the payment method that suits them best.
2. Payment Plans
Offering personalized payment plans is an excellent way to make it easier for customers to make purchases and keep them coming back for more. Payment plans can be customized with different payment terms, interest rates, and down payments.
Discounts are a great way to catch an eye of a customer and gain his sympathy. Consider offering discounts for customers that use a certain payment option and try to award your loyal customers with personalized discounts for their favorite products.
Personalized online checkout
The checkout process is where customers make their final purchase decision. A complicated or frustrating checkout process can lead to cart abandonment. Due to that, try to keep it simple and customer-friendly. Here are some ideas how eCommerce stores can personalize the online checkout process.
1. Guest checkout option
This option is very convenient for customers that do not want to create an account to make a purchase. It is better to give them a choice than force than to create an account.
2. Custom forms
Personalized forms can be created to collect additional information about the order, for example, gift messages, wrap offerings, or delivery instructions.
3. Upsell Opportunities
During the checkout process, eCommerce stores can offer to upsell opportunities such as related products or accessories. These personalized offers can increase the value of the customer’s purchase and provide a better overall shopping experience.
4. Checkout process tailored to specific customer segments
Online stores can segment customers based on demographics, purchase history, or other factors and then tailor the checkout process to each segment’s preferences. For instance, different checkout experiences for new customers and returning ones.
Customers will certainly appreciate flexibility in payment options and your commitment. Personalizing payments and online checkouts can increase customer satisfaction and positively impact your profits.
The increased popularity of voice search and voice shopping in online stores
Over the recent decade, voice search technology underwent some tremendous advancements, enabling it to utilize in various areas of people’s lives. As a result, it also found great use in the eCommerce industry. Now it is growing in popularity, as it makes searching for desired products easier and faster. What’s more, voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant have made it easy for consumers to search for products and make purchases using just their voice. This technology is particularly appealing to busy consumers who want to make purchases quickly and easily without the need to type in search queries or navigate complex menus. As a result, online stores are adapting to this next eCommerce trend by optimizing their sites for voice search and offering voice shopping capabilities.
Implementing voice search technology to the online store brings many benefits, both to the business owner and to the customer. For instance, it:
- makes searching for products faster and easier
- improves customer experience
- helps to get more traffic through voice search rankings
- helps to stand out from the competition
The growing importance of artificial intelligence in eCommerce
As voice search technology has been mentioned, it is also worth writing about the increased use of artificial intelligence in eCommerce. As shopping online continues to grow in popularity, businesses are looking for ways to improve the customer experience, increase sales, and streamline operations. AI offers a range of solutions that can help achieve these goals, from chatbots to visual search and augmented reality (AR). In this section, we will explore the applications of artificial intelligence in eCommerce future trends that may lead your store to success.
Machine Learning Taking Customer Experience to A Whole New Level
Once a machine learning system is deployed, humans do not play an active role in its operation. The technology primarily relies on algorithms that improve their accuracy and effectiveness as more data is introduced. The application then analyzes the data and outcomes to apply these learnings to new data sets. Similar to humans, machine learning also involves trial and error to achieve optimization. However, machines have an advantage over humans in that they can operate 24/7 without the need for breaks like for sleeping.
As this may seem pretty complicated, here are some examples of how machine learning can be used in eCommerce.
Personalized Communication and Customer Service
Personalized communication and customer service are essential for creating a positive shopping experience and building customer loyalty. To achieve that, artificial intelligence capabilities can be used to give personalized recommendations to customers. Thanks to its algorithms, AI can analyze customers’ past behavior to better suit particular products that the customer is interested in. Secondly, by leveraging machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, machine learning is great for target marketing. This includes, for example, email marketing or dynamic pricing.
eCommerce future with Chatbots
Chatbots are another feature of AI that has risen in popularity in recent years. Chatbots are AI-powered programs that can interact with customers via messaging platforms or websites. They can be programmed to use Natural language Processing (NLP) to understand and answer questions and provide assistance with orders, reducing the workload on customer support teams. Chatbots can also collect customer data, which can be used to improve personalized eCommerce marketing efforts and product recommendations. Overall, they are a great help for an online store and do not require much time and resources.
Augmented Reality to Visualize Purchases
Augmented reality (AR) allows customers to virtually try on clothing, see how furniture would look in their homes, or even preview how makeup will look on their faces. This technology can help customers make more informed purchasing decisions by giving them a more realistic representation of the product before they buy it. This, in turn, reduces the percentage of returns and increases customer satisfaction. An example of utilizing such technology can be Sephora’s Virtual Artist:
Sephora’s application allows customers to try on different makeup looks and experiment with different looks. The app uses your device’s camera to map your facial features and apply makeup with incredible accuracy. You can choose from a wide variety of products, including foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick, and see how they would look on your skin tone and facial shape. It also features an AI-powered shade-matching tool that helps you find the perfect foundation shade for your skin tone. Simply scan your face with the app, and it will recommend the best shade for you from Sephora’s extensive range of products.
Apart from the AI functionalities described above, artificial intelligence is also really helpful in fraud detection, as it prevents fraudulent activities in the eCommerce platform by detecting suspicious behavior and transactions thanks to machine learning algorithms.
Headless eCommerce in Game
A headless solution in eCommerce refers to a software architecture where the front-end (the “head”) and the back-end (the “body”) of an online store are decoupled from each other. Headless solutions for eCommerce websites have become popular for many reasons.
First of all, it allows for easily integrating several independent applications that are best for a specific task and managing them based on API communication. For instance, integrating marketing automation tools for email campaigns with the platform in a matter of minutes. This approach gives much more freedom in customizing the website to the owner’s needs and providing a personalized customer experience.
Another advantage of a headless eCommerce solution is the ability to scale and update the front-end independently from the back-end. This means that online businesses can make changes to the user interface and user experience without disrupting the back-end, reducing downtime and minimizing the risk of errors. Due to that fact, a headless solution is a time and cost-efficient in the long run.
Open for Mobile commerce
According to BusinessInsider.com, mobile eCommerce is expected to account for 42.9% of eCommerce sales by 2024. Mobile commerce, or m-commerce for short, is the act of buying and selling goods or services through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In recent years, mobile commerce has experienced explosive growth as more people use their mobile devices to shop online. The convenience of shopping from anywhere at any time has made mobile commerce a game-changer in the eCommerce world. Today, retail businesses that are not optimized for mobile devices risk falling behind as customers increasingly demand a seamless shopping experience on their mobile devices. With the rise of mobile payment options and the increasing popularity of mobile apps, mobile commerce is only set to grow further in the years to come, making it an essential area for businesses to focus on.
The importance of User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) has become an increasingly important part of the eCommerce landscape in recent years. This type of content refers to any form of content that is created by users, such as reviews, photos, videos, and social media posts. UGC provides a wealth of information and social proof to potential buyers, helping them to make more informed purchase decisions. It also creates a sense of community around a brand or product, fostering engagement and loyalty. Brands that leverage UGC can benefit from increased credibility and trust, as well as improved search engine rankings and social media reach. Additionally, by encouraging customers to share their experiences and opinions, online retailers can gain valuable insights into their target audience and improve their overall customer experience. Nowadays, many popular eCommerce brands post UGC on social media accounts and even homepages of their websites. Try to consider this form of marketing, as it can increase your online visibility and attract new customers.
Omnichannel Retail in eCommerce
Omnichannel retail in eCommerce refers to the practice of providing a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels, such as online marketplaces, social media platforms, and brick-and-mortar stores. The goal of omnichannel retail is to create a cohesive brand experience for customers, regardless of where they choose to engage with a brand. By integrating different sales channels and touchpoints, businesses can provide a more personalized and convenient shopping experience for their customers.
For example, a customer might browse products online and then visit a physical store to make a purchase or vice versa. With an omnichannel approach, eCommerce business owners can track customer behavior and preferences across channels, allowing them to provide more targeted marketing messages and promotions. An example of such an approach can be many recognizable fashions online retailers like Zara or Adidas, where customers can browse and purchase items using the internet (marketplaces, social media, or official websites), or just visit one of many brick-and-mortar stores.
Increased Popularity of Subscription Models and Multi-vendor marketplaces
In 2023, subscription models and multi-vendor marketplaces are two eCommerce trends that play a huge role in the eCommerce market. Subscription models offer customers a convenient way to receive regular deliveries of products or services, often at a discounted rate. This model benefits both customers and businesses, as customers can enjoy savings and convenience, while businesses can benefit from recurring revenue and customer loyalty.
There are three main types of eCommerce subscription models:
Access subscription model – the customer usually pays weekly or monthly for access to products, content, or services. Example: VOD (video on demand) platforms like Netflix or Disney+ and various SaaS services.
Replenishment subscription model – this model is based on cyclical purchases of the same products that fall mainly under the category of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Example: restaurants ordering the same amount of vegetables or seafood each week/month.
Curation subscription model – in this case, customers buy regularly scheduled “boxes” of products. Examples of curation subscriptions include subscription boxes for beauty products, clothing, books, or food. Curation subscriptions allow businesses to offer a unique experience to their customers while also providing them with the convenience of discovering new products without having to spend time searching for them.
Multi-vendor marketplaces (MVMs), on the other hand, allow multiple sellers to offer their products or services through a single platform, providing customers with a wider selection of products and allowing businesses to reach a larger audience. This model is particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the resources to build their own eCommerce platforms. It can be compared to a shopping mall consisting of many independent shops with their own products. Take as an example, Allegro or Amazon.
Nonetheless, do not be afraid of establishing a multi-vendor marketplace by looking at the aforementioned giants. In the beginning, Amazon was just a small book-selling company. If you are interested in establishing a multi-vendor marketplace, the best way to do this is to focus on a niche and then expand the platform only when it succeeds. What’s more, MVM brings many benefits, including a great variety of products that come from multiple vendors, commission fees for marketplace administrators for each successful transaction, and cost efficiency since each seller is responsible for their shop, and you don’t have to spend resources to manage them.
Feeling interested? Read more about MVMs here!
How to prepare for future eCommerce trends?
The world of eCommerce is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the latest trends and technologies is key to remaining competitive in this fast-paced industry. To prepare for future eCommerce trends, businesses must focus on providing an exceptional customer experience through mobile optimization, investing in Progressive Web Apps, automating processes, and enhancing security measures. By implementing these strategies, businesses can increase customer satisfaction, boost productivity, and ultimately drive online sales.
Optimizing for Mobile
As the world becomes increasingly focused on mobile devices, it is worth optimizing your online store for mobile browsing. Optimizing for mobile involves several key elements such as responsive web design (designing websites to adjust to different screen sizes and device types), fast loading times, and streamlined checkout processes. By implementing these optimizations, businesses can provide a better overall experience for mobile users, leading to increased customer satisfaction, higher conversion rates, and greater success in the highly competitive eCommerce market.
Investing in Progressive Web App
Investing in Automation
As previously mentioned, automating processes is a great way to reduce manual work and save resources. With the rise of online shopping, businesses are faced with the challenge of managing large volumes of orders and fulfilling them quickly and accurately. When processes like inventory management are automated, employees can focus on other tasks that require human factors. Automation can also improve the customer experience by providing faster shipping times and more accurate order tracking. To sum up, investing in automation has many benefits for eCommerce businesses and, when properly implemented, can boost your productivity and save you a lot of money.
Enhancing Security Measures
The average data security breach takes less time to pull off than it does to make a milkshake. Enhancing security measures in eCommerce business is critical for protecting both businesses and customers from potential cyber threats. As the number of eCommerce stores and customers are increasing, so too do the risks of cyber attacks such as data breaches, hacking, and fraud. By implementing strong security measures such as SSL encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security updates, businesses can reduce the risk of data breaches and protect customer information such as credit card numbers and personal details. Enhanced security measures can also improve customer confidence and trust in the business, leading to increased customer loyalty and a number of transactions. Do not hesitate to invest in good security measures, as even one security breach can cost you not so much money but your customers’ trust.
The eCommerce future is promising and exciting, and there are plenty of eCommerce business trends that you can take advantage of to make your online business thrive. Whether it’s investing in voice search technology, creating a unique shopping experience by personalizing the website, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, or investing in mobile optimization, there are many strategies that can help you stay ahead of the curve and tap into the growing online consumer market. By keeping a close eye on emerging trends, continually improving your online customer experience, and staying adaptable and responsive to the changing landscape, you can position yourself for success in the eCommerce world of tomorrow.
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