We’ve seen a massive shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online marketplaces because of technological advancements. The eCommerce industry is evolving as it continues to boom, especially after the worst time of the pandemic. As more companies include online stores as part of their business models, the number of eCommerce trends continues to soar.
As with all other trends, the ones for eCommerce will keep developing to adjust to the shopping habits of consumers. If you want to start an eCommerce business or grow your current one, understand how these trends will affect your ability to succeed.
With this article, you’ll have a deeper grasp of why keeping up with the trends is important. We’ll also give the must-know ones you need to focus on to constantly improve the online shopping experience of your consumers. By the end of this, you’ll know what trends to apply to your eCommerce store.
Why Is It Important To Know eCommerce Trends?
You may be just starting or you might have been running your show for a while now. Either way, one thing is clear: if you want to scale your business and keep the online buyers coming, you need to stay on top of all the latest trends in eCommerce.
eCommerce is growing rapidly. If you don’t keep up, you can get left behind. It’s challenging to keep up because every time you think you’ve got the latest update down pat, another one comes along. Everything changes again.
But it has to be done. Here are some of the reasons why:
A. Keep Customers Happy
Always ensure customer satisfaction whether you’re dealing with current or potential customers. If you’re not keeping up with eCommerce trends, then you risk losing out on sales and customers because they may associate your brand with an outdated image or experience that doesn’t match what they’re looking for.
Whether brick-and-mortar or online retailer, make sure that your product offers and services are consistent with consumer expectations from today’s marketplaces.
B. Gain Customer Trust And Loyalty
With so many ways to shop online, consumers became picky about what to spend on. However, when you’re up-to-date with the latest industry trends, they’ll feel more confident about their online purchases from you.
Hence, that increases the chances of them staying as loyal customers of your eCommerce brand. This is especially a big deal if you’re just starting to build up your reputation as an online retailer. It shows that you can keep up with consumer demand.
C. Competitive Advantage
You can’t rely on the same old tricks. Keep track on data about what customers want, what they’re saying about your competitors, and how they’re changing over time.
eCommerce trends reflect the needs of customers and their purchasing habits. Thus, understanding them makes them a valuable asset for online merchants looking to understand their buyers. By keeping on top of what’s happening, you don’t risk being outdated and continue to grow at scale.
With that, let’s jump right into what these trends are.
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11 Must-Know Trends For Growing Your Online Store
Fast-changing trends make it difficult for eCommerce stores, especially the smaller ones, to keep up. But having a guide will make it easier for you to start analyzing what you can apply to your business based on the consumer behavior of your target market. So get out your pen and start taking notes.
1. Social Commerce
This involves purchasing products through a social media platform. It’s a trend that’s here to stay, thanks to the world’s ever-growing infatuation with social media.
33% of consumers use social media to discover new products or services. The trend shows that by 2023, that percentage is higher. So if you haven’t utilized social platforms, now is the time to do so to scale your retail sales.
Back then, it was often used as a means of advertising and marketing. Now, these digital channels have also become an integral part of online shopping experiences for online customers around the world. Almost everyone is glued to their social media accounts, so social commerce allows them to purchase items without leaving the site, which means less time switching tabs or apps.
Because of this, consider creating social media videos for your offers. It can be ad videos, or explainer videos. This will help keep users engaged and also answer questions they’ll likely have with your offers.
In addition, some are utilizing social media channels to offer livestream shopping. It’s when products are promoted or modeled by influencers and the viewers can ask, comment, and buy items in real time.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Implementation
As you probably know, artificial intelligence has been making waves in eCommerce for a while now. For many companies, AI is mostly utilized as a customer service chatbot to assist human support staff in answering queries, providing information, and individualized experience. But it’s capable of playing a bigger role in the buyer journey.
AI can be used to upsell and cross-sell your products. When it comes to upselling and cross-selling, the goal is to create personalized experiences by giving relevant recommendations that match the customer’s needs and interests, well, you can rely on Shopify Upsell App for better upselling of your product AI tools can get you those data.
AI-based software learns from previous interactions with customers and adapts over time. The software uses machine learning algorithms to analyze data about past purchases, demographics, and behaviors, so it can make better recommendations. Thus, the more data it collects, the better the personalized shopping experience it can provide.
Additionally, you can leverage AI to generate data-driven designs to create user-centric website designs and a better user experience based on real user behavior. This will be helpful whether you’re just building your website or when you plan to do a redesign.
3. Alternative Payment Options
You have to keep up with the times and not just offer the usual cash-on-delivery (COD), credit card, and debit card payments. With technology, there are now more varied methods of payment consumers can utilize and be integrated into eCommerce platforms.
By offering various payment methods you can ensure that everyone can purchase from you no matter what their payment preferences may be. Not to mention, this will allow you to cater to a wider audience and generate more sales. Customers want to shop without having to worry about whether or not their payment preference is accepted.
4. Sustainable Online Shopping
The renewed focus on sustainability among consumers is an important trend you should be aware of. It’s not just about helping mother earth—it’s also about helping your company grow by being socially conscious and reducing waste. Consider sustainability as part of your DNA and core values.
Millennials tend to be more environmentally conscious than previous generations, but there’s no denying that all customers want more sustainable options. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, consider offering eco-friendly products or services on your site.
Nielsen reports that environmentally sustainable companies experienced sales growth. As such, this trend is predicted to continue, thanks to the changing customer preferences.
There are many ways you go about this, like using compostable packaging. Additionally, you can practice sustainable sourcing of your materials. Overall, there are varied ways to strengthen your sustainability efforts. It’s up to you to determine which one can be applied to your business.
5. Automation Of Business-To-Business (B2B)
The automation of B2B processes is an eCommerce trend that helps in running operations more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, it reduces costs and ensures accuracy in your business processes.
Automating B2B eCommerce processes makes it easier for businesses to do things, like manage orders, procure products and services, and communicate with clients. Incorporating b2b ecommerce development services can further streamline these processes, offering specialized solutions tailored to your business needs. Slowly, the days of having to fax orders or call customer support to place orders are edged out.
Not to mention, this trend allows you to provide exceptional service without having to deal with all the back-and-forth with customers yourself. This means less frustration for all parties involved in the transaction. Hence, you’ll have happier B2B buyers, increasing the chances of them staying loyal.
A great example is the B2B outsourcing of web developers. Outsourcing firms have rosters of developers vetted, assessed, and trained by them. As such, when a company wants to hire a developer, all they have to do is visit the website, choose a package, and explain the skill set they’re looking for. They’ll then be partnered with a developer that will meet their business needs.
6. Augmented Reality (AR)
The concept of augmented reality isn’t new. However, it has become increasingly popular, and businesses are using it to improve the customer experience and boost their online sales. Not to mention, it helps increase customer engagement since many people find it exciting.
Nowadays, AR is used in all kinds of different ways: From making retail shopping more interactive through virtual try-ons to helping consumers with their purchasing decisions by showing them how products will look in their home or office space. It’s a great way to help them make informed decisions.
International brands like IKEA have started utilizing this trend. If you’ve been on its website, AR is something you might be familiar with. The company lets its users tour the store virtually. Plus, it even created an application that allows users to scan rooms and virtually design them with true-to-scale 3D models of its items created using a 3D modeling software.
This will make the shopping online experience more immersive and engaging. This, in turn, will make customers more likely to buy from you. If you’re not using it yet, start thinking about how to incorporate it into your business strategy and gain a competitive edge.
You can also leverage AR if you want to give users a better feel of how a certain place looks. This will be helpful for travel-related niches like tour services, destination guides, and travel planning services.
7. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
This is one of the most important eCommerce trends. It’s more than making sales, more importantly, about building relationships with customers to make them repeat buyers.
Customer loyalty programs are one of the most popular ways to do this. They give your customers something they can earn based on their purchases and use, like discounts or free shipping. The primary goal is to build loyalty through personalized and relevant interactions with your target audience.
Other than encouraging customer loyalty with a rewards program, you can use the loyalty program to upsell your services. Plus, this is a great way for merchants to show their appreciation for loyal customers and encourage them to continue spending with you. It can also be used as a tool for increasing brand awareness, marketing efforts, and lower customer acquisition costs.
8. The Mobile Commerce Movement
The future of eCommerce wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of mobile shopping. Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives and we can find almost everything we need or want on them.
That’s why businesses need to optimize their content for mobile devices. If your business isn’t optimized for mobile users, you could be missing out on an opportunity to connect with potential buyers who are ready to buy right now.
Why? Well, there are several downsides to not having mobile-friendly content, including:
- Slower Loading Time: If your website is too slow for customers, they’re likely to leave and go to another eCommerce store. Let’s be honest, customers are not the most patient people.
- Lower Conversion Rate: Customers can’t take a desired action or purchase from you if your site is not loading or if your content is not properly formatted.
- Improper Display: If your page is not mobile-friendly, images and videos won’t load properly, which diminishes the shopping experience.
Moreover, your website should allow for mobile payments from digital wallets, including Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. Many smartphone users already have those installed on their phones, making it extremely convenient for them to pay for purchases.
9. Voice Search
With the rise of smart speakers, it’s no surprise that voice commands or voice searches are hot trends in eCommerce. Many are not just typing in keywords anymore; they’re talking to their devices.
This means that eCommerce sites need to start optimizing their websites and content for this new way of searching. It makes it easier for people to look for information on products they want to buy.
To optimize content for voice commands, make sure that they’re using the right keywords in the titles and descriptions of your products. Research specific words or phrases that could help users discover your website when then do a voice search.
For example, if you’re offering dog training services in Phoenix, you might want to use words like “Phoenix dog classes,” “training for dogs in Phoenix,” and “Phoenix dog trainers.” These keywords will help potential customers find your services when they search for them using voice commands on Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa devices.
10. Headless Commerce
The idea behind headless commerce is to decouple the front end (what you see) from the back end (the code that makes it work). This means that you can build an experience on one platform and then deploy it on another platform, without having to rewrite any code or content.
Additionally, it means that you can create multiple versions of the same website or app with minimal effort. Plus, businesses like yours can streamline omni-channel selling with headless commerce.
Not to mention, you can easily keep your products and inventory up to date without having to hire a full-time developer, leaving you with fewer overhead costs. Some examples of headless commerce platforms are Shopify Plus, WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and BigCommerce.
11. Subscription Models
Implementing a subscription model is a great way to generate recurring revenue, grow your customer base, and increase market share. In addition, it’ll be easier for you to manage inventory and create more efficient processes since the online purchases are already registered. This can easily be done using a Shopify subscription app or other apps specific to your eCommerce platform.
However, many people are wary about committing to paying for something monthly rather than paying for each item as needed. So add value to the customer’s experience by using this model, then this won’t be an issue.
Here are some ways you could add value to entice potential and current customers:
- Create limited products
- Offer discounts on selected packages
- Give them a free delivery if encourage them to subscribe for another month of subscription
Look at the example above and you’ll see that aside from the free shipping offer, the brand also gives 2 pairs to charity. It’s a feel-good offer because they don’t only get stylish socks, but they’re also helping out.
Additionally, even if they no longer subscribe, you can keep their email address and send them offers to entice them back to your brand. Overall, this is a trend likely to stay as the future of eCommerce grows.
Physical stores are still thriving, but eCommerce growth is nothing to scoff at as well. With many brands targeting an international audience, eCommerce platforms have allowed the selling of products and items worldwide.
But with ever-changing consumer behavior and technological advancements, it’s crucial to stay on top of trends in the industry. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing your competitive edge over the other online stores.
Need more expert advice on how you can thrive online? Here at InterCool Studio, we can take the weight off your shoulders and help you with SEO optimization, social marketing, content marketing, and web analytics. Get in touch with us and see how we can scale your digital marketing efforts for better revue.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement revenue-driven SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?