To thrive in the ever-changing world of ecommerce, it's essential to keep a pulse on the latest trends and adapt your strategies accordingly. In 2023, several key trends are expected to shape the e-commerce landscape, and understanding them will give you a competitive edge.
One of the most notable trends projected for 2023 is the increase in online retail purchases, with an estimated 20.8% of all retail sales being made through ecommerce platforms. This significant growth highlights the importance of embracing this digital shift and capitalizing on the opportunities it presents.
To help you navigate the dynamic ecommerce landscape, we have compiled a list of key trends to watch out for. By incorporating these trends into your strategy, you can future-proof your business and stay ahead of the curve.
1. The Growth of Social Commerce
Social media and online shopping go hand in hand these days. As social platforms gain more ecommerce features, the line between shopping and socializing continues to blur. Here are a few ways social commerce is shaping the future of ecommerce.
The Rise of “Shoppable” Social Media
Social platforms are rolling out features that make it easy to shop directly from their apps. On Instagram, tags allow you to shop looks right from posts. TikTok now lets select brands tag and link products. These “shoppable” social experiences mean consumers can discover, explore and buy with just a few taps - no need to navigate to a separate website or app.
More Collaborations Between Influencers and Brands
Influencer marketing shows no signs of slowing down. As influencers build their audiences, many are partnering with brands to promote products via social platforms. These collaborations feel authentic to followers and drive high engagement and traffic for brands. Look for more brands to tap influencers to reach new audiences in a meaningful way.
The Growth of Social Commerce Communities
Social commerce communities, like those on Facebook, bring shoppers together around common interests. Whether it’s a group for makeup junkies, sneakerheads, or home decor fans, these communities allow people to connect, share tips, and shop recommendations from others with similar tastes. For brands, they offer a chance to build relationships with customers, gain insights into what shoppers want, and drive word-of-mouth marketing.
Social commerce is opening up a new world of opportunity for ecommerce brands. Listen to your community, partner with influencers, and make it easy for people to buy from the social platforms they love. Do that, and your brand will be ahead of the social commerce curve.
2. The Rise of Mobile Shopping
Mobile shopping has been on the rise for years, as more people become accustomed to making purchases directly through apps and mobile sites, ecommerce brands need to ensure they are optimized for the mobile experience.
According to surveys, over 70% of shoppers make purchases on their smartphones. This number will only continue to grow, so your mobile platform should be a top priority. Some things you can do to improve the mobile shopping experience include:
- Optimize your site for mobile devices. Make sure pages load quickly and that buttons and links are large enough for people to easily tap.
- Streamline the checkout process. The fewer fields and less typing required, especially on smaller screens, the better. Consider offering guest checkout and Apple Pay or Google Pay as options.
- Personalize the experience. Use data about your mobile visitors to customize product recommendations, messaging, and offers specifically for them.
- Build a user-friendly mobile app. Apps generally provide a better user experience than a mobile site. Consider an app that offers personalized shopping tools, product alerts, checkout, and loyalty features.
- Focus on mobile marketing. Run social media contests and ads, email campaigns, and retargeting ads optimized for mobile devices. Promote your mobile offerings to encourage shoppers to buy on the go.
The key is to think “mobile-first.” As smartphones become an even more integral part of people’s daily lives, brands that prioritize the mobile experience will be poised to capture the attention—and dollars—of this growing audience. Shoppers want convenience and personalization. By optimizing for mobile shopping, you’ll be able to provide customers with the kind of seamless experience they’ve come to expect.
3. Sustainability Becomes Mainstream
Sustainability is becoming a key factor for e-commerce businesses and consumers alike. Reducing waste, using eco-friendly materials, and supporting social causes are no longer niche—they’re becoming mainstream.
Eco-Friendly Packaging and Shipping
More and more shoppers care about the environmental impact of their purchases. As an ecommerce business, offering sustainable packaging and shipping options is a must. Using recycled and recyclable materials, minimizing excess packaging, and optimizing shipping routes to reduce emissions are some easy ways to improve. Shoppers will appreciate your efforts and likely support brands that align with their values.
Transparency and Social Responsibility
Consumers today want to know the stories behind the products they buy. Be transparent about your business practices, supply chain, and social causes you support. Highlight any B Corp certifications, fair trade sourcing, or charitable partnerships on your website and social media. Tell customers exactly where materials come from and how items are made. Promoting corporate social responsibility helps build trust and loyalty with customers.
Pre-Owned and Upcycled Goods
The secondhand market is booming, especially for environmentally-conscious younger generations. Consider adding pre-owned, vintage, or upcycled products to your inventory. Upcycling, in particular, takes existing materials and creatively remakes them into new products, reducing waste. Your customers can feel good about making a sustainable purchase, and you open up your business to new revenue streams.
4. Personalization and Customization
Personalization and customization are huge e-commerce trends that you need to keep on your radar. As online shopping continues to grow, customers expect tailored experiences that meet their unique needs and preferences.
Use data about a customer’s browsing and purchase history to suggest items they may like. Product recommendations account for a large percentage of e-commerce revenue, so investing in high-quality recommendation engines is key. For the best results, recommend products based on:
- Items a customer has viewed or added to their cart
- Products frequently purchased together
- The customer’s favorite brands, categories, and price points
Create personalized emails with relevant content and product suggestions. Use dynamic fields to include the customer’s name, purchase history, and interests. Timely abandoned cart emails, for example, recover lots of revenue for e-commerce stores.
Personalized Loyalty Programs
Customers love rewards and loyalty programs, especially when tailored to their needs. Consider a points system where customers earn more points for engaging with your brand in valuable ways, like writing a product review or following you on social media. Let customers redeem points for rewards they actually want, such as free shipping, gift cards to complementary brands, or VIP experiences.
5. Augmented Reality and Virtual Try-Ons
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual try-ons are going to transform e-commerce in 2023. As a business, you’ll want to incorporate these technologies to stay ahead of the trends and keep customers engaged.
AR allows customers to visualize what products will look like in their own spaces. Many home decor and furniture companies now offer AR apps that let you see how a new sofa or accent chair will fit in your living room. Virtual try-ons take this a step further by enabling customers to “try on” clothing, makeup, glasses and more using their mobile device camera.
Incorporating AR and Virtual Try-Ons
To utilize these technologies on your e-commerce site or mobile app:
- Partner with an AR/VR solutions provider to build custom experiences for your products. They can help determine the best options based on your needs and budget.
- Enable shoppers to view 3D models of products and virtually place them in their space. This helps them make more informed buying decisions and reduces returns.
- For clothing and accessories, allow customers to virtually “try on” items and view how they look from multiple angles. This convenience can motivate impulse purchases.
- Educate your customers about your AR and virtual try-on features. Promote them across your marketing channels so people know about these innovative capabilities.
- Continuously improve and expand your AR and VR offerings. As the technologies progress, you'll want to provide the latest experiences to wow your customers.
AR and virtual try-ons will be commonplace. Brands embracing these technologies will provide the interactive experiences customers crave, gaining a competitive advantage and building loyalty along the way. The future of e-commerce is here—are you ready for it?
6. Live Video Shopping Takes Off
Live video shopping is poised to explode in 2024 and beyond. As more consumers get comfortable with live streaming, brands are realizing the potential. Live video commerce builds connections between brands and customers in an authentic way.
Consumers prefer watching live videos from brands rather than pre-recorded content. Viewers can engage directly by commenting and asking questions. For brands, it’s a chance to showcase products in an interactive format, answer questions in real-time, and build trust and loyalty.
- Focus on high-quality live streams. Invest in good lighting, microphones, and streaming equipment. Practice and prepare to avoid awkward pauses or technical issues.
- Keep your live streams short and engaging, around 15-20 minutes. Promote the stream in advance on social media to boost views and engagement.
- Demo your products and share product details, images, and videos within the stream. Mention deals or discount codes to drive immediate sales.
- Engage with your viewers by responding to their comments and questions. Ask for their input and opinions to make them feel involved.
- Offer giveaways and exclusive deals during your live stream. This incentivizes viewers to not just watch but also purchase.
- Archive your live streams so people can view them later. This also allows you to repurpose content from your live streams into other formats like blog posts, social media clips, and emails.
Live video shopping may require an initial investment of time and resources, but the payoff for brands will be huge. Early adopters will gain a competitive advantage by forging meaningful connections with customers in a way that feels personal and authentic. When done well, live video commerce can significantly impact your e-commerce revenue and customer loyalty. The time to experiment is now before it becomes mainstream.
7. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are revolutionizing the e-commerce industry, presenting marketers with unparalleled opportunities to optimize their businesses. As AI continues to advance, its impact on various aspects of online commerce is becoming increasingly apparent.
Incorporating AI into your e-commerce strategy may require initial investment and technological integration, but the potential benefits are immense.
AI powers personalized product recommendations and customized shopping experiences based on individual customers’ browsing and buying behaviors. Using AI, you can provide product suggestions, and even dynamically optimized pricing for each shopper.
Many routine tasks like order processing, shipping, customer service inquiries, and fraud detection can be automated with AI. Chatbots and virtual assistants handle basic customer questions and requests efficiently 24/7. AI also streamlines warehouse and supply chain operations through robotics and predictive analytics.
With the help of AI and machine learning, you can leverage AI to customize website content as well. By using AI to create product descriptions, you can enhance your website's visibility and attract more organic traffic. Tailoring your content to individual customers' preferences and interests is a powerful way to engage them and increase conversions.
8. A Rise in Voice Search
Voice commerce, or the ability to make purchases via voice assistants like Alexa or Siri, is poised to gain significant traction. As smart speakers and voice assistants become more ubiquitous, consumers are getting increasingly comfortable making purchases through voice commands.
Growing Adoption of Smart Speakers
With smart speakers becoming more affordable and advanced, ownership rates are skyrocketing. These devices are no longer just for playing music and setting timers—people are relying on them for a wide range of tasks, including shopping.
More Sophisticated Voice Assistants
Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri are getting smarter and better able to handle complex requests. They can now easily understand natural language and complete purchases without issue. Voice assistants may even proactively make purchase suggestions based on your preferences and past orders.
Expanded Product Selection
In the past, the options for voice commerce purchases were fairly limited. But many major retailers now offer voice-enabled shopping for a wide range of goods—everything from groceries and household supplies to electronics and clothing. Whatever you need, there's a good chance you can order it with a simple voice command.
9. Faster Delivery Times
Online shoppers today want their items fast. Same-day and next-day delivery have become the norm, and customers expect retailers to keep up with their demand for speed. As an ecommerce business, you'll need to provide faster shipping to stay ahead of the competition.
Offering quick delivery options is key. Provide same-day or next-day delivery for customers in your area. Give customers more choice and control over their delivery.
Quick shipping is vital for ecommerce success. By focusing on faster delivery through partnering with third-party logistics services, providing more shipping options, and keeping an eye on new technologies, you'll give your customers the fast, transparent experience they want. Your business will thrive as a result.
10. Conversational Marketing
Conversational Marketing is a powerful strategy that allows businesses to engage with their customers in a more personalized and interactive way. By leveraging the latest advancements in technology and customer data, conversational marketing enables businesses to create meaningful and engaging experiences that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.
One key aspect of conversational marketing is the use of chatbots and virtual assistants. These intelligent tools can provide immediate assistance to customers, answering their questions, providing product recommendations, and even processing transactions. With the increasing popularity of messaging apps and social media platforms, businesses can leverage these channels to interact with customers in a conversational manner, further enhancing the customer experience.
Ecommerce Trends FAQs
With ecommerce growing at an incredible rate to stay ahead of trends, you need to understand what’s coming down the pipeline.
What types of ecommerce will be most popular?
In 2023, mobile ecommerce, social commerce, and conversational commerce will likely dominate. More people are shopping on their smartphones, buying directly from social media platforms, and using chatbots to make purchases. These options offer convenience and a seamless experience.
How important will social media be?
Very important. Social media is transforming e-commerce, allowing brands to sell products directly on platforms where people already spend their time. Look for social commerce on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even TikTok to gain major traction in 2023. Having a social media presence and selling on these platforms will be key for ecommerce success.
What technologies will impact ecommerce?
Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and voice assistants will significantly impact ecommerce. AI and machine learning will personalize the shopping experience. Virtual reality will allow customers to experience products before buying. And voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home will make it easy to shop hands-free.
How can businesses prepare?
To prepare, focus on optimizing for mobile, leverage social media, and utilize emerging technologies. Build a mobile-friendly website, sell on social platforms, and incorporate AI for recommendations and chatbots. Also, invest in voice search and virtual reality if applicable to your products.
What challenges will businesses face?
Data security and privacy concerns will continue to challenge businesses. Customers want to know their information is safe. Ecommerce businesses must make security and compliance a priority to gain and maintain customer trust.
Staying on the cutting edge of ecommerce trends will help your business thrive. Focus on mobile, social, and emerging tech; build trust through security and compliance; and keep your finger on the pulse of the latest industry shifts. The ecommerce landscape is changing fast, but with the right preparation, you can stay ahead of the curve.
So there you have it, stay on top of these shifts in the industry and you'll be poised to crush your sales goals in the coming year. But remember, ecommerce never stops evolving, so keep learning and testing new strategies to find what works for your business and your customers. The future is bright if you're willing to adapt. Think big, take risks, and never stop improving — that's the real secret to success.