What trends have been dominating the e-commerce world in 2023?
1. Mobile commerce
Mobile commerce, also known as “M-commerce,” has undoubtedly become the most popular e-commerce trend as more people switch brick-and-mortar stores, and even computers, for their phones. So much so that “mobile retail e-commerce sales are projected to exceed $510 billion in 2023 and $710 billion in 2025.”
Plainly speaking, the truth is that we are growing increasingly demanding by the day and want the utmost comfort while doing the bare minimum. Given this, it is no surprise that mobile commerce is so popular, as it gives us the freedom to purchase items from the comfort of our couch and with the same device we use to chat with people and consume different media.
In a nutshell, the commodity of mobile commerce is unmatched and, therefore, worth investing in.
Tip: Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices, and consider your existing mobile shopping offerings and experiment with emerging commerce features.
2. Social commerce
Social commerce is probably the second most popular trend in e-commerce currently. However, one can argue it goes hand-in-hand with mobile commerce, as most purchases related to social commerce are done via a mobile device.
According to Sprout's Social Shopping Report, “98% of consumers planned to make at least one purchase through social shopping or so-called influencer commerce in 2022”—and this percentage isn't decreasing any time soon.
Once again, this trend's popularity is also unsurprising as we consume vast amounts of content every day through different social media channels. Whether it is Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or other platforms, we are constantly exposed to media, so it is a smart strategy for businesses to promote themselves in between content and use "influencers" to persuade viewers to purchase their products.
As such, if you haven't already started selling on social media, this is your sign to start doing so, as chances are your competitors already are.
However, one crucial thing to remember if you want to expand your business and sell across different outlets is to ensure your customers have an omnichannel experience, meaning they can interact with your brand across multiple channels as part of one cohesive customer journey.
If you want to discover how to create a seamless omnichannel experience for your customers, click here.
Tip: Research which social media platform is most popular amongst your customer base and implement in-app shopping features in said platform/s. You can also implement special in-app discounts for customers shopping via social media to foster this behavior and drive loyalty. Additionally, you could employ the help of an "influencer" to help reach a broader audience through persuasive marketing.
3. Personalization via AI tools
Shoppers want to feel special. One way to make them feel special is by showing them relevant content that aligns with their preferences. This translates to tracking consumer behavior to see which type of products or content they interact most with and showcasing them so their shopping experience feels tailored to their wants and needs.
So, why has personalization become so popular? The world of e-commerce is widely dominated by large enterprises such as Amazon, which incidentally holds a whopping 37.8% of all e-commerce sales worldwide. In view of this, smaller companies have decided to invest in personalization as an alternative to lowering their prices to the extent that they have paper-thin profit margins.
The best thing about personalization? It works, and drives both performance and better customer outcomes. According to McKinsey, “companies that grow faster drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.”
So, how can you leverage AI tools to achieve e-commerce personalization?
There are several ways you can leverage AI tools to enhance personalization in your e-commerce business, for example:
- Gathering and analyzing large volumes of customer data: This includes browsing behavior, purchase history, preferences, and demographics, which can be used to gain insights into individual customer preferences, enabling businesses to create personalized recommendations that align with customers' interests, increasing the chances of conversion and satisfaction.
- Predictive analytics: AI tools can analyze customer data and patterns to predict future behavior and preferences, enabling businesses to anticipate customer needs, personalize marketing campaigns, and offer tailored promotions.
- Dynamic pricing optimization: AI-powered tools can analyze market trends, competitor pricing, and customer behavior to optimize pricing strategies, thus allowing businesses to offer personalized discounts based on customer segments, purchase history, and loyalty.
- Chatbot assistance: AI-powered chatbots can provide personalized assistance to customers by answering their queries, offering product recommendations, and guiding them through the purchasing process in human-like interactions with instant responses designed to improve customer engagement and satisfaction.
- Voice and image recognition: Technologies such as voice and image recognition enable more seamless and personalized interactions with e-commerce platforms. Customers can use voice commands or upload images to search for products, enabling a more convenient and personalized shopping experience.
Discover all the benefits of connecting OpenAI to your e-commerce business here.
4. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality, commonly referred to simply as "VR," is revolutionizing the e-commerce industry, providing consumers with immersive and personalized shopping experiences and transforming how we interact with brands.
Here are a few examples of VR used in e-commerce:
- 360-degree product views: Companies like Nike use VR technology to enable customers to view products in 360 degrees. This all-around view is meant to enhance customers' confidence in their purchase, trying to simulate the physical product as much as possible.
- Product customization: VR allows users to customize all sorts of products on their websites in a 3D format. From clothing to cars, and furniture, users can design their dream car or a pair of shoes and tailor products before placing an order.
- Virtual fitting rooms: Companies like Shopify, Walmart, and Amazon offer virtual fitting room solutions so customers can try on clothes virtually to ensure they suit them, thus reducing returns. It is worth mentioning that “the virtual fitting room market size was valued at $4.03 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from $4.79 billion in 2023 to $18.31 billion by 2030.”
- Virtual showrooms and stores: Retail enterprises such as IKEA have even created their own VR apps, in this case, IKEA Place, in which users can walk through 3D showrooms created by themselves to visualize how furniture would look in their homes.
The call for sustainable shopping is getting louder, and e-commerce is no exception, ask Shein.
In 2023, retailers have slowly but surely begun to engage in sustainable and ethical practices, like sourcing, packaging, and manufacturing. In their journey towards a more sustainable future, companies plan to reduce their carbon footprint by offering eco-friendly products and using sustainable materials as a response to consumers who, rightly so, are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases.
Want to discover how we implement sustainable practices at Alumio? Click here to learn about our sustainable efforts.
The future of e-commerce
With a bright future ahead, e-commerce will only expand in the upcoming years, as 57% of online shoppers already shop internationally. However, customers are getting more demanding by the day, and e-commerce businesses must prioritize delivery speed above all, as 22% of shoppers identified long and costly shipping as one of the main reasons for abandoning their cart at the checkout stage.
In terms of new developments, AI will continue to make waves in online retail, as in almost every aspect of our lives. Retailers who want to stay ahead of the curve should prioritize using AI tools, which have proven to be crucial for effective content marketing strategies. Additionally, VR technology will continue transforming how consumers shop online, replicating physical experiences to an unprecedented level.
In a nutshell, the e-commerce landscape will keep blooming, and it is our task, both as consumers and retailers, to adapt to the new developments and try to make the most out of our shopping experiences.