eCommerce has exploded, and so has the competition in the retail industry.
In 2023, eCommerce sales are expected to account for 20.8% of retail sales globally.
It has become critical for brands to keep up with the latest trends, so they don't fall behind.
How much do these trends really matter?
In two words, the answer is A LOT.
These trends can be a make or break for brands who've put years of effort into getting where they are. Falling back because of pure ignorance isn't something one can afford.
But, of course, keeping up with upcoming trends can be challenging.
So here is the list of top eCommerce trends that will help eCommerce businesses stay ahead of their competitors and truly grow as a retail brand in the longer run.
With no further ado, let us dive straight in.
What are the top 6 eCommerce Trends in 2023?
1. Omnichannel or Phygital Retail
Every business wants to thrive in its domain. Delivering the perfect customer experience and receiving 100% customer loyalty are crucial aspects most businesses are striving to achieve.
For this vision to become reality, businesses need to integrate more than just their online store and social media channels. Brands and retailers need to create a shopping experience that combines the online store with social media channels and then integrates it to work alongside their physical stores as well. Syncing everything seamlessly will enable retailers to create that perfect customer experience by giving shoppers the ultimate option to shop from any device or channel of their choice. This retail strategy is known as phygital retail strategy.
In fact, 80% of consumers consider the landscape to merge the digital channels with the physical retail space. This kind of hybrid shopping experience will give businesses a competitive advantage over their competitors by integrating various channels like websites, social media apps, emails, online marketplaces and old-time brick-and-mortar stores.
Some common examples of phygital retail are:
Research Online, Purchase Offline(ROPO): customers using online data to research about your brand. This is convenient as over 56% of shoppers want to physically experience the products before buying, and zero shopping costs constantly improve the shopping experience for any consumer.
Buy online, Pick-up in Store(BOPIS): It is the perfect mix of the online and offline shopping experience that gives consumers the convenience of online shopping mixed with no wait time or shipping charges. Some successful businesses actively using this model are IKEA, Walmart and Target.
For a smooth shopping experience across multiple channels, e-commerce companies must integrate new business management applications into their digital ecosystems. These may include:
- Product Information Management (PIM) software to maintain up-to-date product information across sales channels
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to provide personalised customer service, and
- Inventory Management Systems & Order Management Software (OMS) to ensure timely stocking and delivery of goods.
2. Conversational Commerce
Everyone has heard of and interacted with ChatGPT by now. So you understand the application of conversational AI in business. Artificial intelligence can learn and adapt to customers and produce accurate results and responses for them. From giving personalised offers and product recommendations to answering all customer queries in real-time 24/7, conversational chatbots are the most efficient and cost-effective marketing, sales and customer support automation tools to ever have been invented.
The global AI market is projected to reach $267 billion dollars by 2027, with more than 90% of leading companies investing in the technology. The adoption of Artificial intelligence, in general, can streamline processes for eCommerce brands and offer their customers a seamless buying experience. With Natural language processing and GPT technology, more eCommerce businesses will employ chatbots in all their engagement channels to ensure continuous and smooth sailing business operations, in turn leading to more sales and loyal customers.
Implementing Conversational AI to your eCommerce channels will help you scale your business and make the most out of every channel to market your services, sell your products and support all your customers in every step of their buyer's journey. Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning-driven technologies are not mere trends but the very future of the world we’re heading towards. Using them now will not only help brands grow in sales, but the technology will truly help them advance in the longer run.
3. Social Commerce
Using social media to promote and sell products has become an effective eCommerce strategy. Especially with the rise of mobile commerce, social commerce has become the most obvious trend on this list.
This is because more than 55% of smartphone owners have purchased products post seeing them on social media. It is the rise of apps like Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok that offer brands the opportunity to interact with customers conversationally, share engaging visuals, post ads and sell directly on their platforms that have created a form of frictionless eCommerce and helped brands increase both, their reach and sales rapidly.
By 2025, social media market sales are expected to triple itself and reach a total of 1.2 trillion dollars. To make this happen, apps like Instagram and Tiktok are introducing features like Instagram checkout and Ticktok shop to streamline product discovery and enable convenient purchasing without having to leave the apps or requirement of card details.
Furthermore, over 75% of users use social media to research products, making in-app purchasing an obvious next move to leverage these platforms.
Chatbots and Conversational AI also play a huge role in improving the social commerce experience by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to interact with users at all times and enabling a smooth-sailing shopping experience for customers without the need for any human intervention.
Social Media Marketing and Social Commerce are trends that are only going to grow in the coming years. Keeping up with them is the only choice brands have to stay relevant in any business.
4. Augmented and Virtual Reality
A big problem faced by online stores everywhere is the limit to the personalisation they can provide for their customers. Since customers cannot physically touch or try the products, unlike in physical stores, it is harder for them to truly picture the product. The new AR technology helps eCommerce stores to solve this problem and create an immersive shopping experience. By integrating the physical world with computer-generated visuals and other stimuli, AR or augmented reality solutions let consumers see how the products they wish to purchase would look like in real life.
AR is not only upcoming but also eagerly anticipated among users; a survey states that 71% of users would shop more if a business used AR technology. In fact, companies using Virtual Reality or VR technology, an even more immersive version of AR, have also managed to successfully boost conversation rates by 17%. This has made it clear that the future of digital customer experience in eCommerce is AR and VR solutions, and with only 1% of online stores having actually adopted the technology for now, now is the perfect time for businesses to implement this technology and get ahead in the game.
One of the biggest examples of the use of AR in eCommerce is none other than IKEA. The IKEA Place mobile app allows customers to view digitally produced 3D images of products and examine if a piece of furniture works for their home or not. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies are slowly being used in every industry, right from real estate to EdTech. Adding this technology to your online store now is the perfect time to transition into the future of innovation and technology for any eCommerce business.
5. Sustainable Re-Commerce
Nearly 80% of customers now consider the sustainability of a product and brand when making certain purchases. As the environmental impacts of eCommerce and fast fashion increase, consumers are starting to get more concerned.
As consumers are starting to get more aware and finally criticising brands for such practices, businesses are also becoming more aware for the sake of the environment and their brand. Nearly 80% of retailers believe their sustainability efforts lead to an increase in customer loyalty.
As a matter of fact, big brands like Zara and shown are already taking steps to make an effort to help reduce their (and their consumers) carbon footprint.
Zara has started its Zara - Pre-owned initiative to let customers repair, resell or donate their old Zara clothes to move towards a more sustainable model of action. Similarly, other eCommerce brands like Thrive Market, an online grocery membership store, are offering customers ethically sourced products with carbon-neutral packaging.
Even though this kind of trend doesn't directly affect or boost sales for any business, it builds on a brand's reputation and increases general awareness. A lot of customers also prefer to move towards brands that are taking sustainability initiatives seriously, so jumping on this trend is not just beneficial for brands but for the overall well-being of the planet.
6. Headless commerce
Headless commerce is a way of building an online store where the part of the website that customers see (the front end) is separate from the part that handles the store's operations (the backend) using API. This means that the store's look and feel can be customised more easily without changing how it works behind the scenes. It also means that the store can work on different devices and platforms. The term "headless" refers to the fact that the front end doesn't have a traditional "head" or user interface.
Such platforms are a really good solution for large-size enterprise-level retailers who use multiple channels to market and sell their products. This kind of API- based commerce is not restricted to just desktops, laptops or smartphones but allows customers to brown and buy through Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smartwatches, speakers and much more. Headless commerce increases flexibility and opens a lot of sales opportunities for brands by streamlining omnichannel selling and incorporating a variety of sales channels and devices.
With around 82.91% of business owners saw improvements in the budget, time management and overall productivity and revenue returns after adapting to this system, leading to a 22 1% CAGR growth in the market. Headless CMS market is anticipated to read 5.5 billion dollars by the end of 2023. This trend is another example of how technology is progressing rapidly, and any enterprise looking to grow should hop on to it as soon as possible.
Now that you know the top 6 trends in eCommerce, you can easily choose the ones that you want to hop on. And if you're confused as to how to implement most of these trends, we would like to direct you to the second point of this article.
Yes, Conversational Chatbots are the answer to most of your doubts and questions.
Don't believe us?
With Engati, you can get access to conversational AI technology to run all your brand campaigns, sell on various channels, practice active social commerce and engage customers with excellent customer support.
And that is still not it.
Engati can help your business get its very own version of ChatGPT.
Want to know how?
Sign up for a free demo and find out.