Ecommerce has changed how we buy and sell, turning local business into a global market. To stay competitive, brands must adapt to the evolving market and embrace emerging trends. In recent years, evolving technology has dramatically impacted consumer behavior and shopping habits. Most notably, machine learning has increased the efficiency of personalized customer experiences, allowing brands to connect with consumers in the comfort of their homes. To help brands stay ahead of the curve, we’ve compiled a list of the top trends that will continue to shape ecommerce in 2023.
Personalized Shopping Experiences With Artificial Intelligence
Today’s consumers want to know what they’re buying and why it’s the best choice. They also want their shopping experiences to be personalized — whether they’re in-store, online, or via mobile apps. To meet consumer demand, retailers need to provide curated shopping experiences.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can help retailers address these demands by providing personalized recommendations based on real-time data analysis of individual shoppers’ behaviors across channels, including social media, websites, and mobile apps. These recommendations can be customized for each customer and provide an engaging shopping experience that keeps them returning for more.
As one example of how AI can optimize your store’s customer experience, consider how Amazon uses machine learning to power its recommendation engine. When you visit Amazon’s website or app, the platform will suggest products you might like based on previous purchases or items viewed on other websites — without requiring additional information.
Try Before You Buy with Augmented Reality
The shopping experience is about to get much more personal. Over the past few years, companies have been experimenting with Augmented Reality (AR) to help consumers understand their needs and make better purchasing decisions.
AR personalizes how we shop, providing a better experience and allowing consumers to try before they buy. In addition to enhancing the online shopping experience for consumers by letting them try on the product in real-world environments before purchasing it online, AR also provides brands with more opportunities for engagement with their consumers through insights about their preferences and behaviors.
For example, Amazon’s “see if it fits” tool uses AR to place furniture in a room, and online clothing stores can use AI to allow consumers to try on accessories before buying them.
As of 2021, the AR industry was valued at 2 billion dollars, and it’s expected to reach over 60 billion by 2031. As cell phones develop better security measures and camera features, business owners can expect an increase in AR implementation over the next few years.
Live Shopping Without Leaving Home
Live Shopping is the hottest trend in retail today. It provides the best of both worlds, allowing consumers to interact with brands, ask questions, and share feedback without leaving home. With the rise of mobile-first shopping, consumers want to see products and engage in real-time conversations with their favorite brands.
By linking online live streams with a digital storefront, shoppers can purchase and view products in real-time. Dubbed “live shopping,” Alibaba’s massive digital storefront, Taobao, first introduced this innovative approach to sales marketing in 2016. Taobao used the live commerce model to introduce shoppers to new products and allow audience interaction via live streaming. Then if the viewer likes the product, they can purchase it immediately via the Taobao storefront. Like infomercials or late-night shopping channels on television, the live shopping model takes things a step further by instantly presenting the information.
Taobao’s massive success with live commerce campaigns prompted retailers worldwide to embrace live shopping. For example, Tommy Hilfiger’s live program has extended to Europe and the Americas after its enormous success overseas. Nowadays, streaming platforms like Twitch and TikTok offer businesses the opportunity to sell products live. Users can pay a streamer directly in exchange for the product without leaving the platform.
Flexible Order Fulfillment
As the ecommerce world shifts toward a more mobile-centric model, retailers need to adapt quickly if they want to stay competitive.
That’s why more and more companies are turning to flexible fulfillment options like direct shipping and pick-up locations. These methods allow you to offer different shipping options to both expedite orders and reduce costs.
Flexible order fulfillment requires a bit of work on the store’s part but can seriously improve customer satisfaction rates. To create as much flexibility as possible, business owners must work with multiple order fulfillment services. Calculating what your business needs in terms of fulfillment is an excellent place to start. Most businesses will need a place to process, store, package, ship, and deliver goods.
A flexible fulfillment plan mixes two fulfillment methods:
- In-house order fulfillment offers the highest level of control and customization. The store owner is in charge of every aspect of the fulfillment process.
- Third-party fulfillment, in which a third-party company handles fulfillment and distribution needs. Third-party fulfillment helps save businesses time and money when it comes to shipping, but at the cost of their control over the process.
The benefits of flexible fulfillment aren’t just related to customer satisfaction; they also help businesses expand their reach. In pairing with an order fulfillment service, small businesses can expand from a single local store to statewide, nationwide, or even international shipping coverage. Plus, consumer shipping costs will be slightly lower depending on location.
Faster Delivery Speeds
Some B2B order fulfillment businesses pride themselves on speedy delivery. Amazon, for example, has options for one-day, two-day, and even same-day delivery, depending on a shopper’s location. In-house order fulfillment services can’t always afford faster delivery, but many can allow in-store pickup! Third parties can provide store owners with warehouses and shipping options over a large area to ensure shorter shipping times. For ecommerce stores, third-party fulfillment services add an extra layer of flexibility that shoppers previously didn’t have.
In the last few years, the ecommerce landscape has changed rapidly. The impact of brands on the planet is undeniable. From sustainability and carbon footprints to online shopping trends and the rise of online shopping, it’s hard not to be concerned about how our purchases affect our environment.
While some companies are working hard to reduce their carbon footprint and offer sustainable products, sustainable business practices don’t stop at production and packaging. Order fulfillment and shipping processes need to be sustainable too. That begs the question: how can shipping companies become sustainable?
The drive to create carbon-neutral manufacturing and shipping processes has made some businesses think outside the box. Smaller packages are now available for delivery via drones and electric vehicles, while major shipping companies use a portion of their funds towards reforestation efforts. As shoppers continue to look for sustainable consumption methods, we expect to see businesses following suit.
More Ways to Pay at Checkout
With the emergence of cryptocurrency and installation payments, ecommerce sites are now embracing the ability to accept multiple currencies and payment methods. Now, shoppers see buttons like “Buy with Prime” and “Pay Over Time” options like Klarna alongside the usual credit card button. By offering consumers numerous options, brands are streamlining the process, making it easier to purchase.
Buy With Prime
In January, Amazon expanded “Buy with Prime” to US merchants, allowing Amazon Prime members to purchase eligible items directly from a merchant’s website while enjoying the perks of free 1-2 day shipping. The Buy with Prime feature aims to help businesses increase sales by up to 25% while driving customer loyalty.
Shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if their preferred payment method is an option. While debit and credit cards remain the most popular forms of payment, mobile wallets are rapidly gaining ground with consumers. Alternate forms of payment provide shoppers with accessibility they wouldn’t have otherwise. Storefronts can streamline the checkout process with all their payment information saved in one place. As the technology for alternate payment methods continues to advance, expect more and more consumers to use it!
Embracing the Trends in 2023
In 2023 brands need to embrace emerging trends and adapt accordingly. Providing better customer experiences with technology, focusing on environmental sustainability, and pursuing digital transformation will drive the successful adoption of emerging ecommerce strategies. Expect significant changes and adaptations over the next 12 months that will continue revolutionizing how we buy and sell online.