According to a study published by Forbes, Ecommerce sales worldwide reached $5.7 trillion in 2022. The projections for upcoming years are optimistic. It is expected that sales will surpass $8 trillion in 2026.
Ecommerce has been on the rise for a while, but the recent pandemic accelerated it even further. People had to shop online because brick-and-mortar stores were unavailable.
Those who never bothered with online stores realized how convenient the method is. The realization changed how people view shopping.
Since the ecommerce industry growth is consistent, it continues to attract new and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Becoming financially independent is a dream for many, and selling goods and services online is often the go-to method to pursue that independence.
Unfortunately, starting an ecommerce business is not as straightforward as some might think. Finding a niche is a significant challenge, not to mention overcoming the competition.
Still, plenty of successful online stores had to overcome challenges, so why shouldn't you? One of the best ways to minimize obstacles is to be proactive and build your business around the latest ecommerce trends.
By making the most out of various technologies and other trends making an impact in ecommerce, you increase your chances of standing out from the crowd.
Let's take a look at what is currently happening in the ecommerce industry and what trends will shape it going into 2024 and beyond.
1. Emphasis on Customer Experience
The customer experience is becoming a priority. Since consumers have so many different options nowadays, it's hard to keep the customers loyal.
As soon as they see a better deal or get a recommendation from a friend or family member, you can bet that they will explore available options.
A few reliable customer retention strategies include but are not limited to:
- Sufficient customer support: Shoppers should not have problems getting in touch with customer support via emails, phone calls, or even social media. They should also have access to an FAQ page that offers relevant information.
- Loyalty perks: Discounts, free shipping vouchers, raffles, and other perks for loyal and first-time customers go a long way.
- A sense of community: It's easier to stay connected with a brand if it gives you a sense of community. Social media groups and old-school online forums that encourage communication between peers could go a long way in establishing that sense of community.
- Flawless website performance: The store's website should be up all the time. Moreover, navigating it via different devices, including smartphones and tablets, has to be smooth.
2. Video Content and Overall Content Quality
If a picture says more than a thousand words, videos say more than ten thousand words (at least).
These days, online stores use visual content to help customers support their decision-making.
High-quality images have their uses, but hardly anything beats a detailed video explanation that showcases features and other details.
We're not talking about instructions one finds on TV shopping networks. No, it should be clear and informative. Fluff isn't necessary.
At the end of the day, it's presenting your goods and services in the simplest way possible so that potential consumers don't have to overburden them. And what better way to do that than creating and uploading a video?
Pro tip: Overburdening a website with high-quality content can be detrimental to its overall performance, so keep an eye on how much you upload and make adjustments when necessary.
3. Voice Search
Voice search is one of the standout trends that has a lot of potential. Ever since the introduction of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, it's become clear that there's a future for voice search in ecommerce.
Instead of typing on a keyboard, consumers can simplify the shopping process by giving out a voice command. If they are feeling lazy, they can finish all the shopping without even getting out of bed.
Voice search technology helps people with disabilities, too. Systems that recognize a speaker's voice already let you make calls, send texts, and use computers. So why wouldn't it be used for shopping if the technology allows it?
4. Chatbots and AI
Artificial intelligence is making leaps and bounds in different industries. Ecommerce is no exception.
For starters, chatbots are slowly replacing real people in customer support. 24/7 availability and instant response time is a superior model. On top of that, chatbots also learn from each interaction and improve, which leads to better customer experience for consumers.
Another example is how AI simplifies data processing. Ecommerce businesses collect data to analyze customer behavior. Manually processing vast amounts of information is simply not efficient. Instead, it makes sense to utilize machine learning and AI.
Finally, artificial intelligence also comes in handy if you want to generate product photos from scratch or augment already available images.
It solves the problem of not having the necessary resources to hire a professional photographer or buying a high-quality camera. Besides, AI automates the process and lets you produce multiple images if you want.
Remember that you can store AI-generated images on your computer initially and use them later depending on the situation. Learn how to drag and drop on MacBook or another device quickly so you can save time because you might end up with more images than you expect.
5. Influencer Marketing
People don't trust brands as much these days. Instead, they look to their peers for recommendations. If nobody is around to help, influencers on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer a decent alternative.
Influencer marketing exists because influencers have genuine power to affect consumer decisions. They are called influencers for a good reason.
And one doesn't have to have hundreds of thousands of followers to consider themselves an influencer. Plenty of micro-influencers with a few thousand followers offer just as much value, if not more, so long as they have a solid engagement rate on published content.
From a business perspective, collaborating with influencers is valuable because they introduce your brand to their audience. If the influencer's audience aligns with your targeted demographic, you stand to gain a lot.
6. Eco-Friendly Policies
Modern consumers strive to support brands that align with their beliefs. Green policies are an excellent example.
There is a lot of talk about how our planet is suffering, and it's no secret that a lot of the problems are related to big corporations prioritizing profits over anything else.
Supporting a business that donates to environmental causes, invests in eco-friendly delivery methods, reusable packaging, and has other green initiatives is the way to go.
The environmental problems will likely continue to snowball in the future. Regardless of how small or big your business is, it should try its best to go green. And not just to score points with the customers but also because it's an initiative that actually matters.
All in all, ecommerce has a few things that have been there since the beginning and are unlikely to change.
On the other hand, trends that come and go shape the industry, and missing out on a new trend could be detrimental to the overall business success.
Keep an eye on what is happening in ecommerce and react in time. Be one of the first to change and show that your brand is a trend setter. Doing so will let you win more customers.