When Amazon launched in 1995 as an online bookseller, most wouldn’t have predicted the evolution of e-commerce. In 2023, the world of online retail looks vastly different than it did nearly three decades ago. Furthermore, it’s still evolving as new e-commerce trends continue to emerge – and it’s continuing to grow. By the end of this year, global e-commerce sales are estimated to grow by 4.8 percent over 2022, reaching $6.3 trillion. The United States alone is projected to account for $1.5 trillion of those sales.
eCommerce Trends That Will Impact Your Clients – and Your Business
Retailers – and the ISVs and VARs who provide them with the solutions they need to run their businesses – must be positioned to meet the demand of the changing world of online shopping/ E-commerce trends to watch include:
eCommerce Includes Social Commerce
This has given rise to social commerce — the ability for users to make purchases without leaving the social media experience. Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest all have built-in native social commerce features allowing app users to see a product in their feed, click “shop now,” add it to the cart, and complete the purchase all without leaving the app. Your clients should consider this rising e-commerce trend to stay competitive, incorporate storefronts on social media platforms, and leverage paid promotion of their products via social channels within their marketing strategies.
Use of VR, AR, Chatbots, and the Metaverse
E-commerce trends include making the most of new tools to provide virtual shopping assistance. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) these tools can deliver immersive shopping experiences:
- Virtual Reality (VR)
Cutting-edge retailers are testing how to simulate physical shopping experiences. Shoppers use a VR headset to navigate a virtual store where they can explore products. In addition to creating experiences that attract shoppers, VR can also help minimize returns by allowing customers to virtually try on clothing and interact with other types of products.
- Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality allows consumers to overlay a computer-generated image on a real-world view. For example, it benefits furniture shoppers by allowing them to picture exactly how new items will look inside their homes. It can also enable e-commerce shoppers to “try” clothing, makeup, or other products.
The most immersive of all digital experiences, the metaverse brings together an environment where people, objects, avatars, and applications exist in one shared place. With this technology, customers could attend a live shopping event in a digital world that feels like they were at an in-store event without leaving their homes.
When customers need support for their purchase, they expect someone to be available to answer questions. While this is easy to accomplish in-store, it can be more challenging online. Chatbots, powered by AI, are ready at the moment to help answer common questions and provide virtual shopper assistance without retailers expanding their customer support resources.
Seamless Omnichannel Shopping
For some time, retailers have known their customers use various channels, even for a single shopping journey. For example, research shows that nearly 75 percent of today’s consumers browse multiple channels before making a purchase. From in-store to websites, apps, and social media platforms, retailers need to provide a unified experience as shoppers move from channel to channel.
Consistent experiences require more than ensuring the look and feel of the brand are the same. Retailers must manage pricing and promotions consistently and deploy solutions that accurately track inventory. Customers also want gift cards they can purchase and send, regardless of how they engage, and access to their loyalty rewards accounts.
Sustainability is a Consideration and a Potential PR Tool
Another e-commerce trend gaining momentum is consumers’ preference for making purchases from businesses with sustainable practices. For example, 42 percent of digital shoppers choose to purchase products from companies that use sustainable packaging over those that don’t.
Encourage your clients to share messaging about their green initiatives in their marketing materials, which can help them gain a competitive edge. Also, let them know about your green initiatives so they can let their customers know they work with partners that prioritize sustainability.
Payment Options Are a Necessity
While integrating your solutions with an omnichannel payments platform to support payments on any channel isn’t a reflection of a new trend, the payment choices that the platform offers is. Online shoppers are using a wide variety of payment methods. For example, 60 percent of all consumers used a mobile wallet to make a purchase at least once per week in 2022, compared to only 46 percent in 2021.
Furthermore, more consumers expect their payment methods to follow them as they move from channel to channel. Give merchants an integrated payment solution that allows them to use tokens across all retail channels as well as minimize time in the back office with one report on transactions from all revenue streams.
Deliver on eCommerce Trends to Stay Ahead of the Curve
It’s vital to track e-commerce trends and provide your clients with solutions that allow them to meet current demands. It’s key to their success – and to yours.
If you are looking for a payments partner that can provide the omnichannel functionality your clients need, let’s start a conversation.