As 2022 wraps up, it’s safe to say it was a remarkable one for e-commerce. And it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon.
This year, 214.7 million US consumers shopped online. Next year, this number is expected to increase to 218.8 million and by 2025, e-commerce sales are predicted to reach 8.5 trillion US dollars worldwide.
The new year is just days away, and many exciting things are on the horizon that will enhance the way consumers shop online.
What kinds of things, you ask?
Here are nine e-commerce trends to pay close attention to in 2023 that can help you improve your customers’ experience and give your online conversions a boost.
1. AI-Driven Personalization
If there’s one thing that will delight online customers most, it will be personalization. And if there’s one way to best achieve a personalized experience, it’s through artificial intelligence (AI).
In 2023, we anticipate that AI will help online retailers offer hyper-personalized experiences more than ever before. Brands will continue to rely more heavily on customer data for insights on everything from previous purchases and search history, to other behavior patterns like recurring product views and saved favorites. These algorithms will then be increasingly used to create tailored offers, product recommendations, email campaigns, and other content.
E-commerce stores will also use the data collected from AI to discover where (and how) to improve their customer experiences, which is crucial at a time when 66% of customers expect brands to understand their wants and needs.
2. Live Shopping Through Social Media
Social media has already helped brands boost online sales these last couple of years by selling products over their channels. And with 75% of internet users using social media to browse and research products, having a social presence is more important than ever.
Video, in particular, has played a big part in e-commerce stores attaining more sales on platforms like Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram. This upcoming year, the social game will kick it into full gear, with live shopping.
Live streaming is continuing to grow in popularity, with platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Bambuser, Livescale, and Smartzer (just to name a few) providing services for online shoppers to see products shown in real-time. Not only do these videos elevate the customer experience, but they also allow shoppers to interact with brands by asking questions and making purchases on the spot.
3. Mobile Commerce
The use of mobile devices for shopping is not slowing down any time soon, with sales projected to exceed $710 billion annually by the end of 2025.
Aside from being convenient, the ease of shopping from virtually anywhere makes m-commerce so appealing. But e-commerce businesses need to go beyond having an online store to shop at. As technologies continue to advance, retailers will need to ensure their sites are optimized to their highest capacity—from responsive, easy-to-navigate mobile designs, to fast load times, to mobile-friendly payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
Retail mobile applications saw quite an uptick in adoption in 2022, and will become even more ubiquitous, with a reported 93% of retailers currently having an app in the Android and iOS app stores. This isn't surprising, as 85% of consumers prefer shopping on a mobile app over a mobile site.
When it comes to creating apps, smaller stores are catching up. Still, less than half of all online stores have shopping apps in their e-commerce arsenal. In the fashion, shoe & accessories categories, app market penetration is only at 65%. But as more fashion retailers recognize the importance of appearing where their customers are shopping, that number is anticipated to approach the 90% mark.
4. Omnichannel Presence
Right now, omnichannel retail is booming, with more and more consumers using a variety of channels, technologies, and devices while shopping.
Recently, Harvard Business Review determined that 73% of customers prefer shopping through multiple channels. This means offering a seamless experience that enables them to hop between consumer touchpoints (phone, website, in-store, social) without missing a beat in their buying journey.
Bottom line, if you don’t have an omnichannel presence yet, your shoppers are receiving a disjointed, and ultimately poor, customer experience. Failure to unite your shopping experience could mean a big loss in sales since 59% of shoppers won’t hesitate to go elsewhere for a seamless shopping experience.
Tip: A great way to enhance this experience? Include Buy Online, Pay In Store (BOPIS), which allows shoppers to purchase items through your website and pick them up at the nearest store.
5. Sustainable Shopping
Recent studies show that 77% of consumers weigh a company’s sustainability when deciding which products to purchase. As this number continues to climb, so does the opportunity for online retailers to increase their efforts to provide sustainable solutions.
Incorporating environmentally friendly practices doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. Changing your packaging, eliminating plastic use, reducing waste, and aligning with vendors who follow sustainable practices are all simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint and appeal to shoppers who consider this when deciding where to shop.
Which leads to the second part: making consumers aware of your efforts.
Start by applying for environmental certifications like B-Corp status and any others that are relevant to your industry. You’ll have to meet some specific requirements, so make sure to review them carefully so you know what is expected. From there, it’s as simple as sharing on your social channels and your website that your business practices sustainable measures.
While these things may seem unnecessary, studies show that 50% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainability, and four out of five said sustainable practices are vital when choosing a brand to support (IBM).
6. Virtual Assistants
Chatbots are almost considered a must-have for most online stores these days, but as we move into the new year, they’ll become more valuable than ever.
80% of people have interacted with a chatbot, thanks to their ability to assist with frequently asked questions, direct product searches, and handle other general inquiries. As more online consumers interact with them, they will become increasingly essential to online stores. In fact, Insider Intelligence forecasts that consumer retail spending through chatbots will total $142 billion in 2024—a 47% increase in sales from only three years ago.
7. Voice Search
You’ve likely already used or at least heard of smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and mobile services like Siri. Commonly used to complete tasks, these devices are currently used by 60% of US households, a number which is expected to increase to 75% by 2025.
With more and more people using these devices, the use of voice search for online shopping will also rise, with voice commerce (v-commerce) sales expected to exceed $30 billion by 2024. This will play an important role in defining the content online retailers create, with conversational or question-type keywords in simple language leading the way to optimal results.
8. Multiple Payment Methods
A fast and easy checkout is one of the single most important steps to reducing cart abandonment and increasing conversions. And a diverse range of payment options is an integral step to ensure ease of use for online shoppers.
Providing flexibility with payment options adds value to your business by making it more accessible for shoppers to buy products off your site. The most common payment types for e-commerce are:
- Digital wallets (PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Mobilepay)
- Cards (Visa, Mastercard, Dankort, Maestro)
- Online banking
Even cryptocurrencies are starting to pop up as checkout payment methods. For now, offering the options listed above is the quickest and best way to see results.
9. Augmented and Virtual Reality
2022 saw e-commerce retailers start to dip their toes into using augmented reality to help sell their products. In September, Walmart rolled out a new feature to allow shoppers to virtually try on clothes from the comfort of their homes, and Snapchat partnered with New Balance to release a Lens that prompted viewers to answer questions using their voice to discover the products that would best meet their needs.
As well, we’d be remiss not to mention the Metaverse. While some outlets are declaring the Metaverse dead on arrival, the 3D world that online shoppers can inhabit which could provide a deeply immersive shopping experience is still predicted to see big returns as we head into 2023.
The metaverse is a great opportunity for e-commerce stores to give customers a chance to shop in a virtual world that will provide them with an entirely new way of viewing products while browsing online, in turn resulting in higher engagement and a better overall shopping experience. And though this is a trend that hasn’t officially taken off yet, it is definitely one that retailers should start thinking about if they haven’t already, as the e-commerce market in the metaverse is poised to grow by $60.47 billion from 2022 to 2026.
2023, Here We Come
As the number of online shoppers continues to increase, so do their demands. To fulfill increasingly unique shopper desires, it’s paramount for retailers to keep up with the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape. We recommend taking some time to research the e-commerce trends mentioned and reflect on how to implement some of them into your online strategy. And most importantly, remember that 2023 is all about delivering a personalized customer experience. As long as you consider all of your tactics through that filter, you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful new year!
Make This the Year of Personalization
Take your conversion rate up a level this upcoming year by creating personalized shopping experiences that keep your customers coming back over and over again. Granify has the AI technology to gather the data you need, and the personalized Product Spotlights to deliver the experiences your customers want right now.
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