Popular E-Commerce Trends in 2023: A Mid-Year Review

Jul 18, 2023 12:00:00 PM
11 min read

Person using crystal ball to predict the future. The e-commerce industry is always changing. As technology and consumer behaviors continue to evolve, online shopping is undergoing some pretty big transformations. To maintain a competitive edge, online retailers need to stay on top of the latest industry trends to attract shoppers and boost revenue.

At the beginning of this year, we shared our top picks for emerging e-commerce trends taking over 2023. Now, the question arises: Were our predictions on point?

With the year halfway over (seriously, where is time going?!), we thought we’d explore the 10 biggest trends taking over the world of e-commerce right now. Read on to find out some of the most notable e-commerce trends thus far (FYI, we were pretty spot on!) and what to expect for the remainder of the year.

1. Personalization

Curious shopper looking through magnifying glass.If there’s one thing delighting online consumers most, it’s hyper-personalized experiences. Personalization has been a key trend in e-commerce since last year because of its ability to improve the customer experience and increase customer loyalty. It can also take on my forms, from personalized product recommendations to targeted marketing campaigns to custom user interfaces designed to suit individual preferences.

Implementing personalization is a win-win for shoppers who aren’t interested in irrelevant content, and the online retailers implementing it into their e-commerce strategies. Need proof? A study by Statista shows that 90% of U.S. consumers find personalization appealing, while Google reports that the same amount of leading marketers (90%) say personalization greatly contributes to business profitability. If that’s not enough, 80% of shoppers consider the customer experience just as important as the products and services a company offers.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Person with computer chip brain. An exclamation mark is seen next to them, as though they've had an idea. It’s pretty safe to say that AI and machine learning are revolutionizing the way people shop. This trend has become so popular, it’s no longer a trend—it’s a reality that’s getting bigger and bigger by the day. Projections show that by 2032, the e-commerce AI market will reach $45.72 billion, which really signifies the increasing hunger for artificial intelligence technology. 

One of the biggest ways e-tailers have utilized AI this past year is in getting to know their customers better. AI and machine learning, like Granify, can analyze large amounts of customer data that enables online retailers to know what each shopper wants and then communicate with them accordingly, in the hopes of enhancing the customer experience and increasing conversions and sales.

But AI doesn’t just help e-commerce brands gain insights into their customers. It also supports other online retail operations and procedures, such as demand forecasting and customer service. Chatbots, in particular, have become a must-have addition, with 80% of e-commerce businesses either using them already or planning to in the near future.

And we couldn’t mention AI without acknowledging the biggest chatbot ever, ChatGPT. Used by many e-commerce marketers to generate content like ad copy and product descriptions, ChatGPT was downloaded by over a million users in its first week, and has since amassed over 100 million users. This AI tool is so popular, it had over 1.6 billion visits in the last month alone!

3. Social Commerce

Illustration of multiple floating smartphones. As it moves from left to right, the size of the phones increases.Social media, a tool that was previously used only to connect with friends, people you went to school with and haven’t seen since, and that family member who comments on every post you ever make, has since become another outlet for e-commerce stores to generate more awareness (and revenue!)

Today, more and more consumers are turning to social media channels like Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook, to do their online shopping. According to research done by DataReportal, 75% of internet users rely on social media to research products. By the end of this year, global social commerce sales are estimated to reach just under $1.3 billion, with 28% of consumers using these platforms to shop.

Person with Shopping Bag and PhoneWhat makes these sites so popular for shoppers? First, they allow consumers to engage with e-commerce brands in a more intimate setting, especially when it involves their favorite influencers. Many retailers are using creators to help sell their products and services to target audiences, which can often be done for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods (and with greater results). And with this trend showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, social commerce is sure to become an even bigger sales channel for retailers looking to drive their e-commerce sales.

4. Sustainable Shopping

Potted plant. Between climate change and making our planet a cleaner, safer one overall, it’s not surprising that sustainable commerce has become an important factor to many online consumers. Not only do 78% of consumers feel that sustainability is important, but over half consider the sustainability practices of a brand they support when making a purchase.

For e-commerce brands, adopting greener practices goes beyond simply doing the right thing. It also lets your customers know your company’s values align with theirs, which translates to a higher level of loyalty and conversions.

Developing an eco-friendly brand should include using green packaging, eco-friendly delivery, and selling more environmentally friendly products. Yes, this means putting in some work, but the results are worth it—studies found that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly brands and 74% of shoppers will pay more for sustainable packaging. Plus it makes the world a better place to live.

5. Mobile Commerce

Floating illustration of a smartphone. A banner on the screen reads: 'App' and in smaller text 'Notification.'With the widespread use of smartphones, mobile commerce—also known as m-commerce—is rapidly growing. The mobile shopping trend is here to stay because of its convenience and ease. Retail m-commerce sales in the United States are approximately $431 billion and are projected to grow to more than $710 billion by 2025. (Source: Statista)

As mobile traffic continues to rise, many online retailers are developing mobile-first strategies that include optimizing their websites and creating mobile apps to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers on their mobile devices. As of now, 70% of online shoppers use mobile shopping apps, with that number likely to grow significantly over the next few years.

Illustration of a magnifying glass. While the benefits of m-commerce seem to cater to online consumers, there are also many perks for digital retailers, too. Perhaps the greatest of them all is the ability to communicate directly with customers. Right now, data tracking and privacy concerns are greater than ever, making remarketing channels less effective.

Mobile apps streamline the shopping experience and make it safer for customers to share their personal information, which online retailers can use to enhance the customer experience—without infringing on customer privacy.  

6. Subscription Commerce

Illustration of pen signing cheque. In case you haven’t noticed, subscription-based e-commerce services are popping up a lot more these days. Visit a few retail sites, and chances are, you’ll come across at least one offering a subscription for anything from food to beauty products, to clothing.

Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) services have been on the rise for several years, but have really stepped up these past 12 months as a frontrunner for increased customer loyalty. Research shows that 15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions, with the most popular selection occurring every month.

Consumers are loving subscription services because of their value, convenience, and personalization, while e-commerce brands are reaping the benefits of higher customer retention and consistent revenue streams. If this trend continues to grow as predicted, the subscription e-commerce market could reach nearly $2.5 billion by 2028.

7. Better Payment Options

Illustration of a credit card. Checkout is one of the most vulnerable places for any e-commerce brand. Here, shoppers can either transform into paying customers or ditch their carts and never return. Cutting out the unnecessary is pivotal at this stage of the purchasing game, but so is providing the right payment methods.

Offering convenient payment options not only enhances the overall customer experience by providing ease of conversion, but it improves trust and security, as customers are more likely to feel confident in making transactions when they have familiar and secure payment methods available. Today, there are countless payment methods available to appeal to shoppers. Accepting major credit cards, digital wallets like PayPal or Apple Pay, and alternative payment methods such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services will accommodate various customer preferences and increase the likelihood of them completing a purchase. 

BNPL, in particular, is another growing trend sweeping the e-commerce industry, mainly because it lets shoppers pay for products in regular installments over time rather than spending upfront. Right now, the worldwide BNPL user base is around 360 million, with consumers paying for an average of  3.8 items in installments—proving that this payment option is a no-brainer that every online retailer should offer.

8. Omnichannel Approach

Person floating in front of multiple rings containing the steps of the e-commerce process. The end shows the purchased product coming out of a box.

Did you know a brand’s purchase rate increases by 287% when at least three channels are used in their retail practices? Omnichannel selling has gained a ton of traction in e-commerce. Rather than starting and finishing their shopper journey at one time and on one device or pathway—be it their computer, phone, or in-store—more consumers are moving in between a brand’s touchpoints.

To accommodate this new way of shopping, e-commerce retailers have started expanding their sales channels across multiple platforms to provide a seamless shopping experience. This includes enabling shoppers to buy from their online stores, social media platforms, marketplaces, and brick-and-mortar, as well as implementing strategies like in-store pickups and click-and-collect.

If you’re questioning whether this type of approach produces results, check this out: Businesses using omnichannel tactics have customer satisfaction rates that are 23 times higher than those that don’t.

9. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Already popular in the world of gaming, augmented and virtual reality are starting to be integrated into more e-commerce sites this year.

These two technologies are being utilized to enhance the online shopping experience by enabling customers to visualize products in real-world settings (using AR) or explore virtual fitting or showrooms (through VR). This allows them to feel like they’re physically interacting with products while shopping online. A consumer can see how they’d look in a jacket, for example, or how a table may look in their dining room, before ordering it. This also leads to more informed decisions and fewer online returns.

VR headset

Although this e-commerce trend is taking off at a slower pace than some of the others on this list, don’t be mistaken – AR and VR have been and will continue to be invaluable tools for smart e-commerce brands looking to deliver an immersive, personalized shopping experience.

When surveyed, 61% of consumers said they prefer retailers with AR experiences, and 71% of customers said they would shop more often if they used AR.

10. Livestreaming

Person talking over a smartphone video. Livestreaming has become a notable trend in e-commerce and is only getting bigger as the year moves on. By 2026, the U.S. livestream shopping market is estimated to be worth $68 billion. For now, this trend is gaining traction, with nearly a quarter of viewers making a purchase during the live show. (Source: Coresight Research and Bambuser)

Why is this interactive trend growing in popularity? For starters, live streaming provides engaging experiences for customers that allow them to connect with the brands they love most (or learn about new ones). E-commerce businesses can showcase their products and respond to customer questions and requests in real-time, giving shoppers the gratification of knowing their concerns have been addressed immediately. This builds trust and encourages immediate purchases—which leads to the next advantage.

Two hands reaching out, about to shake, in front of a green circle. When e-commerce brands live stream, they can make the items they’re presenting available for purchase directly from the live broadcast. This works especially well when paired with a limited-time offer, which creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency to buy.

Embracing the E-Commerce Evolution

Two hands clasping each other. With a little less than six months left in the 2023 year, plenty of e-commerce trends have made their mark on how online retailers do business. So far, this year’s standouts focus on going green, employing innovative AI tools, expanding where (and how) to shop, and delivering personalized experiences that keep your customers coming back for more.

These trends confirm one important realization: The world of e-commerce is forever evolving. In order for any e-commerce business to stay agile, it must adapt to these trends while developing the right strategies to execute them properly. By incorporating these trends into their marketing plans, online retailers will not only position themselves for success but remain one step ahead in an increasingly competitive landscape.  

An E-Commerce Game Changer

Two people high-fiving. With 2023 being the year of personalization, there’s no better tool than Granify. Our machine-learning technology identifies consumer behaviors and patterns and provides real-time insights that empower leading e-commerce enterprises to increase conversions and delight their customers at the same time. Discover what Granify can do for your online business with a free consultation.

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