Global retail eCommerce sales are only expected to increase in the coming years. While this is good for eCommerce businesses, it also means that there will be more competition.
To help your online business stand out, we have scoured the web for eCommerce trends that are expected to shape the industry for the foreseeable future. From AI to UGC, here are 21 of the top eCommerce trends for 2023.
21 eCommerce Trends You Need to Know in 2023:
- 1. Personalization Will Remain Critical
- 2. Environmental Sustainability Will Play a Bigger Factor
- 3. Customized Packaging Will Become More Popular
- 4. Chatbots Will Become More Common Practice
- 5. AI Will Become More Useful
- 6. Data Protection Will Need to Get More Attention
- 7. Mobile Shopping Will Drive Many Sales
- 8. Video Will Remain Effective
- 9. Subscriptions Will Remain Attractive (Even for Products)
- 10. A Wider Variety of Payment Options Will Be Provided
- 11. AR Will Become More of a Reality
- 12. Voice Search Will Become Second Nature
- 13. Multichannel Selling Will Be the Way Forward
- 14. Influencers Will Stay a Valuable Asset
- 15. Digital Content Will Become a Requirement
- 16. UGC Will Grow
- 17. Live Shopping Will Increase
- 18. Online Sales Will Continue to Grow
- 19. Inflation Will Make Consumers Diligent Researchers
- 20. Online Shopping Will Serve a Specific Goal
- 21. First-class Customer Service Will Be a Major Expectation
1. Personalization Will Remain Critical
It doesn’t matter if you’re part of the B2B or B2C industry, your target audience will expect some degree of personalization. Whether you simply use it in your marketing or take it further and include it on your eCommerce site too, it can help you to generate more sales. In fact, a survey completed among US online shoppers in 2022 revealed that only 12% indicated that a personalized experience didn’t sway them to continue shopping on a retailer’s website.
In 2023 and beyond, eCommerce brands will use data for more than just insights. Instead, online stores will use customer data not just to improve their service or expand their product range, but they’ll also use it to see where and how they can better the customer experience.
The following are some examples of how you can offer personalization:
- Offer customized deals using the preferences of your customers
- Include product recommendations in your email marketing or, alternatively, send your customers valuable information about the products that they’ve already purchased
- Create targeted content that you share via video
- Offer a free guide on how a product can solve the challenges faced by your customers
2. Environmental Sustainability Will Play a Bigger Factor
Consumers are starting to place a much greater emphasis on sustainability. To give you an idea just how big of a deal it is, consider these stats:
- Since 2016, searches for sustainable goods have grown by more than 70% around the world (The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2021).
- Half of shoppers in the UK and USA would like brands to create products that use less packaging (Statista).
- Almost 90% of US shoppers will delay delivery if it means that it will be more sustainable, while almost a third is willing to delay it by as many as five days (Statista).
So, if your eCommerce business wants to thrive it will need to be willing to adopt more sustainable practices like Zara, H&M, and Adidas. Both Zara and H&M pledged that they’ll use 100% sustainable fabrics before 2030, while Adidas plans on phasing out virgin polyester in the next year. From paperless offices to plastic-free packaging, even the smallest change can make a difference in how your target audience perceives your brand.
Here are a few other not-so-obvious ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint:
- Ensure that you optimize your product images to increase the speed at which your pages load
- Pay attention to the navigation of your site to ensure that visitors don’t need to spend more time than necessary on their devices
- Opt to work with service providers that use renewable energy
3. Customized Packaging Will Become More Popular
As mentioned, both personalization and sustainability will become more important to consumers moving forward. With the help of customized packaging, eCommerce brands will be able to address both these trends.
Online stores can, for example, highlight that their packaging is eco-friendly. Or, how about surprising them with a personal touch like a short, handwritten note to thank them for their purchase?
According to Ipsos, more than 70% of Americans admit that the packaging design impacts their purchases. So, always remember that it’s more than just a box. After all, sometimes the box ends up being more popular than the toy itself.
4. Chatbots Will Become More Common Practice
Increasingly more online shoppers are starting to interact with chatbots. Insider Intelligence predicts that by 2024, consumer retail spend by means of chatbots will amount to $142 billion. To put this in perspective, this amount was just under $3 billion in 2019.
In today’s day and age, consumers have an expectation that they will be able to access customer support 24/7. So, if you want your eCommerce company to keep up with the changing times, using a chatbot that can answer customer queries will be a smart investment.
As increasingly more eCommerce businesses start to use chatbots, the development of chatbots will also improve. In fact, it’s anticipated that the design will become increasingly more sophisticated and, ultimately, interactive artificial intelligence might even become the new standard for customer service.
Here are some ideas:
- Use it to recall key info about previous orders eliminating the need for customers to retype details
- Entrust chatbots with the job of answering questions about products or services
5. AI Will Become More Useful
In 2023 and beyond, eCommerce businesses will be able to take advantage of more benefits offered by artificial intelligence (AI). From inventory management to customer service, there are many ways in which AI can serve online stores.
Ricky Ray Butler of BEN Group specifically highlights the value that AI can offer for content creation. She goes as far as to state that brands will realize that AI is a must-have as the rate at which they need to produce and share content will be too much for any mere mortal.
6. Data Protection Will Need to Get More Attention
While offering a personalized customer experience is key, it shouldn’t be at the expense of having to part with too many personal details. Moving forward, marketers will have to think carefully about which personal data they really need to obtain and how they get and use it. For example, this might mean not asking customers to create an account before they can finalize a sale. At least, give them the option.
It’s completely understandable. Your customer doesn’t necessarily want to be added to your email list just because they made a one-time purchase. Then, there’s also the fear that their favorite online store might fall victim to a data breach which could make them vulnerable if their data was stored on their system.
So, don’t make retaining a customer’s payment details or being added to an email list default options. Let them tick the box instead of them having to untick your preferred choices.
7. Mobile Shopping Will Drive Many Sales
Nowadays, mobile phones are rarely used for phone calls. Come on, be honest, when was the last time that you phoned a friend just to catch up? Instead, we grab our phones to catch up on the latest deals.
According to Statista, in 2021, 72.9% of all retail eCommerce was generated by means of mobile commerce (the buying and selling of products via smartphones and tablets). What’s even more impressive is that in just five years, it has increased by 20%.
So, if your eCommerce site is still not optimized for mobile devices, you’re possibly missing out on a huge market share. What’s more, this market share will only grow in the coming years when you look at the stats of the past five years.
8. Video Will Remain Effective
By adding videos to your website and social media channels, you can capture your target audience’s attention and keep them engaged for much longer. As this medium is also extremely versatile, you can use it for a wide range of purposes. From providing answers to common customer problems to simply using it to display your products better, video can be utilized effectively by virtually any eCommerce site.
In addition to creating videos, you can also consider creating shoppable videos if you’re feeling more adventurous. With a shoppable video, the only thing consumers have to do is click on one of the embedded clickable links and they will be directed to the page where they can find more information about that specific product or purchase it online.
Here are some powerful statistics about the impact of video just in case you need more convincing:
- According to a Pinterest blog post, their community of Pinners is watching almost one billion videos on a daily basis.
- A survey completed in 2022 in the United Kingdom has found that more than 45% of fashion and lifestyle consumers that use TikTok spend anything between one and three hours per day on the platform.
- The average time spent per user via YouTube’s mobile app per month is 23.7 hours.
9. Subscriptions Will Remain Attractive (Even for Products)
When it’s done right, subscription can be a win-win. Your customers will find it convenient, while it can help your eCommerce site to plan its inventory better.
A study completed by Kearney revealed that many heavy eCommerce users in the US, France, and Germany are interested in signing up for a subscription too. More than a third of weekly buyers have already signed up for a subscription, while 12% were ready to give it a go.
10. A Wider Variety of Payment Options Will Be Provided
If you don’t offer a wide variety of payment options, you risk losing a sale. A variety of payment options can also help to boost conversion rates on mobile devices, in particular.
As mobile shopping is expected to increase even more in the years to come, it will make sense for eCommerce sites to reassess the payment options that they offer. Also, as offering a personalized customer experience is expected to become more crucial, more ways to pay will help you to capitalize on more than one emerging trend.
Whether it’s digital/mobile wallets, cryptocurrency, or biometrics, online shoppers want faster transactions, without sacrificing security. In fact, online data shared by Statista reveals that more or less 50% of global eCommerce payment transactions in 2021 were made using digital and mobile wallets. What’s more, it’s anticipated that it will account for more than 53% by 2025. To put this into perspective, credit cards are used for only 21% of transactions.
11. AR Will Become More of a Reality
Online businesses that focus on home decor and fashion specifically will be able to improve the shopping experience by embracing augmented reality (AR). In short, with augmented reality (AR) customers can, for example, see how they will look in a specific outfit or how a furniture item will fit in with their living room. This way, customers will be able to get a much better idea of the products while browsing online.
Not only will it help improve the overall customer experience, but also engagement. According to Retail Brew, shoppers engage with 3D images of products almost 50% more than static images.
12. Voice Search Will Become Second Nature
At the beginning of 2022, more than a third of people in the US owned a smart speaker, according to online data shared by Insider Intelligence. Statista estimates this at 60% of US households and it’s expected to increase to 75% by 2025. As a result, increasingly more people will use voice search for online shopping too with voice commerce sales expected to exceed $30 billion by 2024 based on the data from The Future of Commerce and Customer Engagement.
This will have an impact on the content and keywords that eCommerce stores should use. To optimize your site for voice search, you can, for example, use long, conversational keywords, question-type keywords, and natural language.
With regards to content, solution-focused content will be more in demand. Most of the time, we quickly use a voice search to get an answer for a question. So, the most effective content will answer questions about your products that your customers will ask by means of a voice search.
13. Multichannel Selling Will Be the Way Forward
To help boost conversions, more eCommerce businesses will look to Facebook advertising and direct selling via social media. According to social commerce stats, about 25% of internet users’ main reason for using social media is to buy products, as a matter of fact.
So, to take advantage of consumers’ eagerness to buy directly via other channels than just a store’s site, you should seriously consider listing on marketplaces too. Identify the top marketplace for your industry and become a seller there. Though, this should be done in addition to your eCommerce site. By just listing on these marketplaces, you’ll ultimately reduce the opportunities for your brand to grow.
14. Influencers Will Stay a Valuable Asset
According to our The State of Influencer Marketing 2022: Benchmark Report, more than half of eCommerce stores work with influencers. What’s more, the vast majority of survey respondents that participated were overall positive about influencer marketing, with more than 90% believing that it was an effective marketing strategy.
When working with an influencer, the objective should be to create anything that your target audience will find valuable. So, in 2023 and beyond, think broader than just advertisements!
15. Digital Content Will Become a Requirement
The pandemic has proven how important online advertising is in today’s day and age. With the eCommerce market expanding rapidly, the competition will grow. In order to stand out on the web, eCommerce businesses will have to start focusing more and more on innovative advertising content.
16. UGC Will Grow
Adding to the previous point about the importance of content, user-generated content (UGC) in particular will continue to grow. As Awin puts it, users will become the new content creators. By partnering with an influencer, eCommerce brands can create authentic content that will help boost brand awareness.
17. Live Shopping Will Increase
Live streaming is growing in popularity. In fact, according to live streaming stats, it’s expected that the global live streaming market will reach $247 billion by 2027.
And, if you thought that it only applies to events, think again. It can be quite useful for online shopping too. As it lets customers see your products in real time, it offers another form of social proof. Plus, as they also get the chance to ask questions, it can further help to personalize the overall customer experience.
18. Online Sales Will Continue to Grow
If after reading these trends you still feel unsure if you want to put in more work to keep up with the times, consider this statistic. Global retail eCommerce sales is expected to grow by nearly 60% over the next few years to reach approximately $8 trillion by 2026, according to Statista.
Consumers are starting to trust online stores more and improvements in website design means that it’s actually convenient to shop online. While the global COVID-19 pandemic has helped to fuel online sales tremendously, experts anticipate that the positive effect of the pandemic on eCommerce will be long-lasting.
19. Inflation Will Make Consumers Diligent Researchers
That being said, while online sales might be booming, inflation is expected to have an impact on consumer spending habits. According to the US Inflation Calculator, the inflation rate for 2022 is estimated at just over 8%. To put this in better perspective, between 2012 and 2020, the highest that it’s been was 2.3%. And, it’s not just in the US. In the United Kingdom, inflation reached a 40-year high in July 2022 of 10.1%.
What this means for your eCommerce business in the next two years at least is that potential customers will focus more on product research. To make it easier for them to reach an informed decision, ensure your content is comprehensive, yet easy to digest.
Also, focus on the value that it can offer. Consumers will have to think twice about what they buy, especially when it comes to nonessentials. That said, you’ll probably still be able to sway them to buy a smaller luxury item. Though, getting them to commit to a major purchase might be more of a challenge.
Moving forward, eCommerce brands might also have to reconsider perks like free returns. While a survey completed by SearchNode, the Ecommerce Trends 2021 Survey Report, revealed that 59% of participants will offer free return in 2021 and that 12% were seriously considering it, inflation can make it harder for brands to continue offering it.
20. Online Shopping Will Serve a Specific Goal
Brick-and-mortar stores are enjoying a new-found popularity again, thanks to lockdown restrictions being lifted across the world. However, the pandemic has changed a lot, including consumers’ shopping behavior.
Nowadays, online shopping and in-person shopping serve unique goals. Brick-and-mortar stores act as showrooms. On the other hand, online shopping is more often used for everyday essentials. When shopping online, consumers are searching for a specific item, but want the experience to be efficient and personalized.
21. First-class Customer Service Will Be a Major Expectation
When you consider that consumers will think twice before spending money and turn to online stores over physical locations specifically for the experience, it makes sense that customer service will need to be flawless moving forward. The customer service and experience that you offer will be one of the main things that will separate you from your competitors.
Wrapping Things Up
It might be relatively easy to set up an online store (especially with the huge selection of eCommerce platforms available), but to grow your business from there can’t be done in the click of a button. If you want your online venture to be as successful as it can be and get your share of the $8 trillion, you need to think strategically and adopt your strategies continuously to meet changes in consumer behavior.
What worked last year or even last month is not guaranteed to get the same results tomorrow. With the advances in technology, there are more tools available to eCommerce businesses. And, consumers know that.
As a result, they’ve grown to expect personalized experiences and more options. After all, if you have the means to improve the online shopping experience for your target audience, why shouldn’t you? Staying up to speed with the latest developments in eCommerce trends can be hard work, but by making the effort your business will stand out in the saturated industry.