We will cover following topics
- Factors Shaping E-Commerce Now
- Future Trends For E-Commerce
E-commerce is the future. You probably have heard this phrase from multiple industry experts and analysts. Indeed, it has become a global trend, with many online marketplaces and niche e-stores opening worldwide. A recent industry report states that E-Commerce will account for around 20.4% of retail sales worldwide before 2023. The industry is rapidly growing, regularly implementing new online business trends.
E-commerce juggernauts and small businesses compete for consumers' attention. This results in increased advertising costs and reduced return on ad spend. Advertising on Facebook, for example, already costs 47% more than last year.
Over the years, online commerce has grown rapidly and drastically transformed the retail industry. The Covid-19 pandemic gave with tendency a boost. At that time, online shopping was the best option for getting what you needed with zero risks.
However, with so many new technologies and advancements in the industry, e-commerce itself has undergone major transformations. And, for sure, this is just the beginning, and the future of ECommerce seems bright.
But how can you succeed in this industry and stand out among competitors? In this article, we've listed some trends that will shape the future of online business. Some of them are already part of our daily lives, and they will become even more pronounced. Some are just emerging, but have tremendous potential. Read on to see the complete list!
Factors Shaping E-Commerce Now
With e-commerce constantly evolving, there are multiple aspects that change the way we see the industry’s future. We have listed some of the most significant factors that can bring significant advancement to e-commerce in the upcoming year.
Omnichannel shopping options
Around 73% of customers use various channels to ensure a more consistent and complete customer journey. You won't complete a purchase once you're on a company's website — you'll probably want to make sure this online shop or service provider is a reliable one. That's why your customer journey will expand to visiting their social media, review websites, and other sources where they can find detailed feedback from other customers.
Moreover, many customers usually compare prices of different online stores to find the most affordable option. So, the journey will include competitors' websites and price-comparing platforms. Therefore, you should ensure your business will stand out even in this wider picture.
Social media has become one of the most important communication channels now. You can not only scroll your news feed and see how your friends are doing but also set up your own business and make purchases. Younger generations like Gen Z, for example, prefer using TikTok for product recommendations. It's more helpful for them than Google.
Enhancing an e-commerce business or promoting it via social media has become inalienable for most entrepreneurs as it boosts their online presence and helps them find new customers.
To help more users process orders faster, implementing multiple payment options is the best idea for an emerging online shop. Your marketplace should support various card providers and payment services like Apple or Google Pay. This not just accelerates the purchasing process but also facilitates marketplace usage and enhances user experience.
Also, think of implementing the opportunity to insert vouchers or promo codes if you plan to launch any promo campaigns. A number of online shopping platforms lack such fields. Therefore, finding where to enter the discount code becomes a challenge.
With online shopping being a global trend, it's necessary to ensure customers enjoy the full journey — from seeing the desired product to receiving it. Delivery is also essential for ensuring a flawless experience, although it can be a complex process. Delays or the wrong package contents surely affect customers' loyalty.
To prevent this from happening, you need a well-groomed supply chain. Partner with the most reliable delivery services, make sure your delivery stations are neat and working well, and try to automate most of the processes, like wrapping packages and tagging the order numbers on the boxes.
Future Trends For E-Commerce
We can only predict what innovations today will still be popular and useful tomorrow. However, several trends in online business stand out:
- Specialization of smaller retailers
- Immersive customer experiences
- Distribution and delivery innovations
- Specialization of smaller retailers
Large online marketplaces and retailers will still probably account for most online purchases. Smaller retailers may increasingly become more specialized by offering highly customizable products, niche product categories that larger retailers usually don't offer, and more personalized services.
Small retailers can compete well with big businesses by offering outstanding customer care and support. Big retailers have too many clients to deal with, so they're usually unable to offer truly personalized services. They are more focused on groups of customers and target audience subgroups rather than individual shoppers’ experiences.
Feeling special makes customers return for more. This goes far beyond greeting everyone at the door. Small retailers have time to ask customers about their needs, get to know their preferences, and help them find a perfect solution among many options. Based on this information, online marketplaces can create multiple loyalty programs to satisfy more clients.
Immersive customer experiences
Today, many customers still like going to a physical store to try an item before buying it. However, virtual and augmented reality can already provide immersive experiences online, so customers feel like they’ve handled an appliance or tried on a garment without actually visiting a store.
Virtual reality (VR) is fully immersive. By putting on a VR headset, users can view a simulated physical world with audio-visual feedback. Wouldn’t it be great to wear the headset and try new clothes without visiting the store? This technology will soon redefine the future of online shopping worldwide.
Augmented reality (AR) is semi-immersive. Users may not need to enter a totally simulated physical world. AR adds audio-visual feedback to your existing world. What if you could automatically view sunglasses in your shopping cart overlaid on an image of yourself on your phone? What if it could save items from any e-commerce store so you could “try them on” again? Such an option is a great alternative to re-visiting the same store multiple times and spending excessive time shopping.
Chatbots are specialized programs that businesses use to simulate real-life conversations with users. They're able to check if everything is fine and whether you need any assistance. You can also call them an e-version of a shop assistant. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning may use data from actual conversations to improve the overall shoppers’ experience.
Four major distribution and delivery innovations
Some distribution industry elements are still slowing down particular automation processes.
For example, in terms of record-keeping, industries from e-commerce to pharma are quickly moving ahead, offering convenient, efficient solutions. However, many supply chain industry workers still use a paper trail for shipping. Such an old-fashioned system results in significant costs and efficiency losses.
Still, many industry representatives are trying to embrace technology and improve inventory control operations. Now, wireless technologies help track in-store items and check their availability and movements. This will positively change the e-commerce future and enhance service quality and customer satisfaction.
B2B customers expect B2C-level personalization and responsiveness
Working in the digital environment, you may think of customers as rows or columns in the database. Don’t get caught in that trap. Remember: your customers are people.
As a matter of fact, Amazon and Netflix have drastically changed the customer image of B2C communication, and those expectations have transferred into the B2B (business-to-business) realm. People now want more personalization, responsiveness, and superior product presentation and delivery quality.
Luckily, e-commerce has successfully brought such a level of customer service to people. The following developments in wholesale distribution show how the demands of the industry are changing.
Product presentation. An increase in digital databases means businesses are now asking for resources such as high-quality product images in 3D or better search options to find what they desire.
More channels. People seek a higher level of consistency across various platforms or services too. For instance, you can easily track the number of customers using iPads to visit an E-Commerce webpage. Companies should monitor these trends and make the necessary changes on their sites to better serve those customers’ needs.
Immediate feedback. Just like B2C customers use Yelp or TripAdvisor to give feedback on their customer experiences, a handful of leading distributors are surveying enterprise customers about their willingness to recommend them. Wholesale distributors are now using social platforms (Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook) as an additional communication channel to connect with customers and collaborate with influencers.
How global dynamics impact the supply chain
An essential role in the supply chain belongs to wholesale distributors. However, the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated how quickly that role could change.
During the Covid pandemic, the demand either spiked to a point when distributors couldn’t keep up with it or significantly fell.
This change forced distributors to ask important questions, such as “How am I going to manage my current inventory?” or “How to search for new channels where I can sell it?”
It also changed the emphasis — now, you have to foresee future disruptions in the supply chain in a different way. The focus is now on demand, inventory, and supply planning processes.
McKinsey states that companies can still maintain their positions in the supply chain by implementing the following:
- Creating transparency
- Estimating available inventory
- Assessing realistic demands
- Managing working capital
Increased competitiveness due to expanding markets
Wholesale distributors are also struggling with fierce competition. Some of the largest retailers are trying to expand and innovate the market. Traditional distributors must find a viable response to that by reducing margins in segments like building supplies or lighting. Also, they should invest more time into creating an innovative distribution chain.
More competition motivates and forces the development of new business models, making wholesale distributors search for new revenue sources using innovative project management frameworks and value-added services. No matter which technologies end up being adopted over the next ten years, e-сommerce will continue to grow, and our daily lives and habits will change, too.
The prospects of e-commerce are great as technology and market trends evoke various opportunities for growth. It's a diversified, promising field to start your own business. However, with the growing number of e-shops, it can be quite competitive too.
So, to stand out in the market and increase sales as you launch your online business, take care of three main aspects: personalization, automation, and innovation. Experimenting with technologies like AR and VR will enhance customers’ online shopping experience, while personalized features will increase their loyalty. At the same time, automation will help you focus on boosting the quality of your services.
If you're starting to think about launching your e-commerce platform, we can help you bring your ideas to life. Our team can develop and launch your online marketplace, making it appealing, intuitive, and convenient. Feel free to contact us to can discuss your plans and ideas!
Will the e-commerce industry continue to advance?
Multiple factors will affect the industry in the future. New e-commerce services and platforms continue to appear on the market, and businesses are looking for new ways of attracting potential customers and gaining their trust.
Some of the emerging trends in the industry include implementing more customizable options while shopping, fintech innovations to enhance the buying experience, and improvements in the supply chain and procurement to make the delivery process smoother and less painful for customers.
How can e-commerce impact customers and their experiences?
The e-commerce industry can deeply enhance customers' buying experiences. Thanks to implementing automation and customization elements, people get a better quality of services, faster request completion, and fewer delivery issues. It now becomes possible to purchase from anywhere with just internet access. Moreover, you can now adjust orders and enjoy excellent customer service without the need to visit the store.
Why is the E-Commerce industry so popular among modern startups and SMBs?
The E-Commerce industry is quite a popular choice among newly emerging businesses like startups or SMBs. It's easy to enter the market, and you don't need to worry about building or arranging an actual store to run a business, as you can do everything online.
Moreover, setting up an E-Commerce platform can be quite flexible. You can quickly make any change to re-focus on other target customer groups or implement solutions accessible to wider audiences. You can easily track industry trends and set up your business in a niche that has yet to be overcrowded with competitors.
People will always be buying items, and the E-Commerce industry is highly reactive to changes in customer behavior and market trends — that's why it's so popular among business owners.
How can you define voice commerce?
Voice commerce is practically E-Commerce via voice controls. This means you can process a transaction and purchase via voice assistants or smart speakers like Alexa, Siri, and others. This type of E-Commerce also allows users to run operations quicker with fewer interactions with their mobile devices.
What does M-Commerce mean?
M-Commerce or mobile commerce means instantly purchasing or selling items via wireless devices such as mobile phones. This is a branch of e-commerce, and it enables users to process transactions without using a PC.
This is a significant advancement in the E-Commerce industry as many people need to make instant purchases or other actions — for example, cancel a booking or exchange a ticket if their trip plans change. Now, you don't need to wait for the opportunity to do that, and it saves a lot of time, effort, and, eventually, money.