The world of eCommerce has experienced significant growth in recent years, and this trend is set to continue. With technological advancements and changing consumer preferences, online retail has become essential to the global economy.
According to Statista, data reveals that 2022 eCommerce sales accounted for 32.5% of the United Kingdom’s (UK) overall retail sales. As we gaze into the future and set our sights on 2025, projections indicate that retail eCommerce sales may expand further, accounting for approximately 38.1% of the total retail sales in the UK.
Let’s explore some of the eCommerce trends that drive online retail growth and reshape the shopping experience for customers.
Why are eCommerce trends so important?
eCommerce trends play a crucial role in the success of online businesses, providing valuable insights into changing consumer preferences and behaviours. Adapting to these trends is essential for businesses to stay competitive and meet customer expectations effectively. Here are some key reasons why eCommerce trends are important:
- Insight into changing consumer preferences and behaviours.
- Ability to adapt and stay competitive in the online marketplace.
- Meeting customer expectations effectively.
- Enhancing the overall user experience for customers.
- Guiding marketing and advertising strategies to reach the target audience.
- Integrating new technologies to improve business operations.
- Future planning and staying ahead of the competition.
10 eCommerce Trends Leading the Way
1. Augmented reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have transformed the shopping experience in the fashion and home decor industries. These technologies offer unique interactive experiences to customers, allowing them to visualise and customise products in their own environments without the need to visit a physical store. This has several benefits for both customers and businesses.
One of the major advantages is that AR and VR enable customers to get a better feel for the item before making a purchase. Customers can virtually try on clothes, shoes, or accessories using AR applications in fashion. They can see these items look, check for fit and style, and even experiment with different colours and designs. Similarly, in home decor, customers can use AR or VR to see how furniture, paint colours, or decorations would look in their spaces. This helps customers make better decisions and reduces the likelihood of returns due to mismatched expectations.
2. Voice searches
eCommerce stores should consider optimising their content for voice search. According to recent guidelines from Google, content designed for voice search should incorporate more textual information. By doing so, online stores can increase their chances of appearing in rich snippets and knowledge graphs.
Optimising content for voice search is crucial because voice assistants, like Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon Alexa, have become increasingly popular. Users often rely on voice commands to search for information, make inquiries, and even shop online. To optimise content for voice search, consider incorporating conversational language throughout your website. You can better align your content with the way users interact with voice assistants, making it more likely for your online store to be featured in voice search results.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI makes automated and tailored shopping experiences possible. AI systems continuously gather data on customers’ shopping behaviours, purchase patterns, and preferences, allowing for more targeted recommendations and customised offerings. This level of personalisation is difficult to replicate in a traditional in-store setting.
The collection and analysis of customer data by AI enable businesses to gain valuable insights into individual shopping habits. Companies can provide more relevant recommendations and suggestions by understanding when customers make purchases, what products or services they are interested in, and their specific preferences.
4. On-Site Personalisation
In modern online shopping, customers highly value a personalised approach that caters to their specific needs rather than simply promoting what retailers want to sell. According to Accenture, most customers (91%) opt to purchase from companies that provide personalised recommendations.
Customers appreciate personalised recommendations because they streamline the shopping process, saving them time and effort to find desired products. When businesses can effectively anticipate and fulfill their customer’s needs, it creates a positive impression and builds customer loyalty.
One of the key advantages of chatbots is their ability to work continuously, 24/7, without the need for breaks or rest. Customers can engage with chatbots anytime, receiving instant responses to their queries or concerns. This uninterrupted availability ensures that businesses can support and assist their customers whenever needed, enhancing overall customer satisfaction.
Chatbots reduce the workload of human customer service agents by automating routine tasks and frequently asked questions. This automation enables businesses to allocate their human resources more effectively, focusing on more complex and specialised tasks, while the chatbots efficiently handle routine inquiries. This results in cost savings for businesses without compromising on the quality of customer service.
6. Mobile shopping
Mobile shopping has become a preferred method for consumers due to its convenience and accessibility. With smartphones and tablets, shoppers can browse online stores, search for products, and purchase anytime and anywhere. The convenience of mobile shopping allows customers to seamlessly integrate their shopping activities into their daily lives, making it easier to find and buy the items they desire.
The availability of comprehensive product information on mobile platforms has contributed to the popularity of mobile shopping. Consumers can access detailed descriptions, specifications, customer reviews, and ratings, helping them make informed purchasing decisions. This access to information empowers shoppers to compare prices, evaluate product quality, and assess the overall value before purchasing.
7. More ways to pay
Offering various payment options in eCommerce stores provides a competitive advantage, giving customers the flexibility to choose a payment method that suits their preferences and circumstances. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of cart abandonment. Here are several payment options that can be considered:
Cards: Debit and credit cards are eCommerce’s most popular and widely accepted payment methods. Contactless cards, utilising RFID or Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, have gained significance, particularly during the pandemic. They allow buyers to make payments without physical contact with the terminal, enhancing convenience and safety.
Bank transfers: Online bank transfers require internet banking and offer a secure payment method. Transactions are protected through authentication and encryption, ensuring data security. Bank transfers also eliminate the need for physical interaction, promoting safety during the payment process.
Cash: Despite the increasing popularity of cashless payments, offering the option of cash payments is important. Some customers, particularly older people, may still prefer cash transactions. Cash payment remains a reliable option in areas with poor internet connectivity or during technical issues with card terminals or bank operations.
Mobile payments: Mobile phones have become convenient payment tools, and mobile payment solutions are gaining popularity. By setting up payment software and utilising NFC-enabled devices, customers can make quick and easy payments by simply holding their devices close to a compatible payment terminal.
eWallets: Digital wallets or eWallets are emerging as a convenient payment method in eCommerce. Users create accounts, link them to their bank accounts, and can transfer funds to dedicated merchant accounts using electronic devices. eWallets provide a seamless and secure payment experience, reducing the need to enter each transaction’s card details.
Cryptocurrencies: Although still a topic of debate, cryptocurrency payment methods hold potential for the future. While yet to be widely adopted, offering cryptocurrency payment options may attract tech-savvy customers who prefer digital currencies.
8. Headless and API-driven eCommerce
Headless commerce, or API-driven commerce, decouples the backend, where product content is stored and managed from the frontend or presentation layer. This architecture allows for a unified system with integrated sales and marketing tools, empowering online stores to effortlessly create and distribute consistent content across various devices using APIs.
For large eCommerce companies, the adoption of BladePRO solutions is gaining traction. These solutions provide the flexibility required for headless commerce and enable enhanced control over content management. By leveraging BladePRO, enterprises can effectively separate the presentation layer from the backend, facilitating seamless integration with multiple channels and ensuring a cohesive customer experience across all touchpoints.
9. Video content
Video content holds a special appeal for online shoppers, surpassing other types of information in terms of engagement and influence. Research suggests that when users watch a video demonstrating the functions and benefits of a product, their desire to make a purchase can increase by 64-85%. This has led to the emergence of a video commerce branch within the eCommerce industry.
The use of video content has become a powerful tool for retailers to enhance customer engagement and boost conversion rates. Short video snippets can convey information more effectively than static images or text. In as little as 20 seconds, a video can effectively showcase a product’s features and applications, convincing consumers to make quick purchasing decisions.
10. New Marketplaces and Distribution Channels
Expanding the number of touchpoints with customers can significantly impact product sales for retailers. By embracing multiple distribution channels, retailers can reach a broader audience and increase their potential to sell more products. It is crucial not to limit oneself to existing channels but instead explore additional sales avenues to expand market reach.
One highly effective option is to leverage popular marketplaces. Many retailers recognise the value of active participation in leading marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. These marketplaces attract millions of potential buyers actively searching for products, making them ideal platforms to expand their reach and increase sales potential.
I-Fulfilment’s thoughts on the future of eCommerce
The eCommerce landscape is highly competitive and constantly evolving. I-Fulfilment’s vision for the future of eCommerce highlights the importance of a well-rounded strategy.
In this constantly changing, highly competitive eCommerce and economic landscape, brands need a balanced approach, leveraging both B2B and B2C channels while aligning solutions to their specific customer needs.
Essential to this approach is an efficient tech stack, enabling quick adaptation to market shifts. Equally vital is the building of strategic fulfilment partnerships with entities possessing a strong global footprint, expanding a brand’s reach and influence whilst retaining focus on the end customers’ experience
Furthermore, brands must take a strategic view of inventory management. Implementing minimum stock holding practices can reduce overhead costs and risk while introducing Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing where possible can streamline operations and enhance efficiency.
Lastly, the development and implementation of a sound marketplace strategy, which aligns with current trends and anticipates the future of eCommerce, are critical for success.
To summarise, a successful eCommerce strategy requires a blend of targeted channels, agile tech capabilities, strong global partnerships, strategic inventory management, and a forward-thinking marketplace strategy with customer needs at its heart.