What can be more convenient than the opportunity to buy and sell products in just a few clicks? In 2020, more than 2 billion people bought goods online. In the same year, eCommerce sales worldwide reached $4.28 trillion. More and more businesses entered this industry. So, we decided to take a look at the latest ecommerce trends to follow for you to stay competitive.
Online Shopping Trends that Stay Relevant
Do you want to open an online business? Check out the 10-step guide not to miss anything vital and develop a good plan. And if you have an ecommerce store and want to know what is waiting for retail in the future — let’s move to the discussion.
BOPIS (or click-and-collect) is still in demand
With the rise of the pandemic, BOPIS (Buy Online and Pick Up in Store) became a necessity. Retailers couldn’t allow clients to enter a brick-and-mortar store. Thus, they offered them either delivery service or curbside pickup. Retail customers liked the convenience and speed of the second option. It turned into one of the growing trends in online shopping. By 2024, the US click-and-collect market is projected to grow to $140 billion.
Click and collect represents the form of omnichannel customer experience with high returns. E-commerce clients love BOPIS for efficiency and speed. They save delivery costs and can quickly get their orders from the nearest spot. Meanwhile, clients do not have to spend lots of time at brick-and-mortar stores. They just place their orders online on ecommerce sites.
By offering click and collect, you bridge the gap between those who prefer online shopping and those who like the very process of visiting physical stores but want to make it as efficient as possible.
We want to start our discussion with the trends in ecommerce in the B2B sector. Online businesses see how user experiences are changing. Customers wish that B2B sellers could fulfill orders faster. To facilitate order fulfillment, B2B companies will have to automate operations for this. They need to integrate order management software or robots, as Shopify does.
With order management systems, they streamline supply chain management across multiple sales touchpoints. Also, there are other alternatives such as third-party fulfillment (3PL) or warehouse automation. 3PL is a good option for growing ecommerce stores that look for ways to minimize expenditures.
Going green becomes a necessity
B2B ecommerce should drive environmental and social sustainability initiatives. Especially, it concerns ecommerce brands performing in high-risk sectors. Adrian King, Co-Chair of KPMG IMPACT, appeals to online business leaders. He encourages leaders to help fight the biodiversity crisis right now. And vendors who neglect such issues will be scrutinized very soon.
According to the NAVEX Global survey, millennial leaders appreciate ESG initiatives. They are more inherent to implement sustainable programs than their predecessors. 64% believe they should. 55% state that environmental factors most impact a company’s reputation.
KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting states that the volume of sustainability reporting increased. 90% of the largest companies in the world published sustainability reports. 30 years ago, this figure was only 12%. This is thanks to the government and new regulations. But also due to increasing awareness of how ESG issues impact corporate value and revenues.
More and more prominent eCommerce companies pledge to implement environmentally friendly practices. Amazon, for example, intends to go completely carbon-free by 2040. Companies that become “green” increase their chances of being major players in the online retail market in the coming years.
Some of the steps that you can take towards embracing green consumerism:
- Be open about your goals and the “green” practices that you use to achieve them.
- Provide regular updates on the status of your goals.
- Use email instead of paper to send receipts.
- Switch to eco-friendly packaging for your existing products.
Adopting sustainable business practices can also be a way to increase consumer demand. For online businesses, reducing packaging waste is a good way to start. Here are some ideas for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic:
Mobile shopping gets smarter
Mobile software development is among the e-commerce technology trends that are taking over the industry. In 2017, the mobile commerce market share was 58.9%. In 2021, it was projected to reach 72.9%. Such numbers surprise neither eCommerce businesses nor online consumers. What is truly surprising is the power of m-commerce.
Mobile shopping is getting smarter. Automation and analytics tools enhance order processing and fulfillment. Clients get 24/7 support, while online stores are ensured high-level stock management and control. Machines do work instead of humans and save them time for more creative and goal-oriented tasks.
The mobile-first approach is one of the current trends in ecommerce that always keep mobile devices in mind. That means that vendors design their ecommerce solutions first to work for mobile devices. After this, vendors adjust the software for desktops.
We frequently advise our eCommerce clients to implement a mobile-first approach to eCommerce software development. For example, we had the experience of carrying out research for Offerta. We found out that more than half of their existing customers offer services via smartphones. This was a valuable insight for the company and allowed them to adjust their digital efforts to user needs.
Are you inspired by the industry prospects and want to build your own solution? Then you need to take the process of looking for partners seriously. In our recent blogpost, we outlined some valuable pieces of advice for choosing an eCommerce development company. We invite you to check it out to find the best fit for your business case.
Chatbots are users’ best friends
Usually, chatbots can answer at least 80% of common questions asked by clients. Among the benefits they offer, the most important is getting a quick answer in an emergency (37%). This advantage is followed by another one — resolving a complaint or problem (35%). One more thing that customers expect from using chatbots is getting detailed answers or explanations (35%).
But every owner of an online store needs to realize that chatbots cannot replace humans. Chatbots undoubtedly give you many benefits. But users claim human communication to be the best solution for the issues they encounter.
The best way is to implement chatbots but to offer clients the chance to get in touch with employees if a chatbot fails to satisfy their requests.
Top Ecommerce Industry Trends that Enter the Game
Voice search will seriously compete with text search
Here comes one of the new ecommerce trends. Customers are getting used to voice search. This is a more convenient form of making search requests. In 2020, more than 4 billion digital voice assistants were being used worldwide. By 2024, this number is going to double and reach 8.4 billion. More and more people will use voice assistants in the nearby future. We forecast that soon, the rise of voice searches will be a booming ecommerce trend.
You should optimize your ecommerce website for voice search. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Use long-tail key phrases that are highly contextualized. This will optimize your web pages for actual questions rather than exact keywords.
- Make sure your website is fast, secure (uses HTTPS), and works well on mobile.
- Create a voice-based option for your ecommerce website navigation.
- Streamline your checkout process to make it easier to complete with voice commands.
Gen Z appear on the scene
When we talk about the retail ecommerce trends, the customer base will shift significantly. Where millennials once edged out boomers, you must now put effort into appealing to Gen Z. These digital natives will surely lead to an increase in online sales and mobile shopping. But they also expect customer experience to be efficient and hassle-free.
Here are some more facts about Gen Z’s customer behavior:
The first thing that makes Gen Z different is their age, of course. Gen Z are those born in 1997-2012. As you see, these people grew up in the era of technological advancement. Unlike millennials, they did not have to get used to technology. From the very start, technology was present in their lives.
More and more Gen Z people are becoming e-commerce clients. Companies need to ensure a smooth and effortless experience for them. Compared to millennials, Gen Z possess different financial habits. Non-personalized communication, aggressive sales pitches, and cold calls belong to B2B marketing tactics that Gen Zers hate nowadays. That’s why the number of B2B companies that invest in building a self-service B2B ecommerce strategy for Gen Z increases.
As for millennials, they still make up 60% of the market. 87% of them prefer self-service options rather than talking to vendor representatives. What influences consumer behavior of this category of clients? Free trials, product demos, and user reviews are among top-3 trustworthy information sources. This is in contrast to product websites and vendor representatives, which millennials dislike.
Online marketplaces will be in the spotlight
Online marketplaces are not a new ecommerce trend in the modern business world. Third-party marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba have already reached their peak popularity. The benefit of the online marketplace is that buyers have various options from different suppliers on one ecommerce platform. 87% of B2B buyers use the marketplace as their primary channel of making purchases.
Client privacy preferences keep changing
Among the trends in B2B e-commerce, there’s also quite a challenging one. Privacy preferences are changing. Accepting cookies is no longer a matter of one click. Today, 79% of US users feel concerned about their data. Clients are getting curious about how businesses use their personal info. They want to know what measures vendors take to protect their data.
You have to stay transparent and inform your customers of all data privacy regulations. Otherwise, your customer engagement may suffer a lot.
Subscriptions will penetrate the ecommerce industry
Many people think that the ecommerce retail trends associated with subscriptions disappeared when clients began to read fewer magazines and newspapers. But let us surprise you. This trend in e-commerce is growing at a fast pace. Subscription is a model that enables clients to subscribe to services or products and receive them regularly.
As a rule, what attracts clients is the lower price of a subscription. Also, they save time and get the needed service without any effort and extra pay. From the business side, companies get customer loyalty and confidence in tomorrow. They also cut advertising costs by increasing customer lifetime value.
Biggest Ecommerce Trends that Rule the Industry
Self-service buying portals gain momentum
Self-service portals enhance customer experiences. They also significantly improve your company’s efficiency. They save time for order processing, delivery, and sales. Integration with your ERP system and a payment service provider will make the online shopping experience much more efficient. It will be beneficial for both sides.
Indeed, flexible payment options and secure checkout is the last thing that determines if you earn new customers. But it doesn’t mean that this trend will replace human interaction. Sales reps and ecommerce consultants will be needed to add value to the client experience. Instead of calculating prices, managing delivery, and checking product statuses, they will focus on nurturing your customers to make their journey more sophisticated.
The popularity of progressive web apps will increase
Among the benefits of PWA, we see:
- The native-app-like user experience;
- Easy maintenance and update;
- Excellent connectivity even if the user is offline;
- Smooth and fast scrolling and animations;
- Cross-device compatibility;
- Easy installation, and more.
Instead of downloading the latest version of the app, customers just need to go to the ecommerce site from a desktop, mobile phone, laptop, or tablet and create a PWA. The web app will work fast and smoothly without undergoing the standard agreement processes.
B2B customers won’t have to provide their emails or authorize in order to get updated information or notifications. Furthermore, PWA offers better performance and a more streamlined customer journey compared to native mobile apps.
B2B sellers will get significant benefits as well. Since they won’t have to build a mobile app, they will minimize expenditures. Moreover, with progressive web apps, businesses can enhance their SEO and be discoverable in search. Reduced bounce rates and low data usage will be extra pleasant benefits. This is actually how new trends in ecommerce help businesses streamline operations and minimize risks.
AI-powered personalization earns client recognition
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are among the e-commerce retail trends that can cut digital advertising costs. They make digital marketing more personalized and can enhance marketing strategies. The technology analyzes how and when clients shop online, what products they look for, what product recommendations work for them, what are their shopping habits and customer preferences, and much more.
According to Gartner, businesses will benefit from AI, reaching $3.9 trillion globally this year. Semrush states that more than 70% of marketers consider AI as a useful tool for building personalized shopping experiences. Besides, 79% of organizations believe that AI makes their work easier. 75% of businesses note that artificial intelligence empowers them to enter new markets.
This is what exactly they say about artificial intelligence:
Augmented reality helps bridge the expectation/reality gap
Have you ever come across funny memes about the expectation/reality of shopping online, like the one below? Augmented reality is going to put an end to the common failures associated with online purchases. This is one of the advanced trends in ecommerce industry.
With such ecommerce technology trends, users are able to visualize their purchases. They no longer want to wonder if this shade of red suits them. Or if this retro lamp fits into their living room’s interior. Augmented and virtual reality allows people to use their phone’s camera to see the new addition to the real world.
A great implementation of AR-based trends in ecommerce retail is the Wanna Kicks app. The app allows users to get sneakers out on their feet using the technology of augmented reality. Wanna Kicks enables people to try on new drops, classic models, and exclusive offers to pick up the best pair. Not only makes is it easier for a user to choose but it’s also quite an entertaining experience. By sharing favorite releases with friends, people both have fun and help businesses reach a new audience.
As for B2B ecommerce, augmented reality can also bring tremendous outcomes. Let’s take the example of VNTANA, the industry leader in 3D technology eCommerce. The company doubled its conversion rates and increased cart size by 60%.
This is how B2B vendors use AR:
- Product presentation. B2B sellers can enhance their sales opportunities by presenting their product portfolios in the most realistic and immersive way. For example, you can use AR to demonstrate your products in real estate and display all the details. Or you can manipulate and customize furniture and home accessories, as the IKEA Place app does for mobile users:
- Data visualization. It’s one of the powerful B2B ecommerce trends which aims to translate complex data into a 3D visual representation. Such an approach helps extract value from data like never before. For instance, IBM Immersive Insight is a tool representing 3D data science technology. It allows vendors to view data from new angles and easily grasp insights. Yes, it’s still an emerging technology. But we believe that it will become one of the huge trends in B2B e-commerce.
- Metaverse space. You might have heard about the latest news on Facebook’s metaverse. But this is not the only case. For example, Metadome, Adloid’s metaverse, also offers its customers a unique solution. It can increase sales conversions from digital channels by up to 200%. With this solution, consumers and businesses can build their own realities in home decor, automobile, beauty, food, electronics, and other industries. In October this year, Hyundai used Roblox online gaming platform to create a metaverse space called Hyundai Mobility Adventure. In this virtual space, potential customers can customize their avatars and experience Hyundai Motor products and future mobility solutions.
Social commerce will be even more convenient
Social commerce is one of the latest trends in ecommerce that helps build robust customer relationships. It’s buying and selling online via social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It works best for the young generation. For them, online channels and social media are means of communication and knowledge-sharing. They use digital social channels to purchase products or services. A young audience trusts Instagram and Facebook advertising similar to the recommendations they get by word of mouth.
Let’s take a look at how Instagram turns into a place for selling products and marketing efforts.
In 2020, Instagram presented a couple of interesting features to enhance ecommerce. Namely, ecommerce companies are now able to create customizable accounts for business. They can sell products directly from their posts or the influencers’ posts, add product tags that mention product name and cost, and even integrate a chatbot into direct messages for faster communication.
Smaller ecommerce stores particularly benefit from this. They quickly enter the market and find their audience with the help of targeted marketing. Analysts studying the latest e-commerce trends forecast social commerce to grow rapidly in the upcoming years.
Bonus Trend: Dynamic Pricing
Dynamic pricing is also on the list of top emerging B2B trends. Data-based pricing already helps online retailers stay ahead of the competition and attract more customers. Studies found that carefully crafting and implementing a unique strategy can boost your revenue. Dynamic pricing software is definitely something to consider in your B2B ecommerce strategy.
The Future of Ecommerce: Bigger, Better, Safer
In this article, we’ve gone through the emerging ecommerce trends. What will the eCommerce of tomorrow look like? The future of e-commerce is big. It will surely grow better and safer.
- Many eCommerce brands will continue to increase their flexibility. They will offer customers a variety of approaches to shopping, payment, and shipping. Companies will continue to integrate different business models into their platforms to scale up efficiently. The latest trends in e-commerce will help them to do so.
- Omnichannel personalization will be as important as never before. Over 98% of B2B customers get the same purchasing experience across multiple channels. Therefore, your B2B ecommerce strategy must encompass self-service methods and human-assisted services to develop hybrid selling models. But the omnichannel approach is not only about selling. It’s about building a solid brand presence and a powerful marketing strategy.
- It will be integration that will keep transforming the eCommerce market. Leading brands will continue to integrate tools, solutions, and ecommerce trends for 2022 into consistent systems. By doing so, they will reduce the interactions between third parties and the customer. It will raise ecommerce security and save a ton of time.
We hope that our analysis of the online shopping trends and B2B e-commerce trends was insightful. If you think that it’s time to build an e-commerce solution or upgrade the existing one — do not hesitate to contact Forbytes. Our team is ready to help you conquer the market with powerful digital tools and innovations.