It was 25 years ago when the first item, a book, was ever ordered online on Amazon.
Today, nearly 25 years later, the global eCommerce sales amounted to over $3.53 trillion and are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion in 2022. Online shopping has revolutionized retail, adapting shopping into something that meets the changing needs of modern-day customers.
While more than two decades ago, eCommerce had limited capabilities, today, that’s not the case anymore. These are all changes that have taken modern-day eCommerce by storm from customization, enhanced return policies, or improved integration.
So, if you’re still on the fence about what’s going to happen with eCommerce in beyond 2020, we’ve identified 8 trends that prove that eCommerce isn’t just snowballing, but it’s here to stay.
1. Online sales are growing like crazy
Have you ever wondered what the most popular online activity is? You’d be tempted to say that it’s scrolling on social media, right? Well, it seems that online shopping is the most popular activity online.
Ecommerce sales have become so popular that they are projected to grow from 1.3 trillion in 2014 to 4.5 trillion by next year. This is a massive increase over seven years, and most likely, not even Amazon expected this trend of online shopping to be so popular 25 years after the company sold its first item online.
Now, you may be wondering what’s driving the massive growth in popularity of eCommerce. The answer isn’t simple. Several factors contributed to this, including the level of comfort it provides to customers, an increase in trust online buyers have for this practice, and even improved website experiences.
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2. Mobile shopping is growing
When was the last time you’ve used your mobile to make an online purchase? Most likely, this week. And you are not alone here. More and more online shoppers prefer using their smartphones to purchase things online.
In fact, since 2016, there has been a 15% increase in sales made via mobile devices. And, this trend is growing so much in popularity that it is expected for 73% of eCommerce sales to take place on a mobile device by the end of next year.
Now, these statistics can’t be ignored, especially by any big commerce enterprise such as Shopify, Amazon, or Walmart. Improving the online shopping experience for mobile shoppers is imperative when more and more of them prefer using their smartphones to make purchases.
Also, it seems that Millennials and Gen Z, who have grown surrounded by devices and the Internet, are more likely to make online purchases using their mobile devices than older generations. So, this is another aspect to keep in mind when customizing the online shopping experience for customers.
3. Voice eCommerce is becoming increasingly popular
Welcome to 2020, when smart speakers can order online the things you want without you having to go through the entire checkout process.
Although this trend is just starting to grow in popularity this year, it isn’t new. It seems that 13% of US smart speaker owners were already making purchases online by voice at the end of 2017. This number is predicted to grow to 55% by 2022. This eCommerce trend is as old as 2014 when Amazon released its smart speaker called Echo.
This non-visual shopping experience usually includes low-value products from categories such as food, low-cost electronics, or homeware products.
Although voice shopping is still in its early stages and this trend still has a lot of room to grow, the numbers above show us that it will become a viral trend over the next few years.
4. Social media and eCommerce team up
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, have all changed many aspects of your daily lives, including how we purchase things.
For many years, social media and eCommerce have been working together, unlocking lots of possibilities for both sectors. Yet, it only seems that the collaboration between the two is far from ending anytime soon as the number of social shoppers is rapidly increasing.
Social media networks have included new features such as the “Buy” button on Facebook, and Instagram Checkout, to better serve the purpose of online shopping to its users.
With over 3.8 billion active users, social media platforms are an excellent opportunity for brands to get discovered and then sell their products and services. For example, let’s take Influencer marketing, which is a unique way for brands to get their products promoted by people who inspire their audiences and increase their sales. Or, the latest and rising wave within the social media world, TikTok, which was the second most popular free apps download last year, and has the highest follower engagement rates. And then, there are shoppable posts that direct potential customers to the product page of the website of the seller.
In other words, social media acts as a channel that facilitates online shopping.
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5. Environmental concerns impact consumers
With so many environmental concerns being talked about in the media, green consumerism is on the rise. And most brands take action and adapt either their marketing strategies, their products, and services, or even their core business practices to cater to eco-friendly consumers’ expectations.
Millennials, in particular, are paving the way forward to greener consumerism habits. They ask for organic, natural, and eco-friendly products, such as free-range meat or vegan skincare products, which is why there’s been a rise in green eCommerce businesses.
6. Augmented reality is enhancing shopping experiences
Another major trend gaining traction among eCommerce businesses is using Augmented reality to offer a much richer buying experience to their customers. In fact, according to PRNewswire, it is expected that over 120.000 stores will be using AR technologies by 2022.
AR technology will help eliminate one of the most prevalent challenges that exist in online shopping, which is the fact that customers can’t get a clear idea of how the products look like from photos. And, since they can’t see precisely how a product looks like, they either choose not to purchase it, or they are disappointed about the way it looks in reality. Either way, when a customer is disappointed or doesn’t complete a purchase, brands are the ones losing profit.
With Augmented Reality, customers will be able to visualize better the products they want to purchase. Moreover, using AR technologies to enhance customers’ online shopping experience is well be a great way to stand out from the competition in a busy online environment.
7. Artificial Intelligence is becoming a core part of eCommerce
AI has become a core part of many businesses, both traditional and online businesses over the past few years. The capabilities of this technology help brands work more efficiently, reduce their costs, and keep their customers happy.
According to BusinessWire, global retail spending on AI is expected to reach $7.3 billion per year by 2022, which is a massive increase from an assessed $2 billion two years ago, in 2018.
So, why is AI gaining so much popularity? Retailers are looking for a new way to increase the personalization of customer experience; a trend that we will be discussing next. And artificial intelligence offers various tools, from automated digital marketing and advertising platforms to chatbots that answer to customer queries instantly, which help brands keep customers engaged and satisfied.
AI can also help retailers with tasks such as pricing and discounts, as well as demand forecasting. Yes, you’ve heard that right. Artificial intelligence can tell retailers a demand forecast. This helps them be prepared for an increase in demand or a decrease.
In other words, artificial intelligence will play a significant role in helping retailers understand how to improve customer experience to stay competitive.
8. Personalized online shopping experiences
Personalization is the buzzword in the business world these days, not just in online commerce but also among traditional sellers.
Data shows that 50% of customers claim that a personalized experience is crucial for them. Plus, 74% of marketers claim that personalization has a “strong” or “extreme” impact on improving and strengthening customer relationships. Personalized online shopping experiences are also a trend that is gaining traction among eCommerce businesses.
Ecommerce sites are now investing in personalization tactics to make the online shopping experience a better and customized one for almost every visitor that clicks on their website. This can mean the personalization of messages sent to the customer through email or by providing the right information to the interested audience.
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As technology has evolved since 1995, when the first book on Amazon was ordered online, the eCommerce world has significantly changed. It now provides a shopping experience to modern-day customers that suits their habits and online preferences.