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Growing a business

16 eCommerce trends that are shaping the future of eCommerce

eCommerce, a.k.a. online shopping, is a rapidly changing industry – between 2021 and 2025, the eCommerce market is expected to grow to $17 trillion. In Australia, eCommerce retail contributed to a 41.5% increase within digital activity in 2020-21 alone, driven by growth in online trade. With the rise in eCommerce opportunities also comes an increase in competition across brands, so it’s essential for businesses to stay on top of the latest eCommerce trends.

In this article, you will learn:

1. Increased use of voice search and voice assistants

Voice-assisted shopping is expected to grow to about $62 billion in spending.

Virtual voice assistants, such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have already been around for some time, but virtual assistants in eCommerce are expected to become even more ingrained in the shopping experience. This technology can also help improve the shopping experience for those with visual impairments.

According to recent research, the voice assistant market is expected to reach about $6.2 billion in revenue this year making it a fast growing eCommerce trend.

How can voice search impact your business?

Voice search impacts the way consumers search and shop online and makes it easier for potential customers to find your business and products using long-tail keywords. 

How to use voice search to benefit your business

Integrating voice search strategies, like voice-assisted bots, into your business structure can help you modernise your efforts and stay ahead of your competitors.

2. Added personalisation to products and marketing

Consumers are looking for increased personalisation when it comes to their products and how ads are targeting them. As a business, it is more important than ever to adopt this eCommerce trend and learn how to anticipate what a customer needs and offer it to them before they even realise they need it. 

Many online shops are tackling this by providing personalised recommendations based on the customer’s search and purchase history.

How can personalisation impact your business and customers?

Personalisation can create a positive customer experience and lead to increased brand reach, repeat customer engagement and customer loyalty over time.

How to use personalisation in your business

Consider implementing personalised recommendations into your business strategy such as email marketing, targeted content and relevant discounts based on customer behaviour data, and be sure to observe privacy laws.

3. Strengthened consumer privacy preferences 

As technology is becoming more advanced, so are privacy preferences and user data concerns. Although collected data serves as a helpful insight as to how to market, there is also a need to protect the privacy of the customers who are using and interacting with your product.

Zero-party data is information that is shared with your business voluntarily by the customer. For example, your company can ask users if they would like to participate in a quick voluntary survey.

How can your business comply with consumer privacy preferences?

Utilising the zero-party data eCommerce trend can help businesses achieve both personalisation and compliance. You can provide a personalised experience while also protecting customers’ privacy by requesting permission or feedback.

4. Growing augmented reality and metaverse integrations

There is an increasing number of ways that customers can interact with or try out a product before purchasing. This is done through augmented reality, the latest wave of metaverse-equipped companies and technologies – and this eCommerce trend is likely going to become more popular throughout 2022 and beyond. 

How to use augmented reality in eCommerce

eCommerce businesses can use augmented reality to offer customers engaging and immersive virtual shopping experiences that allow shoppers to interact with products and create a connection with the brand, converting prospects into customers. 

How augmented reality can benefit your eCommerce business

  • Improved conversions: With the “try before you buy” nature of augmented reality, users may be more likely to convert into customers since your products and services will be more engaging and interactive.
  • Reduced return rates: Customers will be less likely to return products since they will be able to try on a product or see what it looks like in their home before buying. Lower return rates can help streamline cash flow and ease the burden on payment processing systems and supply chains. 
  • Personalised shopping experiences: Customers can try on products with a virtual environment that can be altered to fit their preferences. For instance, customers can easily jump between different colours and styles of items like sunglasses, rings, or makeup to see what they prefer.

5. Chatbots

In 2022, 85% of all user interactions will be through chatbots, and 53% of customers would rather message a chatbot than call a customer service agent.

Reduced human interaction when it comes to customer service is becoming commonplace, and most of it is done through chatbots. For example, merchants like Sephora and Amazon rely solely on chatbots to navigate customers through the customer service portals. L’Oréal also uses chatbot messengers to help customers find their perfect fragrance.

In 2022 and beyond, 85% of all user interactions will be through chatbots, and 53% of customers would rather message a chatbot than call a customer service agent. With this growing eCommerce trend, companies can also reduce their spending on customer service agents.

How can businesses use an eCommerce chatbot on their website? 

eCommerce websites can use chatbots to:

  • Welcome first-time visitors
  • Collect contact information to acquire lead generation
  • Offer customer support by answering customer queries
  • Enable shopping assistance
  • Schedule appointments 
  • Guide website navigation
  • Gather customer feedback

What are the benefits of using eCommerce chatbots? 

With the use of chatbots, small businesses can engage with their customers by seamlessly responding to inquiries and providing support. Your business could cut down on costs by switching from customer service representatives to eCommerce chatbots.

6. Increase in sustainable and eco-friendly efforts 

Becoming more sustainable in our day-to-day lives is not necessarily a new trend, but businesses’ commitment to sustainability is being watched more closely by consumers. 

How eCommerce businesses can become more sustainable

To become more eco-friendly, an eCommerce business can do things like implementing reusable and sustainable packaging in their products or focusing on updating old utilities and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. 

What are the benefits of sustainable eCommerce practices?

An increasing number of customers are drawn to companies that take eco-friendly initiatives and adopt sustainable eCommerce trends. For example, your brand can educate customers by telling them their carbon offset upon purchase.

There may be many benefits of becoming a greener company, including:

  • A healthier work environment 
  • Increased employee retention 
  • Better investment and financial opportunities 
  • Reduced costs and increased productivity
  • Improved brand image 
  • Readiness for environmental legislation changes 
  • Competitive advantage

7. Mobile commerce 

Mobile commerce (mCommerce) is the process of buying and selling goods and services through wireless handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. This eCommerce trend has seen a rise as shopping experiences have begun to spread from traditional websites on desktop computers over to websites and social media channels on mobile devices and other channels. 

For example, Instagram has implemented Instagram Shopping, a feature that allows users to shop or purchase a product directly from the post it is featured in. 

What are the benefits of mCommerce for your business? 

Adopting the mCommerce trend by integrating multi-channel and multi-device mobile shopping options through your business’s social media can benefit your business by:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Reaching a wider audience
  • Increased product discovery
  • Community building
  • Optimised user experience (UX) design
  • Quicker checkout process
  • Simplified purchase power 
  • Capitalise on impulse purchases

How to use mCommerce in your business 

Your business can use mCommerce by offering:

  • Browser-based purchasing
  • In-app purchasing
  • Virtual marketplace apps
  • Digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Wallet
  • Crypto currency payments
  • Social media shopping integrations such as Instagram Shop, Facebook Shop and TikTok shop

This can be a great way of encouraging your social followers to convert and become customers, helping drive sales for your product or service.

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8. Diversified payment options

Diversified payment options give users more flexibility and could result in a better customer experience.

Another eCommerce trend that is taking off is diversified payment options. This means that it is beneficial for companies to offer customers multiple options when it comes to checking out and purchasing. 

Your business could also consider payment split options through a third-party vendor like Klarna, so customers have the ability to pay off larger purchases over time. 

What payment options can an eCommerce business offer? 

eCommerce businesses can offer various online payment options including:

  • Payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal and Stripe
  • Cryptocurrency payment gateways that allow digital currency payments
  • Digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Wallet
  • Buy Now, Pay Later (installment payment or split payment) such as AfterPay, Klarna and ZipPay

How does offering diversified payment options benefit your eCommerce business? 

Offering diversified payment options give users more flexibility and could result in a better customer experience. Customers may be more likely to make a purchase if they are able to pay in installments using Buy Now, Pay Later services such as AfterPay.

9. Increased desire to shop small 

Following the pandemic, many customers are looking to continue to support local and small businesses. Many of these businesses can expect a more prosperous period ahead, such as fresh produce delivery services, handcrafted products, or other delivery service businesses. If you are a larger business, consider partnering with local businesses to help make an impact and leverage the shop small eCommerce trend.

Why do customers want to shop small?

Many customers choose to shop small to support a local business and purchase unique products that are often personalised or custom quality handmade goods only available through small businesses. Shopping with a small business that promotes their values helps customers feel aligned and can help foster brand affinity and loyalty.

10. Additional subscription models

The use of subscription models is also becoming a popular eCommerce trend that can help retain new and existing customers. Subscription models are able to give users flexibility and, if done properly, can make a positive impact on your business. Some examples of companies that have already adopted subscription models (both product- and service-related) include:

  • Dollar Shave Club 
  • Blue Apron 
  • Mailchimp
  • Statista 
  • Stitch Fix

What are the benefits of eCommerce subscriptions?

The benefits of an eCommerce subscription model include:

  • Attract a wider range of audiences
  • Creating personalised shopping experiences
  • Increased customer engagement
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Increased customer retention
  • Lower customer acquisition costs
  • Increased customer lifetime value
  • Reliable recurring revenue
  • Financial forecasting 
  • Easier inventory management

11. Shoppable video content

By adding product links to your videos, viewers will have greater exposure to your offerings, which could result in more conversions.

Businesses are expected to see a rise in video content as a way to market products and services to their users. Shoppable videos are a growing eCommerce trend thanks to the rise of influencer marketing and user generated content. Shoppable videos aim to be engaging, informative, and fun, while also including product links throughout. With just a few simple clicks, the viewer can purchase your advertised product straight from the video. 

Types of shoppable video formats to use in eCommerce 

  • Customer testimonials 
  • Product demonstrations
  • Product reviews
  • Tutorial
  • Educational/informative videos 
  • User generated videos
  • Behind the scenes videos
  • Making the product 

What are the benefits of shoppable videos for your eCommerce business? 

Using shoppable videos with links to your products in your eCommerce business can have many benefits including:

  • Increasing customer engagement: Customers love to see products in action to learn more about them and often look at multiple videos to find out more information and compare products before making a decision. Viewers will have greater exposure to your offerings, which could result in more conversions.
  • Simplifying the customer journey: Creating engaging and informative shoppable videos that resonate with viewers can push prospects down the conversion funnel and convert them into paying customers
  • Improving Conversion Rates: Shoppable videos leverage mCommerce to streamline and simplify the checkout process where customers only have to click one or two buttons to purchase. Combining these eCommerce trends makes the buying process easier by decreasing the number of actions customers need to take to make a purchase and can greatly improve your conversion rates.
  • Retargeting Customers: Shoppable videos can help you gather data on your customers and allow you create retargeting strategies to reach groups of customers with similar content.

12. Faster loading speeds 

Having web pages that load quickly has been an important factor in the user experience for a while. This eCommerce trend is gaining even more traction. As a business, it is more important than ever to make sure your site speed is up to par – a slow-loading website could cause users to exit and not return to your page. 

How to improve page load speed for your business

Having faster load times on your product pages can result in higher conversion rates. There are a number of things you can do to improve your page load speed including:

  • Reducing your image file size
  • Limiting the number of ads on your page 
  • Removing unused or unnecessary plug-ins
  • Upgrading to a better quality web hosting service

13. Curbside delivery options

Another eCommerce trend that gained massive popularity during the pandemic is the option to get groceries or products delivered to your curbside. Although this eCommerce trend stemmed from the pandemic, it has become a simpler way for customers to shop and will likely remain popular.

This can be a great middle ground for businesses that are not equipped for or do not want to venture into home delivery.

What are the benefits of curbside delivery?

Offering curbside delivery allows your business to attract a wider audience by allowing shoppers to order online and conveniently pick up their purchase at a designated location such as the store's parking lot.

14. Headless eCommerce

Headless e-commerce allows users more flexibility and the vendor more control over the software.

Headless eCommerce is an eCommerce trend that is becoming increasingly popular for many brands as well. Headless eCommerce is a setup in which your shop’s front end is separate from the back end.

  • Front end: This is essentially the digital shop front, or presentation of your company, such as a website, social media channels, and even voice-assisted technology.
  • Back end: This is the software that ensures all of the elements of the digital shop front or presentation layer run smoothly. The back end handles things like fulfillment, merchandising, checkout, and data storage.

What are the benefits of headless eCommerce

Headless eCommerce allows for processes and solutions to work faster and seamlessly, and allows for more creative control over the front end capabilities which leads to a stronger user experience.

15. Exclusive packaging 

Packaging has always been something that is important when selling products; the more visually appealing the package is, the more likely someone will buy it. Exclusive elements are something that may never fall out of fashion - special and reusable packaging has especially gained popularity in recent years.

Businesses have adopted the exclusive packaging eCommerce trend by adding personalisation within the package, like a thank you note or fun stickers.

What are the benefits of using exclusive packaging for your products? 

Using exclusive and custom packaging helps your brand connect with customers on a deeper level and stand out from your competition. Specifically, personal touches on customers’ packages can help encourage them to come back for more.

16. Limited edition drops

Additionally, you can also create limited edition “drops” to further promote your products. Drops are products that are added as a special release for a limited amount of time. 

This eCommerce trend creates scarcity and can help promote a sense of urgency with your customers to purchase before the product runs out. Oftentimes, products from limited edition drops will not be restocked. 

Using limited drops in your business 

A limited edition drop can help spread word-of-mouth advertising which can help attract new customers. Consider releasing products this way with social media hashtags to get the word out.

How to decide if following eCommerce trends makes sense for your business

Before you decide to adopt an eCommerce trend, follow the below steps to make sure the trend makes sense for your business: 

  1. Stay up to date with industry leaders, influencers and publications
  2. Research up to date industry trend reports
  3. Harness digital tools and analytics to analyse your customer’s behaviour
  4. Get customer feedback
  5. Observe your competitors

Open more doors with these eCommerce trends

These new eCommerce trends and tips can help open up many opportunities for your business such as improving your customers’ experience and setting yourself apart from the competition. Do not shy away from trying new things and seeing if it works – you may be surprised! 

To further fast-track and simplify your business growth, be sure to utilise tools, such as QuickBooks to help you organise and run your business.

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