In the world of e-commerce, staying ahead of the curve is essential for success. With new technologies and shifting consumer behaviours, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends. That’s why in this article, we will be discussing the five most important e-commerce trends we expect to see in 2023. These trends are shaping the future of online shopping and will have a significant impact on businesses and consumers alike. From omnichannel marketing to the decline in impulse purchases, we will cover everything you need to know to stay ahead of the competition. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting developments that await us in the world of e-commerce.

The Rise Of E-Commerce

According to Statista, the number of e-commerce users in the UK has surpassed 60 million, indicating that online shopping has become the norm for a majority of consumers in the country. As an example, the UK gaming industry generated a revenue of £4.7 billion in sales in 2022, as reported by the BBC, surpassing the sales of film, television, and music sectors. This trend shows that gamers are more inclined towards purchasing and downloading digital copies of games directly on their consoles or PCs, instead of opting for physical copies and waiting for delivery or visiting a physical store. These figures illustrate the shift in consumer behaviour towards digital purchases and online shopping.

The e-commerce industry can only grow, especially once the new generation of digitally literate children begin to shop. If online retailers don’t want to be left behind in this economy, they must pay attention to the latest trends and forecasts while continuing to innovate to produce the best customer experience possible.

So, we know the industry of e-commerce is expanding. But how are the trends changing within the industry? Keep reading to find out.

Omnichannel Marketing

The current state of the digital customer experience resembles something like this:

It starts with raising awareness, whether through advertisements on social media platforms, ads on search engines, recommendations on social networks, where influencer marketing strategies come into play, or even through sponsored articles in the media. Once the consumer sees these ads and looks for more information, we move on to the next stage.

The second phase is consideration. The consumer thinks about what they’ve seen and considers whether to buy and where to buy. This is when the search process starts. Most companies invest the most in this phase, as everything is at stake. SEO and content strategies are implemented, and companies send out email campaigns and create sponsored articles to try and convince the consumer of their buying decision by targeting the specific user persona and differentiating themselves from competitors. 

The third stage is the buying process. The user experience is crucial to ensuring the customer goes through with their purchase and will re-purchase from you. A common problem for many e-commerce companies is that consumers make it to this stage before abandoning their cart. Many users do so because the site’s usability is poor or they can’t use their preferred payment method. Users will opt for competitors where they can easily shop and use their favourite payment method. Businesses must optimise the sales process for all previous work not to be wasted. Simple upgrades, such as providing the autofill option, can help create a frictionless transaction. 

Once the transaction is complete, retention is the next goal. If the customer has a good shopping experience, retaining them will be far easier. To give the customer a good impression of your business, you can follow up on transactions with a call to offer support. This is a great way to retain customers, as it creates the feeling that they are important to the business. Alternatively, sending a survey asking about how they felt about the customer experience shows that your company cares.

Advocacy is another essential part of the digital customer experience. Having satisfied customers recommend your business to others is fantastic because word-of-mouth sales are trustworthy advertising for the company. Since keeping a customer is significantly more profitable than acquiring a new one, profitability can increase if your current customers spread the good word about you. 

Allowing customers to leave reviews on your website or social media platforms is a great way to hear from individuals who have had great experiences with your business, as well as to let potential customers know. It also offers remedial action for customers whose expectations fall short, as customer service teams can monitor and take action when they receive negative feedback.

Overall, online stores need to make their products visible and available across a variety of platforms in addition to having a website. More than ever, consumers are channel-hopping and frequently finding brands on social media before visiting their websites to see what other items they offer that suit their tastes.

Multiple Payment Methods

In 2023, simply offering a variety of payment methods will encourage more consumers to shop. A challenging payment or checkout process is one of the main reasons customers leave their carts at the checkout stage of purchasing.

Currently, PayPal has 429 million users worldwide, according to GlobalData, making it a hugely popular choice for e-commerce. Traditional card payments have a place, but by providing options catering to various user demographics, e-commerce stores can increase their revenue.

Mobile First

According to Statista, mobile sales are expected to surpass £100 billion by 2024, largely due to the emergence of Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Adopting a mobile-first strategy for retail sales and maximising every e-commerce opportunity is more crucial than ever.

The rising trend in mobile sales and the rapid expansion of social commerce are not just a coincidence. According to JungleScout (a leading e-commerce software company), TikTok has seen the biggest growth in the proportion of users willing to make purchases on social media. TikTok LIVE Shop has transformed the performance of all sizes of businesses. According to Forbes, some small businesses commonly make £55,000 just from a 2-hour live session where they showcase their products and can answer questions in real-time being asked by potential customers watching as they live stream. 

Due to the popularity of the LIVE shops among users, TikTok has recently introduced many TikTok Shop LIVE events in an effort to promote multi-seller events. These have been incredibly popular; their most recent “Summer Sale” event received over 276 million LIVE views and nearly 135 million views on corresponding hashtags (source: Forbes). 

TikTok’s LIVE interactive features, such as “the Q&A feature,” “multi-user streams” (where up to three users can go live together), and “gifts,” which have monetary value and can be received by LIVE creators, are brilliant for boosting user engagement.

These LIVE selling interactive features make it ideal for almost any product, including jewellery, accessories, luggage, and an unexpected success: football trading cards. Because TikTok has a history of being a home for beauty hacks, creative makeup transformations, and emerging beauty brands, fashion and beauty have been named as two of the platform’s top performers.

Additionally, by making your social media platforms as effective as possible, you can benefit from user-generated content, such as video reviews, and offset additional marketing expenditures. In 2023, developing a mobile-first strategy will be crucial and should go hand in hand with social selling.

Green Commerce

In 2023, sustainability will become less of a buzzword, and we will see it more commonly as a widespread brand value. A growing number of retailers will seek to strengthen their environmental credentials. This means offering services such as sustainable packaging, more eco-friendly shipping options, and carbon offsetting. 

Retailers’ green pledges and promises will be accompanied by increased e-commerce websites or outlets. Online rental businesses and second-hand shops have grown in popularity in recent years, and even charity shops now have websites. 

Online rental businesses in the fashion industry have taken off this year, with companies such as Hurr, Hirestreet, eBay, and N. Brown taking the clothing rental industry by storm. These brands claim their goal is to make shopping for something second-hand as easy and convenient as shopping for something new. Circular fashion company Hurr states, “Until it’s as easy to rent a dress as it is to order a shampoo on Amazon, our work is not done because to get that level of scale, it has to be frictionless.”

Some already-existing retailers allow customers to recycle old items in exchange for gift cards, and others have created online marketplaces where they resell out-of-date and used inventory. A circular strategy is essential for businesses that want to remain competitive in 2023, although it may depend on the product itself.

Decline Of Impulse Purchases

The current economic crisis has made consumers savvier than ever. Many purchases being made during this period are carefully thought out, and deciding which online retailer to use may come down to which one has the most cost-effective options. Right now, even the smallest incentives, such as free delivery and/or returns, are a deciding factor for many. 

The inflation in 2022 changed payment behaviour for online shoppers in the UK, according to a survey by Statista, as an increase of 57% of respondents said they’re now using debit cards more often for purchases, as well as a rise in the use of credit cards, “buy now, pay later” arrangements and crypto due to the cost of living crisis. 

Offering the option to “buy online and pick up in-store” can be a good compromise between cutting costs for your business and lowering delivery costs for your customers. Additionally, providing a variety of payment options will aid in easing any purchase-related angst. A consumer favourite is the “buy now, pay later” arrangement many online retailers are offering. Using companies like Klarna or Afterpay, which work by making it easier for consumers to afford products by splitting transactions into four equal payments over a set period rather than paying in full upfront. 

Consumers want good value for their money, so companies need to provide quality services or products. By investing in customer service improvements such as chatbots or a social media customer service team, you can provide quality and accessible customer service even when things go wrong. Still, these tools can turn a bad situation into a customer advocate.

Overall, moving with the times is a must for any business to survive this year.  We hope this blog provides useful insights into what you can expect this year and essential advice that you can implement in your business.

Keeping up with and reacting to these trends is a great way to outperform your rivals and take on various marketing challenges to demonstrate to your customer base that you’re willing to go above and beyond for them.

However, the main takeaway for trends of 2023 is that consumers want choice. A choice of platforms to shop on, a choice of payment options, a choice of delivery or collection, and a choice of sustainability.

Posted on 24th February 2023 by Jack Wilkinson

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