From the slowing down of the post-pandemic boom to soaring inflation, government instability and the economic shock fuelled by the war in Ukraine, 2022 was definitely a lot to take in!
What about 2023? Specifically, what’s going on in the world of eCommerce?
In truth, the only certain thing about eCommerce is that it’s constantly changing. New technologies and ways of doing things are emerging all the time. Consumer spending habits are rapidly evolving – and so are expectations, along with the level of competition.
When you also factor in the current economic conditions, it’s never been more important for brands to stay in tune with emerging trends and opportunities.
Is your head in a spin? Well, fear not, because we’ve rounded up the top eCommerce trends for 2023, including some of the main things to keep an eye on to stay ahead of the curve.
Growing In a Post-Pandemic World
The last few years have been a whirlwind, haven’t they?
After emerging from a world of restrictions and lockdowns, we all craved more social interaction – and while eCommerce continued to grow, so did consumer appetite for bricks and mortar shopping, resulting in a slowing of the exponential growth seen during the Covid period.
Just as the pandemic subsided, it was soaring inflation and the cost of living crisis that began to grab most of the headlines. Driven by a variety of factors including the Ukraine war and a series of government scandals that led to three UK Prime Ministers in a matter of months, economic uncertainty took hold and an impending recession loomed.
The eCommerce Landscape in 2023
eCommerce Growth Slows
Although online sales have been growing for many years now, the pandemic massively accelerated the rate of growth, jumping by almost 47 percent in 2020 – the fastest figure for a decade.
Since then, sales have still increased, but the rate of growth has eased. According to a recent report by Insider Intelligence, annual eCommerce growth will slow to 4.4% in 2023, and around 4% by 2026.
Preparing for a Weak Economic Period
It’s no secret that global economic activity is currently seeing a slowdown, with the most recent IMF World Economic Outlook forecasting that global growth will slow from 6% in 2021 to just 2.7% in 2023.
In a world where consumers and businesses are increasingly worried about soaring inflation and a looming recession, many businesses are preparing for the worst. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities out there.
eCommerce Trends 2023
As consumer behaviour and spending habits change during a period of economic uncertainty, it will be more important than ever to stay in tune with consumer preferences and being aware of emerging trends in order to stay ahead of competitors. Here are some of the top eCommerce trends in 2023 to look out for.
If there’s one area shaping the years ahead, it has to be social commerce. This is where brands utilise social media platforms and their selling features to make sales on social media sites directly, including platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Consumers can browse products and make a purchase, all without leaving their social app.
Social commerce is already a massive trend and one that social media platforms are investing heavily in, rolling out new features that make it easier for people to find, locate and shop for products they are most interested in. It’s estimated that sales through social media channels will nearly triple by 2025, so this is one trend you really can’t afford to ignore.
One big trend is Live Shopping, where brands broadcast live to their audience through social platforms like TikTok and Amazon Live, showcasing products and even offering exclusive deals and discounts.
Another way of embracing social selling is by stepping up your paid ad campaigns with shoppable posts, especially through remarketing, where the user sees items and categories they have already browsed.
User Generated Content
Shoppable posts can also come from users like influencers, who may tag products from different brands in their posts. When the user taps on the product, they are then taken straight through to a product page where they can buy the product from the brand’s profile.
Augmented Reality (AR)
One big problem with eCommerce has always been that users can’t physically see or touch the product they are browsing like they would in a physical retail store.
Having great quality photo and video content on product pages goes some way to overcoming this, but many brands are increasingly taking this a stage further with Augmented Reality (AR), allowing customers to virtually ‘try’ products – whether that’s virtually trying on a pair of glasses or being able to see a sofa in their living room.
AR is a great way to improve a consumer’s confidence before they elect to make a purchase – and it can also be used to further tailor the shopping experience and even provide personalised offers. One great example is Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Mirror, which allows you to scan your face and see how different lipsticks and makeup products look – just as you would in store.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is playing an ever bigger role in boosting conversions and improving the overall customer experience, helping online retailers to better understand their customers and improve their offering.
For example, AI is increasingly driving personalised product recommendations, making use of data to recommend the most relevant products to a certain customer.
AI-powered chatbots and personal assistants are also becoming ever more commonplace and are a great way to overcome buying objections by answering customer questions in a human-like way.
Personalisation isn’t anything new, but it is becoming something that customers increasingly expect – and it can have a really positive impact on conversion rates.
In the digital world, personalisation now extends far beyond things like inserting a subscribers name into an email campaign or showing them a list of recently viewed items.
Everyday apps like Netflix and Spotify have conditioned consumers to expect personalised recommendations and an overall experience that is tailored to them. In an online store, this might mean making product recommendations based on their browsing or purchase history. In the same way, if you know they’ve already purchased a certain product, you might show them accessories or add-ons related to their search.
Using personalisation can really help to boost conversion rates and increase brand loyalty. How about showing customers offers that are tailored to their buying history or presenting personalised loyalty discounts?
It’s likely that more and more brands will invest in their omnichannel offerings, so expect to see an increase in things like click-and-collect services and loyalty programmes that span both in-store and online offerings.
This is where it is important to have the right eCommerce platform to support your business. For example, Adobe Commerce (Magento) has a wealth of features and integrations that make it easier for retailers to sell to and manage sales across all areas of their business.
More and more consumers are becoming aware of the struggles faced by small businesses – which was something only highlighted further still during the pandemic.
At the same time, many people are increasingly conscious of the social, environmental and economic impact of global giants – preferring instead to shop with local businesses who support our communities and environmentally conscious brands who value sustainability.
What’s more, smaller retailers also have the advantage of being more agile, meaning they are well placed to tap into emerging trends and changes in the market. They may also offer more personalised service, with an attention to detail and service that is sometimes lacking from larger retailers.
Another trend to look out for is recommerce, which is the selling of pre-owned items. This way of shopping is increasingly popular amongst environmentally conscious consumers, providing both a cost-effective and more sustainable way of buying goods while ensuring unwanted items aren’t simply thrown away and instead go to a good home.
Now is the time to formulate your digital strategy
Ultimately, embracing and fully capitalising on these online retail trends in 2023 and beyond requires having a detailed and robust digital strategy. That’s where working with an experienced eCommerce agency can be really beneficial, helping you adapt and grow your strategy to meet your business goals.
For more information on how we can help you grow your eCommerce business and maximise its success, get in touch today and speak to our friendly team of digital commerce experts.