Did you know, the global e-commerce market is forecasted to continue its growth trajectory for years to come? No wonder, there are thousands of to-be e-retailers’ striving to jump on the bandwagon each passing second! Yet, as an e-tailer, you need to ensure your e-commerce sticks out from the crowd!
With the US online sales alone predicted to reach a staggering $735 billion by 2023 (65% higher than in 2017), there are future trends in e-commerce that we should be aware of. This implies that all existing e-tailers and the thousands of new ones should adapt to future trends effectively; not only to survive but to reap the benefits of the e-commerce growth story.
Thus far, unprecedented growth has been the result of evolving technological innovations led by customer expectations. These innovations have led to improved customer communication, greater efficiencies – in order and inventory management, production planning, and automation of manufacturing scheduling through software implementation.
Based on the trends already emerging in 2019, let’s take a look at the trends that are here to stay, and the ones that will shape the future of the e-commerce industry.
Which Are The Top 6 Trends That Will Shape The Future Of E-Commerce?
- DNVBs (Digitally native, vertically integrated brands)
These companies are digitally native in that they are born and mainly operate online. Being the next big thing, DNVBs are growing nearly three times faster than the traditional or average e-commerce retailers.
To qualify as a DNVB, you must:
- Sell online, directly to consumers (without third parties); and
- Be vertically integrated, by controlling your product all the way from warehouse to customers (without middlemen).
- Harry’s Inc (razors);
- Blue Apron (meal kits);
- Casper, Nectar (mattresses);
- Rad Power Bikes (boosted bikes); and
- Proper Cloth (custom dress shirts).
DNBVs are cutting out the middlemen and building relationships directly and uniquely with their customers. They have a unique ability to develop a connection with the customer through avenues like communication via email, or the development of a following on social media. This way they can compete against retail giants like Amazon and Walmart.
- Omnichannel Commerce
Although omnichannel commerce is nothing new, it’s definitely here to stay. Omnichannel blurs the lines between physical and digital, offering the convenience of combining offline and online shopping.
Research shows that customers spend more time in a physical store once they’ve done their homework online. This means they’ve gone online and seen the products, read their reviews, and made online product comparisons. Omnichannel shopping makes it an imperative and connected shopping experience throughout the entire shopping process.
Through omnichannel shopping, businesses are offering and integrating multiple shopping channels (online, mobile, social media, point of sale) to their customers. Through each channel, the business presents its company in an equally convincing way, letting customers pay securely through any channel.
The broad level premise underlying omnichannel commerce is that a customer might use mobile, desktop, and brick-and-mortar channels in combination just for one purchase decision — and this should feel seamless overall.
- Shopping on Social Media
Many online merchants have lost out due to their myopic online strategy. They’ve considered their website to be their only online frontier. Today, we must not get stuck at that. A website alone isn’t sufficient. Social media presence is ever more crucial for online merchants.
All the numbers suggest social media is where everyone is searching for products. Social media is a great platform for advertising as well as selling. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Twitter have already introduced a “buy” button. Potential customers can purchase products directly from these networks.
M-commerce or mobile commerce is another trend that is definitely here to stay. The staggering smartphone penetration globally speaks volumes about the growth and potential of shopping through smartphones.
With around 2.71 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2019 alone, retailers can no longer afford to ignore the mobile shopping experience. To keep up with desktop sales in the present time and to reap the full potential of increased sales through m-commerce in the future, retailers must focus on:
- Developing the fastest and easiest mobile shopping experience;
- Since desktop shopping technology remains stagnant relative to the evolving smartphone technology — a mobile-optimized version of a desktop site is no longer sufficient to create the best experience possible; and
- Tailoring the design, content, and check out to the latest smartphone and tablet operating systems.
- AR and AI (Augmented reality and Artificial intelligence)
Augmented reality, machine learning, and Artificial intelligence are next-gen technologies that are becoming integrated more than ever into the e-commerce experience.
The presence of these technologies is apparent and widespread. For example, chatbots that provide instant customer service, as well as new ways to personalize online shopping, are inherent in today’s e-commerce sites.
Here are some trending examples of how brands have integrated AR and AI to get ahead of competitors:
- Olay Skin Advisor is a brand that is leveraging machine learning to provide beauty product recommendations. Their amazing new skin advisor tool analyzes shoppers’ selfies to diagnose their skin age and problem areas and recommends suitable products;
- Many leading eyewear brands dealing in spectacles and contact lenses have launched an app that takes shoppers’ selfies to visually suggest frames and colored lenses that might suit their face cut and features; and
- Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has launched an app that shows customers how their furniture would look inside their home.
- Global Market, Physical and Digital
Global Market – The world is becoming more integrated than ever, especially when it comes to e-commerce players desiring to tap into business prospects from across boundaries. Going by the trend, you will have to turn your online store into a global business to keep up with others. You can prepare for it by accepting cryptocurrencies as payment from your global customers; to help avoid bank fees for your customers.
Physical and Digital – Gone are the days when e-commerce implementation was intended to replace brick-and-mortar retail. In 2021, it is projected brick-and-mortar will account for 80% of overall retail. In the US alone, DNVBs are predicted to open around 850 brick-and-mortar stores by 2024.
On the other hand, brands that don’t want to open a permanent store, pop-up shops are on the rise. This type of temporary retail is also on the growth trajectory. Pop-up shops generate social buzz. Pop-up shops offer curated shopping experiences made to entice buyers with limited-time offers and elusively designed spaces.
Whether you’re an existing retailer (DNVB, brick-and-mortar, traditional online), you need to be all caught up all the time, with evolving technologies and trends.