Not long ago, consumers were overjoyed that they could shop online from the comforts of their couches. But in the last few years, eCommerce has evolved beyond this. Today, eCommerce is about much more than just an online store.
While modern consumers shop online, they want a complete brand experience. They are turning to become more connected, less loyal, more well-informed, and of course, channel agnostic. Plus, their online shopping journey is far more pervasive.
To respond to these consumer behavior shifts, eCommerce players must harness technology as a core enabler. Those who fail to act swiftly in this direction will soon find themselves left in the dust.
Against this backdrop, this blog explores five key eCommerce technological trends to watch in 2023 which can take your eCommerce store to new heights.
eMarketer forecasts that worldwide eCommerce sales will top a staggering $6 trillion by 2024, making up 21.8% of all retail sales. No wonder every business across the globe wants a slice of the eCommerce pie.
While embracing digital change is a foundational element of preserving through such a saturated space, what are the driving forces behind eCommerce digital transformation?
As we said, modern consumers are discerning and won’t settle for anything less than a convenient and personalized shopping experience.
For instance, the recent numbers by Salesforce reveal that shoppers are willing to buy from brands that offer incentives like free shipping (75%), simple and/or free returns (60%), and loyalty programs (56%).
Hence, the dire need to keep up with the fast-paced customer demands makes digital transformation non-negotiable across the eCommerce industry.
While consumers do understand the vulnerabilities in the global logistics system, 60% of global consumers still expect the same-, next-or two-day delivery.
Naturally, eCommerce merchants who want to thrive are seeking to build resilient shipping and logistic workflows with a renewed focus on digitization. It can range from scanning apps and inventory management software to complex AI-based dynamic routing and fulfillment task automation.
Nonetheless, outsourcing shipping and fulfillment to professional courier services and 3PL is also a key for businesses of any size with plans to scale into new markets without investing in infrastructure.
Given direct-to-customer channels’ competitive advantages, brands increasingly include them as a part of their long-term growth strategy.
That also echoes in the latest statistics by Statista. It points out that there has been a sizable growth in the proportion of consumers globally who regularly participate in D2C eCommerce purchases, from 49 per cent in 2019 to 64 per cent in 2022.
D2C distribution enables brands to distribute new innovative products, promotions, trials and subscription models directly to the customers. They also have better control over the customer experience and their margins.
However, businesses must capture and combine data from various channels to create the best D2C experiences for their customers. It enables them to create a dynamic and holistic view of their customers’ preferences allowing them to tailor offerings and shift their customer engagement strategy as customer needs evolve.
Supply Chain Automation: Providing the Best Visibility
Manual supply chain operations are inefficient and detrimental to your business. Fortunately, like in all other sectors, automation is fast becoming a new norm in eCommerce logistics and supply chains.
Aside from increasing efficiency and minimizing human errors, automation enables brands to enhance supply chain visibility among merchants, suppliers, and service providers.
The real-time and automated data recording allows the relevant parties to access the required information, track inventory, and communicate quickly, thus resolving the bottlenecks and improving overall workflow efficiency.
That’s why many forward-thinking players see value in incorporating automation technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence into their supply chain.
While currently, it is farfetched to automate the entire supply chain, eCommerce brands can consider the following automation opportunities:
Augmented reality (AR) isn’t just for gaming. With its ability to personalize the shopping experience, the trend is rapidly gaining momentum in eCommerce.
From visualizing what a new couch would look like within their own real spaces, trying out different lip shades, seeing what clothes look like on them, to determining which colour they should paint their walls, AR features allow shoppers to get a better visualization of products than images.
Now that AR technologies are becoming handier, brands are innovating to create differentiated buying experiences. Here are some of the ways AR is helping brands change the way shoppers perceive their products:
It seems like there is a new payment option every day, so much so that even credit cards are looked at as somewhat outdated.
Contemporary eCommerce stores leave no stone unturned to leverage cutting-edge technology and diversify their payment solutions. It helps them ensure that consumers have access to the payment alternative they gravitate around, improve their retention rates, and reach new markets.
Here are some digitally transformed payment options taking eCommerce by storm:
Headless technology decouples a brand’s ecommerce platform from its front-end, giving developers the freedom and flexibility to build functionality for your site without impacting its customer-facing front-end.
The benefits of going headless are undeniable for eCommerce:
Social commerce is already on its way to creating tremendous opportunities for brands, with its revenue touted to reach around 6.2 trillion dollars in 2030.
While consumers spend, on average, two and half hours a day on social media, the platforms enhance their shopping experience, promote discovery, enable personalization, and boost sales in the most unified manner. It drives authentic engagement where consumers shop based on the recommendations of influencers they trust.
Most importantly, it seamlessly blends eCommerce transactions and interactive social experiences through a single platform without having to leave the platform. As a result, it empowers any business to create its own brand and reach the market directly.
Operating in a fast-paced industry like eCommerce comes with the inevitable need to keep pace with dynamic consumer preferences. While not every brand needs to capitalize on every trend mentioned here, now is definitely the good time to embrace digital transformation in eCommerce as we roll into 2023.
The article was written by Nicholas Woodward, the Country Manager at PACK & SEND, a leading and respected brand in eCommerce, logistics, and freight delivery solutions. With over 15 years of experience in the logistics, eCommerce, retail, and franchise industries. Nicholas has thought leadership and expertise across strategic planning, leadership, eCommerce, B2C logistics, and organizational performance & growth. Connect with Nicholas on LinkedIn.