There are more than 268 million online shoppers — is your brand seizing the possibilities of ecommerce? Learn about the 2023 trends shaping the retail industry, and how harnessing new ecommerce opportunities can help your brand win over customers and propel your business to success well into the next era. Here’s where to keep your eye on the future of ecommerce.
If there’s one thing that’s constant in business, it’s change — and in the ecommerce universe, innovation is happening faster than ever before. Emerging ecommerce trends in fulfillment, customer personalization, third-party marketplaces, headless commerce, and omnichannel experiences are creating new rising stars and winning online shoppers the globe over.
Yet, for all the challenges on the business horizon, such as supply chain disruptions, inflation, and labor shortages, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a business owner, invest in technology, and lay out your own path to success. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to capture a piece of the $4.9 trillion ecommerce pie.
In the U.S., there were more than 268 million online shoppers in 2022 alone. And in the same year, more than 65% of B2B companies were exclusively selling online, eclipsing in-person selling for the very first time. Failing to keep up with the pace of change could simply put the future of your business at risk.
Just a few short years ago, launching an ecommerce business was viewed somewhat as a luxury for the world’s companies and brands; a novelty or something that was a “nice to have.” All of that changed during the pandemic. With many non-essential brick-and-mortar stores forced to close their physical doors to customers, retailers were forced to transition their products and services online, changing the course of commerce forever.
As brands sought to attract and retain customers in an ever-changing business landscape, embracing ecommerce became a means of survival. Brands that were ahead of the curve capitalized on increasing customer demands and effectively scaled their businesses. For some brands, the pandemic served as a boon to their businesses, including for ecommerce giants, like Amazon and Wayfair, both of which experienced double-digit growth in spite of an otherwise economic downturn.
Still, other companies couldn’t make the switch to ecommerce fast enough, essentially falling behind their competitors or shuttering operations altogether.
Of course, the pandemic isn’t the only factor fueling innovation in ecommerce. As Kevin McAllister pointed out in his piece for Protocol, which culled insights from leading ecommerce execs, increased consumer demand for “Amazon primed” services and advances in artificial intelligence, warehouse robotics, social commerce, and flexible purchasing models are all pouring gasoline on the transformation. The article adds new tech essentially swings the door wide open for access: to new markets, new customers, and new ways of shopping.
Yet, capitalizing on the business opportunities provided by ecommerce requires more than just slapping your products up on a website. It takes thoughtful planning, the right platform technology, and solid partnerships to bring it all together. But what ecommerce trends should businesses pay attention to? How can brands launch an ecommerce engine that will generate new revenue opportunities and capitalize on this growth? And is it too late to evolve and get into the game?
There’s still time to seize the possibilities of ecommerce. We don’t have a crystal ball, but we’re willing to bet that ecommerce isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Learn about the 2023 trends that are shaping the ecommerce industry, and how harnessing these new opportunities can help your brand win over customers and propel your business to success well into the next era. Here’s where to look to keep your eye on the future of ecommerce.
Rapid fulfillment and 3PLs
Did you know that 42% of shoppers expect a two-day shipping option for every online purchase? And don’t even get us started on the growing trend of same-day or two-hour delivery options! If you’ve ever worked in B2B or B2C commerce, you’re likely familiar with using third-party logistics partners to facilitate faster shipping, better known as 3PLs.
While some ecommerce players are ditching their brick-and-mortar locations entirely and investing in warehouse operations, others are taking advantage of 3PL fulfillment models to meet customers’ surging demands for lightning-fast delivery. And it’s no wonder why: 3PLs take the pressure load off businesses (literally) and allows them to manage inventory levels more closely, maximizing working capital, while still meeting customers’ high expectations. As ecommerce supersedes in-person sales, the demand for 3PLs is expected to accelerate into the next year.
The rise of third-party marketplaces
their products in spaces their customers already shop. Smaller brands may promote their entire product catalog, while larger enterprises may choose to only sell their most popular complimentary products to third-party marketplaces in an effort to boost company sales. In either case, these online retail environments can provide huge opportunities to tap new audiences, diversify your revenue streams, and leverage the existing traffic and marketing tools of the third-party website.
In the U.S., there were more than 268 million online shoppers in 2022 alone.
A few popular marketplaces include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Etsy. One huge benefit of established marketplaces is that customers already trust shopping on these platforms, essentially removing friction around payment security, product returns, or customer service. It’s important to note, however, that posting product listings on the marketplace also increases vendor competition, as buyers are able to quickly and easily compare prices, shipping times, and materials from supplier to supplier. It also means that any changes — including fees, listing algorithms, etc. — are in the hands of the marketplace. That’s why we suggest owning an ecommerce platform that’s integrated with your company website, as well as taking advantage of third-party marketplace options.
The most successful ecommerce brands craft personal customer experiences across the buying journey. In fact, according to Yieldify, roughly 75% of consumers agreed that they prefer to buy from brands that offer personalized digital experiences. So, how exactly does omnichannel personalization come into play? It involves more than just adding name values to the top of your ecommerce site; it harnesses the power of customer data to connect with customers and win brand loyalty.
Ninetailed describes omnichannel personalization this way: the practice of delivering a seamless, personalized experience to customers across all touchpoints — online, in-store, and on mobile — through targeted, individualized experiences that meet each customer’s needs.
In ecommerce, this can include presenting personalized recommendations based on a customer’s search or order history, providing special offers to first-time customers, or suggesting related products to increase upsell opportunities. Omnichannel personalization allows businesses to identify shopping behaviors, boost customer engagement, and increase revenue and sales, turning your ecommerce efforts into a bona fide business.
There’s no one who knows your customers better than you. That’s why the availability of headless commerce remains an appealing option for today’s brands. In the past, managing an ecommerce website required having an engineering or development team at beck-and-call to facilitate any site changes — and they often came at the cost of diminishing the user experience. Today, headless commerce is making it possible to make tweaks to the front end of the website, without affecting the overall functionality on the backend. Essentially, headless commerce is the separation of what your customers see on the frontend and the data and code embedded on the backend, hence the name.
According to WP engine, 92% of brands see the importance of digital experiences in terms of their organization’s success and reported that implementing headless commerce options made it easier to deliver a consistent content experience. As customers demand fast-loading times, easy navigation, relevant search, and personalized experiences, they’re more likely to return to the sites they love and add items to their shopping cart.
Virtual reality and AR
Virtual reality isn’t exactly new, but it’s no longer a novelty. During the pandemic, many brands turned to virtual reality to showcase their products away from a physical show floor, recreating the shopping experience they once provided in-store. In ecommerce, virtual reality typically refers to using 3D projections to create 360-degree photos, videos, or product demos to highlight products, though more future-forward brands might create actual VR experiences to enhance the shopping experience (such as a virtual reality store, accessed through a headset like Oculus).
One of the more popular options to showcase products, rather, is through augmented reality, which combines virtual elements in a real-life environment. For example, the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA uses augmented reality to allow its customers to scan and “view” how its furniture will fit into a space through its smartphone app IKEA Kreativ. It even lets customers “delete” existing furniture so they can test out its range of sofas, tables, or office furniture. Warby Parker lets customers “try on” its glasses, and Dulux Paint shows customers what their walls will look like when they select a specific color. It’s all possible with the advances in VR/AR ecommerce technology.
Is seizing the metaverse next?
Stay on the cutting edge of ecommerce
Exploring everything ecommerce has to offer can feel overwhelming, making it difficult for brands to know where to start. That’s where Clouda comes in. We stay on the cutting edge of ecommerce. As a leading ecommerce implementation agency, our experienced team of engineers can help you navigate the entire ecommerce journey — from setting your business goals to choosing the right ecommerce platform and ensuring your online brand has all the right features to provide your customers with amazing digital experiences. Unlock the possibilities of ecommerce by getting in touch today.