E-commerce sales for Q3 2021 reached an estimated $ 214.6 billion and accounted for 13 percent of total sales in the United States. The numbers are clear: E-commerce is now a typical part of the shopping experience for people of all ages. From gadgets to groceries and everything in-between, shoppers are able to get goods delivered to their doors — at a click of the “order” button without ever having to leave their homes.
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Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach has said that years of digital acceleration have been compressed into months due to the covid-19 pandemic. He explained that “Mastercard predicts that two-thirds of new e-commerce customers will stick post-pandemic. It will stick wherever it is a better solution to what was out there in terms of physical experience. ” In order to stay relevant and thrive in today’s competitive digital marketplace, entrepreneurs will have to stay on trend and adapt accordingly.
Latest Trends in E-Commerce
Selling on Social Media
Studies have indicated that shoppers are more likely to trust and make purchases based on recommendations made by their friends rather than through any other channel. This is why, in the last decade, money has poured into social selling.
Eddie Machaalani, the co-founder of Bigcommerce, said: “Because of the increased use of social media on smartphones and social media’s involvement in retail sales, social selling has become red hot. Anyone hoping to improve their online sales success must take advantage of emerging trends. ”
Customers no longer have to buy directly from a website — social media allows for multiple channels for e-commerce. Apps such as Instagram and Facebook enable purchases directly via the platform. Making social media a smart place for consumer companies to market to consumers strategically.
Personalized Marketing and Products Experience
Personalization has evolved from sending out an email saying “Hello, [first name]! ” to every customer who signs up for a company’s newsletter or opts in for notifications. Customers expect to receive a seamless omnichannel experience. With technological advancements such as machine learning, online tracking, and smart website features, customers are now able to receive a highly individualized and customized shopping experience.
Platforms are even able to personalize products on a mass scale — this can further boost sales opportunities and increase profits.
B2B on Traditional Advertising
B2B has proven to be more than just a trend and has become a big business segment. A common marketing strategy is to use B2B influencers who have a high level of authority and authenticity– with an impressive level of expertise in an industry. It is important that it is someone whose opinion is valued by consumers in order for it to be successful.
Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com, has said, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful. ”
Multichannel Customer Support
Customers — past, present and prospective– may require some sort of contact with the company for customer service inquiries. While some people prefer live chat options, others may prefer a phone call, email, social, or text correspondence.
By incorporating chatbot tools, business owners can alleviate some of the customer service workloads while still improving and providing a well-rounded customer experience. Chatbots can be incorporated directly onto an e-commerce platform as well as into social media messaging.
Multiple Payment Options
If a business accepts payment only via debit or credit card, now is the time to consider additional options. Many online retailers have now incorporated tools that allow consumers to select payment plan alternatives at no extra fees. By providing shoppers with multiple payment options, digital stores are more likely to see a boost in conversion rates while still encouraging customer loyalty.
With that being said, brick-and-mortar retailers need to also plan for contactless payments by upgrading to more advanced card reader systems.
Augmented Reality as a Part of the Shopping Experience
Augmented reality (AR) has proven to be a pivotal game-changer for online stores and their consumers alike. The advanced technology allows shoppers to truly see the item that they are shopping for, which helps them in the decision-making process. It also combats one of the biggest differences between brick-and-mortar stores — since customers can now experience the product.
AR has been extremely popular in the fashion and home décor industry because of the personalized experience that it provides, allowing customers the opportunity to see how products will look on them and in their homes.
Faster Distribution Channels and Newer Market Places
Big marketplaces have emerged from retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart; however, this can prove as both a blessing and a curse for smaller e-commerce platforms. While these companies provide an additional distribution option that caters to a broader audience, they also place sellers in a pricing predicament due to added fees and costs attached.
Regardless, this trend seems to be growing, and e-commerce businesses will have to consider whether those marketplaces are sensitive to their products. This means that smaller online stores will have to find innovative ways to beat the big guys. Joel Anderson, ex-CEO of Walmart, advises that “You can not just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed, you have to create traffic. ”
Digitalization means innovation, convenience, and efficiency. In a world where time is a valuable commodity, e-commerce has proven to be the answer for a more convenient and flexible shopping experience. Not only does it make the global marketplace more accessible, but it also allows customers to shop at their convenience with the added benefit of having items arrive straight to their door.