With local search and intelligent chatbots changing the way we do business, there have been more than a few radical changes sweeping the industry this year. These dynamics are only intensifying as we head into 2023, presenting a prime opportunity for agile businesses to get ahead. Keep an eye on these 2023 ecommerce trends for an unbeatable first-mover advantage.
Table of Contents
- 1 The 7 Biggest Trends Driving The Future of Ecommerce
- 2 How Can You Adapt to the Future of Ecommerce?
- 3 Stay One Step Ahead
The 7 Biggest Trends Driving The Future of Ecommerce
1. Content Commerce
Shoppers have been tired of intrusive advertising for a while now. Thankfully, content commerce offers a way out, allowing brands to make a seamless impression that smoothly assists the shopper along their journey.
This 2023 ecommerce trend is an offshoot of native advertising, an approach to paid content that removes barriers between you and your customers. Ads are presented to potential shoppers in a way that blends in with the look of the hosting platform. Since these ads flow naturally in and out of the user experience, they’re a lot more effective at introducing new ideas and products. It’s about inviting customers to try a product out, rather than forcing them to.
What makes this trend the future of ecommerce? Convenience. Whether you’re creating a sponsored TikTok with trending music or embedding Shopify products in a YouTube video, your viewers will only have to click once to place an order.
Content commerce doesn’t just make it easier for users to purchase products. It can also significantly increase conversion rates by actively engaging shoppers. If you’re going out of your way to watch a video on makeup or a new blender, chances are you’re already interested in making a purchase. Consider linking your store to your social media accounts (or establishing a presence there if you haven’t yet!), and take advantage of this ecommerce trend that’s bound to dominate 2023.
2. Data Privacy
Data privacy laws like the GDPR are old news, but consumer awareness about privacy is at an all-time high. Businesses looking to the future of ecommerce have to keep in mind that it’s not going to be all about shiny new features going forward. Customers want control over their data, and ecommerce has to adapt.
This presents businesses with an interesting dilemma. Collecting consumer data through cookies and forms can inform crucial store features and create a customized experience for each shopper. Ask for too much data, however, and you run the risk of losing customers before checkout. Two approaches offer some balance.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Advances in AI and ML are making it possible for businesses to retain the personalized shopping experience that sets them apart without having to ask for personal details. For example, Shopify’s new Audiences tool banks on ML to identify your ideal target audience by processing non-personal customer information.
- Consumer Control: Show your customers that your business understands privacy by giving them control over their data. Tons of websites are pulling this off by letting visitors choose the type of information that they’d like to share with the store. Following a ‘need-to-know’ approach is a good place to start here—if you don’t need a certain piece of personal information, don’t ask for it before checkout.
As shown by the impact of Apple’s privacy changes on targeted advertising, increased privacy protection is a significant disruption to online marketing. Making the most of tools like Shopify Audiences can help your business gain consumer trust while still making a splash with effective advertising.
3. Local Search
If there’s one ecommerce trend that will define the way people shop in 2023, it’s local search. Since Google began closely tracking it in 2016, searches containing the term ‘near me’ have skyrocketed. Customers love fast and free shipping, but they also have a strong preference for the convenience of nearby brick-and-mortar stores. If you’ve got an outlet set up, tapping into this trend can help you maximize revenue on both fronts, digital and physical.
The future of ecommerce isn’t all digital. Shoppers will go through multiple touchpoints before coming to a purchase decision, starting from your social media to your local Google Business profile. This preference for purchasing locally is partly driven by faster delivery times, in-store pickup facilities, and the ability to try products out before buying them. Here’s how your business can take advantage of it:
- Optimize for Local: If you’re looking to jump into this 2023 ecommerce trend, the best place to start is your Google Business profile. This is what searchers will see when looking for stores near them, so it’s worth keeping it updated with all the products and services that your business offers. Additionally, you’ll also want to localize content on your website so that it ranks better for this type of search.
- Encourage User-Submitted Information: Considering the booming popularity of local search, Google is always bringing exciting new updates to the platform. In 2022, the search giant announced enhancements to the live view of Google Maps, neighborhood ‘vibe checks,’ and the ability to search for a restaurant by a specific dish. While these examples may not seem to apply to ecommerce, the future will likely see even more user-generated data driving search results. Any campaign or incentive that your business can offer to encourage customers to post about products online will help you reach a larger audience.
4. The Rise of D2C
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce has been around forever, but platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce are helping a growing number of businesses cut out the middleman and transition directly to D2C. The recent success of Nike and Adidas in setting up consumer-facing websites and apps bodes well for online D2C as the future of ecommerce.
This trend is largely a result of the massive influx of new shoppers. Experts estimate that D2C sales in the US alone will rise to $213B in 2024, compared to $155B in 2022. This surge in consumer interest is being serviced by a growing number of businesses using platforms like Squarespace and Shopify to quickly set up shop. Here’s a closer look at what is driving this 2023 ecommerce trend.
- Ease of Use: Everything from picking a theme to customizing your store with new plugins is as easy as taking your pick from a gallery of options. Entrepreneurs don’t have to invest in a dedicated web developer to get their store off the ground and can instead focus on delivering a fast D2C experience.
- Built-In Analytics: Wondering how your store is doing? You don’t have to rely on an unreliable third-party solution to find out. D2C platforms do the analytical heavy lifting for you, collecting and processing relevant consumer data to provide store owners with the insight they need to keep growing.
Instead of focusing on wholesale to a big-box store, many newer businesses will find more success by promoting their own D2C channels. 56% of consumers now prefer ecommerce to brick-and-mortar stores–make the most of it by capitalizing on the D2C rush today.
5. Omnichannel Chatbots
The term omnichannel crops up often in discussions about the future of ecommerce. Businesses in a range of different industries are scrambling to provide that consistent retail experience across multiple channels—but consistency can be tough to achieve when it comes to customer service.
Omnichannel chatbots offer a clever way out, and they’re an ecommerce trend that businesses will not want to miss in 2023. Ideally, you’ll want to provide your customers with the same high-quality service no matter the platform they’re on. Getting an update on the status of your order should be as accurate and fast on Facebook as it is on Instagram.
This advanced new feature accomplishes this by integrating AI-enabled chatbots with your store’s CRM system. Since the bot can quickly access the database in response to a query, it can offer the same consistent service across multiple platforms. Omnichannel chatbots can also do a lot more with this centralized data than just answer basic questions, such as allowing users to change their passwords after verifying their credentials.
6. Subscription Ecommerce
Although it has its critics, all signs point to subscription ecommerce as a model of the future. Rising inflation across the board and the existing success of the so-called ‘Netflix model’ have driven this ecommerce trend.
Subscription pricing is often enticing to customers because they have the option to cancel anytime after sampling a new product or trying a new service. Many customers also view it as a value play—for instance, they can access unlimited songs without having to pay to download each one. But if customers are paying less, how can you make more?
- Build Trust: Shoppers find it easier to pay a small fee rather than the full amount for a product upfront. Giving potential customers the option to subscribe to your product or service builds trust and is a reflection of the confidence that you have in your offerings. If customers like the product, they end up paying just as much, if not more, over time.
- A Model That Adapts: Subscription models are highly adaptable, even for businesses dealing in physical D2C products. Dollar Shave Club, for example, was able to successfully monetize its razor blades with a subscription box service that customers could modify at any time.
Having an accessible website is synonymous with having a well-designed one, and the future of ecommerce belongs to those who can do both. 94% of ecommerce websites fail to meet the standard AA requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. By addressing these accessibility issues first, your business could open itself up to a wider audience and tap into a faster stream of growth.
Creating a more accessible experience for your users is about more than just avoiding legal risk. An easily accessible website is a more shoppable one. People with disabilities frequently have issues entering lengthy forms, navigating with a keyboard, and making out the details of low-contrast text.
Head into 2023 with an ecommerce trend that goes the extra mile for each user. Adding features like autocomplete forms, high-contrast text, and reading mode is easier than ever with the many plugins on the market–and the benefits are more than worth it. If your business works with clients overseas, you should also consider adding translation to your website.
How Can You Adapt to the Future of Ecommerce?
Prioritize With Analytics
Features like subscription boxes and augmented reality are great to have, but they might not be at the top of the list for every business. Historical trends and real-time analytics hold the key to figuring out which 2023 ecommerce trends matter the most for your business.
Platforms like Google Analytics offer a unique window into user behavior, and mastering them allows your business to make the right decisions at the right time. For example, a high bounce rate on your checkout page could be a sign that you’re asking for too much personal information or that it’s time to implement an autocomplete feature.
Ask Your Customers
Business analytics has its place in decision-making, but communicating directly with your customers about what they want to see is a great way of filling in the blanks. Also known as a feature request, opening up a communication channel with your users will keep the good ideas flowing and ensure that you’re heading in the right direction.
Consult an Expert
It’s hard enough to run an ecommerce business and keep up with the latest trends, let alone make the changes to your site to implement them. Consulting a team of experts can give you some much-needed direction and reduce busywork on your part, freeing you up to make the most of these new changes.
Stay One Step Ahead
Staying ahead of the curve is often just a matter of knowing more than the competition. Agencies like Coalition Technologies equip you with that knowledge and empower your business to grow with years of industry-leading expertise. Reach out to Coalition for a free strategy review. Give your business the future-proof advantage today.