05 Jan 2023 By By Alice Davies
We’re now closer to 2063 than we are to 1963… we’ll just let that sink in. But whilst you contemplate the meaning of life and how time is a construct and definitely not real, let’s take a look at the future of eCommerce in 2023.
Although we can’t go back, we can certainly look to the future and give our best predictions for the year ahead. After a tumultuous few years, 2023 is giving us a few warm fuzzy feelings in our stomachs and we’re allowing ourselves just a little sense of excitement and childlike wonder at what could be in 2023… (hey, that rhymes!).
With shoppers feeling more confident about returning to the high street, are we about to see a change in the eCommerce world? We’re creatures of habit and now we’ve experienced same-day delivery, multiple payment options, and the widest choice of products we’ve ever had available to us, we’re not sure the eCommerce bubble is quite over just yet.
Say hello to Gen Z. Young, vibrant, and on a mission to save the world, they crave storytelling, sustainability, and options - lots of options. This is especially prevalent when it comes to payments. More and more online banks and finance companies are becoming available and retailers need to keep up with them.
Younger generations are more tech-savvy than ever before, allowing them to manage their finances better, meaning less spending on credit cards. They’re also security conscious too (we’ll talk more about protecting personal information later) - this goes for both Millennials and Gen Z. So although more options are necessary, these consumers want to feel confident in your brand before they buy.
However, less credit card spending doesn’t mean less credit spending. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) platforms, like Klarna and ClearPay, are providing younger generations with no-interest credit options, ideal for larger purchases.
Let’s not beat around the bush - the pandemic created a surge in the eCommerce market (as well as a slump when it came to logistics and distribution). And those who already had trendy features implemented, such as contactless delivery, and buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) or return in store (BORIS) options suddenly became ahead of the curve, with an advantage over their competitors.
Although consumers still want these options available, there’s an upwards trend of people craving brick-and-mortar stores, potentially proving problematic for purely eCommerce brands.
We’re expecting store footfall to increase in 2023, but that doesn’t mean we’re expecting to see a decline in online sales. Consumers will want the best of both worlds - and retailers have to be prepared to provide them with it.
We could also see a surge in pop-ups or temporary stores. This limits the need for expensive shopfronts and regular rental payments, but gives consumers that physical presence they’re after (and an excuse to spend more money).
We know that the eCommerce industry has snowballed over the last five years, with US eCommerce spending soaring beyond what anyone thought possible. But global markets outside of the US are now growing and we expect to see this continue through 2023.
With international markets becoming increasingly accessible, brands should consider whether this is the right move for them and what this might mean for their bottom line. Cross-border shipping and international logistics need some serious thought, as well as a shipping provider who can keep up with your growth.
We know that automation is a key trend at the moment - but it’s only set to become even more of a talking point in 2023. With the ability to streamline and improve productivity, alongside aiding your workforce, machine automation and AI has the ability to really push the eCommerce industry forward.
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) allow users to have an efficient and fast shopping experience on an app than feels like than app - rather than a web page.
Users appreciate the level of user experience, as well as the ability to create an account, save their favourites, push notifications, and earn rewards. It’s a great way to create customer loyalty and manage accounts effectively.
Whilst some B2B companies force themselves to be at the forefront of technology and innovation, when it comes to B2B retailers, we tend to see a lack of motivation. With the attitudes of decision-makers leaving little to be desired, many B2B brands will see themselves left behind as the digital revolution takes hold.
In 2023, we’re expecting to see more and more B2B retailers take their clients online and step into the digital realm. Demand is high from other companies to be able to easily order supplies and products through an online store. We’re hoping this new eCommerce venture will allow B2B retailers to keep up with demand and not invest in potentially old and clunky technology,
Choices choices choices. We all want ‘em, but we don’t want too many of them, otherwise we get overwhelmed. When it comes to delivery options, consumers are no different.
Apps like Vinted put the control in the buyer’s hands, with consumers able to pick between Evri, Royal Mail, InPost etc. Usually, consumers aren’t given much of a choice. It’s either the next day, named day, or standard delivery - without any knowledge of who might be delivering until the shipped notification comes through.
With clever shipping rules, you can provide your customers with a range of to options, without too much strain on your bottom line.
Although multi-channel personalisation is predicted to grow and data collection pitted to become more comprehensive than ever before, consumers are gaining more insight and awareness into their own data too. This means they’re becoming savvier, protecting what is rightfully theirs to protect.
eCommerce companies especially will need to provide consumers with peace of mind that their payment details are protected, as well as other important personal data. Providing consumers with as many options as possible can help them make informed decisions about how they pay for products and services.
It also means you shouldn’t force potential consumers to create online accounts either. Having to create an account causes almost 25% of sales to be lost. That’s a whole quarter.
We like a good deal and we feel like we’re getting one when it comes to subscriptions. Although you’re paying consistently for your chosen products or services, you know you’re getting a discount (however marginal). It’s also the convenience factor that your items will magically appear, rather than having to remember to buy again (usually when you’ve run out).
A subscription model doesn’t have to be the products you sell either, but could be a premium delivery subscription or points for purchases system. A delivery subscription encourages consumers to order more often, as well as only ordering from your store, therefore increasing their value as a customer.
60% of customers become repeat customers after a personalised experience. Whether this is at the checkout, through a PWA, via email marketing, or even direct mail, consumers like to feel like an individual, rather than just a number.
But in 2023, we’re expecting to see the rise of multi-channel personalisation, providing consumers with relevant experiences across, you guessed it, multiple channels. eCommerce brands can then build on these relationships, which only become more personalised over time, helping improve loyalty and drive sales.
Apps like Vinted and Depop have grown exponentially over the last few years and this trend is set to continue. Second-hand, recycled, upcycled, and vintage - all keywords when it comes to thinking about sustainability for eCommerce brands.
Picking the right products is crucial and providing consumers with the same level of service and delivery/returns options will push you over the edge compared to competitors. Consumers are more willing to choose companies based on their sustainable practices - and it isn’t just the younger generations either. Online buyers of all ages are looking for signs that their purchasing is ethical.
Greenwashing simply won’t wash. Choosing sustainable and eco-friendly suppliers, who are actually making a real difference when it comes to the environment is a start - but there are other ways to promote these practices. Applying for B-Corp status (you may have heard of this recently through BrewDog’s recent loss of B-Corp) or other certifications can hold your eCommerce business accountable (and save the world).
Brand personality comes to the forefront via social media. Consumers feel engaged with who they’re buying from, not just that they’re making a mundane purchase. And social media is a HUGE platform of influence for many consumers.
We like and share and save and pin and watch. We consume so much content on social media that it’s not surprising that we buy from these platforms too. Having a presence isn’t a choice anymore; it’s a necessity. In 2023, this is set to be no different.
We’re still a little sceptical about the popularity of voice shopping, especially when so many individuals are becoming more conscious of their online security. But we have to look at the statistics - and it’s highlighting an upward trend for voice shopping in 2023.
But what does this mean for eCommerce brands? Optimising your website or app for voice search is more relevant than ever before. When we search with our voices, rather than typing a query, we do this a lot differently.
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