After soaring like never before at the start of this decade (jumping up by 55%), can the online retail industry continue its trajectory? What does e-commerce look like in 2023?
With ever-evolving customer behavior and emerging technologies, retailers need to stay informed of new trends to keep up with the competition. In-person retail and online shopping have changed a lot since 2020 for both B2C and B2B stores, and people and technology will continue to move the dial on what’s important in 2023.
That’s why we’ve created a list of 13 trends we think are worth tracking in 2023, so you can get ahead early.
Why does a business like yours need to know about emerging trends in e-commerce? Well, if you incorporate emerging trends into your business you can:
- get ahead of the competition,
- pre-empt customer needs,
- explore new opportunities,
- and stay relevant.
Here are 13 trends you should look out for in 2023:
1. E-commerce continues to grow
COVID-19 accelerated growth in the e-commerce world like never before. That growth has since come back to earth and retailers are learning how to adjust their strategies in a post-covid world.
Thankfully, e-commerce isn’t going anywhere. Worldwide e-commerce sales are expected to grow to $7.5 trillion by 2025, up from $5.7 trillion in 2022, according to Statista.
The pandemic put online shopping top of mind for customers and experts predict that this is set to remain over the coming years.
That means retailers should re-focus on their online stores in 2023. E-commerce is vital to success in retail and experts predict years of significant growth ahead.
2. Omnichannel shopping experiences dominate
Customers craving in-store experiences after two years of online shopping during COVID, means retailers need to look at their omnichannel experience. You need to look at the totality of the customer journey, which doesn’t always start and end on your website.
Almost 75% of shoppers browse via multiple channels before making a purchase. That means retailers need to consider the full experience they’re presenting to shoppers on all channels, including your website, brick-and-mortar, and social media profiles. This is called omnichannel or unified commerce.
Customers want a seamless transition between channels when shopping with you. That means each channel should be a reflection of the other. Customers should be able to browse for and purchase the same items no matter where they choose to shop with you.
Modern customers might browse on social media, check pricing and returns info on your website, and then finally complete the purchase in the store. That’s 3 distinct touchpoints which all contribute to the sale of your products.
One of the first steps to succeed at omnichannel retail is by connecting your in-store and online systems through e-commerce integration. Once your business is integrated, you’ll be able to deliver on some of the key 2023 omnichannel trends like:
- Integrating your inventory between online store and brick-and-mortar
- Provide accurate shipping and delivery info
- Allows staff to retrieve more customer details to deliver better customer service
- Connect your inventory to your social media store
Businesses that deliver an effective omnichannel experience will succeed online in 2023.
3. Mobile shopping becomes more popular than ever
As omnichannel experiences become more prevalent, mobile shopping will take a bigger slice of the e-commerce pie. Simply put, your webstore needs to look amazing on all devices.
By the end of 2022, mobile will account for 41.6% of total e-commerce sales, almost half of all online sales. You need to have a responsive website that will let your customers browse your full inventory of items, no matter what device they’re shopping from.
WebSell retailers can upgrade their website designs to a Next Gen theme which vastly improves site speed, reduces cart abandonment, and simplifies the checkout process. Book a call with our Next Gen specialist to discuss your options for a redesign in 2023 so you can start your year off with a splash.
4. Personalization will delight customers
Everyone expects to receive a personalized experience no matter what technology they’re using now. When we launch Netflix, for example, we expect to see something they think we’d like to watch. Customers now expect the same experience when online shopping.
52% of consumers want to see personalized offers based on data gathered from their account. Customers are also willing to share their data if it means they’ll receive a more personalized experience.
If customers see you using their data in meaningful ways, then there’s a higher chance they’ll turn into returning customers. Use the data at your fingertips to create personalized offers for your customers and show them you value the data they’ve shared with you.
5. Social commerce continues to rise with Gen Z
Retailers that are active on social media can deliver an omnichannel experience and attract a new generation of buyers coming of age. Nearly 60% of Gen Z-ers buy directly on social media platforms.
Social media has transformed from a product discovery platform into a place that can drive sales for your business. Gen Z are leading the social commerce revolution, and businesses neglecting social media run the danger of being left behind when Gen Z grows up. They’re digital natives and they demand a seamless omnichannel experience.
Download our Social Commerce playbook to see how businesses like yours can succeed at selling on social media in 2023.
6. Customer service remains a differentiating factor
Customer service in 2023 is all about availability, both before and after the sale. Your customer service needs to be responsive and effective at solving problems, but often customers just need to know someone’s there to listen to their problems. Most problems can be resolved when a dialogue is opened with the customer.
It’s unrealistic to have a human being ready 24/7 to answer questions however. That’s where retailers need to explore new technologies like chatbots. Chatbots allow you to build a series of responses that will let the customer feel like they’ve had a real conversation.
89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience. Customers are also willing to grant a lot of leeway for things like shipment delays, if they are offered great customer service by the business.
Prioritize delivering great customer service in 2023.
7. Inflation could impact on average average order value
Retailers need to brace themselves for the impact that inflation could have on spending in 2023. This might result in lower average order values as customers become more conscious about their spending habits.
However, retailers have a big opportunity here to win loyal customers by offering them flexible returns and more budget-conscious options. 67% of shoppers read the returns page before making a purchase. If you don’t have a returns policy and returns web page heading into 2023, do your business a favor and get it sorted.
By not having one, you may be losing out on sales. When crafting your returns policy, make one that’s realistic and allows customers the time to consider if what they bought was right for them. Being kind to your customers in 2023 will humanize your business and hopefully turn them into loyal shoppers.
8. Subscription commerce drives customer retention
It’s cheaper to retain existing customers than win new ones. Creating meaningful customer relationships will be crucial to long-term success in 2023. Many businesses will explore subscription commerce as a way to retain customers and secure future recurring revenues from their customers.
Almost 35% of weekly digital shoppers use subscriptions currently, and that figure could grow further in 2023.
If suitable for your business, subscription commerce can give convenience to your customers who frequently order the same items. It eliminates manual ordering from the lives of your customers, giving them one less thing to worry about.
9. Sustainability and the environment plays an even bigger role
Environmental concerns are occupying a bigger part of our daily lives. Retailers should take the time to try and find ethical suppliers for their products, as customers are paying attention.
42% of digital shoppers would choose a business that uses sustainable packaging over one that doesn’t, according to Statista.
Reducing your business’ carbon footprint is a positive message to share in 2023, and one that consumers will be looking out for. Major corporations like McDonald’s, Adidas, and Zara, have turned recent efforts to reduce the use of plastics in their business into major positive PR messages.
Smaller retailers can also make a difference, and it’s something your customers will notice and look for in 2023.
10. Flexibility in fulfillment is key for 2023
Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) will remain a go-to choice for shoppers who have grown weary of the online-only experience they had during COVID.
BOPIS gives customers the best of both worlds as they can interact with your webstore and your brick-and-mortar to complete a purchase. This also means you have to look at your omnichannel experience.
70% of consumers say that BOPIS improves their overall shopping experience. BOPIS gives flexibility to your customers in how they shop, which will be a big trend in 2023. It’s also a very effective way to promote your omnichannel experience, as customers have to navigate between digital and in-person shopping experiences.
11. More payment options provided at checkout
Retailers that don’t offer a variety of payment options at checkout will risk losing even more sales in 2023.
With the rise in mobile shopping and social commerce, customers use multiple different payment providers depending on where and how they shop. Retailers need to assess if they’re covering all bases. Gen Z, for instance, completes purchases in very different ways than older generations. Does your store cater to how they like to shop?
Offering fast ways to check out without sacrificing security is the name of the game. Over 60% of the world population is expected to use digital wallets by 2026. Does your store offer the ability to purchase via leading digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay? If not, it might be time to reconsider.
12. Customers have less patience for late deliveries
Customers want their orders to be delivered on time, and expect to have full transparency over where their package is and how long it is estimated to arrive. Keeping customers informed at every step of the fulfillment process is part of your after-sales service, and it’s essential for winning repeat business.
Transparency during fulfillment will be a major retail trend in 2023. Customers don’t really mind if a shipment is delayed, as long as they’re informed about it. Almost 70% of consumers say they would be less likely to buy from a retailer again if a delivery is delayed and they aren’t told about it.
So set some clear expectations with your customers about delivery, give them accurate estimates before the check-out, and give customers the power to check on the status of their delivery.
13. Data protection and security stays top of mind
Customers are willing to share personal information if it means they’ll get a more personalized experience, but it shouldn’t be at the risk of jeopardizing the security of their data. In 2023 customers want to shop safely and securely online.
Your webstore needs to be fully secure with a custom SSL certificate which puts https before your site URL. This lets customers know you’ll handle their personal data, including credit card information, securely and safely.
Retailers have to consider letting customers check out as a guest for those that don’t want to part with their valuable personal info. The e-commerce fraud detection and prevention market is expected to double by 2025.
Setting up your online store is one challenge, growing it is another. To beat the competition and make your store stand out from the crowd, you should consider adopting some of these trends into your online plans for 2023.
You don’t need to invest massively in something you’re not sure will work either. See if you can start small with a few customers and iterate from there.
The one overarching trend that all others fit into in some way is customer experience. You need to deliver the best experience for your shoppers that you can. Whether that’s having a site that looks great on every device, giving them enough methods to complete their purchase, or offering full transparency and flexibility with their delivery options.
Everything you do in 2023 should be to enhance the customer experience. It’s the only way your business can stand out in the busy online retail industry.
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