Ecommerce is a booming industry that has managed to stay afloat despite economic downturns and the pandemic. The industry was worth $9.09 trillion in 2019 but by the end of 2020, the global market capitalization had increased to $10.36 trillion according to Grand View Research. This rapid growth is primarily due to the tech-centered trends in ecommerce that keep popping up at every corner.
If you are a new ecommerce retailer who is looking for an edge to thrive in the industry, this article is for you. It covers the new trends in ecommerce that you can implement in your business strategy to maximize profit and build your consumer base. You will also find some of the top future trends in ecommerce and the skills you need to implement these trends.
What Is Ecommerce?
Ecommerce means electronic commerce. It is the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet and other electronic channels. Ecommerce goes beyond online retail sales. It includes electronic financial services and other forms of business-related exchange that require electronic transmission.
There are two main categories of ecommerce which are business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C). As the name implies, B2B ecommerce is when businesses sell goods and services to other businesses, while B2C is when businesses sell to end-users.
What Is the Current State of Ecommerce?
The ecommerce industry is currently growing at an incredibly fast rate in the United States and beyond. This makes sense since customers now prefer the convenience and wide variety of options that come with the online experience rather than visiting a brick-and-mortar store. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made ecommerce a safety necessity for many consumers.
A recent report from Catalyst Digital shows that 66 percent of all online shoppers choose ecommerce because of convenience. It also showed that 63 percent of all shoppers visit the online platforms of Amazon and Walmart to conduct research before they make a purchase decision. Shoppers also reported that online products tend to offer more value than products they buy in stores.
Impact of Remote Work on Ecommerce
The adoption of remote work only makes things better for the future of ecommerce businesses. While many other businesses rely primarily on on-site activities, ecommerce retailers can run their stores remotely. If you are thinking of starting an ecommerce business, most of the things you need to keep the business afloat can be controlled remotely.
For example, a fully functioning ecommerce site can be created and maintained remotely by a web developer. When people don’t go to offices for work, they are more likely to shop online for everything they need. This explains the significant growth of ecommerce businesses in the wake of the pandemic.
Top Challenges in Ecommerce
Like every other industry, the ecommerce sector has had its challenges. Some of these challenges can be easily remedied with a stronger business model, while others will require more work. Below are the top five challenges in the ecommerce industry today.
- Difficulty securing customer loyalty: There is a lot of competition in the ecommerce sector with millions of live websites offering similar services and products. To carve out a niche and make a name for yourself, you need customer retention. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to secure loyal returning customers online.
- Securing conversions: There are a lot of window shoppers online. Most of them visit websites, browse through the products or services, and then go to another website, which is bad for your conversion rate. For ecommerce businesses, especially new ones, turning visitors into paying customers to get online sales may prove to be difficult.
- Cyber crime: Online businesses are prone to all forms of cyber crime. Hackers can take control of a website through ransomware, DNS, or any other form of cyber attack. Shoppers are at risk of losing sensitive information during security breaches, so they tend to make purchases with only the most reputable platforms.
- Large order fulfillment problems: Large ecommerce websites like Amazon have thousands of people working on order fulfillment and customer satisfaction. Small-scale ecommerce stores and independent businesses with limited human power may have challenges keeping up with consumer demand, especially when they are just starting to expand.
- Payment gateway: Ecommerce businesses need secure and dedicated payment gateways for buyers. Buyers are wary of buying products or services from platforms with third-party payment gateways. However, setting up and securing a brand-specific gateway with multiple payment methods can be expensive for a small business owner.
What Are Some Future Trends in Ecommerce?
Ecommerce trends are rapidly evolving like the industry itself. Innovative companies are coming up with new trends every day to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with the ever-changing market. Some of the most common trends you should keep in mind if you are thinking of diving into ecommerce are listed below.
Multiple Payment Options
In the past, ecommerce shoppers were limited to buying products with credit or debit cards. Today, things have changed. Most online stores now accept cryptocurrencies and visual cards as mobile payment. Customers who do not want their online purchase history to show up on their bank statements can use decentralized cryptocurrency wallets to pay for goods and services.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Payment convenience is one thing customers always consider when they think of buying a product or coming back to certain ecommerce brands. This trend is important because it gives customers more options than traditional brick and mortar stores and makes them more likely to refer others which helps build customer relationships.
The Rise of Omnichannel Shopping
Omnichannel businesses integrate all their services seamlessly. So, a registered customer who is window shopping on the online store or mobile app can easily visit the brick-and-mortar location to see what they want to buy. As long as the customer adds items to the cart using an email address, omnichannel shopping should not be a problem.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Brick and mortar stores realize that, despite their best marketing efforts, they can lose their businesses if they do not participate in the digital revolution. By integrating electronic services into their physical store, they increase their chances of retaining old clients and making new ones.
Integration of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) has influenced so many industries including the ecommerce sector. Ecommerce platforms now use AI in different ways to enhance user experience. However, the most popular option is the AI chatbot. An AI chatbot can offer smart insights to a customer who is having challenges on the platform without requiring an actual human to spend time on the task.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Using AI chatbots offers prospective customers a more personalized experience as swiftly as possible. Human customer care representatives typically take over chats if the case escalates, but AI ensures that the customer gets an instant reply to their question. You can learn artificial intelligence yourself or employ someone to integrate it.
Shopping With Augmented Reality
Augmented reality has become a common trend in ecommerce because it is used to give buyers a realistic preview of what they are about to buy. People who are still skeptical about the quality of the product or services they will receive during online shopping benefit from virtual reality.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Augmented reality makes the shopping experience feel real by giving the customer a clearer and more accurate visual representation of what they are buying. If the customer gets a clear, 3D augmented view of what they want, they may be more inclined to make the purchase.
Ecommerce sites are luring people into subscribing to a product by offering discounts to subscribers. This trend proposes convenience to the buyer because it allows them to make new purchases without visiting the website repeatedly, which helps boost ecommerce growth.
Why Is This Trend Important?
Subscription-based shopping offers a lot of conveniences, and this is something online shoppers crave. It can increase sales because customers do not have to visit the website every time they need a product or service. Products are purchased automatically according to the subscription.
Essential Ecommerce Skills for Today’s Professionals
If you want to dive into ecommerce, you need to equip yourself with the right set of skills. Even if you have been running a business for a while, there are specific skills that you may not have needed in the past but would need now to thrive as an ecommerce business owner. Some of these skills are listed below.
- Social media marketing: Social media platforms are one of the best places to reach your target audience without spending millions on traditional video content. One of the most popular forms of social media marketing is Facebook advertising. Make sure that you learn how to use your Facebook page to reach customers and build a solid user base for your ecommerce platforms.
- Search engine optimization: You need to optimize your ecommerce site for search engines so it will be on the front page when prospective customers search for your products or services. You can learn how to become the SEO manager for your business or you can employ someone to do it for you.
- Copywriting: You will need to update your ecommerce blog and social media pages with sales copies periodically. So, learning how to write engaging sales copies is an important skill for ecommerce business owners. If you do not learn, you will have to keep outsourcing the job each time you need copy.
- Accounting: The financial part of your business is the most important part. You need basic knowledge of accounting to keep your business going. Thankfully, there are several online tools you can use to control your business finances virtually.
- Data analytics: As a small business owner, you can save money by gaining data analyst skills. Data analytics helps you to track consumer behavior that can influence your content marketing. You should know how to use data analytic tools to find out how your online business is doing, provide the best customer experience, and boost online sales.
Current Trends in Ecommerce: Take the Next Step in Your Business
The top trends in ecommerce listed in this article are just a few of the numerous trends that are improving ecommerce. You can take your business to the next level by taking advantage of these trends and working on the relevant skills that will make you a better online business owner.
You do not need to implement all of these ecommerce trends at the same time. Start with one or two and work your way up. Most importantly, make sure that you pay attention to future trends so you do not get left behind by the competition or miss out on ecommerce sales.
Trends in Ecommerce FAQ
China currently has the largest ecommerce market thanks to Alibaba Group, Alibaba subsidiaries like AliExpress, and Amazon China. The Chinese ecommerce market is followed by the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany.
Amazing, Alibaba, Shopify, Wix eCommerce, Flipkart, and Magento are among the best ecommerce businesses in the industry. There are other solid options out there like Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, and Best Buy. The one you choose to engage with will depend on what you want.
Ecommerce stores are popular because they offer the kind of convenience that traditional brick-and-mortar stores cannot offer a consumer. Apart from order fulfillment, ecommerce sites are available 24/7 so you can place an order whenever you want without leaving the comfort of your home.
You can succeed in ecommerce by choosing the right niche, publicizing your products or services online, and building a relationship with your customers. Satisfied customers aren’t just going to return, but they will also leave positive feedback and invite others to try your store. There are also courses and guides available that can help you learn ecommerce.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.