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2023 brought explosive ecommerce expansion and sales of nuclear proportions — a total predicted valuation of $6.3 trillion, accounting for more than 21% of retail sales, per Shopify. But was your performance (K)enough to rattle the metaphorical theater of your competitor next door?
Your brand’s Yoncé-level renaissance for 2024 is only as sure as your willingness to lean into intensifying trends and openness to a bit of test and learn — that’s right, the Talking Heads aren’t the only ones who can’t stop making sense.
In order of equal importance, take a peek at what trends in ecommerce are to come in 2024 to ensure your digital shelf presence is a winning one (but winning more than one dollar, re: Gwyneth Paltrow), including ideas for how to apply them.
Even when you’re feeling antisocial — or are unable to be social thanks to a packed schedule or illness — you’re likely still being social in some way. The average user spends 144 minutes on social media daily, per Statista, and nearly 6 billion people will use social media worldwide by 2027.
It doesn’t take long for shoppers to find a product recommendation or ad on their social feeds — and it’s probably spot on for something they need, want, or didn’t even know they needed or wanted yet.
Plugging your brand into social shopping platforms and getting involved in social commerce is a potential goldmine for your reach and conversion rate — and even more so if you offer seamless, integrated experiences (more on those below).
Here’s how to lean into social commerce in 2024:
A not-so-shocking highlight on this list: artificial intelligence’s (AI) role in ecommerce. Whether you’re an early adopter, a hesitant adopter, or somewhere in between, the boost AI and machine learning capabilities can have on your productivity and power as a brand can’t be ignored.
Sure, AI can’t write the most compelling, captivating copy from start to finish, but it can remove hours — if not days — of work off of your content or marketing department’s plates. The right systems can also flag errors in data as well as alert you to security threats.
The implementation of predictive analytics for product demand can ensure that the products consumers want are always in stock, or at least, they can find the next best alternative through intelligent recommendations.
Furthermore, exploring data with AI captured through reviews, customer service interactions, and polls on your website or social media can even provide insights into the products consumers want from you but aren’t yet available.
Dive a bit more into how AI in ecommerce can amplify what your business is capable of in this quick video explainer.
Video Source: Salsify
You can also get better at playing AI’s “game” with this cheat sheet for ecommerce AI prompts.
Here are some more ways to leverage AI and machine learning in 2024:
Through AI and consumers’ wariness — despite an ever-increasing willingness to share first-party data — personalization can and will continue to expand, perhaps even to the extreme.
Tossing a personalization token here or there won’t cut it anymore. Consumers expect personalization to improve their shopping experiences — how can you take it a step further and improve their lives?
Whether it be localized email messages with products tailored by climate, demographics, or actual products made specifically for each shopper (or at least appear to be), personalization is where your creativity can really shine.
Here’s how to add additional personal touches:
Integrated retail experiences have a few correlating phrases, including phygital retail (the combination of physical and digital retail) and hybrid shopping. The power of phygital retail or hybrid shopping experiences lies in their necessity.
Also included under the integrated retail umbrella is the necessity of omnichannel retail experiences, or ensuring a consistent presence across all of your digital channels.
Both enabled by and fueling these innovations, is the increasingly nonlinear buyer’s journey and the ever-expanding digital shelf. Buyers may ping-pong between online research, in-store exploration, and back and forth again before making a decision.
And, once they decide, they’ll typically convert quicker for options like free shipping and free returns or buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS).
Here’s how to get going on integrated retail experiences:
Humans are a curious species. Each person makes a few, if not many, queries per day, whether they plug them into a traditional search engine, on a retailer like Amazon, or a social platform.
The searches only increase when they’re on the hunt for the perfect gift or to replace a dear item that’s seen better days — and that’s where voice and image searches can come into play.
How do you quickly reorder dog food for your sitter late at night when you’re due out of town the next morning? Replace a winter coat you find indescribable? Snag sneakers similar to a style you saw on the subway?
Voice search adds another layer of accessibility, and image search can offer accurate, freaky fast results.
Here’s how to get found more with voice and image searches:
Sustainability? Sustained! As a top ecommerce trend in 2023, shopping savvily second-hand — either via thrift stores or recommerce services provided by brands and retailers — is a priority for consumers. Also under the sustainability umbrella is consumers’ desire to see what you’re doing to be leaner and greener.
So, on that note, what are you doing to lessen your impact on the planet?
Here are some ways to dig into sustainability in 2024:
For thousands of years, humans have craved “word of mouth” — whether it be gossip, stories, toolmaking innovations, or trade secrets. Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok continue to prove this.
Shoppers love hearing from others — the average Joe, celebrity, or otherwise — on products to adopt or avoid. A repost here or a photo shared there from an influencer might make some headway, but compelling them to interact with your product on video will provide that extra boost.
Ninety-two percent of global users take action after seeing a product on a TikTok video, and 33% of users purchase a product after seeing it on a TikTok video, per TikTok.
Here’s how to tap into influencer marketing in 2024:
A touch less intimate than influencer marketing — but equally, if not more crucial — is your opportunity to leverage the power of word-of-mouth through ratings and reviews. Anyone who’s anyone who’s purchased your product can offer valuable feedback.
Even with negative reviews, your brand can shine for its conflict resolution efforts and acceptance of criticism. You may even uncover a design flaw, area for improvement, or need for a product line expansion.
Take your review offerings a step further by enabling filters and the ability to add photos and quick product highlights. This will help curious shoppers understand which item is best for them faster, and they’ll appreciate the transparency.
Here’s how to incorporate reviews that pack a punch:
When most purchases are just a tap away, curbing spending isn’t for the faint of heart — but it’s still happening. There’s simply no ignoring inflation and rising prices, and consumers have already been adjusting their buying habits.
But even for those shoppers pinching pennies or death gripping their credit cards, there’s still a way to capture their loyalty.
Loyalty and rewards programs can be your gateway to an intensified fanbase (and even increased sales, despite economic strain). Rewards equal happy customers, and happy customers equal reviews and UGC.
Here’s how to ensure shoppers feel rewarded as your customers:
If live stream shopping and video commerce don’t yet equate with the interactivity and engagement an in-store shopping experience offers, they likely will soon.
Live stream shopping events may not be suitable for the passerby shopper who wants to scroll in silence (that’s where the recording shared thereafter can add value). Live streams can, however, generate or reignite excitement among your fanbase.
For example, if you’re a skincare brand with a new line of moisturizers, hosting a live stream event featuring a brand expert or ambassador demoing products and answering questions in real-time could give your sales a big boost.
Similarly, if you’re an apparel brand rolling out a new collection, a live stream event can clearly show how your cuts and styles suit different builds and skin tones.
Here’s how to get into the right frame with video commerce in 2024:
To be on trend in ecommerce, you have to stay on top of trends in ecommerce. Keeping up with these predictions plus a pulse on your unique audiences will ensure lasting success — even longer than André 3000’s latest foray into fluting.
Learn the right moves to impress shoppers (and keep them coming back) with this step-by-step guide to building winning shopping experiences.DOWNLOAD GUIDE
Yvonne Bertovich (she/her) is an editor and writer at Salsify, reporting from Knoxville, Tennessee. With a longtime passion for research, she enjoys flexing her perspective on ecommerce, trends in consumer behavior, and health and wellness.
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