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7 ecommerce trends for 2023 that retailers should not ignore

by Jesús Maceira, November 3, 2022

In this article, we share the essential ecommerce trends for 2023 that every retailer should know about. And it is that, despite inflationary estimates, global e-commerce retail sales are expected to increase until at least 2026.

ecommerce retail sales by year

After more than two years of astronomical growth, what can we expect to happen next year? While it is true that shoppers are returning to physical stores, their online shopping habits are set. Various reports predict that e-commerce retail sales worldwide will skyrocket from approximately US$5 trillion to just over US$8 trillion by 2026.

To take advantage of this projected growth, online retailers will need to double down on many of the trends that took off during the pandemic. At the same time they take care of the changing expectations and preferences of consumers.

To help your online business stand out, we've done research looking for the most relevant ecommerce trends for the future of the industry. In this article, we share 7 of them below.

Ecommerce trends for 2023: 7 essentials to sell online successfully

1. Inflation and tight budgets affect online spending

It is a fact that the impact of inflation on consumer spending will probably last until 2023. This is why it will be a season of tight budgets and where buyers will be very attentive to their purchases.

To do? Think about flexible returns and affordable options. Do you think a flexible return policy is bad for business? Think again. Yes, returns can be expensive, but buyers will return products regardless of whether or not you make it easy for them. A strict or complicated process will not prevent them from returning the products, it will prevent them from returning them to you.

67% of buyers verify the return policy before buying online, which means a bad policy can prevent them from buying.

On the other hand, 92% of consumers will buy products from a brand again if the return process has been easy. When financial anxiety is high, buyers need additional security.

Another way to keep the bottom line stable in the midst of financial insecurity is to offer budget-conscious options. Basic subscription packages (such as the ad-supported streaming service Netflix has launched) allow customers to continue engaging when they otherwise would have stopped altogether. It also promotes goodwill which in turn will build long-term loyalty.

2. Recommerce takes a turn on the catwalk of e-commerce trends for 2023

It is estimated that by 2025 the fashion and apparel industry will exceed one trillion dollars. The fashion and apparel industry includes:

  • Clothing
  • Purses + bags
  • Shoes
  • Accessories, such as jewelry

As sustainability becomes a critical element when deciding to buy from a brand, and more affordable shopping options are sought, e-commerce will play a much larger role when it comes to e-commerce trends by 2023.

65% of all shoppers use any reselling or recommerce service.

The pioneers of the recommerce movement were companies that re-sold branded products (ThredUp, Poshmark, eBay, etc.), but it's definitely not just for third-party retailers anymore.

Big brands like Patagonia, Levi's and REI are focusing on sustainability and re-marketing efforts. After all, future generations want to shop with a purpose, and having a world to live in is a huge motivator for them. Something that we should not neglect or ignore.

3. Personalization, a decisive factor for brand loyalty

Most consumers crave a brand that knows them well enough to offer personalized shopping experiences. So much so that most people will pay more to companies that offer personal touches that really appeal to them.

60% of consumers say they will become repeat customers after a personalized shopping experience.

When online store managers harness the data customers share for a more personalized experience, customer engagement, loyalty, and bottom line grow exponentially.

If you don't personalize content for your customers across all channels, you'll lose them to brands that invest in knowing their customers better. This means engaging them on the channels they prefer and supporting them throughout their buying journey with personalized offers.

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4. Sustainability also sustains the business

The so-called green trade is on the rise. Even amid financial fears, consumers are willing to spend more to buy from sustainable brands.

52% of consumers say the pandemic made them value sustainability more.

Sites like Thrive that offer greener shopping experiences — from their products to their compliance practices — are gaining in popularity. Which makes a circularity strategy essential for companies that want to be successful. What does this mean for eCommerce in 2023?

We will see more brands embracing their greener side. For example:

  • Selling products made with more sustainable materials.
  • Investing in more environmentally friendly packaging materials.
  • Allowing users to choose more sustainable shipping options (for example, "Ship all items together in one package, instead of shipping as they become available")
  • Making it easy for people to recycle items or buy used items directly from your website.

5. Mobile devices will be a huge sales driver for e-commerce in 2023

Have you noticed that as our mobile devices get smaller, our expectations of them get bigger? We spend a record amount of time online today, and much of that time is spent shopping. But online no longer means "on a computer." (I can feel Gen Z collectively rolling their eyes as I write this.)

Today it is normal for consumers, even Generation Alpha, to have mobile phones within their reach at all times. And that they use them to navigate much more than to send text messages and phone calls.

Allowing customers to buy through their mobile devices is no longer an exception, it is now an expectation. Mobile devices account for 71% of retail traffic and drive 61% of online shopping orders, according to Statista.

Consumers choose mobile commerce over and over again as their preferred channel for shopping. By 2024, global mobile commerce retail sales are estimated to reach almost $4.5 trillion and account for 69.9% of total e-commerce retail sales.

Brands that want to lead the game must embrace the mobile mindset. That means designing mobile experiences first (not just shrinking your desktop experience down to a smaller screen). It also means offering phone-friendly payment options (such as Apple Pay and Google Pay) and making mobile payment a snap. A challenge for many businesses that, even still, they have not started their digital transformation.

6. A new generation of buyers enters the market

In 2023, there will be more consumers entering the eCommerce shopping landscape, and it's not our grandparents' generation.

The so-called Generation Z, with purchasing power, will have a significant impact on e-commerce purchases. In fact, 32% of Gen Z say they will spend more during the 2022 holiday season, a huge counterweight to the 46% of consumers who plan to tighten their belts when it comes to spending.

Retailers must accommodate these powerful generations and their buying preferences.

Young people have unprecedented digital savvy, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools were closed around the world, and they now expect brands to be as smart as they are, when it comes to buying goods or services on the Internet.

55% of Gen Z use smartphones more than five hours a day, and 26% are on their phones more than 10 hours a day. More than 40% would rather lose their wallets than their smartphones. Nearly two out of three children ages 8 to 11 have access to a smartphone. 97% of Gen Zers use social media as their main source of shopping inspiration.

So, connected shopping experiences and omnichannel become essential, especially for this new generation. This new digital consumer will not consider purchasing without doing their research first, and their research is not done in the same way as previous generations.

Social commerce and apps like Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Spotify, and Twitter offer authentic and trusted suggestions from influencers, as well as options that make shopping easy. We will see how more and more, Google ceases to be the search engine for this generation, instead, TikTok emerges as a substitute.

We live in the age of immediacy, and these digital generations are not the most patient. So if they can't get what they want quickly and easily, they'll give their business to e-retailers who can deliver.

7. Flexibility in compliance will also be a trend in 2023

Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) became very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. And a segment of shoppers are not ready to give up this option even in fully open societies in the new normal.

BOPIS gives consumers the ability to shop online and schedule pickup for their items at a physical store of their choice. Worldwide, it is expected that this mode will be a $703 billion market by 2027.

Flexible fulfillment is far from new: Big retailers like Target have invested heavily in that aspect of fulfillment and the customer experience for more than seven years, using ship-to-store, ship-from-store, and online checkout and pickup in store.

BOPIS makes compliance convenient for customers. Which helps increase loyalty and therefore sales. It's expected to grow in importance in 2023 as consumers look for ways to continue buying the products they love when budgets are tight.

Bonustrack – Here's a Roundup of More Ecommerce Trends to Consider

Subscription Commerce: To Drive Retention and Revenue

Winning new customers can be expensive and time consuming. The goal of any business is to have customer relationships that stand the test of time. 2023 e-commerce trends point to subscription commerce becoming an even more important type of online commerce.

Digital sellers and online marketplaces are driving retention and revenue with subscription models. Almost 35% of weekly online shoppers use subscriptions. With the right business and fulfillment models built into a subscription commerce strategy, those numbers are sure to rise.

After all, customers will still expect simplicity and convenience when shopping: do you have a product or service that they love and use regularly? Subscription commerce eliminates manual ordering and delivery, making shopping seamless and available when the consumer needs it.

Metaverse, augmented reality and artificial intelligence

For a long time, video and augmented reality have played a fundamental role in e-commerce.

Demonstration videos allow potential customers to better understand products, while augmented reality offers consumers the ability to visualize products in 3D.

Then... there's the Metaverse. Where physical, augmented and virtual reality merge, creating an immersive computer-generated environment where users can interact, purchase items, play games and have experiences just like they would in the real world.

Shoppers interact with 3D images of products by nearly 50% more than with the static ones.

Right now, the retail metaverse use cases are mostly experimental. But brands are clamoring to reach the next frontier of commerce. E-marketer identified fashion, beauty, and home goods as the top three high-potential retail categories in the metaverse. Is your business in those categories?

Now it's your turn.

It can be relatively easy to create and set up an online store (especially with the huge selection of eCommerce platforms available), but growing the business is something that is not achieved with a click. If you want your online business to be as successful as possible and to capitalize on a portion of the $8 trillion, you need to think strategically. Continuously implementing strategies to adapt to changes in digital consumer behavior.

There is no guarantee that what worked last year or even last month will work tomorrow. With technological advances, there are more tools available for e-commerce businesses. And consumers know it.

As a result, they now expect personalized experiences and other alternatives. After all, if you have the means to improve the online shopping experience for your target audience, why not?

Keeping up with the latest developments in eCommerce trends can be hard work, but by putting in the effort, your business will stand a chance of standing out in a highly saturated market.

If you need to create or transform your ecommerce to adapt to the new experiences of digital consumers, contact us today here.

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