The rapidly evolving eCommerce industry requires businesses to stay at the forefront of emerging trends to maintain a competitive edge. This blog post will explore and delve into 13 crucial eCommerce trends poised to shape the landscape in 2024. By understanding and adapting to these trends, businesses can position themselves for success in the ever-changing eCommerce landscape.
John Sculley once said, “The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”
By having the foresight to recognize these possibilities before they become mainstream, businesses can proactively adapt their strategies, adopt new technologies, and tailor their offerings to meet customers’ changing demands and expectations.
From personalized shopping experiences to the rise of social commerce, these trends will shape how businesses connect with customers, drive conversions, and thrive in the digital realm.
Revenue in the eCommerce market was projected to reach US$3.58tn in 2023.
Top 13 eCommerce Trends for 2024
The first half of 2023 has seen a renewed sense of excitement about the potential of technology to drive progress. Generative AI is a significant driver of this revival, but it’s just one of many advances that could help us achieve sustainable, inclusive growth and solve complex global challenges.
We use quantitative measures of interest, innovation, and investment to assess the momentum of each trend. We also look at the underlying technologies, uncertainties, and questions surrounding each trend, as we recognize that these trends are long-term and interdependent.
In 2021, retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately 5.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. This figure is forecast to grow by 56 percent over the following years, reaching about 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026.
Let’s dive in and explore the factors that will drive the evolution of this dynamic industry.
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1. Generative AI & Chat GPT
Generative AI has made a big splash and is already showing promise for transforming businesses. This new technology builds on existing AI technologies like applied AI and industrializing machine learning and has the potential to be widely used across industries.
Generative AI could add as much as $4.4 trillion in economic value, from specific use cases like creating realistic images to general uses like helping people search for better results or writing emails more efficiently. However, businesses should pay attention to the potential of the underlying AI technologies and industrializing machine learning, which could also bring significant value.
Generative AI can automate, augment, and accelerate work using unstructured data sets to create new content. This content can be in the form of text, video, or even code.
Generative AI is gaining traction in the corporate world. Venture capital investments in generative AI have increased by 425% since 2020 (Forbes), and Microsoft has invested $10 billion in OpenAI (Bloomberg). In numerous ways, generative AI has the potential to revolutionize eCommerce. Here are a few examples of current eCommerce applications of generative AI:
- Personalized product recommendations for consumers can be generated using generative AI. This can be accomplished by analyzing customer purchase history, browsing behavior, and other factors to determine which products will likely interest each customer.
- Realistic product images that do not exist in reality can be generated using generative artificial intelligence. This can be used to develop new product designs, display products in various environments, and create virtual try-on experiences for customers.
- Generative AI can generate informative and engaging product descriptions. This can enhance the overall consumer experience and boost sales.
- Generative AI can be used to construct chatbots capable of answering customer questions and resolving problems. This can allow customer service agents to focus on more complex duties.
- Using generative AI, it is possible to detect fraudulent transactions. This can assist businesses in preventing financial losses and enhancing the overall security of their eCommerce operations.
2. Conversational commerce
Conversational commerce refers to using messaging platforms, chatbots, voice assistants, and other communication channels to facilitate transactions and interactions between businesses and customers. It allows customers to engage in natural, real-time conversations with brands, making the shopping experience more interactive and personalized.
Consumers don’t just look for quality products but also for immersive experiences and meaningful conversations that can make them feel valued and engaged.
That’s why conversational marketing is on the rise, using which customers can get answers about the product/service or even buy a product with the help of a Chatbot or live agent.
Conversational marketing benefits eCommerce businesses by:
- Helping them engage customers through meaningful conversations.
- Boosting sales through personalized recommendations and offers they can’t refuse.
- Gathering valuable customer data and real-time feedback to make informed decisions.
- Reducing service costs by providing quick and efficient support.
To leverage conversational marketing, eCommerce business owners must:
- Implement Chatbot on their official website or social platforms.
- Use Chatbot call-to-action prompts or live agents with Chatbot to optimize conversations.
3. MACH architecture
MACH architecture is an emerging approach in eCommerce that emphasizes flexibility and scalability. It comprises four key components:
- Microservices: MACH architecture breaks down the traditional monolithic eCommerce platform into smaller, independent microservices. It becomes easier to develop, deploy, and scale the platform.
- API-first: MACH architecture is API-first, meaning the microservices are exposed through APIs. Integrating the platform with other systems, such as CRM and marketing automation, is easy.
- Cloud-native: MACH architecture is cloud-native, which means that it is designed to take advantage of the scalability and resilience of cloud computing platforms. Scaling the platform up or down as needed and recovering from outages becomes easier.
- Headless: MACH architecture is headless, meaning the front-end presentation layer is decoupled from the back-end commerce functionality. Therefore, content delivery and experiences across multiple touchpoints, such as websites, mobile apps, and IoT devices, become easier.
AWS (Amazon Web Services) offers a wide range of services that can help businesses to adopt a MACH architecture. For example, AWS Lambda can be used to run microservices, AWS API Gateway can be used to create API-first applications, and AWS ECS (Elastic Container Service) can be used to manage containers.
MACH architecture offers several benefits for eCommerce businesses, including:
- Faster time to market: MACH architecture makes developing and deploying new features more effortless, which can help businesses get to market faster.
- Enhanced agility: MACH architecture makes it easier to adapt to changes in the market, which can help businesses stay ahead of the competition.
- Improved scalability: MACH architecture is scalable, meaning businesses can quickly scale the platform up or down as needed.
4. Composable commerce
It allows businesses to pick and choose individual components, such as shopping carts, payment gateways, inventory management systems, and content management systems, and combine them to create a customized commerce stack.
By adopting a composable approach, businesses gain flexibility and agility, as they can easily replace or upgrade individual components without disrupting the entire commerce ecosystem. It also enables seamless integration with third-party services, such as marketing automation tools, analytics platforms, or eCommerce personalization engines, allowing businesses to leverage the latest technologies and optimize their operations.
Composable Commerce empowers businesses to create unique customer experiences, tailor their commerce stack to specific requirements, and quickly adapt to changing market conditions.
5. Personalized shopping experiences
The rise of e-commerce has changed how we shop forever. But what does the future of shopping hold? Here are a few trends that are shaping the way we shop today:
- Sophisticated customer analytics: Businesses are using sophisticated customer analytics to understand their customers’ needs and preferences better than ever before. This data is being used to create personalized shopping experiences that are more relevant and engaging.
- Personalized sounds and smells: Retailers use personalized sounds and smells to create immersive shopping experiences that appeal to the senses. For example, a clothing store might play music tailored to the specific clothing items on display.
- Digital mannequins that “know” your clothing preferences: Digital mannequins help customers find the perfect fit and style. These mannequins have sensors that track a customer’s body measurements and preferences.
6. Omnichannel customer experience
Omnichannel customer experience is an eCommerce strategy that integrates all of your customer touchpoints into a single, cohesive experience. Customers should be able to move seamlessly between channels without repeating themselves or providing the same information multiple times.
Here are some tips for implementing an omnichannel customer experience strategy:
- Start mapping your customer touchpoints to identify gaps in the customer experience and where you can improve.
- Invest in technology that can help you to integrate your customer touchpoints. This could include a customer relationship management (CRM) system or a customer service platform.
- Train your employees on the importance of omnichannel customer experience. Ensure they understand how to provide a seamless experience across all channels.
- Measure your results and make adjustments as needed. You need to track how your omnichannel customer experience strategy is performing so that you can make the necessary changes.
There are several ways to implement omnichannel e-commerce, including:
- Save the sale involves allowing customers to complete a purchase that they started in one channel and finished in another. For example, a customer might start browsing for a product on a retailer’s website but then decide to complete their purchase in-store.
- Endless aisle as a concept allows customers to access a retailer’s entire product catalog through in-store kiosks or mobile apps, including out-of-stock or online-exclusive items.
- Local discovery leverages location-based technologies to provide customers personalized recommendations and promotions based on proximity to physical stores.
Click & Collect allows customers to purchase products online and pick them up at a nearby store, enhancing convenience and reducing delivery times.
One key aspect is the implementation of BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store) services. BOPIS allows customers to shop online and then pick up their purchases at a nearby store, combining the convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of in-store pickup.
- Cataloging refers to providing digital product catalogs that customers can browse and interact with on various platforms.
7. Subscription eCommerce
Subscription eCommerce model has gained significant popularity in recent years. They offer products or services regularly, where customers subscribe to receive regular deliveries or access exclusive content.
- Subscription bundles are an excellent way for businesses to offer their customers a more comprehensive range of products and services. This can be a perfect way to increase customer loyalty and average order value.
For instance –
- Netflix offers a variety of subscription bundles that allow customers to access different content. For example, the “Basic” plan includes access to TV shows and movies, while the “Premium” plan includes access to 4K content and offline viewing.
- HelloFresh offers a subscription bundle with three weekly meals for two people. This bundle is an excellent way for customers to try various recipes and ingredients without going to the grocery store.
- Subscription marketplaces are a new way for businesses to sell their products and services. These marketplaces allow businesses to reach a wider audience and offer customers a more convenient shopping experience.
For instance –
- FabFitFun is a subscription marketplace that offers a variety of beauty, fashion, and lifestyle products. Customers can choose from a variety of boxes each season, and they can also add additional products.
- Thrive Market is a subscription marketplace that offers a variety of healthy and organic products. Customers can save up to 50% on products and get free shipping on orders over $49.
- Subscription analytics: Subscription businesses must use data to track their performance and make informed decisions. This data can be used to track customer churn, identify trends, and optimize marketing campaigns.
For instance –
- Zuora is a subscription billing and payments platform that helps businesses manage their subscription businesses.
- Zuora’s platform can help businesses automate billing, collect payments, and track customer data.
- Subscription payments: Subscription businesses need to offer a variety of payment options to their customers. This increases conversions and reduces cart abandonment.
For instance –
- Apple Pay is a mobile payment service that allows customers to pay for products and services with their iPhones. Apple Pay is a convenient and secure way to pay for subscription services, and many merchants accept it.
- Stripe is a payment processing platform that allows businesses to accept payments online. Stripe is a popular choice for subscription businesses because it is easy to use and offers a variety of features, such as recurring billing and fraud protection.
8. Live streaming commerce
Live streaming commerce would account for 10-20% of all eCommerce sales by 2026.
Live streaming commerce (also known as live commerce or live streaming retail) is a new retail trend that combines live video streaming with e-commerce. It allows businesses to sell products directly to consumers through live video broadcasts. This is a relatively new trend, but it is multiplying in popularity.
There are several reasons why live-streaming commerce is becoming so popular.
- First, it allows businesses to connect with customers more personally. Customers can interact with the hosts of live streams and ask questions about products. This helps build trust and rapport between businesses and customers.
- Second, live-streaming commerce can be a very effective way to market products. Businesses can use live streams to showcase products in action and to provide viewers with tips and advice. This can generate excitement and interest in products.
- Third, live-streaming commerce can be a very efficient way to sell products. Businesses can sell products directly to customers through live streams, saving time and money on marketing and sales costs.
Overall, live streaming commerce is a powerful tool businesses can use to connect with customers, market products, and sell products.
Here are some tips for using live-streaming commerce:
- Choose the right platform. Several live-streaming platforms are available, so you must choose the one that is right for your business. Some popular platforms include Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram Live.
- Create engaging content. Your live streams need to be engaging and informative to keep viewers interested. You can do this by showcasing products in action, providing tips and advice, or interviewing experts.
- Promote your live streams. You need to promote your live streams to attract viewers. You can share them on social media, email marketing, or paid advertising campaigns.
- Track your results. It is essential to track the results of your live streams to see what is working and what is not. You can track the number of views, sales, and the engagement rate.
9. Digital wallets
Digital wallets have become increasingly popular as a convenient and secure payment method in eCommerce. They allow customers to store their payment information, such as credit card details or bank account information, securely in a digital format.
Customers can then use their digital wallets to make quick and hassle-free payments during online transactions. Digital wallets eliminate the need to manually enter payment details for every purchase, saving time and reducing friction in the checkout process.
Popular digital wallet services include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay. These wallets often offer additional features like loyalty program integration, one-click payments, and seamless integration with mobile devices.
Digital wallets enhance the customer experience by providing a seamless and secure payment method. They also offer businesses opportunities for upselling and cross-selling by integrating loyalty programs and targeted promotions within the wallet interface.
10. Voice commerce
Voice commerce, also known as V-commerce, leverages voice-activated assistants and devices to enable customers to purchase using voice commands. Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri can process voice instructions, search for products, provide information, and even complete transactions.
Voice commerce simplifies shopping by eliminating the need for typing and browsing on screens. Customers can speak their requests, such as “Order a pair of black sneakers,” and the voice assistant takes care of the rest.
Businesses need to optimize their product information and content to be voice-search-friendly. They must also ensure seamless integration with voice assistant platforms and provide secure authentication methods to prevent unauthorized purchases.
11. Visual search
Tech-savvy internet users have been using reverse-image searches for years on Google, but the technology has taken a step forward—offering an entirely new eCommerce shopping experience.
Thanks to Google’s Multitask Unified Model algorithm (MUM), a shopper can upload an image of something they’d like to buy, and the search engine will present them with a whole host of similar items for sale. MUM will be integrated with Google Lens, making visual product searches seamless.
If you run an eCommerce business model that works well with visual search, you’ll want to optimize your images and product descriptions to meet MUM standards. This will help them rank better in a search and enable direct purchases.
Some of the best eCommerce platforms are beginning to offer visual search capabilities that you can embed on your website and mobile app. For example, Shopify has apps like Visual Search, and Magento offers Product Search Via Image Extension.
Here are the benefits of optimizing Visual Search:
- Customers can easily find your products
- It’s a great way to reach Gen-Z shoppers
- Visual search is likely to grow in popularity as more consumers discover it
12. Buy now, pay later (BNPL)
Sometimes, a customer likes a product but doesn’t buy it because they don’t have enough budget. Many eCommerce businesses have launched a scheme called buy now, pay later to ensure they don’t miss out on such customers. It allows shoppers to pay for products in regular installments over some time rather than spending it upfront.
39% of consumers prefer BNPL over credit card payments since BNPL agreements are typically interest-free. The scheme is trendy among the 34-44 age brackets, with 50.1% of consumers preferring it, followed by the 25-34 age group (48% of consumers choosing BNPL).
Popular platforms facilitating BNPL transactions include Klarna, Afterpay, Affirm, and Sezzle. Mastercard has also introduced Masterpay Installments – a Buy Now, Pay Later scheme for users who can’t afford to pay upfront for products.
Retailers are adopting the BNPL model because it has been shown to:
- Reduce cart abandonment rate,
- Boost sales,
- Speed up the checkout process,
- Increase order value size.
Pro Tip: Shopify also offers customers a BNPL plugin called Shop Pay Installments. Hence, you don’t have to integrate a third-party BNPL provider if you use Shopify to build your eCommerce platform.
13. Enhancing in-store experiences
Despite the rise of eCommerce, physical stores remain a critical touchpoint for customers. Enhancing in-store experiences involves leveraging technology and innovative strategies to create a seamless and engaging shopping environment.
Other enhancements can include interactive digital displays, augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) experiences to try products virtually, personalized offers or recommendations sent to customers’ mobile devices in-store, and mobile point-of-sale systems to reduce checkout queues.
By integrating technology and creating memorable in-store experiences, businesses can differentiate themselves, attract customers, and foster loyalty in the increasingly competitive retail landscape.
Adapt to an Ever-changing Industry with Net Solutions
Retail sales are one of the oldest business models in the world, but eCommerce is forever evolving. Understanding the latest trends will help you stay ahead of the competition, integrating techniques that work best for your brand and business model. Hence, you must monitor your competitors, observe the new practices, and prioritize changes impacting your bottom line.
Need a tech partner to integrate any of these updates? Net Solutions has built and enhanced countless eCommerce websites, serving everything from small businesses to retail giants like Euro Car Parts, 2XU, and Legend Footwear. We’ve updated their eCommerce technology to compete as they expanded internationally and helped them adapt to the latest changes in this dynamic sector.
Contact us if you’re looking to build a new eCommerce website or optimize your existing one.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the best practices for optimizing product pages to increase conversions?
- Use high-quality images and videos.
- Write clear and concise product descriptions.
- Use social proof.
- Offer clear calls to action.
- Optimize your product pages for search engines.
2. How can I leverage customer reviews and testimonials to build trust and credibility?
- Actively ask for reviews and testimonials from your customers.
- Display customer reviews and testimonials prominently on your website.
- Respond to customer reviews and testimonials promptly.
- Use social proof to promote your products.
3. What are the essential security measures to protect customer data and prevent fraud?
- Use a secure payment processor.
- Keep your website up to date with the latest security patches.
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
- Monitor your website for suspicious activity.
- Educate your customers about online security.
4. What are the best practices for setting up and managing an affiliate program for my eCommerce business?
- Choose the right affiliate program platform.
- Set clear goals and objectives.
- Create a compelling affiliate offer.
- Promote your affiliate program.
- Track your affiliate program results.