Now that the dust has settled after the ecommerce surge of 2020-2021, what might we expect from online shopping in 2023? The leap in digital capacity has slowed. However, those initial innovations continue to drive sales activity, catalyze ecommerce trends, and shape consumer behaviour. The Future of Commerce estimates that global ecommerce sales will exceed 2022 totals to reach 969 billion USD in 2023. Insider Intelligence’s global ecommerce forecast forecasts a bright future for e-tailers in 2023, with 20.8% of global retail sales coming from online purchases.
That percentage is even higher in China, currently the world leader in online sales. According to eMarketer, sales transacted online in 2022 accounted for 46.3% of that country’s total retail sales. In the year ahead, many retailers will train their eyes on the Chinese ecommerce market to adopt the sales and payment strategies that are helping retailers there grow their customer base and increase revenue.
Whatever the region, the fundamentals for 2023 ecommerce are similar to past years. Merchants need to keep shoppers happy by providing a seamless, satisfying customer experience and offering a stable, secure checkout process. The best way to do that is by keeping up with new technology, new shopping and buying habits, and ecommerce innovations. To help you achieve more, faster, here are the top ecommerce trends that will continue to make waves in 2023.
Social platforms and social commerce
These days, customers rarely head directly to online stores to browse and buy. More often, they’re directed to stores by friend recommendations, advertisements, or celebrity posts on their favourite social media platforms. Ecommerce businesses that harness social media to reach their target customers stand to earn big in 2023.
To make the most of social commerce, retailers need to use social media in authentic ways that align with their customers’ expectations and needs. That means reaching customers on the platforms they use most frequently. To engage younger, Gen Z customers in 2023, that means using an ecommerce integration to create a TikTok storefront.
Not all social platforms enable purchasing directly inside their apps. Until they do, ecommerce retailers can leverage social media through trusted influencers. By promoting your product to their followers, these trendsetters help generate qualified leads and conversions on your behalf.
Research by Statista indicates that 84% of the American population use mobile devices to access online websites. Mobile commerce is thus expected to surge in 2023 as more and more customers purchase products and services directly from their smartphones. To meet the trend, ecommerce retailers will need to configure their websites to meet the growing wave of mobile customers.
Content display, site search, customer service, and the checkout experience all need to be optimized for mobile. The way you build your site can have a significant impact on site loading time. The faster content loads, the more likely it is that customers will remain on site, filling shopping carts and finalizing purchases. To ensure the customer journey on mobile is as flawless as the desktop experience, keep the smaller screen size in mind when making design and navigation decisions for mobile.
Ecommerce is no longer just about having an online store. In 2023, merchants need to have an omnichannel presence. That means consistently meeting their customers wherever they are, on whatever device. For instance, a customer might prefer to browse and purchase online, but speak to customer service over the phone or in a text chat. Retailers need to provide the same, high quality experiences across every one of these touchpoints.
Even more interesting is our new phygital reality, essentially a “mash-up” of physical and digital shopping. As customers embrace the return to brick and mortar stores and browse items in person, they’re using their mobile devices to look up product details online, read reviews, find color and size availabilities, and search for discounts. To succeed in 2023, retailers will need a strategy and technology to support seamless omnichannel shopping.
Merchants should focus on creating a consistent brand offering across every point of contact, including in-person, phone, desktop, and mobile. Simplifying your store’s payment, returns, and shipping processes, and tailoring those touchpoints to suit your target customers, encourages them to keep coming back.
Live shopping is a huge phenomenon in China, and its impact is expected to grow around the world in the coming months. While the form is similar to the television shopping channels of years past, the modern innovation is interactivity. Products are now marketed through livestreams on social media platforms and can be hosted by anyone – celebrities, influencers, regular users, or the stores themselves.
Because the livestreams are two-way channels, customers can do what they couldn’t do before: react, post questions, get answers, and talk to each other. Those conversations are invaluable for building excitement and cementing a following. When live shopping is combined with social commerce, customers can make purchases in real time, directly from the platform.
More payment options
Successful retailers know how important it is to provide a seamless checkout experience. Whenever a customer encounters a point of friction, there is a risk they’ll abandon the transaction. Worse, they may seek out a competitor with a simpler process. In 2023, this is as true as ever. However, innovations in financial technology are making it easier for retailers to provide a wide variety of payment options and an effortless payment experience.
Digital wallets are already popular, but more consumers are expected to adopt them in 2023. These are financial apps that run on smartphones and make payments faster, secure, and more convenient. They eliminate the need for credit and debit cards, help track transaction data, and often provide access to additional financial services. Another payment services innovation expected to gain traction in 2023 is Buy Now Pay Later. Instead of paying for big-ticket items in a single payment, customers are given the option to pay in smaller monthly or biweekly instalments.
To make the most of the expanding range of payment technologies, ecommerce retailers should align their payment offerings with their specific customer preferences. Payment methods differ greatly from country to country. Retailers should tailor their payment options to the geographic regions they serve, or partner with local companies that can facilitate cross-border payments securely and efficiently.
Ready to get trending?
While retailers have benefited from the rise in ecommerce sales over the past few years, they shouldn’t get complacent in 2023. Consumer tastes and behaviours are always evolving and staying on trend is critical to keeping pace with your audience. Honing your ecommerce strategy to excel at one or more of these 2023 trends is a sure-fire way to engage your audience and see conversions grow.
Need help updating your marketing strategy or streamlining your payment options for 2023? Contact OTT Pay to speak to one of our ecommerce marketing specialists.