The internet has opened a seemingly-bottomless pit of consumer shopping opportunities that’s not a secret. The explosion in the last two decades of Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Alibaba has offered great competition to big-box stores like Walmart.
But online shopping behaviors have changed aplenty since the pandemic ended, but here’s the breakdown of these trends for the first quarter of 2023 and how they’ll likely look as we move into the summer months.
What are the current online shopping trends?
More people are using online shopping platforms than ever before. As of last year, over 2.3 billion people were using online shopping as their primary purchasing method, roughly 30% of the global population.
The growth of eCommerce has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many consumers shifted to online shopping due to lockdowns and social distancing measures. As a result, businesses have increasingly turned to digital marketing strategies such as search engine optimization, social media advertising, and email marketing to reach and engage with their customers in the online marketplace.
The pandemic also prompted many businesses to pivot to eCommerce to stay afloat during a difficult time. Statista states this will amount to nearly a quarter of all global retail sales by 2026. Several online shopping trends have emerged or continued in the last few months.
1. Social commerce grows
The advent of social commerce has changed the online shopping experience to make it much more convenient for the buyer. Ads purchased by companies on Facebook and Instagram allow consumers to make split-second decisions on products shown to them based on their internet search history and other metadata collected by Facebook and Instagram.
The ease of purchasing via social commerce is expected to continue into 2023. The increase in online shopping due to social commerce is due to the ease of use of the platforms that have integrated buy buttons and other prompts into the daily scrolling of their users. Shopify predicts that social commerce will account for nearly $80 billion in the United States.
2. Subscription-based models continue to gain popularity
Whether it’s food delivery services like Chef’s Plate or HelloFresh, or beauty box subscription services like IPSY, the subscription-based model has already exploded in popularity and is fixing to grow further. IMRC is putting the rate at 17.3% from 2023 to 2028.
The convenience of food brought ready-to-prepare to your door, the excitement of fresh beauty products every month, and other subscription-box businesses are catching the world by storm.
3. Personalized customer service models increase sales
After two years of COVID and the knock-on effects on sociability, people want to connect with others and themselves on a deeper level. Businesses have recognized this and have reacted. Offering customers more personalized services, including customizable products, more personalized packaging, and more.
Also, customer service robots are slowly becoming less common, and the transition to speaking with an actual person is becoming much quicker. Many smaller companies prefer to use the human approach from the outset.
However, answers to queries may be slower if done by email. A phone call is also an option for a more immediate answer. Knowing that you’re speaking with an actual human being often makes all the difference for customers.
4. Customizable products and intuitive user interfaces offer positive results
Allowing customers to create something that connects with them on a deeper level, using an engaging and fun interface, offers more significant opportunities for companies to increase sales.
Likewise, offering that experience to teenagers and younger children with adult supervision increases the likelihood that the adults will buy something for themselves. Nike has recently begun to offer an online user interface that allows you to create a custom shoe.
Companies that offer similar experiences are bound to increase sales in the coming year as customers yearn for a more personal touch, whether in clothing, shoes, or home decor.
5. Intuitive web design grows customer base
One of the best things a business that wants to grow its eCommerce platform can do is invest in a well-built website. An easy-to-navigate website that offers customizable options for customers and personalized customer service, not just robots, will help keep customers coming back for more.
6. Customers shop on the move
Mobile devices, whether smartphones or tablets are in everyone’s hands when they’re on the move. Optimizing a website or online store for mobile use is now commonplace, given that, according to Statista, roughly 70% of online sales occur on a mobile device. More than ever, consumers are tapping their thumbs and interlinking their mobile devices with their bank accounts.
7. Virtual cards
Virtual cards have become an essential component of eCommerce transactions in recent years. They offer a secure and convenient payment option for online purchases, providing users with a unique digital card number that can be used to make payments without needing a physical card. This reduces the risk of fraud and unauthorized charges, making virtual cards popular for online shoppers.
As eCommerce continues to grow in popularity, virtual cards’ importance will likely increase. With their added layer of security and convenience, virtual cards are an essential tool for businesses and consumers looking to conduct safe and efficient online transactions.
2023 will continue to be a fantastic year for those with thriving eCommerce platforms or those thinking of branching into eCommerce. With careful consideration of engaging meaningfully with your customer base, providing prompt and personable customer service.
Looking ahead to the future of eCommerce, businesses must continue to adapt to changing consumer behavior and expectations, such as offering seamless omnichannel experiences and incorporating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, to remain competitive and provide the best possible customer experience.