Trends in how we work, socialize, learn, shop and use technology are rapidly changing. Although most of these were already happening pre-pandemic, we are now seeing an acceleration that has led to a new normal.
eCommerce is an industry that is always changing–trends shifting and companies adapting to the way people are purchasing goods and services.
In light of this, the future of eCommerce is strongly impacted by consumers and there are numerous possibilities and trends that retailers and brands can harness to help them prepare. Paying attention to both consumer and business trends will help retailers plan for the future.
Below, we took a look at customer buying habits, shipping and fulfillment predictions, automation processes and more.
eCommerce Purchases are Increasing
In the past, eCommerce sales have been a minority in total retail sales, and Statista reports eCommerce once made up only 14.1 percent of global volume. This was even lower in the United States.
However, with so many brick-and-mortar stores closing, there’s been a shift in these numbers.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that for March 2020, retail sales fell 6.2 percent year over year. Some retailers like clothing stores, fell 50 percent.
But, retailers with a strong eCommerce platform didn’t lose anything. Instead, they saw their in-store sales replaced with digital sales. For example, Digital Commerce 360 reported that since April, Target saw digital sales increase 275 percent, which could make it the best quarter the company has had since 2000, even as in-store purchases rapidly declined.
Check out more retail predictions for 2020.
Engagement Between Stores and Shoppers Goes Beyond the Transaction, Even in Stores
Today, consumers are actively building emotional relationships with brands. Eighty-four percent of consumers are more likely to choose companies with loyalty programs, which means brands need to recognize, reward and actively create touchpoints for consumer interactions. This includes asking for product reviews and customer feedback, communicating on social media, continuously providing consumers with fresh content and information (blogs and email campaigns) and more.
Brands that connect with consumers emotionally and make them feel seen, heard and rewarded will be the ones to win customers for life.
The eCommerce Experience Goes Beyond the Screen
In addition to delivering experiences across all screen types, it’s predicted that there will be more use of touchpoints like voice, kiosks, wearables, etc. And services like curbside pickup, which used to be a perk, are now a public health necessity. Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) orders have also dramatically increased.
Many stores have touch-screens in their stores now and we expect even more to embrace this technology.
eCommerce Will Continue to Boom Worldwide
eCommerce sales are booming inside and outside of the United States. They’re expected to top $4.2 trillion USD in 2020 and reach more than $6.5 trillion by 2023. An estimated 2.1 billion shoppers are predicted to buy goods and services online by 2021. And interestingly enough, many of these online shoppers live outside the U.S.
1.4 billion people are expected to join the world’s middle class by the end of 2020, and about 85 percent of them will be in the Asia Pacific region (APAC). eCommerce has shifted away from the West and will probably continue.
If they haven’t already, most retailers are finding ways to revamp their order processing, delivery and management systems to handle nationwide and worldwide sales.
Implementing an eCommerce order management solution allows for:
- Inventory visibility
- Order orchestration
- Logical order routing
- Returns management and analytics
- Enhanced functions
Learn how Radial can streamline order and inventory management across distribution centers, fulfill orders and ship faster, all while personalizing the experience.
Automation Increases Productivity
From marketing to warehouse management, order fulfillment processes, and tracking, businesses are putting more and more operations on autopilot. Making things more automated frees up employee time and saves money on resources. Automation is particularly beneficial for brands that ship internationally and have multiple stores, large inventory and complicated fulfillment networks.
On average, international businesses ship to 31 countries. Brands are using eCommerce automation because it eliminates manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
With detailed automation, you can also do things like tag and segment customers, streamline tracking and reporting, schedule inventory alerts and protect yourself against fraud. Brands have started relying on automated fraud protection through their eCommerce platforms.
Detecting fraud is a balancing act that we do with our proven combination of machine learning, consortium data and human intelligence to deliver the highest approval rates in the industry and guarantee zero fraud liability. Learn more about our fraud prevention solutions.
Personalized Packaging and Improved Customer Care
Businesses today are becoming more aware of packaging. Companies are reducing package sizes and making them more personable. Personalized packaging enhances the unboxing experience and can be as simple as customizing packing slips or thank you notes.
Making your customers feel important goes beyond personalizing the tangible or handling customer interactions. At Radial, we don’t just help our clients answer customer questions. Our highly trained representatives provide tech support, listen with care and attentiveness, and look for ways to improve your solutions and services.
This Change Will Last
These are just a few of the ways eCommerce is shifting and evolving. And while some believe these trends and habits were accelerated by COVID-19, it is evident that many buyers will be reluctant to return to old shopping habits.
A customer survey by PYMNTS reveals more than half of consumers who switched to digital grocery shopping say they won’t go back, and 60 percent who shifted to online shopping and curbside delivery for other goods say the same.
Retailers without a reliable eCommerce system in place could lose revenue and customers as digital buying habits continue to rise.
Learn more about how our omnichannel technology can keep you a powerful player in the eCommerce industry.