2022 was a wild ride!
Despite the headwinds, US online retail sales hit $735.12 billion (in the 3rd quarter of 2022), and as per a study by eMarketer and Statista, e-commerce sales will reach a phenomenal $6.51 trillion by 2023. (source)
E-commerce is unquestionably here for the keeps. Much of the growth we’ll witness this year will likely be driven by the customer’s appetite for connected and seamless experiences, fast delivery, social shopping, etc.
So, with the calendar turned to 2023, it is crucial for businesses to stay abreast of the e-commerce trends that will set the course for the year.
Here’s a roundup of the hottest trends and topics to help online merchants fortify their strategies and stay on top of their game.
1. Providing a consistent, seamless omnichannel retail experience will be a bleeding edge in 2023.
In 2023, frictionless ‘phygital’ retail experiences will pick up steam because customer journeys are no longer linear. Shoppers now engage with brands and shop across a multitude of channels in various ways.
And they want to be able to move seamlessly between these channels, whether it’s in-store, online, or a combo of both.
Data from McKinsey shows that omnichannel customers shop 1.7 times more than single-channel shoppers—and they also spend more.
In 2023, brands that provide their customers the best of both worlds will have a competitive advantage over those that stick solely to traditional retail or a singular channel.
Major retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are already maximizing omnichannel retail to provide a seamless and consistent experience. Even smaller retailers are getting in on the action.
Here are a few ways retailers can enhance the shopping experience through a connected, seamless retail experience:
- By offering mobile-specific features such as personalized product recommendations or location-based offers
- Integrating features such as in-store pickup for online orders, the ability to return online purchases in-store, and delivery speed for both online and in-store
For instance, Walmart enables same-day delivery on its website as well as in-store. You can order online and pick up your order in-store.
- Using data analytics and AI/ML to better understand customer behavior and preferences and to personalize the shopping experience
- Offering 24/7 live chat support, personalized assistance via email or SMS, or other services to help customers throughout the shopping journey
- Making sure that the inventory is accurately reflected across all channels to avoid frustrating customers with out-of-stock items or incorrect availability information
- Offering same delivery and pickup options across every channel to give customers flexibility and convenience
2. E-commerce sales in 2023 will be significantly driven by mobile commerce.
Smartphones are a go-to option for most shoppers, whether it’s browsing for products, making purchases, or tracking their orders, etc.
Factors like social commerce catching on and more brands enabling mobile-first experiences will drive mobile commerce sales to $4.5 trillion, or 69.9% of total retail e-commerce sales.
Let’s dive into the details to picture this trend better.
a) Growth of social commerce
Do you know how much time an average user spends on any of the top 5 social platforms? two and a half hours per day.
Initially, social media platforms served as a place for shoppers to window-shop. But within the last couple of years, the major social platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and now TikTok have expanded their in-app shopping options, making in-stream commerce a bigger focus.
“But are consumers actually buying products while browsing social media?”
- 44% of people use Instagram weekly to shop using features like shopping tags and the Shop tag. (Instagram Business Survey)
- About 1 million users regularly buy from Facebook Shops every month. (Statista)
And, if not experienced, we’ve all heard or skim-read about live selling. Although the US live-selling market is still in its infancy, with major players like Walmart, Nordstrom, and Macy’s experimenting with live shopping on their websites, it is expected to hit $25 billion in 2023.
So, whether you decide to sell directly through social media or not, these channels should not be overlooked in your e-commerce strategy in 2023.
b) The ease of buying that comes with mobile-first experiences & personalization
Mobile is changing the way we shop. The evolution of mobile-first and personalization features like one-click checkout, BOPIS, personalized recommendations, scheduleable delivery options, and mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay, PayPal One-Touch, Visa Checkout, Amazon Pay, and Venmo have made mobile shopping more convenient and accessible compared to a few years ago.
Mobile devices now make up 71% of all retail traffic, and they generate 61% of online shopping orders. (Statista.)
That’s substantial growth!
3. Delivery speed and delivery certainty remain a top priority for shoppers.
Whether customers shop in-store or online, they want convenience, speed, and certainty—a behavioral shift caused by Amazon during the pandemic. And this isn’t changing in 2023.
- According to a study by Digital Commerce 360, 80% of online shoppers in the US want same-day shipping options.
- Meanwhile, in another study, nearly 70% of consumers said the ability to track orders was one of their top three considerations when buying a product online, and 56% said it was a top consideration when ordering a luxury item.
Consumers have come to expect quick and efficient delivery of their online purchases, and companies that are able to offer fast delivery options will have an advantage over those that do not.
Fast and convenient delivery options are also proven to boost conversions for businesses. ROI data from Ohi’s analysis of partner brands highlights that brands that delivered orders fast with Ohi’s same-day and two-hour delivery had 30% higher repeat purchase rates than standard UPS/FedEx.
Here are a few ways businesses can enable fast fulfillment:
- Streamline their fulfillment processes by investing in new technologies and micro-fulfillment. (Setting up a distributed network of MFCs is not without challenges. And most businesses simply don’t have the time or budget to manage all this on their own.)
- The other way is to partner with a reliable instant commerce partner such as Ohi to ensure that orders are delivered fast, on time, and in good condition. Learn more here.
4. Sustainability will be on your customers’ shopping list.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental and social impacts of their purchases, and this trend will likely influence the e-commerce landscape in 2023.
A February 2022 survey of 16,000 global consumers found that 51% of people say environmental sustainability is more important to them today than it was 12 months ago. (source)
As more customers begin to demand sustainable products and delivery methods, we will see more businesses invest in sustainability. Top brands, including IKEA, Nike, Patagonia, Ralph Lauren, Lululemon, and Chanel, are already taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices.
A 2022 Gartner survey of CEOs found that about 20% of CEOs and other high-level business leaders are also prioritizing social responsibility and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in their organizations. This is the highest it has been in the past 10 years. (source)
Here are some ways businesses can be more sustainable:
- Sell products made with more sustainable materials.
- Invest in more eco-friendly packaging materials.
- Allow shoppers to choose more eco-friendly shipping options such as Ohi’s sustainable instant delivery. It’s green and sustainable, because products are delivered via foot couriers or electric scooters from our distributed network of MFCs, located closer to customers.
Moreover, Ohi deliveries were shown to be 22x more eco-friendly than next-day air and 5x more sustainable than 3-5 day ground. (Stanford Study)
- Make it easy for people to recycle items, i.e., Nike’s sustainable and recycled shoes are a great example.
5. Post-purchase experience will be a linchpin for brands.
Make the customer the hero of your story. — Ann Handley
Most brands are so focused on increasing sales conversions that they completely neglect the post-purchase phase of the buyer’s journey. The post-purchase phase is where you make your customers fall in love with your brand and make a repeat purchase.
Because 91% of customers say they won’t do business again with a brand that left them unhappy. (source)
By focusing on the following elements of the post-purchase experience, online retailers can create a happy and satisfying shopping experience for their customers:
- Easy and convenient return and exchange policies
- Providing timely and accurate order tracking and delivery updates
- 24/7 customer support, and live chat features
- Personalized communication and follow-up
- Options for fast and schedulable delivery or pickup in store
- Sustainable packaging of products
- Include user-friendly product instructions and documentation within packaging and send out via email.
- Ask for feedback via email, SMS, or phone call
In 2023’s competitive e-commerce landscape, a powerful post-purchase experience will be pivotal for merchants to differentiate themselves from their competitors as well as attract new customers. Nothing works like word-of-mouth marketing.
In 2023, It’s Go Big or Go Home.
In the end, it all boils down to customers. By understanding and analyzing customer behavior, retailers can tailor their marketing and sales strategies to better meet the needs and preferences of their target audience. This, in turn, will help drive e-commerce growth, increasing customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and overall sales.
At Ohi, we’ve flipped the script for e-commerce fulfillment, transforming it from what is traditionally seen as a cost center into a growth engine. Brands join the Ohi platform to deliver powerfully fast, brand-focused, and memorable post-purchase experiences that enable them to grow. Want to learn more about how Ohi enables instant commerce? Get in touch today.