The eCommerce or electronic commerce world has undergone many changes throughout the years. These businesses have catered to specific industries for their targeted customers, from startups to large enterprises. The different types of eCommerce, such as business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B), have also thrived in their respective fields.
eCommerce has evolved, especially during the pandemic. It has grown even more due to its convenience. Whether selling physical and digital goods or availing of services, eCommerce has paved the way for companies and consumers to have accessible and easy transactions.
With the pandemic subsiding, there’s still much development and greater expansion to look forward to within the eCommerce industry. To know how your business can keep up with these fast-paced changes, read through this article that will cover the future trends, challenges, and strategies expected by experts to shape the eCommerce landscape.
What’s Next: The Future of eCommerce
- eCommerce personalization
A customized experience would be achievable through futuristic technologies and strategies.
Platforms that offer stand-alone and platform as a service to the emerging eCommerce business ecosystem should quickly adopt them to grow further. There are different ways to achieve this. One is through a customized way of communicating with customers.
Simply addressing the customer by name makes them feel that your promotional messages are more personal and are meant only for them. You can send these messages via SMS, email, or other communication platforms like WhatsApp and Viber.
Another way to personalize an eCommerce experience is through their shopping experience. With the help of technology, customers can identify the frequency and date of receipt for recurring purchases. As a result, the business can better understand the consumer’s profile and may even make tailored product recommendations for them.
- AI-powered eCommerce
Artificial intelligence (AI) has brought two notable developments to the eCommerce table: customer support and insight. These areas play a major role in business and sales because they’re responsible for nurturing customers and making their experience more pleasant.
Chatbots are one of the AI-powered eCommerce trends. Many companies use chatbots nowadays, and more developments around them are expected.
Chatbots are computer programs that collect client information, including preferences and purchasing history, to build individual customer profiles or buyer personas. Like sales representatives, chatbots can also answer inquiries and communicate with customers.
Many eCommerce businesses also explore smart product searches and recommendations. This trend allows businesses to attract attention, offer convenience, and improve accessibility by using a predictive and straightforward system for exploring products based on customer purchase behavior.
With this technology, you can personalize the customer shopping experience, offer discounts, and propose products.
- eCommerce brands’ global expansion
Due to the rising demand for various products and services, many eCommerce brands are budding into international expansion. The eCommerce future is bright since brands can market to anyone anywhere in the world.
Besides in-store advertisements, online marketing is becoming a trend, opening doors to more audiences and potential customers. People can shop from any store they want online, increasing sales for different eCommerce brands. Even small or local brands have the chance to sell globally through international shipping.
- Omnichannel brand presence
Physical stores are still thriving in the market, but more customers are turning to online shopping because of the convenience. The future of eCommerce is more promising if businesses put effort into omnichannel brand presence.
Omnichannel is a multichannel sales strategy that aims to give customers a seamless shopping experience, whether online, over the phone, in a physical store, or all three. To make a good impression on the constantly changing purchasing habits, brands are expected to be present across various channels and devices. Hence, client reach, the number of customers, and sales will increase.
- App-free mobile commerce
Although native mobile apps have been giving customers a platform to search for and buy items they want, an app-free approach is more convenient. The future of eCommerce can grow even faster with progressive web apps or PWAs.
PWAs can offer a web experience that mimics native apps. They function just like native mobile apps, but minus having an app. Customers can search for an item online through a web search engine, and when they land on a business’s product page, they’ll be able to purchase it there.
- Delivery drones
One of the exciting features of the eCommerce future is delivery drones. Although development started in 2013, they’re yet to be in mainstream operation. Having delivery drones would help address some challenges in eCommerce since it would reduce human errors, accidents, freight costs, and CO2 emissions. It would also speed up the delivery time of products.
What to Expect: The Challenges of eCommerce in the Future
- Increased advertising costs
As the eCommerce industry continues to rise, so does the competition. One of the things businesses do to fight their competitors is through advertising. Whether you’re a newbie startup or a long-term enterprise, marketing is a primary way to gain the attention of prospects or audiences.
Because of the increased demand for advertising, the costs of it also go up. For example, the rate of promoting and boosting posts on Facebook swelled to 47% in 2021 compared to 2020. With the more expensive fee, the report also showed that the effectiveness of this type of campaign decreased.
- Funding, competitions, and talent acquisition
While eCommerce can quickly expand with the help of technology, platforms, and other business tools, there are other challenges. Insufficient funds can hinder plans for further development and close the door to other opportunities.
If your business doesn’t make enough revenue or has little, to begin with, you’ll be unable to invest in technology and tools to maintain its state or further its progress.
Competition can also get serious, especially when businesses have reached the international market. The quality of products and services and pricing are among the factors that stir competition.
Talent acquisition is another challenge in the eCommerce future since it can affect businesses’ output. Finding competent workers for specific industries can sometimes be difficult. Having the right people on board is the key to not diluting a brand’s reputation.
- Rise of alternative financing
Although there are some advantages to the rise of alternative financing, the cons can somehow outweigh the pros.
Revenue-based financing, or RBF, for example, doesn’t require repayment in regular intervals. But, up until the total amount is repaid, RBF platforms will split a certain percentage of a company's earnings. This type of financing can be a setback for eCommerce owners because of the extent of profit sharing.
- Evolving eCommerce platforms
eCommerce trends are changing, and so are its platforms. Their fast pace can make keeping up with changing trends a challenge. From communicating with consumers and marketing products to making transactions seamless, these can all be negatively affected if businesses fail to stay on track with the developing platforms.
Many businesses are encouraged to explore tactics, including having an omnichannel or multichannel brand presence, to be efficient and keep their customers posted. Expanding on native mobile and progressive web apps or PWAs will also help drive sales.
Being up to date on the different platforms aids eCommerce businesses in effectively promoting themselves and reaching their customers conveniently, boosting efficiency, which is crucial to eCommerce success.
- Changing purchase behavior
Another varying factor in the eCommerce world is the consumer’s buying behavior. Some shift from impulse buying to informed or planned buying, while others buy out of curiosity or as part of their routine. An inconsistent or unstable buying rate can pose a challenge in eCommerce.
Unpredictability translates to unstable revenue, and it becomes a challenge for businesses to establish trust, customer loyalty, and a good reputation. Consequently, this can negatively impact your branding. Your marketing staff might also have difficulty pinpointing the right approach to maintain consistent sales with your customers.
- Risk for cyberattacks
Since eCommerce is made up of online transactions, cyber issues are probable. The lack of cybersecurity can be a massive threat and cause downtime to businesses, especially small companies. It can set back income and profit, which is crucial in keeping businesses alive.
The absence of security measures can also put a company’s and its customers’ information at risk, resulting in distrust and ruining its reputation.
It’s important to establish a reliable cybersecurity framework and a backup plan in the event of a cyberattack.
What to Do: The Strategies for the Future of eCommerce
- Adapt and innovate
Change is the only consistent thing in the world. Hence, eCommerce needs to get on board and continuously innovate so it doesn’t get left behind. Multiple platforms, apps, and tools can all be utilized for companies to catch up on trends and meet the rising demands of customers.
- Create a rich brand experience
Customer experience plays a significant role in any business. However, living up to what customers usually experience in physical stores may be challenging. Interactions can be limited, and there are no face-to-face product presentations.
Technology has created a bridge to help bring brick-and-mortar stores and online consumers together. In eCommerce, chatbots can replace salespersons, while videos and virtual reality can show demos. Freebies and customization also upgrade experiences.
- Plan wisely
Looking into the future helps eCommerce owners plan and make wiser decisions. Planning is more than just preparing for growth; it’s also about readying for backups, contingencies, and other possible scenarios. In addition, it’s important to allocate time for product development, strategies for market penetration, and ways to improve customer support.
There are many other areas to plan and organize. They can include considering training, finding the best suppliers, and strategizing business expansion.
- Explore alternative financing solutions
No doubt, money is a requirement for any business to start or grow. However, traditional forms of funding can’t adequately meet the demands of every business. Small companies find it even harder to qualify for some financing methods.
A wiser strategy is considering other alternative funding options to score better offers. These include government-backed loans, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, venture capitalists, and angel investors.
- Continue to know the customers
Companies should capitalize on technology and AI to understand their customers better. Business tools available online can help in doing so, such as creating buyer personas to get a grasp on consumers. This strategy is important to see the bigger picture to make necessary adjustments, tailoring to customers’ needs.
- Tap into voice technology
Voice search and voice commerce are already on the rise, and they’re expected to have a more significant presence in the future of eCommerce. Voice shopping is a rapidly growing sales channel in the United States. Popular voice assistants like Alexa can assist customers in their online shopping.
eCommerce business owners should incorporate voice technology in their businesses as this adds convenience for consumers and is a way of adapting to available innovations.
Exploring and Unleashing eCommerce Potentials
eCommerce has come a long way since its first launch and has taken steps further with the help of different technologies. There are numerous eCommerce trends that companies are bound to jump into, such as personalization, AI-powered developments, omnichannel presence, and even delivery drones. All these can push businesses to grow at a larger scale.
Given its very nature, eCommerce will continue to revolutionize over the years. Although greater challenges like serious competition and financial needs come with expansion, they’re solvable. You can apply various strategies to combat difficulties that eCommerce owners may encounter. To know more about eCommerce trends, how it works, and its promising future, visit Rush’s eStore.