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The Future of E-commerce: Trends to Watch in 2024

Global e-commerce, soaring at an unprecedented rate, and is projected to keep rising. This article delves into key trends shaping its future.
social commerce
E-commerce has been growing at an unprecedented rate, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In 2024 Australian e-commerce sales are projected to top $77.1 billion. Let’s explore some of the key trends that are shaping the future of e-commerce.

Social Commerce

The future of social commerce is a topic that has been gaining traction in recent years. Social commerce refers to the use of social media platforms to facilitate e-commerce transactions. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, social commerce is expected to grow to nearly $80 billion in the United States by 2025.

Social commerce is an emerging form of shopping that removes friction from the buying process and creates a more engaging journey for the consumer. It presents new opportunities for brands to generate consumer interest and create a more interactive, entertaining, and experiential journey. For example, leading brands are working with platforms such as TikTok to forge new relationships with consumers, shifting from traditional advertising strategies to fun, engaging content that is less overtly promotional.

The future of social commerce looks promising, with social commerce sales expected to nearly double 2023 sales, exceeding $107B in the US alone by 2025. New advancements in technology fuel today’s social commerce, including everything from Virtual Shopping Groups, Augmented Reality to Shoppable tabs and Shoppable Buttons.

Hyper-Personalisation

Hyper-Personalisation is a trend that is shaping the future of e-commerce. In 2024, we can expect to see continued growth in personalised shopping experiences.

AI Capabilities & Manual Controls
With a global market size of $207.9 billion in 2023, artificial intelligence is shaping the customer experience in exciting ways. E-commerce businesses gather colossal heaps of customers’ data, deciphering patterns and trends. This tech becomes the cornerstone of their personalisation strategy, crafting relevant content and personalised deals. But it’s not all AI. Manual controls continue to play their part. From email to social media, businesses tailor their branding across channels to resonate with customers’ interests. AI can also predict popular in-app purchases, offering personalised messaging that enhances the buyer’s journey.

ai capabilities in ecommerce
machine learning in ecommerce

Real-Time Personalisation and Delivering Dynamic Content
This trend is driven by the fact that consumers are increasingly looking for dynamic content that is tailored to their interests and preferences. For example, Amazon uses machine learning algorithms to personalise product recommendations for its customers.

The Omnichannel Approach
This trend is propelled by the growing tendency of consumers to shop through various channels and touchpoints for any given purchase. From online shops to third-party marketplaces to social media apps, to brick-and-mortar stores—people are researching, comparing, shopping and seeking support just about everywhere you can imagine. And they expect to be able to do so easily with virtually no disruptions. To ensure a cohesive brand experience, retailers need to maintain their presence on all online platforms—including their own website, social platforms and third-party marketplace shops (such as Amazon). Not only that, but they need to optimise the omnichannel customer experience by unifying things on the back-end, so that no matter where a customer chooses to pick up their buying journey they are able to seamlessly continue right where they left off.

AR/VR

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two technologies that are poised to revolutionise the e-commerce industry. These technologies have the potential to transform the way consumers shop online by providing them with immersive and interactive experiences.

AR and VR in E-commerce
AR and VR technologies are already being used in e-commerce to provide customers with a more engaging shopping experience. For example, IKEA has launched an AR app that allows customers to see how furniture would look in their homes before they make a purchase. Similarly, Sephora has launched an AR app that allows customers to try on makeup virtually.

Benefits of AR and VR in E-commerce
AR and VR technologies offer several benefits to e-commerce businesses. One of the key benefits is that they provide customers with a more immersive and interactive shopping experience. This can help to increase customer engagement and loyalty. Another benefit of AR and VR technologies is that they can help to reduce the number of returns. By allowing customers to see how products would look in their homes or on their bodies, these technologies can help to ensure that customers are satisfied with their purchases. In the future, we can also expect to see these technologies becoming more sophisticated and easier to use.

augmented reality
online subscriptions

Subscription Services

Subscription-based e-commerce services have been on the rise for several years, and this trend is expected to continue in 2024 12. By offering subscription-based models, businesses can provide customers with convenient and personalised experiences while securing a steady income stream.

In 2024, subscriptions are expected to expand beyond media and into various e-commerce sectors. To leverage this trend, businesses should consider introducing subscription offerings, focusing on customer retention strategies, and delivering exceptional value to subscribers.

One of the key benefits of subscription services is that they provide customers with a convenient and hassle-free shopping experience. Customers can receive products on a recurring basis, frequently through monthly boxes. This model is particularly popular in the beauty and personal care industry, where companies such as Birchbox and Ipsy have gained a significant following.

Another benefit of subscription services is that they allow businesses to collect valuable data on their customers’ preferences and shopping habits. This data can be used to personalise product recommendations and improve the overall customer experience.

Sustainable and Ethical Shopping Practices

Sustainable and ethical shopping practices are becoming increasingly important to consumers. According to a survey conducted in June 2022, 34% of Australia e-commerce shoppers were influenced  by companies actions to protect the environment.

In addition, 82% of shoppers want brands to embrace sustainable and people-first practices, and Gen-Z is leading the charge. One survey found three-quarters of Zoomer shoppers see sustainability as more important than brand names.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact that their purchases have on the environment and society. As a result, they are increasingly looking for sustainable and ethical shopping practices when they shop online. For example, Patagonia has launched a program called “Worn Wear,” which encourages customers to repair and reuse their clothing rather than buying new items.

E-commerce businesses can reduce their environmental impact by using smaller boxes, eliminating unnecessary packaging materials, and using biodegradable or recyclable materials. They can also reduce their carbon footprint by using eco-friendly shipping methods such as electric vehicles, bicycles, or even drones, and offer customers the option to offset the carbon emissions generated by their purchase by adding a small carbon offset charge at checkout.

Sustainable and ethical ecommerce practices
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