With more people staying home due to the pandemic and all generations becoming more familiar with online ordering, e-commerce continues to grow and transform. The standards that worked just a few short years ago no longer apply today. New technologies change the way online stores do business and push fresh e-commerce trends to the forefront.
eMarketer predicts global e-commerce stores will earn around $5 trillion a year thanks to the 14.3% growth in online sales. As more businesses enter the marketplace, they’re learning things aren’t as easy as throwing up an online store and waiting for customers to arrive. Here are the current e-commerce trends.
1. Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
If you sell big ticket items, or your average order is over $100, you may want to team up with a third-party payment provider for a BNPL format, or payments. PayPal is one that offers this type of program, for example.
Shoppers pay in regular installments for a set of months. Many prefer this over credit card purchases since the payments are interest-free, although there may be a convenience fee.
2. Updated Reviews
Most companies understand the value of reviews to show a pattern of excellent customer service. Some online shoppers won’t purchase an item without reviews. In a press release on Globe Newswire, PowerReviews recently reported 62% of shoppers won’t purchase a product if reviews are older than a year. Around 40% won’t buy if the reviews are more than 90 days old.
Ask your customers to post their feedback. Offer a discount code or other perk when they do so. You should never tell them what to post, but if your customer service and products are top-notch, the majority of reviews will be positive.
3. Live Video
You’ve likely noticed more and more brands offering live feeds showing off new products or answering questions from their customers. Another idea is to show exactly what your product can do via a live video.
Live videos on YouTube and Facebook are recordable, so you can publish the content for people to view later. However, you can also offer giveaways and exciting offers to encourage some buzz and people to watch your videos live.
Cisco predicts live video will grow 15 times by the end of 2022, making it about 17% of all internet traffic. Live videos give you a chance to attract new viewers and also increase your content assets.
More and more brands use chatbots to take customers through the initial process of asking a question or sharing a problem. Many queries get asked over and over again, so tapping into artificial intelligence lets you program the bot to answer common topics without paying a live agent.
Messaging apps are also growing in popularity, and can help close a sale when the customer is on the fence about whether or not to buy.
However, keep in mind that while some generations prefer bypassing the human element and talking to a chatbot, you still need live agents to answer questions not programmed or handle special situations.
More E-Commerce Trends This Year
The four trends above are common across all kinds of e-commerce. You may also bump into new and emerging technologies such as voice search, automated order processing and deeper personalization than in the past.
Pay attention to what other digital retailers do. If something seems like a smart idea or makes the customer’s life easier, consider testing it in your store.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on customer experience. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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