eCommerce continues to grow at a significant rate. This growth invites more aspiring entrepreneurs to try their luck in establishing a profitable business. So which eCommerce trends are shaping the industry?
Certain eCommerce niches have virtually no ceiling as far as potential profits go. However, the competition is quite tough, and it makes newcomers struggle to stand out from other brands.
Keeping up with the latest trends and implementing innovative ideas could be the difference-maker between taking your online business to the next level and abandoning the idea of developing a successful eCommerce venture. Let’s take a look at trends that have been shaping up the eCommerce industry in the last few years.
Reliance on Suppliers
Newcomers hardly ever invest in their own manufacturing equipment or warehouses. Instead, they use the drop-shipping model because it requires fewer resources.
For example, if you start a custom merchandise store, it is more efficient to use third-party product suppliers than print t-shirts, hoodies, and other products yourself.
Now, as for how print on demand companies boost eCommerce efficiency, money is the first thing that comes to mind. Investing funds in expensive equipment is risky because you cannot guarantee success for your business.
Not having to take care of shipping, returns, and other logistical procedures save a lot of time as well. When a business can eliminate these difficult processes, it can focus more on promoting the brand.
Custom merchandise is quite popular because over 10,000 Shopify stores have integrated a print on demand shop a couple of years ago. The number has increased since then.
The demand for t-shirts, hoodies, face masks, sneakers, phone cases, and other print on demand products is there because people like to express themselves by wearing merchandise.
Businesses also invest in matching t-shirts to build team spirit, while politicians need stickers and other memorabilia for their campaigns.
AI and VR
Artificial intelligence is primarily used to process vast amounts of data when businesses want to gather information about their competition and customer behavior.
Chatbots is another example. Machine learning means that chatbots can replace real people in customer support. A chatbot responds immediately, and it is available 24/7 so long as there are no technical difficulties.
Now, when it comes to virtual reality, it is worth noting that this technology could potentially eliminate one of the biggest inconveniences of online shopping—not having the option to check a product in person.
Putting on a VR helmet would allow you to enter an online shop as if it was a brick-and-mortar store. You can browse through the products and find it easier to decide whether you should purchase them or not.
Of course, implementing virtual reality into an online store without proper funding is more or less impossible. The trend is still relatively new, and only some of the biggest eCommerce platforms offer virtual reality services. However, it is likely that as time passes, VR should become more prominent in eCommerce, making it more accessible even to smaller online businesses.
Going online and working from home has become a norm during the pandemic. You do not have to focus on hiring people that will work in your office. No, instead, the trend indicates that remote working will continue in the future.
While having employees in the same office comes with certain benefits, there is no need to force a brand to take this policy. Instead, it would be better to hire the best talent a business can find, even if the said talent has to work remotely.
Besides, some people might find it more convenient to do their job from home because of flexible options of not having to commute to work and creating a personal schedule.
Voice commerce is another significant trend that will likely gain more traction in the next few years. Businesses are already investing in voice commerce to accommodate demographics that prefer to shop using their voice. With the rise of digital assistants, such as Alexa, we can see the growth of voice commerce.
People with disabilities also have a say in this. Some of them can shop only using their voices. If you optimize your store for people with disabilities, you can expect to benefit.
When it comes to customer experience improvements, an online store should offer as many payment methods as it can. eWallet technology is not a very recent concept, but some businesses still fail to see how beneficial it is.
Instead of accepting payment only via credit cards, an online store should also be flexible enough to accept PayPal, Skrill, Payoneer, and even cryptocurrencies.
Failing to provide multiple payment options will lead to more abandoned shopping carts. If your competition is flexible with its eWallet technology, it will hold an edge over you.