How was 2022 in e-commerce terms?
The pandemic has subsided and customers have since (somewhat) recovered. They returned back to stores in 2022, and for the first time in history, global e-commerce saw a year-on-year decline in sales.
Inflation also played a part in these falling figures. Customers were able to buy considerably less for the same amount of money this year compared to last year. Online stores had to contend with Google Ads’ new Performance Max campaigns and restrictions on third-party cookies.
Why follow e-commerce trends?
You cannot create a business strategy overnight. If you set certain goals at the beginning of the year (percentage increase in sales, reduction in returns, etc.), you align your marketing activities to them. This means you are spending time and money.
Now imagine you plan the perfect posts, blogs, invest in polished content and the competition steamrolls you with a B-grade video on Tik-Tok. You weren’t beaten by the competition, you were beaten by taking advantage of a trend, i.e., what people currently want and consume.
Is your mobile version of the online store not perfectly fine-tuned? Are you not selling on social media? Then read up on the trends for 2016, because you’re way behind.
If you know the trends, you can prepare for them. You know what to invest in and where to tighten your belt and you can direct your attention to meaningful activities. What do e-commerce trends for 2023 look like?
Look after your customers even after the sale is completed
Selling a product or service is already an artform, but retaining a customer in today’s world deserves a Nobel Prize. Companies that care about customer service sell more. In 2023, this trend will become even stronger.
Offer a transparent and fair returns policy. If you make a customer spend 5 minutes looking for your returns policy and then you make them drive to the post office with a €3 parcel which they pay for out of their own pocket, next time they won’t bother coming to you.
- 67% of buyers check the return policy before buying.
- 92% of consumers would buy again if the returns process was easy.
Go through your online store’s financials and look for opportunities to provide free returns. This doesn’t have to mean a courier immediately collecting the parcel from outside their home. A return label or the option to drop the parcel off at the depot of an agreed carrier can also help.
Ask for their satisfaction rating
Proactively reach out to customers who have purchased from you. Do they have any questions about the product they purchased? Are they satisfied with their purchase?
If they are satisfied, offer them a discount or another reward for recommending the online store or submitting a review. Customers will get the feeling that you are aware of them, care about them, and you will increase the chances of them coming back to you.
Most recently I was surveyed by the Park Inn hotel in Bratislava and to my surprise I received a fully personalised response to my review, written by a human and not a machine.
Chatbots as the newest employees
Most purchases will be made without the help of customer service, but when problems or questions arise, you need to address them as soon as possible. To make matters worse:
- If you don’t provide high-quality service, 87% of consumers will opt for another online store for their next purchase.
- Many enquiries arrive outside of the customer service centre’s opening hours. This is understandable, because customers tend to work at the same time as you and deal with private matters later, usually in the evening or on their lunch break.
In 2023, no one will tolerate having to wait too long for an answer. So develop a bulletproof FAQ page and set up a snazzy chatbot.
Chatbots will resolve most queries within 5 years from now
Chatbot technology is advancing rapidly and some predictions are that by 2027 they will be the primary tool for delivering customer service, resolving up to 85% of customer queries.
If you don’t have a chatbot yet, make it part of your next year’s strategy and:
- you will save money,
- you will offer better customer service,
- you will be able to communicate with customers across multiple channels,
- you will be able to answer FAQ’s round the clock,
- you can resolve delivery and tracking queries,
- and you can obtain customer feedback.
Less waste in packaging
Boxes full of polystyrene and plastic air pockets did not bother anyone in the past. However, nowadays customers are becoming increasingly frustrated by this approach to packaging. In the coming year, this trend towards sustainability and ecology in e-commerce will become even more pronounced.
For some goods, online store packaging produces up to 6 times more waste than products bought in brick-and-mortar stores.
In 2023, there will be more customers who:
- consciously seek out online stores that package goods in an environmentally friendly way,
- prefer delivery with a minimal carbon footprint,
- expect 100 % recyclable packaging.
Don’t put off sustainability until 2024
Don’t put off setting up the eco-friendly element of your business until later. The sustainability theme has been resonating with consumers for several years and will only continue to grow. Make sure you prepare now:
- invest into more eco-friendly packaging,
- send all items in one parcel,
- and replace plastic with degradable materials (e.g., use paper shredding instead of air pads).
Social media will continue to grow in strength
On average, 84% of Brits use social networks every day, with the highest share being 25-34 years old. Generation Z even searches for products on TikTok just like they do on Google.
How will you use these marketing channels, which the average Brit visits nearly every day of the week?
More so than in any other e-commerce sector, you need to monitor and leverage trends on social media. What will be relevant in 2023?
Post short videos
The arrival of Tik-Tok has seen videos dominating on almost all social media platforms. Make sure the video is fully understandable, even without sound. Communicate the main idea with images and use captions.
If something looks too good to be true, it is bound to be an ad. That’s the way most customers think, and it’s been clearly proven by the social network BeReal.
You can also create believable content using your mobile phone. The important thing is that it has a meaningful value and shows reality. Don’t think of authenticity as a blurry video, but as believable content with a spontaneous message that documents real life.
Show them how you package your goods, add footage of production or product design. Don’t be afraid to show the faces of the people behind the online store.
Use the whole screen
If you’re preparing content for social media, forget about squares and horizontal landscapes. In 2023, the 9:16 aspect ratio – content that fills the entire smartphone screen vertically – will be the way to go.
Let AI be your wingman
Artificial intelligence is not a bogeyman that will drive out all employees and eat up a lot of money. It’s an investment in the future and a trend that you have to embrace if you want to remain competitive in a few years’ time. AI will automate many processes and relieve you of manual work.
Automatic product recommendations
Every second customer ends up buying a different product in an online store to the one that brought them to the site. This means that the customer had been suggested products that appealed to them. Utilise AI and don’t rely solely on data solely based on browsing history and previous purchases.
AI can adjust the selection based on real-time customer activity. These techniques are used by Netflix, for example. AI prepares a homepage with personalised content, so user A sees something different to user B.
The most important thing is that everyone sees only what interests them.
Voice and image searches
Customers will get even lazier next year. Once you try voice search, you’ll bemoan having to tap away at a keyboard. This trend will come to us too. In addition to voice search, visual search will also become more prominent.
For larger online retailers, setting up and creating PPC campaigns takes up an enormous amount of time. Don’t do it manually and use automatic bidding with the help of artificial intelligence. This tool is offered by Google itself, or you can use an external solution such as MagicScript, which we use too.
Unlike Google, it bids on a margin, which you can adjust for cancellations, returns and shipping costs. You get fine-tuned campaigns that deliver not only the sales you dream of, but also real profit.
Do you need an online store that’s profitable?
We know how you can get it. All you need is a quality product, a responsive website and the drive to work hard. We can handle almost everything else.We let our results and satisfied clients do the talking. Join them and push your online store beyond any boundaries in 2023.