The e-commerce industry is reputed to be among the fastest-growing sectors worldwide. According to a Shopify report, retail e-commerce sales on the platform have grown from $1.3 billion in 2014 to $4.9 billion in 2021. It also predicts that this figure will rise to $5.4 billion by the end of 2022 and hit a $6.4 billion benchmark by 2024. This rapid growth shows that the future of e-commerce is somewhat bright.
As we all know, Shopify isn’t the only e-commerce platform in the world; the likes of Amazon, eBay, and Etsy exist. But if you also check the general statistics, you’ll understand that the e-commerce market is booming. With this growth comes fierce competition.
As a result, e-commerce businesses have constantly evolved over time by adopting and upgrading their tools and strategies so as to have an edge in the market. However, maintaining long-term relevance is not all about adopting any trend that surfaces in the e-commerce space. Timing is also a key factor as it helps businesses know the ideal time to make moves, especially during the post-COVID era.
How E-Commerce Fits into Retail’s Post-Pandemic Future
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many industries. While many industries such as tourism, aviation, and real estate declined, others like e-commerce and gaming were booming. At the pandemic’s peak, both the affected and unaffected industries adapted to thrive.
However, with the creation of vaccines and many nations finding ways to manage the pandemic, we are slowly approaching the post-pandemic era. The truth is, things will never go back to the way it was before COVID struck. Therefore, the e-commerce industry will have to evolve again to fit into the post-pandemic future.
This will entail the emergence and adoption of new trends and technologies that will help online business owners to serve consumers better. For instance, a 2021 study conducted by EY Future Consumer Index reveals that about 80% of U.S. consumers have changed the way they shop since the pandemic started. Also, physical shopping at brick-and-mortar stores dropped by 60%.
Due to COVID, consumers realize that their geographical location is not a barrier as long as they have a good internet connection. Therefore, consumers can leverage this flexibility to order products from different locations globally without hassles.
As mentioned earlier, the many changes that occurred during COVID will remain existent in the long run. So, brands must be prepared to take advantage of these changes to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Below are some important tips that online stores can adopt to better fit into the retail post-pandemic future:
- Fast and affordable shipping crowns the whole shopping experience. E-commerce brands should strive to offer short and reasonable delivery periods and stick to them. Also, no one wants to pay exorbitant prices to get their goods delivered. Today, many brands offer free shipping under certain conditions, so customers should feel free to explore that option when available.
- Offer numerous fulfillment options to consumers. Many consumers may have their preferred fulfillment options, and if a platform doesn’t offer them, they see it as enough reason to back out of the purchase. E-commerce businesses that wish to attract and retain more customers must offer various fulfillment options from which consumers can pick.
- Deliver an omnichannel customer experience by positioning their stores where consumers would likely shop. This means being present on many platforms like social media, online forums, and websites. It is worth noting that it is critical for the company’s brand to be consistent across all channels.
Trends Shaping the Future of E-Commerce
E-commerce growth and trend changes happen every year. Numerous niches exist in the industry today. But they are all subject to partaking in the bright future of e-commerce because they are witnessing the trend changes. No one can predict the future of e-commerce completely; however, we’ve used existing statistics to point merchants towards emerging trends in the e-commerce industry.
Artificial Intelligence Shopping
The current e-commerce market is partly driven by artificial intelligence. For instance, AI has played an important role in enhancing buyer experiences by increasing the intuitiveness of platforms. Additionally, companies can now leverage data to provide personalized experiences for every customer, allowing them to access products tailored to their needs.
AI assistants are designed to handle many tasks, including taking and answering customer inquiries, managing inventory, and fulfilling orders. Experts believe that AI robots will advance in the future, enabling them to handle more tasks and give their users a competitive advantage.
Increased Adoption of Mobile Commerce
It is difficult to see someone who does not own a mobile device today. In fact, according to Statista, there are about 6.65 billion smartphone users in the world today, translating to 83.72 % of the entire population. But what does this mean for the future of e-commerce?
Having a growing number of consumers who rely on digital devices will likely increase the need for digital services, including online purchases. Numerous social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, have functional “Buy” buttons that consumers can click to purchase items without leaving the platform.
These social media sites also allow users to save their card details so that they will not have to enter them every time they wish to make a purchase.
The modern world is paying more attention to how business operations and everyday living affect the environment. This trend is gradually impacting e-commerce as customers tend to gravitate towards brands that support environmental sustainability through the way they conduct business.
Some of the areas where e-commerce brands focus on eco-friendliness include supply chain management and packaging. For instance, businesses are currently trying to reduce the amount of waste they produce by opting for minimalistic packaging.
Not only does this save the environment, but it also reduces overhead costs for e-commerce businesses. So, it’s safe to say that this trend is a win-win for both brands and consumers.
What is the Future of the E-Commerce Industry?
The e-commerce industry has grown tremendously in the past two decades. When the pandemic came, the industry soared as a large percentage of the world’s population were forced to stay at home, making online shopping the best option.
Although this industry has witnessed major transformations, there is more to come. The continuous technological advancements indicate the e-commerce industry will be more scalable and vibrant in the future. These changes will certainly present some challenges to e-commerce businesses.
Therefore, they should keep an open mind about learning new things so as to plan better and update their business structures. Some practices that are emerging in the e-commerce space include:
- The use of drones for delivery
- Personalized offerings
- Automated services
- Increased payment and fulfillment options
Experts have stated that businesses that do not have a reliable system and fail to embrace the future will see a major decline in revenue. This is because consumers’ habits will change, making them demand better services. As a result, they will gravitate towards businesses that provide them.
What is an E-Commerce Business Strategy for 2022?
An e-commerce business strategy maps out the long-term plan that a business will implement to remain relevant in the future. Major components of this plan include structural, technological and administrative reforms.
With continued growth, a business will likely need to make any of these changes; however, the process would be easier if there was a prior well-structured plan.
How Does Digital Marketing Help an E-Commerce Business?
E-commerce entails trading goods and services using mobile devices and the Internet. Therefore, understanding how digital marketing works is important for all online businesses.
In recent years, digital marketing has become the lifeblood of many brands. It offers them the opportunity to reach more people at an affordable cost while also getting a good investment return.
For instance, businesses can now run marketing campaigns that reach individuals irrespective of their geographical location, guide them through the buying process, and close sales within a short period.
Generally, there is fierce competition in the e-commerce industry, so brands have to leverage all the tools within their reach, including digital marketing.
How Can I Improve My E-Commerce Business?
Suppose you’ve gone through the rigorous process of setting up your e-commerce business. But you have not been seeing good results over time. The truth is, launching your business is one thing and creating sustainable strategies that will help you thrive is a different ball game.
Crushing your goals as a business owner is not too difficult. You just need to combine simple processes to help you achieve your overall goal. Below are some techniques that you can adopt to improve the performance of your e-commerce store:
- Using data to plan and modify strategies
- Building brand awareness
- Providing excellent customer service
- Offering easy shipping options
- Running customer-relatable marketing campaigns
- Omnichannel Presence
Are We Going to See an E-Commerce Boom?
The e-commerce industry has shown tremendous growth potential over the past decades. Given the emerging trends in the market and available statistics, it is safe to say that the e-commerce industry will see more glory days.
What is the Market Size for E-Commerce?
As of writing, the global market size of the e-commerce industry stands at $4.2 trillion and analysts predict that the figure should rise to about $6.5 trillion by the end of 2023. And as long as the adoption of internet-based businesses increases globally, so will e-commerce’s market size.
For now, the leading regions include China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany, but this may change in the future.
What is the Future of Retail?
COVID-19 disrupted the retail landscape in a big way by changing how people shop. Analysts believe that the future of retail businesses will largely depend on the level of online penetration in the industry.
Today, suppliers are establishing direct relationships with consumers, and if this continues, retailers might start going out of business.
While this may affect a good number of retail businesses, those who adapt early and stand out by delivering the needs of customers will remain in the game.