The evolution of eCommerce: a compilation of trends to watch out

evolution of ecommerce

Every business thrives on the business owner’s ability to see beyond the present. It’s on the business owners to anticipate where the market is moving to and get in on it before their competitors.

Owning an eCommerce business is no different. 

Changes and innovations in the eCommerce space are not constant. With a new year comes new trends.  

That’s because customer behavior, eCommerce solutions, and the sphere, in general, keep changing. So, you must go with the flow to stay in business.

Below, we looked into the crystal ball of the present and compiled all the trends in eCommerce in the coming years. That way, you can develop business strategies that put you ahead of competitors.

Let’s get started.

The future is Headless

And the transition to headless from monolithic has already started. 

Monolithic eCommerce platforms have all the tools needed to run an eCommerce business successfully. They have a frontend display layer, a backend, a CMS, search, payment, and all other tools, tightly coupled together.

But monolithic architecture comes with several problems.

For instance, they don’t allow the tech and marketing teams to work on different parts of the platform without interference from the other.

For this reason, and more that I‘ll talk about later in this article, 64% of eCommerce store owners have migrated to a headless architecture already. And 92% of those who are still using monolithic platforms, intend to migrate soon. 

Additionally, another 92% of digital store owners agree that a headless eCommerce platform is a key to delivering a great user experience to customers, thus increasing conversions.

The reason for this trend is not far-fetched. 

A headless architecture has numerous benefits, some of which include: 

  • Quick time to market
  • Increased innovation
  • Lower customer acquisition costs
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO)

But how does a headless architecture deliver these benefits?

Headless architecture reduces spending on developers

You can’t make advanced customizations on a monolithic eCommerce platform without involving developers. Since buying behaviors are always changing, you’re likely to spend enormously on hiring developers to adapt to the trends.

However, this is not the case with headless eCommerce platforms.

Since the frontend is decoupled from the backend on headless platforms, you can make modifications without having to change any code in the backend.

Headless architecture lowers the time between innovation and market launch

New trends and eCommerce are inseparable. So, your eCommerce business must be agile— testing, improving, and launching new features quickly.

But…

Legacy platforms are like a complicated Rubik’s Cube: making a change in one area requires changing the whole system.

In contrast, you can make a change on the backend of headless platforms without having to stop operations on the front. So, you can implement changes and launch within a short period.

Headless architecture makes it easier to scale

Monolithic platforms struggle to manage large traffic. It’s why Amazon, lost millions of dollars in 2018 after high store traffic triggered a shutdown. 

With headless architecture, store owners can expand the capabilities of their front end to handle more traffic, without needing to change the entire platform. 

This way, you can scale your business operations with ease.

Headless architecture eliminates spending on unnecessary features

The components of a headless eCommerce platform are decoupled. 

That means developers can use RESTful APIs, to integrate their applications with an existing platform and build new features for it.

Mobile commerce is the new normal

These days, almost everyone owns a mobile device. The popularity of mobile devices also reflects in eCommerce traffic and sales figures.

A recent study showed that 71 percent of traffic to retail sites and 61 percent of online shopping orders in the second quarter of 2022, came from mobile devices.

Also, 56% of in-store shoppers use their mobile devices to compare prices while in stores. And 59% of shoppers agree that the ability to shop on mobile is a key factor when choosing retailers to buy from.

These numbers show no signs of reducing. Instead, it will increase as more people use mobile devices.

How to take advantage of mobile commerce?

Buyers who have a negative buying experience on mobile, are 62% less likely to patronize your store. 

That means you must prioritize delivering exceptional mobile service to buyers. The best way to ensure that is to use headless eCommerce platforms which give you unrestricted control of your codebase. 

Also, the platform must support a mobile-first design, and the integration of mobile wallets like Google pay, PayPal, Apple Pay, and many more. 

That way, you can deliver a seamless shopping experience to buyers, and retain their loyalty as a result. 

Also, you can optimize your webstore for mobile devices, using mobile-friendly themes, PWA (progressive web app) storefront, etc.

The eCommerce space will blossom

eCommerce sales have been steadily increasing over the years. 

In 2014, e-retail sales accounted for 7.4 percent of retail sales worldwide. Fast forward to 2022, and that number has increased to 21%. And that’s projected to increase to 24.5% by 2025.

The reason is simple: many people no longer rely solely on traditional stores to make purchases or compare prices. 

Based on data gathered by Statista in 2021, there were 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide. With the world population at 7.14 billion people, that means over 27% of the world’s population shops online. 

Most people shop online because of convenience, and the lower prices and discounts offered by eCommerce stores.

How to take advantage of eCommerce growth? 

As the eCommerce space blossoms, competition increases too. 

The basic way to survive in such a highly competitive environment is to stand out from the rest.

How?

You must be able to fully customize your eCommerce storefront to reflect your brand and deliver a unique shopping experience to buyers, such as suggesting deals based on previous purchases. Also, you have to run  an A/B test of those features before launching them fully. 

Thanks to a headless architecture, you can customize the frontend without touching the codebase or backend.

Increased dependence on SEO to generate traffic

For many online shoppers, Google is the first place they visit before they buy.

68% of customers consult with search engines before they buy. And 37.5% of all traffic going to eCommerce stores come from search.

It does not stop there. 

33.6% of in-store shoppers search for price comparisons on their devices before they buy.

This is good news to e-store owners because SEO costs far less than traditional advertising media. 

According to Nuanced Media, it takes at least $20 and more to reach an audience of 1000 people. In contrast, SEO costs far less than that. You will only spend on a website, a competent SEO team, a writer, and an eCommerce platform that supports SEO to the fullest. Once you invest in SEO, you open doors to 5.4 billion people that visit search engines like Google daily.

How to take advantage of SEO?

There are two major things you can do to take advantage of SEO: invest in content and optimize the loading speed of your platforms.

You need optimized content that addresses the problems clients are having regarding your product if you want to rank highly on search engines like Google.

That way, you can nurture prospects down the funnel into buyers, and later, customers.

You can always use Google keyword planner or search results from Amazon to get topics to write on.

Also, eCommerce stores that load fast, rank high. 

That’s because Google uses loading speed as a key ranking metric. Besides, an eCommerce store must load within 0-4 seconds to pull in high conversion rates.

It’s quite easy to optimize the loading speed of headless eCommerce platforms.

That’s why 29% of store owners switching to headless platforms gave faster-loading speed as a reason.

Read more about: Does headless architecture helps SEO for eCommerce?

Growth of delivery by automated freight vehicles

Transportation costs alone cut into the profit margin of eCommerce stores—small, medium, and large eCommerce stores alike. 

Between 2020 and the beginning of 2022, shipping prices rose by 80%.

Worse still, supply chain disruptions continue to cause shortages and delays. And even though these delays are no fault of eCommerce store owners, customers still blame them for it. 

Many tech companies and eCommerce giants have been floating the idea of automated vehicles and drones for years.

Some are out already. Others are still in progress.

As technology continues to advance, it’s expected that automated freight vehicles will take center stage. This will lead to faster delivery and lower transportation costs.

The Rise of a Multichannel approach to marketing

A typical customer journey is a complicated spider web without a definite path.

A buyer interacts with an eCommerce store on many levels, from awareness to purchase. 

For instance, a buyer could see a leather jacket in a store, and delay their purchase. Then perform a Google search online to check prices but still not buy. 

They may hold off for a few days, and finally, make the purchase using a voice search. From an email. Or even a smartwatch.

Though complex, this is still a simplified version of the buyer’s journey.

So, eCommerce store owners are no longer limiting marketing to one channel alone. 94% now use omnichannel marketing

And as long as the buyer’s journey is complicated, and buyers interact with different platforms before making a purchase, omnichannel marketing will continue to grow.

How to utilize omnichannel marketing?

A key aspect of omnichannel marketing is delivering content across various digital media. 

But since each platform needs its own unique content experience, the best approach is to attach different publishing tools or integrations for each channel to your backend. That way, a customer interacts with your content in the format that’s native to that platform or IoT device they’re using.

Fortunately, headless eCommerce platforms allow you to do just that, as you can see in the image below.

Growth in Personalization 

Customers love personalization. And judging from recent trends in eCommerce, personalization is surely the future.

A study by Accenture shows:

  1. 83 percent of customers are willing to reveal their personal information for a more personalized experience
  2. 91% of customers prefer to shop with brands that recognize them, remember their past purchases, and recommend relevant offers.
  3. 40% of prospective buyers leave an online store when the options available are plenty.

These stats alone demonstrate the value of personalization.

Of course, eCommerce store owners are responding to the needs of customers.

90% of eCommerce stores use personalization tactics. And those who go a step further to use advanced personalization strategies, get 20$ for every 1 dollar they invest and 17% more conversion than those using basic personalization strategies, according to Sailthru.

How to use personalization for your eCommerce store?

Only mentioning the name of a customer is no longer enough.

It’s now more about curated, personalized experiences. 

Customers want product suggestions tailored to their needs. 

So, you must find a way to balance the need to serve everyone, with the need to serve each person, to reduce the burden of choice.

There’s one way to do this:

Again, headless eCommerce platforms allow you to integrate data from the numerous platforms you interact with customers.

With the collected data, you can recommend products that the customers need, increasing conversion rates.

A rise in visual and voice eCommerce

Formerly, search was only textual. But over the years, search engines have grown to accommodate image and voice searches.

And judging from recent statistics, image and voice eCommerce is the future.

71% of consumers prefer to use voice search rather than the hassle of typing their query, according to Pricewaterhousecoopers. By 2023, voice searches are predicted to reach 80 billion dollars per annum.

Similarly, 62% of gen Z, who will become the major buying age demographic in the coming years, prefer to use image search. That’s because it’s easier than text search.

Similarly, visual and voice give stores targeted traffic.

That’s because someone who snaps an object or uses voice search is more likely to buy than someone using short-tail or long-tail text-based search queries.

How to take advantage of visual & voice search?

Since voice and visual search is still young, you can get in on it now before competition increases.

You should:

  • Compress images
  • Give images clear and descriptive names
  • Add keywords to images
  • Use high-quality images

Compress all images. 

Keep image sizes to 1 to 2MB. If the file size is large, your store will load slowly, and this increases bounce rates.

Name images appropriately. 

Use names that describe the picture appropriately.

This store on Amazon is a perfect example of a descriptive naming system.

The technique is to use long tail keywords customers use when searching for your product online.

Prioritize semantic SEO over Keyword SEO

Use words that buyers use when searching online instead of focusing on keywords. 

Add those keywords to image titles and alt tag attributes

This helps your image rank.

Use high-quality images

Do justice to your images. They must highlight all aspects of the products without appearing smudged or pixelated.

Conclusion

Whether we like it or not, eCommerce is the “now”, not future. People now prefer to shop online, and digital devices are increasingly becoming a major part of our lives.

So, it’s important that you use these e-shopping trends to plan, strategize, and develop your business strategy. 

And once you do so, you’re guaranteed the survival of your business in the ultra-competitive space of eCommerce in the future.

Akachukwu Obialor
He’s an SEO content writer and copywriter, and content strategist for SaaS brands. He lives and breathes creating content that engages readers and drives conversions. You can find him on his socials: LinkedIn, Twitter, akachukwuobialor@gmail.com

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