The unprecedented growth in online shopping during the pandemic may have slowed over the past couple of years, but it shows no signs of reversal. In the Australian eCommerce landscape, the number of online shoppers and their purchase frequency continues to grow year on year.
The economic landscape is changing. But as cost of living and time pressures loom large in consumers’ minds, the dominant drivers of online shopping – convenience, free delivery, and price – remain relevant and compelling.
Here’s eight key trends and influences that will be shaping up the way people buy and shop online in the years to come.
Quick commerce: The need for speed
In a world accustomed to instant gratification and convenience, the attraction of Quick Commerce is the promise of delivery in under an hour, and usually in less than 30 minutes.
Starting as a trend in food delivery, it has since been adopted into other convenience products such as liquor, tobacco, and groceries.
Smaller brands can quickly scale by leveraging existing networks, such as Uber Eats and Door Dash, without the risk of running their own operations.
Established grocery retailers may be in the pole position to capitalise on this trend by building their quick commerce capabilities as part of their overall online service.
Preparing for a future without cookies
Third party cookies have underpinned the digital advertising landscape for almost 30 years, but that era is coming to a gradual end. With privacy concerns a mainstream issue for some time, third party data collection is on the way out.
The future lies in cultivating and harnessing first party data. Brands which have successfully weaned themselves off third party cookies now possess strong first party data pipelines and are leading the way.
Delivering personalised and contextually relevant retargeting – while also respecting user privacy through alternate identifiers is key for a future without cookies. Having a holistic, omnichannel approach will significantly help to support this transition.
Measuring eCommerce with Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
The new way of doing analytics with GA4 comes with a new set of metrics.
The new primary new metric in is ‘Active Users’, which was previously Total Users and New Users in Universal Analytics, and measuring distinct users who visited your website. This offers a more nuanced perspective on audience interaction.
GA4 also boils down Universal Analytics (UAs) 5 goal types to a single goal, ‘Conversion Events’.
There’s a lot to get your head around with GA4 and configuring it for your purposes can’t be done overnight. Familiarity with the new platform will take some time – having an analytics agency such as TRKKN to support and speed things up is recommended.
Sustainability in eCommerce: A conscientious shift
Online searches for sustainable goods are increasing YoY, and influencer mentions of sustainable fashion have boomed – especially with younger buyers.
It can present as a win-win for businesses which have stringent corporate social responsibility agendas.
But hang on! While sustainability is a big opportunity – It’s also a risk – because brands can’t afford to get caught up in the greenwashing cycle. A recent ACCC investigation of 247 businesses revealed 57% had made “concerning claims” on their environmental credentials, while the EU has also found 53% of ‘green’ claims on products and services were misleading, unfounded or too vague.
A whole new world at our fingertips: Mobile commerce
Mobile commerce (Mcommerce) is taking centre stage in 2023 and set to account for a sizeable chunk of total retail eCommerce sales, according to eMarketer.
Creating seamless and customer-friendly experiences for mobile devices is essential to capture the attention of on-the-go consumers and give them a frictionless shopping journey.
there’s also an opportunity for digital savvy brands to create unique immersive experiences on mobile devices. An example is Luxury skin care brand’s Lancôme, whose recent virtual pop-up delivered an immersive 3D retail experience to drive awareness of their flagship product.
It’s no secret social commerce has a trust gap to bridge, but it is poised for growth.
Despite setbacks like Meta shutting down its live commerce functionality and TikTok delaying the launch of its live shopping tool, social commerce sales in the US are projected to rise substantially. This trend highlights the potential for brands to tap into social media platforms as shopping hubs, provided they can establish trust and authenticity.
Brands which can achieve the latter will unlock significant growth opportunities in this emerging eCommerce trend.
The role of AI in eCommerce
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making waves in eCommerce by enhancing customer experiences. Brands are leveraging AI to create personalized shopping recommendations, generate unique marketing materials, and even offer virtual personal shopping assistance.
This AI-led clienteling not only improves user experiences but also boosts brand loyalty by catering to individual preferences.
The rise of subscription services and loyalty programs indicates a step change in consumer behaviour in 2023.
ANZ consumers are increasingly engaging with loyalty programs, reflecting the growing importance of retaining customer loyalty through tailored rewards and incentives.
According to the Australia & New Zealand Consumer Trends Index 2023 Econsultancy, 70% of Australian respondents value discounts, compared to only 26% of respondents valuing brands communicating via their preferred channels for example.
Bracing for the future
To summarise, eCommerce is evolving. The future demands adaptability and innovation. Harnessing trends like Quick Commerce, sustainability, mobile commerce, and social commerce in alignment with your business is the key to staying relevant and competitive.
The strategies you adopt today will shape the way consumers engage your brand in 2024 and beyond. The time to adapt, innovate, and thrive in the digital marketplace is now.
Alice Cleret is eCommerce director at Transact.