By now, we’ve all heard the phrase “if you’re not online, you don’t exist.” But it’s becoming clear that just ‘existing’ isn’t enough. As consumer expectations evolve and new technologies continue to emerge, it’s important for e-commerce businesses to keep up with the pace and bring innovative ideas to their shoppers. 

Research has found global e-commerce revenue hit $4.9 trillion in 2021. This number is expected to increase by 50 per cent over the next four years, reaching around $7.4 trillion by 2025. More than ever, businesses are looking for ways to improve their e-commerce platforms.

The most important factor for business growth is a booming e-commerce sector. Creative ideas are needed to carry the sector into the future, and businesses have the opportunity to seize upon upcoming trends.

Sustainable shopping practices for consumers

Younger shoppers are more environmentally conscious than ever before. According to a recent study from United Nations Youth Statistics, close to half a million youth around the world have taken action on climate change. These consumers are looking to support businesses that are attempting to do their part to mitigate their environmental footprint.

E-commerce businesses need to implement environmentally friendly practices from top to bottom. This includes sourcing products from fair-trade organisations to help create a greener e-commerce environment and focusing on packaging materials and shipping processes. By choosing materials that have less of an impact on the environment you will be more likely to meet consumer standards. A strong focus on manufacturing and fulfilment requirements, such as energy usage, water usage, waste products and supply chains is also an important step towards sustainable business practices.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) in e-commerce is on the rise, as we see cutting-edge technologies employed for smoother customer processes. 

EZZ, along with many other e-commerce companies, are using smart chatbots on their websites to allow for customer support as you shop. This can be coupled with personalised product recommendation engines, which make for a more seamless experience for shoppers.

There’s no doubt this technology will continue to grow, with a huge 70 per cent of online retailers believing that AI for e-commerce will help them personalise their online stores.

Voice search commands

Shopping through voice search is expected to increase in 2023 and beyond. Statistics state that more than one-quarter of the online population use voice search on their mobile service. It is expected that in 2023, it will reach 8.4 billion units.

Voice search helps shoppers to quickly and easily find the products and services they want without sifting through multiple pages. It’s an intuitive and hands-free way to shop that makes buying products easier than ever before.

Ordering flexibility

Customers are looking for more choices and flexible options when it comes to ordering online. 

Customers may want to make one purchase but ship their items to two different addresses. You want to be able to offer flexibility in the ordering process with options such as split orders, pre-orders, in-store pickup, and ‘clicks to bricks’ — a way to merge your online store with in-person selling.

If a product is unavailable, you should give customers the option to be notified when it’s back in stock. This is also a smart lead generation strategy because it gets potential customers on your mailing list.

Brand ambassadors

In the ever-growing world of social media, it’s important for brands to continue to engage with their potential customers through these platforms.  Influencer marketing has been on the rise for years, but it’s now reaching new heights. Using relevant influencers to endorse and mention products on social media platforms through in feed posts, stories/videos/reels, and now even TikToks, ensures you’re reaching your demographic and, ultimately, boosting your ROI. 

Influencer marketing is rapidly becoming mainstream and is now   a crucial part of e-commerce marketing. Influencers have thousands of loyal supporters and followers hanging on to their every post and update, so if you target the right ones, you essentially have just reached hundreds of thousands in your target market.

Live streaming

Shoppers are continually looking for more interactive shopping experiences. One way to deliver this is through live streaming. This is one of the most effective ways to reach customers as it allows them to see products first-hand and ask questions in real time, making them feel more involved in the purchasing process.

E-commerce businesses are leveraging the power of platforms like Facebook and Instagram to use live streaming to generate more sales.

The live streaming industry is expected to be worth $330.5 billion by 2030. EZZ are researching new methods to implement the live stream retail experience into their e-commerce sector, and encourage other businesses to do the same.

Emma Li is from Australian online retailer, EZZ.