If there is one thing that is constant in ecommerce, it’s change. It is always evolving and never looks the same from year to year. The highs and lows of the past few years have shaped how customers shop and in return, have changed how ecommerce brands are presented to customers.
Despite the economic challenges we all currently face, ecommerce hit a milestone moment in 2022, with sales exceeding $1 trillion in 2022, according to Retail Dive. The report states that the top-grossing ecommerce industries in 2022 were food, pet, and baby goods which accounted for $219 billion. Followed by the apparel and accessories industry with growth in every major industry every quarter.
Back in 2016, Smile.io released a version of 20 experts giving their predictions on what the future of ecommerce would look like. None of the past 20 experts could have predicted the collective shock of 2020, the growth of 2021, and the rolling changes of 2022 leading into 2023.
Let’s see how a few of those past predictions fared compared to where ecommerce is now.
Past Prediction: The biggest trends in ecommerce will center around reducing user effort and improving the online customer experience. Any tools that can reduce online friction and simplify the user’s input will be huge.
Past Prediction: John Surdakowski is the CEO and founder of Avex Design, and predicted content was only going to get bigger. “Ecommerce marketing will consist of aggressive content marketing campaigns. Providing engaging content on brands’ websites, as well as on social media, will be a dominant force behind marketing. This is especially true of video marketing as it surges in popularity.”
Past Prediction: Virtual reality and augmented reality applications will make a huge impact as commerce continues to move in this direction. Early players are trying to understand the landscape, and early experiments will provide invaluable information about what works and what doesn’t.
Tools and Strategies
Past Prediction: Less touchpoints for customers. The days of browsing on a phone and then switching to a computer to purchase will decline as more retailers adopt new payments, reducing friction in the mobile checkout process.
According to industry data, 73% of shoppers across markets made a purchase in-store after finding or discovering the item on social media.
Past Prediction: Tabitha Jean Naylor is the founder of a full-service agency, helping ecommerce brands. Tabitha predicted the expectations customers have on shipping deadlines. “I think consumers who live in the digital age of short attention spans will want their products delivered at lightning speed. Overnight delivery is sometimes not enough to satisfy them, so one, two, and three-hour windows of delivery are going to become more commonplace.”
"Free shipping continues to have a significant influence on purchasing for 75% of global shoppers, with 58% of people expecting free next-day delivery," states the report.
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Ecommerce is changing
Whether you’re a small business just getting into the game, or an established brand looking to take your customer experience further than you ever have before, the only way to truly win in ecommerce is to jump in, offer a winning product that solves a problem, and build your brand community.