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The E-commerce industry has been witnessing exponential growth over the past 2 years. Retail E-commerce sales grew from $4.2 tln in 2020 to $5.7 tln in 2022. One of the main reasons behind the rapid development was the Covid-19 pandemic which forced many companies to move online. Those companies that timely turned to custom e-commerce development services could provide their buyers with user-friendly and functional digital solutions for convenient, one-stop shopping. This helped them quickly expand their market presence and stay stable during the crisis times.
By the end of 2022, the lockdown was abolished and many brick-and-mortar shops re-opened their doors to numerous shoppers. Nevertheless, the e-commerce market is still in its power and is expected to increase even more, reaching 8.1 tln in 2026. Though the competition in the e-commerce market also persists. This makes businesses search for ways to declare themselves as strong competitors and attract wider audiences. One of the viable options to do so is to smartly upgrade their applications with the latest tech innovations.
In this article, we’ll have a look at the new technology trends used in the e-commerce industry and consider which ones are worth implementing.
E-commerce Technology Trends in 2023
Every year new technological advancements hit the e-commerce industry. Some of them have the potential to revolutionize the market. Let’s have a look at the most notable emerging trends in e-commerce and how they can change the way businesses sell online.
Voice Search and Chatbots
Voice assistants and chatbots aren’t new notions in the e-commerce industry. But 2023 is expected to be the year of big moves in this area. At the end of 2022, the OpenAI company released an AI-powered chatbot GPT which is able to interact with users in a conversational way. The technology many times outperforms other well-known digital assistants and chatbots and is already considered to be a threat to Google’s search system. GPT can quickly provide answers to users without the need to scroll through the search results and Google adverts.
Microsoft, in turn, has already invested in ChatGPT $3 bln and is promising to invest $10 bln more to fan the competition flames between Google, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft. Meanwhile, Google is also developing its own AI-driven chatbot and soon we’ll witness another major chatbot release.
While observing tech-giant battles is fun, it’s clear that in a short time, the technology will be available for big and small e-commerce companies as well. They will be able to incorporate the AI chatbots trained on massive amounts of data into their digital solution to provide outstanding customer experience.
How chatbots can enhance the e-commerce industry? There are a number of ways. Chatbots are already used as Customer Support assistants, product recommenders, search engines, for sales automation, and much more. Meanwhile, the further implementation of AI-based chatbots will allow e-commerce businesses to even more personalize and improve their customer services.
Selling via social media channels is an effective and popular approach for small and big retailers. That’s because it’s easy for e-commerce businesses to build loyal audiences and convert them into active buyers there. On the other hand, having several social media profiles with inconsistent and unsynchronized content will be one of the greatest faults in e-commerce in 2023.
In 2023, it won’t be enough for a business just to start a social media page for effective sales. The main task will be to ensure data consistency across both online and offline selling channels. Moreover, e-commerce businesses should learn how to provide smooth customer service across them. It means that customers can start communicating with a brand at one channel and conveniently shift to another without the necessity to start the conversation from the beginning. For example, when a customer adds some items to the cart on a website, they can successfully complete the purchase in a mobile app, and so on.
To ensure a pleasant shopping experience across various channels, e-commerce businesses will have to incorporate new business management applications into their digital ecosystems. These can be:
- Product Information Management (PIM) software for keeping product information relevant across the selling channels.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for personalized customer approach and effective customer service.
- Inventory Management Systems and Order Management Software (OMS) for timely goods stocking and delivery.
In the world of digital marketing, the customer path extends beyond the act of purchasing and the post-purchase experience is equally important. The trend of post-purchase will be particularly significant in 2023 as the growing number of e-commerce businesses make them compete for customers harder.
Forming a positive after-purchase experience allows businesses to grow their audiences, and more importantly, to preserve their existing followers. This results in lower customer acquisition costs, better sales due to growing brand advocacy, and buyers returning for more purchases.
However, to provide a great post-purchase experience, e-commerce businesses have to be well-prepared for that. Here are a number of steps that businesses can undertake:
- Ensure effective return policy – when a company can process the unwanted goods and quickly compensate for them as well as offer free shipping on return option.
- Offer post-purchase assistance – this involves establishing strong communication with customers such as answering questions about a product, encouraging customers to subscribe to social media channels, ensuring that customers are satisfied with their purchases, and more.
- Provide special offers – these could be discounts or special offers for purchasing for a certain minimum amount, and more.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
E-commerce businesses have always heavily relied on visual content in their selling campaigns. It helps customers better understand what the products look like. However, videos and images provide an incomplete experience in terms of three-dimensional perception – it’s hard to fully understand how the product feels and looks in a particular environment. That’s where Augmented and Virtual Realities (VR/AR) come to the aid.
Many businesses have implemented VR/AR technologies to enhance their product presentation. Some prominent examples are Sephora Virtual Artist for trying on different makeup looks, Amikasa for 3D home designing, IKEA for home furnishing, and many others. However, the upcoming years will become the time of advanced implementation of VR/AR technologies in e-commerce and the reason for that is Metaverse.
Metaverse is an ambitious project of Mark Zuckerberg – the founder of Facebook and Instagram under the Meta brand. Zuckerberg attempts to build a digital environment based on VR technology that would unite various industries from education to healthcare, to retail, and many others. Meta has already invested $36 bln in building the Metaverse and is planning to spend even more.
This way, the Metaverse has the potential to completely change the purchasing experience for customers. They will interact, learn new things, and purchase items in a gamified and digital environment.
For now, the Metaverse is more in its experimental phase. Though, it’s not the only development direction for AR/VR technology. Another popular sphere is the use of AR technology for brick-and-mortar shopping where customers can check additional product information by using AR-empowered applications. For example, Walmart has recently released its AR shopping app that helps iOS users learn more about the products right in their offline stores.
Shopping via mobile phones is a common practice for most Internet users. The reason for that is simple – it’s much more convenient to make an instant purchase via a mobile app rather than reaching a laptop or a computer to make an order via a browser. As a result, more and more e-commerce retailers turn to building custom mobile applications to maximize the shopping experience for buyers.
However, far not each e-commerce platform has a mobile version. The necessity to build a custom M-commerce app will become the trend of 2023 and a point of growth for many e-commerce companies. According to Insider Intelligence statistics, the M-commerce sales share in the US will grow from 4.1% in 2019 to 8.7% in 2026 of total retail sales, reaching $54.01 bln.
With the growing number of M-commerce applications, companies have to consider the technologies they could embed in their digital solutions to attract customer attention and provide a smooth and safe shopping experience. Therefore, e-commerce businesses always follow the latest UI/UX design and mobile development trends to upgrade their solutions with top-notch technologies.
Multiple Paying Methods
The check-out process is an important part of a purchasing funnel for any e-commerce platform. Companies have to carefully consider how to arrange the check-out steps so that their buyers won’t abandon their shopping carts due to complicated procedures or lack of payment methods.
Today, companies can use various payment methods on their platforms from the traditional ones – payment with credit and debit cards, and mobile wallets to alternative ones – purchasing through digital wallets and cryptocurrency. While traditional methods are already a must for an e-commerce platform, only some e-commerce businesses adopt cryptocurrency payments. Meanwhile, well-known crypto payment gateways such as PayPal, Shopify, BitPay, Coinbase, and others offer crypto payment services.
In 2023, it’s expected that more and more e-commerce businesses will start implementing alternative payment methods on their platforms to provide more payment options to their customers.
E-commerce is a constantly developing sphere and new technologies appearing in it have the potential to disrupt the market in less than a year. Therefore, most e-commerce companies closely monitor the digital market and consider how to implement emerging solutions on their platforms. This allows businesses to stay relevant and provide the best customer experiences, making them more fascinating and personalized.
If you are also considering upgrading your e-commerce platform with the recent innovations or building a new commercial solution from scratch, then we’re ready to assist you with that. Scand software development experts have much experience in building e-commerce software as well as much practice in the implementation of the latest digital technologies in it.