Today’s ecommerce market is on fire, evolving at a dizzying pace driven by new technology, capabilities, and customer demand. According to Ecommerce News, turnover from online shopping in Europe grew by 13 percent in 2021. And the popularity of ecommerce is set to continue as new technologies and platforms create exciting opportunities for retailers and shoppers.
In this post, we look at three of the hottest ecommerce trends and discuss how companies are using new technologies to give their customers the online shopping experiences they enjoy.
In the earlier days of ecommerce, the only digital storefront a company needed was a website. As the ecommerce landscape evolved, companies started creating digital storefronts across multiple platforms such as mobile apps and online marketplaces. However, the older ecommerce back-end setups weren’t designed to support this expanded “digital shelf.”
A new approach, known as “headless commerce” combines application programming interfaces (APIs) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to decouple the front end and the back end of a website, enabling the delivery of content to any front-end framework. This solution allows ecommerce shopping to go beyond desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, enabling consumers to browse and make purchases through the internet of things (IoT) devices, such as smart speakers and fitness devices.
Retailers, on the other hand, can streamline omnichannel selling and incorporate new sales channels and content quickly. Headless systems can also provide valuable data on how customers interact with content. Companies have been fast to embrace headless tech solutions. Big brands like Toyota and McDonald’s are already using headless architecture. Headless commerce leader Shopify uses Zendesk for seamless omnichannel customer support and engagement.
In 2021, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of enterprises adopted a headless approach, according to WP Engine. It’s also worth noting that headless CMS solutions (a complement to headless platforms) are seeing rapid growth in funding as well.
Social commerce enables individuals to buy products, services, and experiences from within the social media platforms they’re using. And while that’s by no means a new concept today, there are some noteworthy developments in this area that are grabbing companies’ attention.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok have already tapped into the social commerce wave, and many other companies, large and small, are jumping on the trend. According to Accenture, social commerce is a
Social commerce is successful because it’s just so easy to click and buy. Giving people the ability to make purchases inside social apps minimizes interruption and makes the customer experience feel effortless and natural. Companies also have more opportunities to showcase their products to targeted audiences.
With social media a key part of many people’s day-to-day entertainment, influencers also play a significant role in social selling. An estimated 80 percent of consumers have purchased products based on influencer recommendations, and we can expect influencers’ impact on social selling to continue.
If we want to understand the potential of social commerce, we can look to China. The country leads the way with social commerce, with an estimated $363 billion in sales during 2021, dwarfing the $36 billion of social commerce sales in the U.S.
Livestream commerce, also known as live shopping, enables users to view, discuss, and purchase products through video streaming channels. The audience can ask questions in real time and make purchases directly from the livestream platform, often through in-channel buy buttons. In China, livestreaming is huge, and it’s also growing in popularity in the U.S. Coresight Research estimates that livestream commerce will account for $35 billion in sales and 3.3 percent of all U.S. ecommerce by 2024.
Livestream commerce can be hosted by celebrities and influencers, which makes the experience immediate, appealing, and entertaining. And the impact of a celebrity host can be staggering. During a livestream commerce event on Alibaba’s Taobao Live platform in 2020, a popular Chinese influencer sold 4.8 billion yuan ($719 million) of products during a two-day shopping event.
Amazon has its own livestream commerce platform called Amazon Live, which can be viewed in real time or via playback, and Walmart uses TikTok for its livestream commerce events. It’s not just the global giants using livestream. The trend is starting to catch on in Europe, too.
In France, department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette have experimented with livestream commerce. Some European luxury brands are also providing exclusive livestream experiences. Gucci, for example, offers private virtual appointments that are tailored to the customer’s individual interests.
Chupi, an Irish heirloom jewelry company, has launched a virtual consultation service for its customers and uses Zendesk to enhance the customer experience and seal the deal. Brian Durney, Chief Technology Officer at Chupi, explained: “When our customer care agents feel they’ve nearly got a sale over the line, but that customer needs to see the jewelry, they escalate the ticket in Zendesk, book a virtual consultation, and follow up with a post-consultation package. Those sessions have a successful conversion rate of 65 percent.”
Through Zendesk, Chupi’s customer care team was able to seamlessly track, nurture, and follow up with potential sales leads at every stage of the customer journey.
“In 2020, we had a 300 percent increase in care-based sales, resulting in one million euros in sales directly from the customer care team,” Durney reported.
Enhance customer experiences by embracing ecommerce trends
As ecommerce spreads across multiple platforms, retailers looking to re-energize their businesses can leverage new technologies to help them stand out in the crowded digital marketplace and drive bottom-line growth.
These three exciting ecommerce trends form part of a wider digital transformation process for brands as they look to find ways to better meet their customers where they are.