Top E-commerce Trends for 2024

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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Ecommerce Just Got Smarter: How AI is Taking Over
(in a Good Way!)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is exploding in the world of online shopping, and it’s not just a fad. Sure, AI has been around for a while, but the arrival of “generative AI” in 2023 really launched it into the spotlight. Now, AI is king of the castle when it comes to ecommerce trends.

Here’s the magic: online retailers can use AI to personalize the shopping experience for each customer, make their supply chains run smoother, manage inventory like a boss, and even craft winning digital marketing strategies. And guess what? Basically everyone is on board – a whopping 97.2% of businesses are investing in big data and AI. Top businesses are even more committed, with 91% saying they’ll keep putting money into AI for the long haul. The bottom line? If you’re an online retailer who’s still on the fence about AI, you will get left in the dust. The key to success is strategically integrating AI into your ecommerce plan. Be transparent with your customers about how you’re using AI, and be proactive about tackling any challenges that pop up. By embracing AI, you can take your online store to the next level!

Seamless Omnichannel Shopping

Forget Channels, Think Experience: Why Omnichannel Shopping Rules in 2024

Gone are the days of separate online and in-store shopping experiences. Today’s customers expect a smooth, connected journey no matter where they start – website, social media, even a physical store. That’s why omnichannel shopping is the key to success for online retailers in 2024.

Customers are bouncing between online & in-store channels – 73% of them, in fact! The good news? Retailers who offer a seamless experience across all these touchpoints (website, social media, marketplaces) see a whopping 251% increase in customer engagement compared to those stuck in a single-channel rut. So, how do you win in this omnichannel world?

Here’s the roadmap:

  • Be Everywhere Your Customers Are: Make sure your brand has a presence on your website, social media platforms, and relevant online marketplaces. It’s all about meeting your customers where they hang out.
  • Frictionless Flow Behind the Scenes: It’s not just about the storefront; a smooth omnichannel experience needs a seamless backend too. This ensures a consistent buying journey no matter where a customer starts (think easy product availability across channels and a unified shopping cart).

 

Now, let’s talk trends for 2024:

  • Flexible Fulfillment Options: Give your customers the power to choose how they get their goodies – in-store pickup, home delivery, or even local pick-up points.
  • Embrace Social Commerce: Social media isn’t just for browsing anymore. Make it easy for customers to buy directly from your social media posts.
  • Personalized Customer Service: No matter how a customer reaches you, provide exceptional service tailored to their needs.

 

By creating a unified omnichannel strategy with a focus on seamless, personalized experiences, your brand is positioned to win big in 2024. It’s time to ditch the channel silo mentality and create a shopping experience that keeps customers coming back for more!

Social Commerce

Why You NEED to Be Selling on Social Media in 2024

Social media isn’t just for following friends and sharing funny cat videos anymore. In 2024, it’s become a powerful selling machine – a social commerce powerhouse! In the US alone, a whopping 96.9 million people are now shopping directly on social media platforms, and this trend is only going to keep growing. Tiktok shopping is one of the fastest growing platforms for e-commerce sales. 

Leading the charge? Younger millennials and Gen Z. For Gen Z in particular, social media is ground zero for their shopping journey – a staggering 83% of them say it’s where they first discover products they want to buy.

So how do we cater to this group of younger buyers?

  • Making Shopping on Social Media Seamless: Forget jumping through hoops! Brands are making it easy for customers to buy directly from social media posts, creating a smooth omnichannel experience.
  • Keeping it Real: Authenticity is key. Brands are ditching the overly-polished ads and embracing genuine interactions with their audience.
  • Mobile-First Focus: Since most social media browsing happens on phones, brands are prioritizing a mobile-friendly user experience (UX) design.

The future of social commerce is bright! Experts predict it will reach a staggering $2.9 trillion by 2026. The bottom line? If you’re a retailer who’s not selling on social media yet, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. Jump on board now and start connecting with your audience in a whole new way!

Voice Search

Speak & Shop is Changing the Way People Search & Buy

4. Personalized customer service evolves from a preference to a requirement in 2024. The one-size-fits-all mentality is obsolete, as consumers demand personalized experiences at every touchpoint. Recognizing customer service as an extension of the brand, organizations must creatively address intangibles like empathy and tone of voice. Access to relevant information, delivered promptly, becomes imperative for customer interactions in rapidly changing situations.

5. Voice search maintains its prominence in 2024 as smart speakers and assistants become more integral to consumer behavior. Approximately 40% of U.S. internet users utilize voice assistants monthly, urging e-commerce brands to optimize their sites for voice commerce. This extends beyond smart speakers, encompassing smartphone searches as part of a blended commerce experience. Retailers are advised to focus on natural language patterns and concise content to enhance the voice commerce experience.

6. Mobile First: The dominance of mobile-first design in UX continues to unfold in 2024. With 91% of consumers making online purchases on smartphones, brands are compelled to design experiences with a mobile-first approach. Anticipated statistics project that mobile commerce will account for 40.4% of all e-commerce sales in 2024, amounting to $710 billion. Retailers are encouraged to adopt technologies like fingerprint and facial recognition, develop dedicated mobile apps, and offer mobile-friendly payment options to streamline the checkout process.

7. Inflation prompts a shift in online spending behaviors in 2024. Consumers, faced with tightened budgets, become more discerning in their online purchases. The emphasis shifts to perceiving value in different ways, requiring retailers to ease anxieties through easy returns, budget-friendly options, and ethical, sustainable practices. To retain customer loyalty, brands should focus on providing reliable, top-tier service and rewarding loyalty with meaningful perks.

8. ROPO (research online, purchase offline) and BOPIS (buy online, pay in-store) redefine the customer journey in 2024. As consumers blend their buying journeys across various channels, tracking and understanding their journey become paramount. Technology, including advanced analytics and AI, aids in mapping customer journeys and improving overall understanding. The trends highlight the importance of frictionless omnichannel commerce, privacy, and transparency.

9. Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) transform e-commerce into an immersive experience in 2024. Overcoming the challenge of visualizing products online, AR and VR allow consumers to interact and experience products before purchase. Retailers leveraging these technologies not only boost customer confidence but also reduce return rates. The immersive technology is expected to witness widespread adoption across industries in 2024.

10. Personalization emerges as a dominant force, with consumers expecting tailored, curated experiences. AI’s impact on personalization becomes more pronounced, with consumers desiring hyper-personalized experiences. Retailers are urged to guide customers based on past behavior, offer personalized rewards, and target messaging on preferred channels. While personalization strengthens customer engagement, it necessitates a commitment to data privacy and transparency.

11. Privacy and transparency continue to be critical for consumers in 2024. As e-commerce seeks to provide personalized experiences, customers demand that it does not come at the expense of dubious data practices. Privacy regulations covering 75% of the world’s population by the end of 2024 emphasize the need for compliance. Brands risk significant consequences, both financially and in terms of customer trust, if they neglect data privacy and transparency in their strategies.

12. The “human as a premium” trend emerges, emphasizing the value of human elements in digital commerce. Despite the prevalence of AI, consumers appreciate unique human qualities such as emotions, empathy, and creative ideas. Brands are advised to strike a balance between technological progress and preserving human connections. Interactions with salespeople and customer service representatives are seen as positive when they involve a human touch.

13. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) models become increasingly popular across various brands in 2024. Initially associated with digitally-native brands, the DTC approach is now adopted by brands of all sizes seeking first-party customer data. The U.S. leads in hosting the highest share of DTC brands, reflecting the growing preference for brands offering streamlined, reliable, and rewarding customer experiences.

14. Subscription commerce remains a potent driver of customer retention in 2024. Offering a blend of convenience and the “surprise and delight” factor, subscription models appeal to consumers and provide retailers with predictable, ongoing revenue. Personalization in subscription options, such as budget-friendly pricing and tailored products, enhances the appeal. However, retailers are reminded to prioritize easy cancellation and management options to maintain customer goodwill.

Customer-obsessed experiences dominate the e-commerce landscape in 2024, with trends emphasizing seamless omnichannel experiences, AI integration, social commerce, sustainability, personalized customer service, voice search, mobile-first design, value-driven spending, ROPO and BOPIS strategies, AR and VR immersion, curated experiences, privacy and transparency, the “human as a premium” approach, DTC models, and subscription commerce. These trends collectively underscore the imperative for brands to prioritize the customer experience in every facet of their e-commerce strategies.

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