Top Trends for 2023 from Ecommerce Experts

While shoppers may be returning to brick-and-mortar stores more and more, online shopping habits are here to stay. But, what’s not here to stay? Shopper preferences and expectations. Consumers will continue to expect stellar online experiences in 2023. But, the way they prefer to interact with a brand and navigate the online buying journey will evolve.

To stay ahead, online retailers will need to keep a close watch on the ever-changing ecommerce landscape. And, adapting to the latest trends will help to edge out the competition.

5 Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2023

So, what does it take to continue to deliver a seamless shopping experience in 2023? We asked a handful of our partners to share their insights on the areas they think will be a big focus for merchants in the year ahead.

1. Brands Overcome Third-party Data Woes

This content was written by Shopify.

More than 26 million ecommerce sites compete for their target consumers’ limited time and attention, with more retailers joining the competition daily. But the advertising tools brands used to rely on are getting less dependable. 

Already-high customer acquisition costs are on the rise as return on ad spend (ROAS) declines. On top of this, tighter privacy regulations are forcing brands to rely less and less on third-party data to get in front of the people most likely to buy. In response, brands are turning to collaborations and finding creative ways to source first-party data.

Brand-to-brand collabs, where non-competing brands co-create products or experiences to tap into each other’s audiences, allow for reciprocal exposure at a low cost. “The biggest opportunity flying under the radar for brands is the idea of collaboration”, says Alex Danco, Director of Blockchain and Systems Thinking at Shopify. It’s the best way to increase the number of buyers who know and care about you in a way that turns you into not competitors but cooperators, perhaps even allies and friends. It’s the best way to have fan bases come into contact with new kinds of merchants and brands. Collaboration is truly the win-win way for brands to find new audiences and give them a reason to care in a way that doesn’t dilute your brands.”

Collaborating with influencers will also benefit brands in 2023 and beyond. Now, more than seven out of 10 businesses expect online influencers to become even more important in the future.

2. Subscriptions Become More Like a Membership

This content was written by Yotpo.

Brands looking to capture more repeat customers through subscriptions will have to offer more than a discount. Customers are looking for real VIP experiences. In a recent subscriptions customer survey, almost half of the respondents said they expect perks for being a subscriber and want to be treated like a VIP. 

In 2023, brands will look at subscriptions more like a membership rather than a repeat transaction. Turning subscriptions into a true membership experience that unlocks benefits and subscriber exclusives alongside recurring orders will keep shoppers interested and engaged. 

It’s time to think outside the discount. Create a member appreciation month and offer your loyal subscribers something special like exclusive merch, a credit towards their next shipment, or free samples included in their subscription orders. 

This members-focused approach will help brands build communities alongside recurring revenue streams and in turn, keep shoppers around much longer.

3. Shoppers Will Look For Speed

This content was written by Tapcart.

2022 was a difficult year, and 2023 is shaping up to be equally as hard. Given the current economic climate, and newly released Apple iOS 16 updates, this is the perfect time to invest in your already loyal customers. Along with email and SMS, push notifications complete the trifecta of customer communications that have now become the marketing imperative.

In 2023, brands will look to launch mobile shopping apps, tapping into the most powerful retention channel yet. In fact, push notifications convert at 10x higher than email, and 5x higher than SMS. Purchasing online via a mobile app is an emerging favored method for shopping in all product categories, including the fashion, beauty, home goods, health, and food & beverages industries. This year will show yet another increase in retail sales happening directly on mobile – and many via a mobile app. While some customers shop both online and in stores, those who typically shop by only one method identify apps as their preferred method in all five product categories. 

The number one reason people prefer mobile apps to mobile websites? Simply put, it’s speed. Checkout speed, login speed, loading speed, new product awareness speed, and quick access to discounts via push notifications are all top reasons. Shoppers know when they want an item and they want to complete the transaction fast. Brands that can offer a speedy, seamless shopping experience will edge out the competition.

4. High Expectations for Top-notch Customer Experiences

This content was written by CQL.

Online shoppers more than ever are seeking top-notch customer experiences that bring their offline and online shopping experiences together. Shoppers have set 2023 expectations high for brands to offer competitive prices, loyalty programs, excellent customer service (in a variety of contact mediums), fast and free shipping, in-stock merchandise, personalization, sustainability, environmental friendliness, and more.

Insider Intelligence shows that more than 70% of consumers bought from a competitor of a go-to brand from May 2021-May 2022, so brands need to focus on improving customer experience and building their omnichannel experience. We expect to see a bigger adoption of features BOPIS, AI tools like virtual fitting rooms, additional payment options, subscriptions and loyalty programs, updated supply chains and returns management, and chatbots or other customer service enhancements.  

Social selling will also become pivotal in 2023, as we begin to see the impact of digital Generation Z. According to The Future of Commerce, 97% of Gen Zers use social media as their top source of social inspiration, and Marketing Dive states 9 out of 10 people buy from brands they follow on social media. Brands need to ensure social media is closely tied to their customer experience to capture the attention of this mobile-first market, offer buying options that facilitate fast purchases, and take advantage of this huge revenue opportunity.

5. 2023 Will Be A Breakout Year for QR Codes

This content was written by Brij.

With a perfect storm of recession-led cutbacks and a desire to be omnichannel, QR codes will become an instrumental brand tool. With budgets tightening, merchants will be forced to focus on profitability. Their focus will shift from acquisition to retaining their best customers. Acquiring a new customer is 5x more expensive than a returning customer. 

Merchants need to meet their shoppers where they are. That means DTC, Amazon, retail and social media. In 2023, we will see a convergence of channels as DTC brands move into retail and marketplaces. 

For those moving to retail and marketplace for the first time, the channel is a black box. This is the year that brands “break the box”, capturing 1st and zero-party data. The QR code will be a lynchpin in capturing it.

Finally, for those moving into retail, QR codes will activate a new communication channel. One that delivers the brand story and differentiation, edging out competitors for the purchase.

Getting Ahead of the Latest Trends in Ecommerce

As you build out your ecommerce strategy for 2023, remember this. Delivering the ultimate shopper experience is one trend you can count on to stick around. Searchspring’s Site Search, Merchandising, and Personalization solutions equip merchandisers with the tools they need to take control of their online store and the buyer journey. Get in touch to learn how you can kickstart your business in 2023.

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