If the pandemic brought one benefit to business, that would be the increased online purchases that transpired since 2020. With physical outlets closed during the height of outbreaks, shoppers had no option left but to shop online. The recent shifts brought several consumers going online for the first time and led existing e-commerce users to increase their online shopping frequency
Almost every industry explored saw a double-digit percentage point increase in consumers since the pandemic. Besides shopping more in already familiar categories like in the beauty, tech, and gaming categories, consumers turned to the online channel across a broader range of products and services.
The percentage of minimal online shoppers who did not use digital during the research and purchase steps in the consumer journey or only used digital to shop for one category now prefers shopping online. Something was noticeable though - there was a sharp rise in the number of heavy online shoppers.
Frequent Digital Shoppers Consist of Gen X and Millennials
Connected consumers aged 30-44 years are the most frequent users of the digital channel across all industries. The 30-44 age group, which consists of the oldest millennials and youngest Gen Xers, are largely digital natives who are comfortable using the internet and devices across their lives.
Unlike their younger counterparts, who have had their entire life unfold in the digital era, this age group has greater spending power that boosts e-commerce value growth.
While the 30-44 age group has the highest representation of online shoppers, they also had the most number of online spend amid the COVID-19 crisis, in the consumer electronics and appliances and beauty, health, and personal care industries. Their younger counterparts, the 15-29 age group, were spending more on travel, clothing, footwear, and food services. Both age groups have increased their overall online spending since 2020.
Increased Mobile Shopping
It’s a mobile generation and people use it for gaming, research, communication, socializing, and online shopping. Yes, more consumers have now turned to smartphones as opposed to using computers to shop online especially during the pandemic.
As more people are asked to stay home or to refrain from traveling, consumers resorted to shopping using their mobile devices to purchase online which showcases just how much this device has become the center of the consumer’s world and e-commerce activities.
The beauty of selling in the digital space is that retail has grown tremendously because there are no limits now when it comes to location. You can purchase internationally like the shop was just next door. The growth of e-commerce has not only changed the way customers shop, but also changed the expectations and demands of how brands approach customer service, personalize user experience and communications, and give customers more options as compared to shopping in physical stores.
Tech-Savvy Sellers and Buyers
The future of e-commerce has started now and everyone is having a grand time shopping online! Online shopping combined with advanced technology makes way towards creating a more personalized, engaging online shopping experience for consumers.
Online Shopping Top Tech and Trends
To capitalize on the opportunities presented by e-commerce, business professionals must be well-versed in the latest technologies and trends, including the following:
Customer Data and Analytics Improve Marketing Tactics
Online stores may not have retail clerks or dressing rooms, but they can recommend products based on customers’ interests, style choices, and preferences through the use of data. The future of online shopping relies on capturing patterns of shopping behavior.
This then allows the brand to create strategic pricing, advertising, and cross-promotions on both an individual basis and based on widespread trends. For example, a brand may run social media ads during peak shopping hours, promote items that are often bought together, or show an ad for a specific item a consumer has viewed before.
Business professionals trained in market research analysis process customer data and uncover insights through a variety of tools. Analysts also use data to conduct product research, identifying which items are selling and how much customers are willing to pay. Product development, including what new products to sell and how to position them, is also increasingly data-driven.
Analysts need strategic thinking, computer proficiency, and decision-making skills to succeed in the future of e-commerce. The recent explosion in online shopping provides an exciting opportunity for business professionals to step into a digital marketing role.
Machine Learning to Enable Personalized Shopping
Did you notice that whenever you Google search a product like a luxury bag, you would observe these advertisements following you too on social media like it knows that you’re interested and looking to buy luxury bags? That’s pretty neat, right? That’s AI or machine learning at work.
In the world of e-commerce, shoppers require a more personalized experience. Rather than manually analyzing customer information, data analysts utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to compile data and create customer profiles. Analysts use these profiles and insights (with the help of AI) to deliver personalized recommendations and relevant content, based on an intelligent algorithm.
Although AI handles much of the analytical processes, market research analysts apply their own insights and understanding of consumer behavior to make recommendations and spearhead the continued optimization of e-commerce. There is a psychology behind consumer behavior and it’s working in cohorts with technology and the internet to predict and even automate the buying process.
Increased Mobile Use
The retail industry has been significantly impacted by the increasing use of mobile devices. With mobile e-commerce, shopping happens everywhere, no brick-and-mortar storefront or laptop is required. So what does mobile mean for the future of online shopping?
Most shoppers find it convenient and fast to shop online using their smartphones. It’s a busy generation who wants to free up their time by doing online transactions via mobile. Work, play, socialization, and shopping can now be done using your smartphone which is the easy and hassle-free option for modern consumers today.
Most retail orders are done via mobile. With that in mind, brands are creating a mobile-friendly e-commerce experience. The website and online store should not only be accessible on mobile devices but also optimized with a design or application that makes it easy to browse and buy from a smartphone or tablet.
The mobile e-commerce experience provides customers with customized products, more competitive pricing, and increased accessibility. Analysts and business professionals must consider the user journey across multiple devices (including mobile, desktop, and in-store) and integrate a multi-channel strategy to optimize conversions.
For example, if a customer places items in a cart via mobile, and then moves to a desktop, the information should update in real-time to create a seamless shopping experience across platforms.
Shopping Made More Personalized and Data-Driven
The e-commerce shopping experience is more personal, accessible, and data-driven than ever before. As the industry evolves, there is an opportunity for business professionals to make a profound impact on the future of online shopping.
During the pandemic, consumer behavior evolved, changing their relationship with the digital channels used to research and shop for products. Consumers are increasingly connecting with brands virtually, taking advantage of live streaming for purchases and demanding new technology and delivery methods that support the e-commerce boom.
It’s a generation that is known to feed on speed, technology, and variations which poses a challenge to digital entrepreneurs to step up and be counted in the retail shopping game.