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Current state of eCommerce and strategies to strive and grow in it

By Jake Rheude, Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment
Published on

Has the current state of eCommerce affected how businesses market products? Of course. Since its early days, eCommerce has undergone remarkable development, showing a fascinating historical growth curve. 

According to the US Census Bureau and Department of Commerce, online sales in the first quarter of 2022 totaled about $250 billion, an increase of 6.7% from sales during the same timeframe in the previous year. Technology, delivery systems, drop-shipping development, and networking have all advanced recently, and this progress in eCommerce is swiftly transforming the retail industry.

Despite brick-and-mortar stores’ reopening, customers continue to lean into digital technologies while shopping. Image source: US Census Bureau and Department of Commerce

The current strength of the eCommerce sector aside, several emerging developments are affecting how businesses sell and transport products. This article will provide the most recent information on eCommerce industry trends and business tactics to help you succeed in the eCommerce market.

An overview of the current state of eCommerce

The eCommerce market is growing explosively, but customer behavior is also constantly changing. The market saw a 33% increase at the start of the pandemic, as people increasingly resorted to online purchasing. Now, in 2022, with stores reopening, consumers are doing more in-store purchasing. 

In addition, customers now shop differently because of the internet purchasing habits they formed in the early days of the pandemic. eCommerce retail is increasing as more people have adapted to the simplicity and comfort of making purchases in the digital world.

Since B2B eCommerce solutions are becoming more popular, the industry’s tendency to become more competitive is one of several eCommerce trends to watch out for. Retailers must broaden their horizons to incorporate the aspects of remote purchasing.

Top four trends defining the state of eCommerce today

Identifying and keeping up with the trends takes you a step closer to thriving in the rough business climate. It hints at what your competitors are doing, how your customers' tastes are changing, and what areas of your business should get more attention. In that light, here are some of the top trends that are defining the state of eCommerce today: 
  1. Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Rakuten, and Alibaba dominate the industry. This is backed by the fact that Amazon accounts for about 40% of online sales. Renowned brands like Apple, Target, The Home Depot, Etsy, and nine other top retail stores contribute another 31% of the US eCommerce market. Tesco, Zolando, Argos are also popular brands dominating the European eCommerce industry.

  2. The market is experiencing a wide generation gap. Income, shopping preference, and ways different generations interact with online platforms are vital areas of concern for eCommerce businesses and their marketing platforms. The most significant online shoppers are Gen Z and Millennials, with a preference for online shopping of 80% and 79% for these two generations, respectively.

  3. There’s a disruption in the supply chain. Contrary to the trends we noticed in the early years of the epidemic, freight rates are bucking the trend. The average fuel price for LTL carriers is now 42.1%.

  4. Shipping and logistics rates are on the rise. Due to the extremely high rates that logistics companies are paying in the contract area, the demand has decreased, and the spot market has become more supple. Supply chain executives are becoming more ready to forgo margins and price rivalry in favor of dependability and predictability.

How businesses can thrive in the fast-paced eCommerce market

The state of eCommerce is continually expanding and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. So, if you want your businesses to thrive, you need to implement a plan.

Leverage customer data

Unstructured data from various customer databases is undoubtedly a significant source of insight. Typically, data experts use AI-powered data pipelines to source these raw data, clean them, and prepare them for analysis. Businesses can then use various AI models to process documents intelligently and draw insights that reveal purchasers’ and visitors’ behavior on and off your website.

What is Self-service BI and how it can benefit your business?
Becoming a data-driven company is no longer an option. That’s the key factor influencing the state of eCommerce in 2022 and beyond.

Regardless of whether a business gets data via pipelines or manual surveys, the goal is to leverage such data to create and automate a personalized experience for clients. That’s where many business owners find big data challenging. Sometimes, the data quality is poor and inconsistent, and thus not able to power AI predictions. Plus, the talent shortage in the tech industry makes hiring competent hands much more difficult. To address this challenge, businesses can partner with training schools to build an excellent analytics team or outsource data analytics services.

Besides databases, businesses can get relevant insights into customers’ preferences using chat boxes and customer feedback survey tools. Information from here provides a more direct insight into how customers view the franchise and the shopping experience.

Amazon is one of several companies that leverages customer data. It provides personalized and unique shopping recommendations based on each buyer’s search history, price of interest, wishlist, carted items, and other interactions with the website.

Explore omnichannel marketing

Although eCommerce innovations rapidly expand globally, physical stores are still thriving, despite forecasts to the contrary. In reality, the biggest names in eCommerce are spending money on physical stores, which implies that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers will endure. However, creating a consistent experience across all buyer touchpoints is an effective strategy for boosting customer experience and retention.

According to Adobe Analytics, the number of customers who ordered online and picked up in-store rose by over 208% during the pandemic. Today, about 80% of shoppers prefer the omnichannel experience because of the seamless communication.

Omnichannel has long been the new black. But it’s not until recently that the technologies allowing online retailers to provide superior customer experience at every stage of the digital buyer journey became increasingly reliable and affordable.

One way to boost the omnichannel experience is by adopting virtual and augmented reality solutions. Shoppers can view products virtually, adjust them, alter their appearances, and personalize them using technology. Businesses can also employ social commerce and livestream shopping.

Oasis is a fashion retail brand that brings the omnichannel marketing strategy to life. It bridges the online and in-store experience by providing real-time updates on the inventory and product information. In case a product goes out of stock, an agent will immediately help to place an order from a new order and have it delivered to your house. Such an approach helps to improve the overall customer experience and directly tackles cart abandonment challenges.

Make the payment process fast and seamless

Creating a speedy fulfillment and checkout process is crucial for any eCommerce business. A brand can avoid the time-consuming and error-prone process of manually entering and verifying transaction details by integrating more payment methods into their eCommerce platform that offers customers a quick, safe, and user-friendly payment mechanism. 

E-wallets, e-cash, wireless payment, and online credit card transactions are a few of the several electronic payment options. Business managers can also adopt one-click, headless checkout payment methods. With headless checkout, customers can purchase retailers’ items from websites, emails, promotional materials, and other online channels, reducing the time between researching and purchasing.

Mashgin is one example of a brand that has developed a faster checkout process. The company developed a contactless checkout system capable of accurately scanning over 10,000 SKUs from any angle without a barcode. It also allows customers to redeem promotional and loyalty bonuses. By expanding this technology, Mashgin achieves 400% faster checkout than regular point-of-sale systems.

Adopt high technology innovations

With the creation of the metaverse, business owners have been considering how to advance their operations. They are expanding their metaverse development services offering to solidify their position in the rapidly developing eCommerce industry.

To achieve this, companies may transfer physical activities to a virtual environment, or metaverse may alter the eCommerce store itself. What the metaverse is may be unclear to several business leaders, but here is the response to that query: The Metaverse is a simulated open space that connects the virtual and real worlds.

augmented reality company
Immersive technologies like augmented, mixed, and virtual reality present lucrative opportunities for online retailers to promote and sell their products.

Users can communicate with brands and each other in that environment using 3D characters and purchase goods as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Because the innovative eCommerce idea is still in its early stages, it is uncertain how the metaverse will affect the industry. By 2026, Gartner predicts that about 25% of people will spend an hour shopping via metaverse daily.

Sephora is a beauty company using technology solutions to boost customer experience. It provides in-store tablets where shoppers can check more details about each product and try them on using a virtual artist software on the tablet. Likewise, Sephora provides augmented reality fitting rooms and AI-driven chatbot technologies to help buyers make color choices that best fit their skin tone.

Final words

Any uncertainty you may have had concerning the state of eCommerce growth in 2022 should be gone. You have every opportunity to lessen managerial responsibilities that interfere with your ability to make sales. It's time to grow outside of your brick-and-mortar stores.

A solid eCommerce strategy will enable you to maximize your products’ sales and allow you to concentrate on the client that drives the success of your brand. While this article discusses leveraging technology to boost performance, businesses must also decide when to build in-house solutions or when to outsource to third-party companies. For example, eCommerce companies are now resorting to inventory outsourcing to regain control and rediscover the fun of pursuing sales when maintaining inventories becomes challenging.

Jake Rheude is the Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment , an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the current state of eCommerceTop four trends defining the state of eCommerce todayHow businesses can thrive in the fast-paced eCommerce marketFinal words
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