eCommerce is taking over the retail and wholesale business industry. With an explosive growth in online shopping and online ordering, it’s no wonder why more and more B2B and wholesale distribution businesses are integrating their businesses on B2B eCommerce platforms.
Key Takeaway - Forecasts shows that about 218 million US consumers will shop online in 2023. Now, this is good news for businesses with eCommerce websites, social commerce channels, and online sales channels.
However, with the rise in technological innovations and trends, such as AI in eCommerce, mobile commerce, and voice commerce, consumer preferences and expectations are constantly changing. Imagine phonebooks as part of your lead generation strategy-that’s simply setting your eCommerce marketing strategy up for failure.
It is important to understand the latest and upcoming eCommerce trends in order to know what to expect in 2023. This will help you position your online wholesale business for delivering the best customer experience, increasing customer retention, improving customer satisfaction.
In this blog, we explore top eCommerce trends that your business can take advantage of in 2023. Let’s get started!
10 B2B eCommerce Trends to Expect in 2023
The B2B eCommerce industry is constantly evolving, and 2023 is set to bring some exciting new trends to the table. From increased automation and AI integration to the rise of mobile commerce and the emergence of new wholesale management technologies, businesses need to stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive.
There are several eCommerce trends to expect in 2023. Here are 10 of the best ones:
- Mobile commerce
According to projections, wholesale and retail mobile commerce sales in the US surpassed 360 billion dollars in 2021. That value is anticipated to increase to almost 710 billion US dollars by 2025, nearly doubling.
So, what is mCommerce? M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is the term used to describe the purchasing and selling of goods and services using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It covers a wide range of activities, such as mobile banking, mobile shopping, mobile payments, and more.
Including smart and feature phones, there are currently 7.26 billion mobile phone users globally. That indicates that 91% of people on the planet own mobile phones. According to forecasts, there will be 7.516 billion mobile device users by 2026.
The reality is that mobile shopping makes it easier and faster for consumers to order products online. If you have not considered integrating the mobile shopping option for your business, now is the time to do so.
From developing a mobile application for your business to making your website mobile-friendly, it is important to make it convenient for customers to shop with their mobile devices. When implementing mobile commerce strategies, it is critical to deliver an omnichannel customer experience.
So, how do you take advantage of these stats?
- Improve your website experience
- Make website loading time faster for mobile users - a slow website is frustrating when a customer wants to make a purchase and can lead to an increase in cart abandonment rate.
- Optimize your pop-ups for mobile users - most website owners forget mobile users when designing their pop-ups.
- Create a simple menu interface - large menu icons can spoil the mobile experience for online shoppers.
- Reduce scrolling - scrolling on a mobile phone is stressful, especially when customers have to scroll down to get what they want.
- Develop a mobile application
- Promote your mobile application across your sales channels.
- Integrate an easy checkout and payment feature on the app.
- Update your products regularly.
- Implement an order management system.
- Incorporate omnichannel fulfillment.
- Integrate mobile payment methods
- Adopt scan-to-pay strategies.
- Use mobile POS systems.
- Offer multiple payment options.
- Use QR-codes
- Artificial Intelligence
A survey looking at the effects of AI-enabled eCommerce solutions in 2022 discovered that in 2021, the value of AI tools for eCommerce firms had reached $3.71 billion globally. The market is predicted to reach a value of $16.8 billion by 2030, rising at a promising rate of 15.7% CAGR during the following eight years, according to the analysis.
No matter what you think, AI is already helping business owners create efficient business systems and build business resilience. From answering customers' queries to automating invoice processing, artificial intelligence is positively impacting a business owner’s ability to deliver the ultimate customer experience.
The eCommerce industry is changing dramatically thanks to artificial intelligence (AI). AI-driven solutions can automate and improve a number of functions in an ecommerce business, including eCommerce personalization, customer support, warehouse inventory management, and ad optimization.
Let’s look at some ways AI can help your business.
- eCommerce personalization
- Product recommendations
- Personalized product searches
- Personalized pricing
- Personalized content
- Personalized marketing campaigns
- Customer service
- Natural Language Processing (NLP)
- Predictive analytics
- Automated follow-up
- Inventory management
- Automated restocking
- Demand planning and forecasting
- Inventory optimization
- Image recognition
- Product tagging
- Image search
- Image-based product recommendations
- Product authentication
77% of customers have chosen, endorsed, or paid more for a company that offers a personalized service or experience. In order to provide a better customized experience, 83% of consumers are also willing to disclose their data.
Customers will probably become irritated if you fail to provide personalization. When a shopping experience is impersonal, 71% of consumers become frustrated.
Despite the rise of eCommerce, consumers still value the advice of a sales associate who is familiar with their tastes, size, and purchasing history. They want the same level of service while shopping online, complete with tailored product recommendations, discounts, and stories that speak directly to them by name and reflect their interests.
This is where eCommerce personalization comes to play. Understanding your customer, who they are, what they want, and how they want it is going to help your business in 2023.
Let’s look at how you can implement eCommerce personalization into your business.
- Know your customers
- Build buyer personas
- Understand your niche market
- Use customer relationship management software (wholesale CRM for wholesale distribution companies)
- Choose the right eCommerce personalization software with the following features:
- Website personalization
- Automatic segmentation
- Omnichannel personalization
- Layout personalization
- Use artificial intelligence
- Subscription Commerce Services
With a rise from $72.91 billion in 2021 to $120.04 billion in 2022, the worldwide subscription eCommerce business is booming. By 2026, experts predict it will have grown to $904.2 billion.
Subscription eCommerce describes an approach to doing business in which consumers can sign up for recurring deliveries of goods and services they regularly use. So many sectors, including the food and beverage industry, the fashion industry, the entertainment industry, the healthcare sector, and many more can implement it’s strategies.
The subscription box business model gives customers access to high-demand products on a recurring basis. Customers can set up automated billing and recurring payments. They can also renew subscription payments once their subscription elapses.
There are several benefits of adopting subscription commerce strategies. Better management of cash flow, a steady stream of revenue, tighter inventory controls, higher customer retention rates, and more active participation from customers are just some of the advantages of switching to a subscription-based eCommerce model.
So, how do you take advantage of subscription commerce? Here’s how:
- Define your subscription offering
- Will you be selling physical products (coffee bean subscription, baking subscription box, wholesale produce subscription, meat subscription) or offering subscription services?
- Build your website or online eCommerce platform
- Set up your subscription payment
- Integrate payment gateways on your website (Stripe, BlueCart Pay, or PayPal)
- Create order fulfillment process
- Use sustainable eCommerce packaging options
- Select the best order management system
- Clarify your shipping and handling process
- Define your return policies
- Choose a fulfillment partner
- Promote your subscription offerings
- Advertise your subscription products on social media
- Try eCommerce email marketing
- eCommerce marketing strategies
- Voice Commerce
Voice-enabled platforms and devices are becoming increasingly popular due to the ease with which consumers can complete a wide range of tasks, including online shopping, banking, bill paying, and more. Spending on smart TVs with voice assistants is expected to rise from $126 million in 2021 to $500 million in 2023, according to Statista.
In just two years, voice-assisted shopping has grown by nearly 300 percent, thanks to the proliferation of voice-enabled shopping platforms, most notably on smartphones and smart home devices. From 2021 to 2026, the voice commerce market is projected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.34%, to a total of USD 55.68 billion.
So, what is voice commerce?
The term "voice commerce" describes the practice of making online purchases through the use of voice recognition technology. Customers can now shop without having to type in keywords on a computer or mobile device, and instead can simply issue verbal commands.
Virtual digital assistants (VDAs) like Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon Alexa allow users to perform online tasks like searching for and purchasing goods with voice commands.
By 2023, it is projected that the total value of eCommerce transactions made through voice assistants will have increased from $4.6 billion in 2021 to $ 19.4 billion. As voice-enabled shopping becomes more accessible, particularly on mobile phones and smart home appliances, this number is expected to grow by more than 400% in the next two years.
So, how do you get started on voice commerce? Here are some tips:
- Develop a voice application
- Use voice platforms like Amazon Alexa Skills Kit, Apple SiriKit, or Google Assistant SDK.
- Connect with your eCommerce website
- Makes it easier for customers to purchase products with their voice
- Implement voice payments
- Use with payment gateway that supports voice payments like Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Amazon Pay.
- Test and optimize your application
- Test your voice application on various devices.
- Optimize for voice recognition and natural language processing.
- Promote your voice commerce offerings
- Let customers know they can shop with you using their voice.
- Social Commerce
In 2022, it was predicted that social media sales would total $992 billion USD worldwide. This is a growing market for online shopping, and it will only grow in the coming years. It is estimated that by 2026, the total value of all transactions conducted through social commerce will have reached about $2.9 trillion.
The social commerce market is projected to reach $1.3 trillion in 2023, according to the latest studies, surpassing the $1 trillion mark for the first time. Social commerce sales increased by 30.8% from the previous year, when they totaled $958 billion around the world.
When online shopping and social networking meet, we call that "social commerce." Social media has been used for years by businesses as a means of communication and promotion due to its massive user base.
Reports show that in 2022, social commerce brought in about $724 billion USD globally. Revenues in this sector are projected to reach roughly $6.2 trillion by 2030, a 30.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2030.
Companies have begun to take advantage of the eCommerce potential of these platforms in response to the rising demand for quick and simple online shopping. Consumers can complete transactions directly within social media, streamlining the buying process.
Want to get the best of your social media channels? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Identify your target audience
- Your target audience’s location determines the social commerce channel you’ll pay more attention to.
- Choose the right social commerce channels for your business.
- Engage your audience
- Use high quality images
- Try video marketing
- Drive engagement with the right content
- Use social media advertising
- Facebook ads
- Tiktok ads
- Try social media shopping features
- Facebook marketplace
- Instagram shoppable posts
- Utilize influencer marketing
- Choose influencers within your industry
- Virtual & Augmented Reality
Technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used in the eCommerce sector to provide customers with interactive and immersive experiences.
Zion Market Research estimates that the global market for VR/AR in the eCommerce sector will grow from its 2018 valuation of $2.4 billion to a whopping $18.8 billion by 2025, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 32%.
In a survey conducted by Greenlight VR, over 60% of consumers expressed an interest in using VR during the shopping process, with the majority of respondents particularly keen on virtual product demonstrations and virtual try-on experiences.
Capgemini found that 55% of customers would pay more for products they could try out with AR and VR. Additionally, PwC found that 72% of customers believe that AR and VR will alter the way they shop.
Through the use of computer-generated graphics and other technologies, virtual reality (VR) immerses users in a simulated three-dimensional space. Thus, allowing them to move around freely and interact with virtual objects as if they were in the real world.
The use of virtual reality (VR) in the eCommerce industry allows for the creation of virtual showrooms. As a result, products can be explored and interacted with by the customer in a realistic setting.
With Augmented Reality (AR), digitally generated data or images are superimposed on a user's view of the physical world. Virtual try-ons, interactive product demos, and individualized shopping experiences are just some of the ways augmented reality (AR) is being put to use in the eCommerce space.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to improve online shopping by giving customers a more lifelike and exciting way to interact with products before buying. A higher level of customer involvement, contentment, and ultimately, conversions, can result from this.
Here are a few of the many ways augmented and virtual reality can help your business:
- Product visualization
- Uniquely tailored purchases
- Elevated levels of customer participation
- Enhanced rates of success
National Retail Federation research estimates that by 2023, $2 trillion will have been transacted globally using contactless payment methods. Business Insider Intelligence found that 63% of American consumers would be more inclined to shop at a store that accepted contactless payments.
65% of respondents to a PYMNTS survey said they had used a contactless payment method in the previous six months, with the vast majority of those respondents using a mobile wallet service, most commonly Apple Pay or Google Pay. Contactless payments are expected to grow to $2.5 trillion by 2024, with eCommerce being a major contributor, according to a report by Juniper Research.
The question now is, "What exactly are contactless payments?" Customers can make purchases without having to remove their cards or cash from their wallets when using contactless payments.
Since customers can make purchases quickly, easily, and safely without having to deal with cash or cards, contactless payment methods are gaining popularity in the sector.
When running an online store, consider the following methods for accepting contactless payments:
- Making mobile payment systems
- Accept payments using QR codes.
- Make use of tokenization methods
- Test out some IoT-based payment methods
- Introduce biometric payment methods
- Subscription-based billing should be incorporated
- Accept online payments
- Sustainable eCommerce
A survey by GlobalWebIndex found that nearly half of all internet users were willing to pay more for environmentally friendly goods. PwC discovered that 84% of buyers think about environmental impact before making a purchase.
71% of respondents to a National Retail Federation survey said they would be more likely to shop at an establishment that provides environmentally friendly options. The numbers are on the side of sustainable commerce if you're still on the fence about it.
Using environmentally friendly products, packaging, and shipping methods, sustainable ecommerce aims to lessen the negative effects of online shopping on the planet. Since more and more businesses understand the importance of doing their part to lessen their negative effects on the environment and advance the cause of social responsibility, sustainable trade has risen to prominence.
Adopting sustainable practices doesn't necessitate a complete overhaul of your company, but it does call for some adjustments to be made.
Some suggestions for establishing environmentally friendly online stores:
- Using non-toxic substances and equipment
- Using eco-friendly production methods
- Adopting eco-friendly shipping and logistics practices
- Applying eco-friendly methods to doing business
- Openness and sharing of data on environmental sustainability
- Monitoring and reporting on progress toward sustainability
- BOPIS (Buy online, pick up in store)
BOPIS, or "Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store," is a service that enables consumers to make online purchases for later in-store pickup. Customers can benefit from the ease of online shopping while still getting a good look at the items they're considering buying.
Nearly 80% of consumers have used BOPIS at least once, per Invesp's study. Younger consumers are more likely to use BOPIS, with 67% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials reporting previous usage, according to a survey by PwC.
As more and more people discover the ease and convenience of BOPIS, it is quickly becoming a standard feature of the online eCommerce industry.
There are a few ways to set up BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up In Store) for online shopping:
- Developing the necessary infrastructure
- Setting up a system for customers to place orders online and select a nearby store location to pick up the order.
- Use a variety of technologies such as eCommerce platforms, inventory management systems, and point of sale systems to implement BOPIS.
- Training store staff on the following:
- How to process online orders
- How to retrieve orders from the warehouse
- How to assist customers with their purchases
- Creating a seamless online-to-offline experience
- Integrate online and offline systems to create a seamless customer experience.
- Provide customers with real-time inventory information, tracking order status, and providing customers with the option to change or cancel their order.
- Setting up an efficient order fulfillment process
- Set up a dedicated area in the store for BOPIS pickup and providing customers with real-time order status updates.
- Providing customer service and support
- Provide customer service and support for BOPIS orders
- Answer questions about the pickup process
- Resolve issues
- Assist customers with their purchases
In conclusion, the eCommerce market is forecast to expand throughout the foreseeable future, well beyond 2023. The growth of omnichannel wholesale strategies, the meteoric ascent of social media commerce, and the increasing prevalence of AI and personalization in the customer experience are all developments to keep an eye on in the coming years.
It's also likely that the trend toward online shopping and the prioritization of contactless delivery and pickup will quicken as a result of the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the state of technology progresses, eCommerce businesses must keep up to date or risk falling behind the competition.