Experienced e-commerce advisor and best-selling author Paul Waddy shares the top four trends reshaping the future of online and retail.

AI Will Find New Applications In Ecommerce

While generative AI has the talk of the town in 2023, new applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence will be a driving force in 2024. Advancements in AI technology will enable businesses to personalise customer experiences, improve systems and streamline operations through automation. Ecommerce brands can go a long way with AI-powered chat and content creation if the models are trained to codify and operationalise brand tone. This will lead to stronger conversations, an increased customer base, and more loyal customers.

It Pays To Go Green

Sustainability has become increasingly important in ecommerce and retail as consumers are more conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases. Brands need to support this by offering a wide range of sustainable options, providing transparent information about product sourcing and manufacturing processes, and promoting responsible consumption practices. Additional vital components include competitive logistics, shortening delivery times and reducing carbon emissions through efficient transportation and packaging methods. 

The Time For Retailers To Use Social Commerce Is Now

The global social commerce market size was US $0.62 trillion in 2021 and is predicted to reach US $7.03 trillion by 2030 - and as younger millennials and gen z continue to consume the market, that number is only going to grow with 83% of gen z consumers saying their shopping starts on social media. 

In 2024, major trends in social commerce include delivering seamless omnichannel commerce that lets consumers build their own buying journey, embracing authenticity when engaging with your audiences and taking a mobile-first approach to UX design.

Value Combats Inflation

Inflation was on everyone’s mind in 2023, and while consumers’ budgets tighten, they will likely curb online spending as a way to introduce barriers against impulse buys. But it bears mentioning that consumers aren’t halting all discretionary spending. Instead, they are being highly thoughtful and intentional about where, how, and on what they spend their hard-earned dollars. But value can mean a lot of things.

Retailers should continue to embrace the tried-and-true methods of easing shoppers' anxieties. Such as offering easy returns and budget-friendly options, leveling up their focus on the ways they deliver value beyond cost-savings, providing reliable, predictable, top-tier service and rewarding loyalty with perks and bonuses customers' actually want.

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