12 Ecommerce Trends That Are Powering Online Retail Forward


Global Consumer Report: Current and Future Shopping Trends

In the ecommerce world, some trends come and go — but others have the potential to permanently change how customers shop online. 

With a projected 39% growth in global ecommerce sales by 2027, it’s no surprise that many retailers want their piece of the pie. Looking to the coming year, ecommerce businesses need to assess which trends to adopt in order to keep pace with the competition.

To help equip you for a successful 2024, we’ve compiled a list of the top 14 ecommerce trends you can expect to see in the coming year.

If we know one thing about the ecommerce market, it’s that it’s always looking ahead. From augmented reality and artificial intelligence to mobile shopping and chatbots, the industry lives on the forefront of technology and innovation. 

Let’s explore the top ecommerce trends and see where the industry is headed.

AR brings the in-store experience online.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of shopping online is the inability to see, touch, and fully experience a product in-person before buying — enter augmented reality (AR).

According to eMarketer, the number of AR users in the US will exceed 100 million by the end of 2025, making up 32% of the population. No doubt, AR and VR (virtual reality) are revolutionizing the online shopping experience by bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds. 

Today, major retailers are leveraging AR for virtual try-ons and interactive 3D product views, allowing shoppers to visualize products in their real-world environments, thus increasing buyer confidence and reducing return rates. 

Turning up the volume with voice search.

With 75% of US households projected to own a smart speaker by 2025, it’s no surprise that voice search is an up and coming trend in the ecommerce space.

Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have transformed the way that consumers interact with ecommerce platforms, offering a hands-free, convenient way to shop. By simply using a voice command, shoppers can search for products, make purchases, and track orders with ease. 

In response, many ecommerce businesses are optimizing their sites for voice search, ensuring quick and accurate responses to voice queries. And as voice technology continues to innovate, its integration into the shopping experience will undoubtedly enhance customer convenience and drive significant growth in online sales.

AI helps solve customer pain points.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, at this point, are practically household names. 

Over the past few years, AI has flipped the ecommerce industry on its head, allowing brands to automate every corner of their businesses. From streamlining customer service with chatbots to personalizing product recommendations to optimizing the supply chain, there’s truly no limit to how AI can impact your business.  

Meghan Stabler, Senior Vice President of Marketing at BigCommerce, gives her prediction of how AI will continue to impact the industry: 

"In the near term, we can expect to see a few focus areas: AI will improve the individual’s shopping experience by leveraging data to improve personalization and customer service. It will provide services similar to what a consumer expects when they interact with a real-life salesperson. For example, generative AI will help buyers find products, answer their questions, complete orders, and process refunds.”

Learn more about how our AI-powered tools and partner integrations can help boost engagement, streamline operations, and empower new, creative ways to attract and convert shoppers.

Harnessing customer data for personalized shopping experiences.

As research shows, personalization drives customer loyalty. In fact, a study from Google and Storyline Strategies found that 72% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand if they offer a personalized customer experience. 

But personalization today means more than just a “Hi [First Name]!” at the beginning of an email. It means seeing your customer, knowing your customer, and tailoring every step of the shopping journey to their preferences.

What does this look like for modern ecommerce businesses? 

For many, it looks like creating a seamless omnichannel experience that engages the customer at every touchpoint. For example, merchants can utilize product feed management tools like Feedonomics to streamline data optimization, product listing, and order syncing across their social and marketplace channels. From there, businesses can deliver a unique experience to each customer with personalized product recommendations, ad retargeting, push notifications, and even dynamic pricing.

However, as more consumers grow leery of how companies store and use their data, retailers are responding by giving customers the option to “opt in” to personalization by volunteering personal data. Not only does this build trust with your customers, but it also makes it easier for organizations to be transparent about how they use customer data and comply with consumer data privacy laws including Europe’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Chat marketing humanizes the digital experience.

While chatbot conversations may have once felt robotic and stiff, recent developments in generative AI have significantly improved the ways that online shoppers can interact with these tools. 

Today, AI-powered assistants can provide instant responses to inquiries, guide product searches, and facilitate seamless transactions, mimicking human conversation with efficiency and empathy. By offering real-time assistance and personalized recommendations, chatbots not only streamline customer service but also foster customer relationships and affinity for ecommerce brands. As they continue to evolve, chatbots will become integral in delivering personalized marketing messages, nurturing leads, and driving conversions. 

Mobile shopping is still on the move.

Many of us go day-to-day with a smartphone within arm’s reach — which means shopping is also going mobile. In fact, the share of mobile commerce in all ecommerce has been on the rise, expected to reach 62% in 2027

In response, online businesses need to ensure their ecommerce sites are responsive on mobile and provide a seamless experience across all devices. This means optimizing content for smaller screens, enabling one-click ordering, and offering other conveniences that support on-the-go shopping.

Closing the sale with flexible payment options.

There’s perhaps no experience as vital to the customer journey as checkout. Even the smallest hiccup during the process can turn a sale into a lost customer for life. 

For many customers, the best checkout experiences are the ones that offer flexible payment options. In fact, 13% of customers will abandon their carts if they don’t see enough payment methods available. Focus on providing a variety of payment options such as credit cards, digital wallet payments like PayPal or Apple Wallet, or one-click checkout options like Bolt

In addition, you can offer financing options like buy now, pay later (BNPL), allowing you to connect your brick-and-mortar stores with your online store. By partnering with providers such as Klarna, Sezzle, and Affirm, you can encourage online shoppers to pay in installments without any added interest — leading to higher conversion rates, average order values, and sales. 

Composable commerce drives digital innovation.

How can online retailers keep up with new trends and quickly respond to technological change? And how can ecommerce platforms meet the demands of the modern-day customer?

Enter composable commerce.

Composable commerce, Achieved by assembling and combining Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs), composable commerce allows you to assemble the building blocks of your tech stack to meet the specific needs of your business.

Rather than relying on one vendor for all of your business requirements, taking a composable commerce approach allows businesses to choose best-in-breed vendors to create a robust, functional technology stack that works best for your enterprise business.

Shopping goes social.

Over the past couple years, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok have grown into more than just social media platforms — now they’re also hubs for social commerce. In fact, Insider Intelligence estimates that 110.4 million people will shop via social channels in 2024. 

Thanks to the popularity of experiences like one-click checkout and live shopping, these channels are becoming more and more customer-friendly, making it seamless for customers to search for and purchase products. In addition, social commerce has a low barrier, allowing online businesses, both big and small, to enhance brand awareness, grow their audience, and offer a frictionless buying experience.  

Subscriptions keep customers coming back.

From food and beverage brands to clothing rental companies, subscription services have taken over a wide range of ecommerce industries — and continues to grow. The Washington Post even predicts that, by 2025, the “subscription economy” will grow to $1.5 trillion. 

For many ecommerce brands, this business model is attractive as it not only offers continuous revenue but also increased customer loyalty. Coupled with a loyalty program, these subscription models can offer shoppers access to exclusive discounts and offers, early access to new products, and personalized customer support. 

Sustainability becomes top of mind.

For today’s online shoppers, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. According to a recent study by PwC, more than 70% of shoppers said they would be willing to pay more for sustainably produced goods. 

Especially in the fashion and apparel industry, younger shoppers are favoring brands that prioritize ethical and eco-friendly practices over those that don’t. According to a study by Drapers and BigCommerce, Drapers survey found that 57% of Gen Z and Millennials say sustainability is important when it comes to shopping for clothes, accessories or
shoes — up from 47% in the 2022 survey. This shift in purchasing decisions reflects a growing trend where consumers increasingly consider the environmental impact of their buys, influencing their loyalty and overall brand perception.

B2B buyers expect modernized shopping experiences.

Fading are the days of cold calling, offline marketing activities and paper-based, manual transactions. Just as the B2C world is constantly innovating, customers seek these same experiences from B2B sellers.

In recent years, B2B ecommerce has introduced a new way for businesses to shop online. Functionality such as customer portals, personalized pricing, custom shipping rates, and re-ordering capabilities are no longer luxuries, but necessities, for B2B customers.

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How to determine if a trend is right for your business

Knowing which trends will be a good fit for you will often come down to knowing your own customers, verticals, and competitors backwards and forwards. Let’s look at a few things you can do to evaluate industry trends and make the right move for your business.

Keep up with influencers, publications, and industry reports.

Deciding if a trend fits your business starts with being in the know. Follow industry influencers and dive into relevant blogs and news to stay ahead of the curve. Start with your niche, then branch out into other markets to get the full picture. 

And don't forget to keep up with the latest industry research and trend reports — they're packed with reliable data and insights. Staying informed not only keeps you in the know but will also help you develop a sixth sense for spotting trends that are worth your time and knowing which ones can take a backseat. 

Harness digital tools and analytics to understand customer behavior.

Your ecommerce strategy will only be as good as how well you know your customer.

Utilize platforms like Google Analytics, social media insights, and CRM systems to gather data on customer interactions, preferences, and buying patterns. By analyzing this data, you can identify emerging trends and evaluate their potential impact on your business. This data-driven approach ensures that you make informed decisions, aligning your strategies with your customers' needs and preferences.

Gather feedback from your customers.

Customer feedback can be a goldmine of insights that can guide your decision-making on adopting new trends — so don't be afraid to ask current customers what they want.

Conduct customer surveys, ask for product reviews, and interact with customers on social media to get a feel for their needs, preferences, and pain points.

You never know — a customer might even suggest an idea you hadn't thought of yet!

Observe your competitors.

Take a look at your competitors. Did they jump on a specific trend? If so, how did it work for them? Analyze their strategies, product offerings, and marketing tactics to identify what’s working and what’s not. Pay attention to how they’re adopting and implementing trends, and observe the responses from their customers. 

Before investing in a new trend, you’ll want to make sure it’s worth your time and money. Consider the potential costs and resources required for implementation, including technology, training, and marketing expenses. Assess whether the trend aligns with your business goals and if the expected ROI justifies the investment. 

By first analyzing these factors, you’ll be able to make informed decisions, ensuring that your time and efforts are directed toward trends that offer the most significant benefits and future growth for your business. 

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The final word

In the world of ecommerce, adaptation is key to success. By staying in the know of current ecommerce trends, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of the digital revolution — driving growth and fostering lasting connections with their audiences.

For more on these trends, follow along on the BigCommerce blog to get the latest thought leadership content from our ecommerce experts.

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