Gone are the days when people would stand in snaking queues to pay for their shopping. Customer shopping online has expanded substantially across many categories. Consumers’ desire to shop online is increasing, especially in the categories of necessities and home entertainment. Essentials such as over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, groceries, household goods, and personal-care products are among the categories where online customers are predicted to increase by more than 35 percent. Even discretionary areas like skin care and beauty, clothes, and jewelry and accessories are likely to rise by more than 15% in the next few years. Many researchers say online shopping is a trend that is not going to go away so soon and brands need to reevaluate their digital offerings to enhance their customer experience. Years after the pandemic is over, people will still be seen relying more on online platforms than on physical stores. Many analysts predict that the increasing trend of online shopping is going to stay even after the pandemic. According to a report, use of smartphones to shop has more than doubled since 2018.
Shipping is no longer an obstacle, and more options are arriving to keep up with the increase in demand. Bigger products can be shipped virtually anywhere in the country, regardless of size. This is leading to more products being available via online shopping, allowing eCommerce to continue to grow. Online shopping can provide a more efficient and convenient way for consumers to shop. It is also becoming easier to access, with the rise of mobile and tablet use, effectively connecting web and mobile.
According to a survey, almost 36% of US customers are buying retail products online, the same is true for ordering from restaurants online. Almost 21% of customers are now ordering from restaurants through online sources. And these numbers are going steady for now which is why retailers must transform their digital marketing strategies and become more digitally savvy. Lowe’s, a retail company has witnessed massive online growth both for deliveries and curbside pickup. They have recently built a new website to help customers find products on their online store that they are looking for and also research about products before potentially purchasing in store. The company will continue to advance its e-commerce and digital capabilities. Wendy’s, on the other hand, has created a website and app that is quite robust and has an ordering system that can be updated in real time. For a more seamless digital experience, the company is offering contactless ordering and payments.
“Traditional retailers are increasing the investment and engagement on online channels as this is something they can’t ignore forever,” Satish Meena, a senior forecast analyst at Forrester, told CNBC. Companies are focusing on agility to pivot operations, messaging and sales from offline to online channels.
Here are some online shopping trends:
- Shift to digital shopping has been universal but millennials and GenZ are in the lead when it comes to shopping online across essential and non essential items. They are also quite prone to switching brands. Number of reasons leading the pack are availability, convenience and value and that’s why effective loyalty programs are pertinent.
- In the world of e-commerce, buyers prefer a more personalized shopping experience, and they are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers to them. In order to successfully deliver personalized recommendations and relevant offers, data analysts leverage AI and machine learning technologies to gather data and create customer profiles and then use this data to compile insights and customer behavior. Augmented reality on the other hand has gained prominence in the last few years and is shaking things up. It has proved to be a complete game changer in the e-commerce shopping arena. With the help of AR, customers can truly see the product they are shopping for which in turn helps them make the right buying decisions. It’s quite a hit in the home decor and fashion industry.
- More and more businesses are effectively using social media for direct sales and marketing purposes. As per research, more than half of Instagram users prefer finding products and shopping through this platform. Social media provides a more interactive and personalized experience and smart marketers are waking up to the fact that it’s one of the most pivotal places to maintain a robust presence.
- Most customers will turn to voice search to shop online, order food and organize their lives. Several millennials prefer voice technology to buy items online. By simply calling out to Alexa, someone can add products to their shopping cart. Voice-enabled shopping is expected to reach $40 billion in the U.S. by 2022, according to a survey. In light of this, businesses should make the most of this trend and leverage this growing channel to market their products and services.
- Chatbots are gaining importance because they improve shopping experiences by interacting with online shoppers much like an in-store sales associate. Today’s shopper is impulsive and wants to find a product in a few clicks, if they don’t find that, they can quickly switch brands, hence a chatbot can step in and save the sale during such times. Experts have predicted that 80% of businesses will be using chatbots by 2020. Along with chatbots, self-checkout kiosks will also become a rage for customer support.
Consumer trends stated above show that e-commerce will continue to grow, and companies will have to transform their digital abilities to provide great service, both online and in store. Online shopping is here to stay as reliance on the internet has increased dramatically during the pandemic.
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