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Keeping up with 2023 retail ecommerce trends is key to surviving in a cutthroat competitive market and maintaining brand longevity. 

The retail ecommerce landscape has transformed rapidly in the past few years due to the global pandemic, which fueled ecommerce growth and led to a boom in online sales. But with COVID cases still impacting the supply chain, the intensifying war in Ukraine, and a looming recession, ecommerce businesses in 2023 will need to be creative and resourceful with their marketing strategies. 

But despite the threat of war and a recession, ecommerce growth is still predicted to maintain an upward trajectory over the next few years. Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026.

Bar Graph Showing the Increase in Ecommerce Sales in the US Screenshot
This graph from Statista illustrates how quickly ecommerce sales are growing and how they are projected to grow.

The trend is easy to spot: retail ecommerce sales have grown—year over year—for the past nine years (and Amazon isn’t the only one getting in on the action).

In other words, if you’re in the retail ecommerce game, you’re in a good place. Ecommerce businesses are well-positioned for big-time growth well into the future.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the general growth of the global ecommerce market let’s focus on seven trends that are likely to impact you this year.

1. Increasing competition from ecommerce brands

Do you remember the trend we talked about above? The one about how much the ecommerce market has grown over the past nine years?

With the number of digital buyers on the rise—combined with retail stores continuing to struggle—an increasing number of companies are turning their attention to ecommerce platforms.

This graph from Oberlo shows how ecommerce shares of retail sales are growing. By 2026, it's expected that ecommerce shares of retail will be 24%.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic had a lot to do with this, but the writing was already on the wall. Everyone wants a piece of the ecommerce pie, ranging from well-known brands to mom-and-pop stores to startups. 

With competition increasing by the day, there are some important questions to answer:

  • How will you protect against losing market share to newcomers?
  • How will you grow your market share?
  • What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? What makes your business better than current competitors, as well as those who will join the market in 2023? 

Don’t try to ignore it. Competition within the global ecommerce market has never been more fierce. Expect this trend to become even more prevalent in 2023 as the world continues to settle into its “new normal.”

Any competitive advantage—such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) or augmented reality—is something to strongly consider. This could be the difference between attracting a large number of online shoppers and failing to grow your online traffic and customer base.

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2. Customers expect quick replies and solutions

Customer experience, customer support, customer service—call it whatever you want.

This has always been a big part of running a successful store, especially regarding ecommerce. However, rather than emailing or phoning brands and having to wait days for a response, customers now expect answers instantly to their queries.

Using conversational commerce tactics like chatbots and live chat in your online store can help close the deal and offer great returns.

Maybe your brand was positioned for success pre-pandemic from a customer experience point of view. But even if it wasn’t, don’t let this dictate your future. There’s time to make a change, and that time is now. 

I’ll leave you with this statistic: 46% of customers expect a brand to respond within 4 hours, while 12% expect a response in 15 minutes or less.

Show your customers that your ecommerce store is dedicated to customer service the first time around. You’ll be glad that you did.

3. Budget-conscious Gen Z consumers will drive the market

There’s no denying the fact that more people today than ever before are shopping online, but younger consumers are the ones driving the growth of the ecommerce market.

Gen Z has over $360 billion in disposable income, but they are also a frugal group that prioritizes saving over spending, which means ecommerce brands will have to really convey the value of their products and services to get Gen Z to open their wallets.

IBM shares its thoughts on why brands should take action as soon as possible:

Brands would do well to act now: while only 36 percent of Gen Z consumers in our study said they had a strong connection to a brand, the number increased to 46 percent among those aged 19-21. The potential benefits are great, but the window of time for winning over this new and important generation is closing fast.

Here are some things you can do to better connect with the younger generation:

  • Focus on your social media presence: According to ecommerce platform Shopify, 54 percent of younger consumers who purchase from independent retailers discover brands on social media, such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snapchat. This is in contrast to 43 percent of middle-aged consumers (35-54) and 25 percent of consumers over the age of 55. 
  • Help them make a social impact: Younger consumers are more likely to “shop to have an impact,” such as buying from brands that support charities or causes they believe in. 
  • Personalize the shopping experience: With 80 percent of shoppers more likely to purchase from a company that offers a personalized experience, now’s the time to double down. Younger consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer a personalized experience, as it makes them feel wanted and adds efficiency to the process.
  • With inflation on the rise, appeal to budget-conscious Gen Z with alternative payment options such as Buy Now, Pay Later, plus discounts and promotions. They will be spending less on luxury goods and more on day-to-day items.

You know your target demographic better than anyone else, but don’t lose sight of the fact that younger consumers are controlling the market in many ways. 

Carefully track your conversion rates by segment to better understand how you’re performing with different demographics. This is just one of the many metrics you can track to ensure that you’re connecting with younger consumers (such as Gen Z and millennials).

Related: 12 Audience Segmentation Examples to Boost Sales

4. More influencer marketing partnerships

Even if you have a team of marketers working to drive traffic to your online store, it’s not always enough. There may come a point when you want to consider the benefits of influencer marketing.

Here is how Influencer Marketing Hub defines influencer marketing:

Influencer marketing involves a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services. Some influencer marketing collaborations are less tangible than that – brands simply work with influencers to improve brand recognition.

By collaborating with influencers outside your organization, you have the opportunity to reach consumers who:

  • Trust the influencer to steer them in the right direction
  • Are interested in the products that you sell
  • Realize that online shopping is the wave of the future

You may be able to reach this audience on your own, but your brand likely doesn’t have the same name recognition as influencers in your space. You don’t have the same trust factor.

A recent example of this is TikTok star Tinx’s partnership with hot sauce brand Tabasco. Their shared mission to “normalize hot sauce as dressing” led to the development of a new product called the Tabasco x Tinx Avocado Jalapeno Hot Sauce Dressing. On her Tiktok page, she shares multiple sponsored Tiktok videos showcasing recipe ideas to hype up the collaboration.

This is a great way for the brand to enter into a new product category while using a popular figure to generate online buzz with Gen Z audiences.

Influencer marketing will continue to influence online retail sales and total retail sales in the future. According to Statista, the global Instagram influencer market size has nearly tripled over the last four years. And that’s just one social media platform. 

The influencer marketing landscape will continue to evolve in 2021 and beyond, but don’t expect it to go away. It’s here to stay. This is one of those often overlooked retail ecommerce trends that you need to focus on in the year to come.

Related: 6 Beauty Ecommerce Trends & What To Know

5. Mobile shopping

Go back in time a few years, and online shopping typically meant checking out on a traditional computer.

However, in 2023 and beyond, mobile online shopping and multi-channel shopping will continue their ascent. 

Get this: 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months.

Related: 2023 Mobile Ecommerce Trends: The Statistics Say It All

With this in mind, it’s time to optimize your ecommerce store for mobile shoppers (if you’ve yet to do so). This means many things, including, but not limited to:

  • Optimizing your website and online marketplaces to provide a mobile-friendly user experience (search engines want to see this).
  • Optimizing the checkout functionality and experience to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
  • Ensure your storefront, order tracking, payment gateways, and shopping cart solutions are mobile-optimized.
  • Finding ways to strengthen the mobile customer relationship.
  • Using chatbots to engage mobile consumers.
  • Taking cues from major players, such as Amazon, Nike, and Walmart (along with smaller competitors in your space).
  • Ensuring that pricing is easy to identify (no one wants to be surprised at checkout).

The mobile online shopping trend is growing by the day. Regardless of your ecommerce industry, this will become even more prevalent in 20231. In fact, the food industry is setting up shop online as well.

Related: Food Ecommerce Trends To Jump On For Growth

When you provide your audience with a sound mobile shopping experience, they’re confident in their ability to find and purchase products from anywhere they have an internet connection. 

Conversely, if you ignore online sales from mobile devices, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to boost sales and revenue.

6. Short-form video marketing

The rise of platforms like Tiktok has made short-form videos more popular than ever. We’ve seen other social platforms copy this trend with the launch of Instagram Reels, Youtube Shorts, and even Pinterest Idea Pins. 

Producing videos has never been easier with editing apps like Capcut and Inshot. To maximize engagement with your audience, creating dynamic videos with a hook is key. 

Videos are a great way to demo your product and create tutorials. This is a proven method to raise brand awareness and drive more sales. 87% of marketers agree that adding video content into their ecommerce strategy has helped increase sales. 

7. Online visual merchandising

Just like how retail stores pride themselves on their visual merchandising, more ecommerce stores will pay closer attention to online visual merchandising principles to reduce bounce-backs and cart abandonment and capture the attention of website visitors. 

While physical stores focus more on mood lighting, window displays, and end caps, online stores will focus more on creating a well-designed site that puts the brand story at the forefront. 

Burberry’s website is a great example of how its online store mimics its retail locations. Their website’s design uses a black and beige color palette that’s reminiscent of the interiors of their physical stores. The homepage features stunning visuals and a slick video promoting their latest heritage collection.

By reflecting the look and feel of their retail stores, it feels like a seamless omnichannel commerce experience for their customers. 

Related: 10 Best Omnichannel Commerce Platforms For Ecommerce

So, there you have it.

These aren’t the only retail ecommerce trends that will affect you and your online store in the new year, but they’re definitely among the most powerful. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring these trends. Other online retailers in your space are taking full advantage of them, even the alcohol and furniture industries are catching up!

With a thorough understanding of these trends—as well as a plan for taking full advantage of them—you’re in a position to make 2023 your best year yet.

What are your thoughts on these retail ecommerce trends? Do you expect them to impact your online store in 2023? Are there any other trends on your radar?

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Frances Du
By Frances Du

Frances Du is a content manager and writer with 10 years of experience in ecommerce and digital marketing, turning customer insights and market trends into actionable content strategies that drive engagement and discussion. Frances' editorial work has been featured in The Ecomm Manager, Village Living Magazine, GOOD Magazine, Traveler's Digest, SHE Canada, The Culture-ist, and The Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto.