As a business owner, it’s hard to imagine what e-commerce in the future will be like and how we can prepare our business for what’s coming next. Yes, we naturally launch, plan, and create future-focused strategies as a part of our daily job, but in terms of the much-larger picture we entrepreneurs can struggle with nearsightedness.
We have so much to juggle every day and we have to work so hard to keep our businesses alive for just the next year - it’s almost impossible to think for a second about how we’ll keep our businesses going in the long run.
Let me put it this way - when was the last time you carved out some work time to research the future of e-commerce, the future of marketing your Shopify store, and plan ways to prepare your business for the long-term future?
If your answer is, “Um, yeah, never,” you’re not alone. In today’s episode of the Product Powerhouse Podcast, we’re dedicating our conversation to thefuture - the future of e-commerce, current e-commerce trends I’m seeing, ways to ready your business, and resources to help you stay informed.
Shopify and E-Commerce in the Future
According to a 2022 report from Shopify, global e-commerce sales are expected to grow to $6 trillion by 2024 and to nearly double by the following year.
Why? A huge development in digital commerce has always been coming, but the pandemic fast-tracked that process and was the catalyst for thousands and thousands of new business online.
To put things into greater perspective, in 2014 ecommerce sales totaled about $304 billion. In 2021, that number grew to $870 billion. By 2025, it will grow into the trillions at over $7 trillion. All that to say, it’s not going anywhere.
E-Commerce Trends to Expect in 2023 and Beyond
So, what trends are we currently facing in the ecommerce space? Shopify highlights 3 major trends to watch going forward - let’s cover them!
It’ll Grow More Costly to Acquire New Customers
It’ll keep getting more expensive to acquire new customers. More competition fighting for attention means it can get tougher to connect with new customers using traditional methods. According to the report, brands are already having to up their advertising spend to see the same amount - or less - traffic than before. Why? People are tired of adsandthere’s more competition.
Connecting with Your Customers as Humans, Not Segments
Humanization, not just customization. The brands the grow into the future will be the ones prioritizing core values that connect with their ideal audience, creating communities around their brand, and focusing on transparency and authenticity.
Social Selling will be the Norm
And lastly, Shopify expects a rise in social selling - aka, shopping done on social media platforms. Successful brands will embrace and get creative with new platforms and features - eagerly looking for new ways to engage and connect with their community. Live, visual shopping is expected to grow, too (think, QVC and Instagram Live had a baby).
Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Future of E-Commerce
To stay relevant in the future of e-commerce, Shopify outlines several ways current brands can adapt and grow in the coming years.
First, build and nurture relationships to cultivate community by:
Focusing on audience research and market research
Understanding and digging into your core values and what causes, movements, and values you want to uphold and use your brand to support.
Defining clearly the purpose, vision, and mission behind your community. Why should people consider themselves a part of your brand’s community? Why should they align with you?
Creating events and traditions that cultivate an experience for your community.
Creating rich, exclusive and gated content. Some influencers are doing this already by sharing exclusive content with their ‘Close Friends’ list on Instagram!
Second, lean into social selling by:
Hosting product demonstrations and live selling events.
Finding a platform you like and go as all-in as you possibly can. Dedicate yourself to learning and experimenting with the features and new roll-outs on that platform. You don’t have to use every platform, but the platform that is best for your business and community.
And lastly, prioritize your brand and invest in branding - the best long term investment for your business - by:
Prioritizing our branding and customer experience. Studies have shownthat strong brands gain more customers organically, have stronger brand loyalty, and can more successfully raise their prices.
Prioritizing SEO and organic search so you can connect with your audience without having to pay too much for ads to reach new customers.
Monitoring your analytics and focusing on the data to stay on top of ways customers are engaging with your brand and content on your site. Analytics are the performance markers of your brand.
That was a lot, but don’t feel overwhelmed about the future of e-commerce and what it will take to stay relevant. The biggest thing that will keep you relevant and your business surviving is a learning mentality, growth mindset, and an outlook of positivity and curiosity. Learn as much as you can - get curious, not worried.
Here are some resources you can keep an eye on to stay in the know and keep an eye on the future of ecommerce: