BigCommerce Leaders Predict Top Ecommerce Trends for 2024
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As we step into 2024, the landscape of ecommerce continues to evolve with remarkable speed, driven by technological advancements and shifting consumer behaviors. It's clear that key themes such as artificial intelligence (AI), omnichannel strategies, and customer experience enhancements will shape the trajectory of online commerce in the year ahead.
With that in mind, we’ve tapped our foremost subject matter experts from BigCommerce and Feedonomics for a roundup of predictions and insights around these trends to create a comprehensive picture of what we can expect in the coming year.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize ecommerce, with experts highlighting its pivotal role in enhancing search capabilities, personalizing customer experiences, and streamlining content production.
From supercharging search algorithms to simulating real-life sales interactions, AI's integration promises to shape a more efficient and tailored online shopping landscape.
"Gen AI is definitely here to stay and it will continue to get better and more powerful at a rapid pace. Within ecommerce, Gen AI will play a key role in several areas. It will supercharge search by increasing context and providing more relevant results. It will also strengthen natural language chat services, aiding in answering questions, providing support, and helping buyers find relevant products and services.
“Additionally, Gen AI will improve product images by creating custom backgrounds while streamlining the process and reducing costs, especially for lifestyle and action shots, and any shot with a unique background that promotes the brand.
“Moreover, it will assist marketers in producing content across emails, product descriptions, website copy, and video scripts, and enhance content translations with full context."
"The AI hype will continue, and brands and retailers will look to leverage Gen AI to improve performance and efficiency. This is a really exciting area, and we are just scratching the surface in retail and ecommerce. 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, GenAI will help buyers find products, answer their questions, complete orders, and process refunds.
“Also, it will be trained on a brand’s specific business across data sets from multiple systems, enabling Gen AI to predict future state metrics and provide actionable insights."
"AI and hyper-personalization will be key trends in B2B ecommerce in 2024. B2B brands should prepare by investing in AI-driven CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems that can analyze customer data to provide insights for personalized marketing and sales strategies.
“Additionally, the B2B environment in 2024 will be increasingly digital, data-driven, and efficiency-oriented, with a strong focus on leveraging technological advancements like AI to enhance operations and customer experiences.
“In particular, advanced personalization through AI will go beyond basic product recommendations to include tailored customer journeys based on business needs, purchase history, and behavioral analytics."
Experts stress the importance of seamless integration across diverse shopping channels to optimize product discoverability and personalize experiences, underscoring the significance of strategic channel prioritization and data-driven decision-making to meet consumer demands.
"Consumers shop in a lot of ways — in stores, through search, on brand websites and through social media, affiliate programs and marketplaces — and retailers need to manage their product data across those environments in order to have their products discovered regardless of the channel. Optimizing product data in an omnichannel strategy enables better search accuracy for shoppers. Incomplete or incorrect data can leave products undiscoverable or cause them to show up in the wrong results.
“In the context of potentially tighter budgets, expect to see brands get more strategic by using data to optimize and prioritize channels and how they reach their customers. They’ll need to strike a balance between delivering a personalized experience without excessively over communicating on any one channel, as well as investing in the channels with the best return on ad spend.
“For instance, we've all experienced the scenario where daily SMS messages or emails from the same brand eventually drive you to unsubscribe. Rather than inundating consumers with a blanket brand message or generic product offering, a well-executed omnichannel strategy places the customer at the heart of the experience, enables a deeper understanding of customers, and allows brands to meet customers where they are with precisely the product they desire."
"After three years of online dominance, there's a noticeable eagerness among shoppers to return to in-store experiences. Brick-and-mortar holiday spending was back, emphasizing the resurgence of physical shopping. In response to this industry shift, enterprise retailers will embrace an omnichannel strategy, which allows customers to take their shopping journey with them across physical and digital environments. Services like in-store returns facilitate the seamless integration of digital and physical shopping experiences."
"B2B omnichannel is poised to become the dominant approach in 2024. For businesses, especially those leveraging ecommerce, this means ensuring their online presence is tightly integrated with offline sales channels. For instance, using CRM and ERP systems to synchronize customer data and inventory information across online stores, physical outlets and third-party marketplaces.
“Businesses should adopt tools for consistent communication across channels, like integrated customer service platforms that provide a unified view of customer interactions. To adopt this approach, B2B companies need to focus on creating a uniform brand experience across all channels, offering customers flexibility in how they interact with and purchase from the brand, whether online, through a mobile app, or in person."
"The value of social commerce in modern retail is increasing. In contrast to the legacy multichannel approach of distributing similar content throughout all available platforms, the B2B ecommerce sector’s future could be reshaped by social media’s ability to create strong communities and affinities around specific brands and verticals.
“Social commerce should force B2B brands (manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors) to think about how they want to represent themselves and their products."
In discussions about customer experience, the emphasis is on optimizing checkout processes and returns management to minimize friction and maximize satisfaction. These efforts reflect a strategic response to evolving consumer expectations, aiming to foster brand loyalty and drive engagement.
"Many brands and retailers set up their checkout during COVID and may not have revisited their user experience since then. Studies show that any friction in checkout, such as asking customers to choose their card type or forcing customers to type out an address instead of using an auto-fill tool, can lead to cart abandonment.
“With many retailers facing an expected slowdown in consumer spending, they cannot afford to lose sales due to a clunky online checkout experience for consumers and will be focused on making improvements in 2024."
"On a global level, as we move into 2024 we are already seeing retailers taking extra efforts to make returns management more frictionless for the customer and economically smart for themselves. Why? The costs and burdens associated with returning products are more expensive than sending. However, if you don’t allow returns, shoppers will choose to buy elsewhere.
“Brands will continue to make it easy to return, use data to better manage why shoppers are returning, and match a returns strategy with the products they are selling. For example, if you’re selling furniture you might not pay to have it shipped back, if you’re selling clothing you might give instant refunds to encourage a repurchase, or if you’re selling a collectible item you might charge return shipping costs."
"This race to secure brand loyalty through discounts and promotions may be damaging to brands in the long run, especially for luxury brands. My hope is that brands wake up to the fact that they are sacrificing their reputations – which take years to build – for short-term revenue.
“Brands should look to improve customer loyalty through other methods, such as listening to customer demand for improved returns options or longevity-based rewards schemes such as points-based rewards. Luxury brands would be better served in expanding their range of lower-priced products, such as sunglasses and perfumes, as this can be a strategic approach to maintaining revenue without compromising quality."
“We anticipate significant investments from major brands in QR codes, followed by widespread adoption across the industry, aimed at enhancing the in-store experience through the integration of mobile technologies, such as websites and native apps. This integration will empower customers to better self-serve with product information, pricing details, and Q&A features, potentially leading to the proliferation of QR codes on pricing labels within physical stores.”
In the realm of ecommerce, adaptation is essential for success. By harnessing the power of AI, embracing omnichannel approaches, and prioritizing seamless customer experiences, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of the digital revolution — driving growth and fostering lasting connections with their audiences.
BigCommerce will keep tracking these trends and continue passing along the observations and advice to give you a competitive edge.
Shelley Kilpatrick is an accomplished content marketer who creates compelling, original content designed to educate and empower ecommerce businesses. She is currently Manager of Content Marketing at BigCommerce where she leads a world-class team of content writers and strategists. Outside of work, she loves exploring all things Texas BBQ and craft beer with her husband and two dogs.