The e-commerce global market has seen exponential growth in recent years, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The COVID-19 pandemic has attributed to this growth, as many consumers have shifted towards online everything – shopping, banking, dining and work. Businesses had to adapt quickly to meet the growing demands of the online consumer’s needs, or risk losing out.
In the following article, an explanation into what determines an e-commerce business, details on the new innovation and technology impacting the industry, and what exactly is driving e-commerce market growth is discussed.
E-Commerce Covers What, Exactly?
E-commerce, short for electronic commerce, is the trading of goods and services on the internet. More often than not, an e-commerce business does not have a brick-and-mortar counterpart, but this is not always the case.
Some larger, big-brand stores utilize e-commerce in addition to their physical retail space, and others, usually on a smaller scale, operate online only.
The e-commerce business, or strategy, allows companies large and small – including the individual to sell products at any scale to consumers around the world utilizing various platforms – from Etsy to Amazon.
Online sales reached over $4 trillion globally at the end of 2020, an almost $1 trillion in growth from the year prior. And these numbers are expected to continue, with a forecasted $5.9 trillion in e-commerce sales at the end of 2023.
The online-sales industry is booming for many reasons – with the increasing affordability of smart phones and high-speed internet access, 5G, and social media.
E-commerce enterprises have the ability to advertise to a broad target audience by way of email marketing and directed ads on various social media platforms.
Innovations in the Industry
With the ever-advancing growth of e-commerce, businesses are striving to stay ahead of the competition while continuing to meet the needs of the consumer. Online businesses can do this in a variety of ways:
Mobile Friendly Sites
Almost everyone, young and old, is the owner of a smart phone. With convenience at our fingertips, there are a variety of benefits to utilizing such powerful technology.
With unlimited access to high-speed internet, mobile commerce allows consumers to shop right from their smartphone web browser or app, making purchases anytime, anywhere, for almost anything.
Having a mobile friendly website, and essentially, a shopping app, allows consumers to access your products quickly and conveniently.
A Personalized Experience
The goal, essentially of any business, is to improve the customer’s experience, provide a product or service for their needs, increase loyalty, and drive sales.
Many e-commerce businesses are utilizing data analytics to understand consumer behavior and preferences, allowing companies to personalize their goods and service offerings to specific customer groups.
Additionally, customers are more likely to return to a business that provides a personalized experience.
Augmented reality technology (AR) extends the business’ reach and value to the customer. This technology allows consumers to view a product in their space, try on clothes or jewelry, and visualize how these products will look in their home.
This exciting innovation helps consumers make informed decisions, reducing the need for returns.
Voice command technology allows a consumer to make purchases without having to scroll on their phone, or use a computer, keyboard, or mouse.
The voice command trend has just begun but is rapidly gaining traction in the e-commerce industry. Voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home or Chatbot are gaining popularity in the field.
Currently, larger retailers are dominating the space, such as Target, who recently partnered with Google to provide customers a voice shopping experience and RedCard management.
Optimizing a Site for Voice Commands
Ensuring your site is optimized for voice commands is key for staying up to date with emerging market trends. Best practices include incorporating target keywords and other product specific long-tail keywords, utilizing conversational language in website content, and prioritizing local search engine optimization, capturing Google snippets, and schema markup.
Additionally, creating a mobile friendly site, or app, and keeping the website free of bugs and running at optimal speed will increase success in the space.
For an e-commerce only business, providing subscription services to customers is essential to capture that recurrent client market. Subscription services build customer loyalty while allowing customers to save money on frequently purchased products, in turn, providing companies with a recurring revenue stream.
Subscription services can be provided in all aspects of retail – from beauty products to meal kits, to pet products to music and video streaming services.
With the rapid expansion of technology and innovation, e-commerce businesses should embrace these changes, continually learn, and grow with the industry to maintain success in the future.
These advances such as mobile friendly sites or apps, targeted consumer personalization, augmented reality, voice command capabilities and subscription services, are driving e-commerce growth and is likely to continue to do so for many years to come.