The pandemic shaped online commerce since 2020 in a way that no other event has in the past few decades at least.
Even the most reluctant shoppers were forced to venture into the online realm while confined within their homes and that gave online stores a boost as thousands of products and services encountered new audiences without even trying.
However, now that the world is progressively going back to normalcy, the path forward is less clear for e-commerce stores and it remains to be seen if the positive impact that the pandemic had on the performance of online businesses will outlive the health crisis.
In this article, we outline some of the key trends that are currently dominating the e-commerce industry now that we are entering the second semester of 2022.
#1 – AI-Powered Data Analytics
E-commerce platforms such as Shopify have created an ecosystem that is flooded with data coming from customers that store owners are finding incredibly useful to polish their value proposition, product line, and user experience based on the kind of people they typically cater to.
The use of AI-powered software that can quickly analyze all the available raw data to provide useful insights about the store’s past performance and key trends has made this task easier than ever.
One great example of this is Blyp, an app that relies on artificial intelligence to produce the kind of insights that can lead to better decisions to increase sales, reduce returns, and improve profitability.
#2 – Inventory Build-ups and Lower Turnover Rates
Just months ago, one of the most pressing issues for online stores was having enough inventory to cope with the demand resulting from lockdowns and mobility restrictions. This led to a purchasing frenzy that pushed inventories to record levels as store owners were afraid that they may run out of their top-selling items at a point when their competitors were rushing through the doors to stock up as well.
Now that people are returning to their usual habits of buying things in physical stores, some stores are realizing that they may have gone too far in this endeavor and they will probably start to introduce discounts and promotions to increase turnover rates.
However, in an environment where the word “recession” is being uttered by top economists, it may be quite hard to find the right balance between healthy gross margins and attractive enough prices that help reduce these COVID inventory build-ups.
#3 – The Rise of BNPL
Buy now, pay later is one of the most impactful trends driving higher e-commerce volumes nowadays as people can easily complete their purchases without having to worry much about where the money is going to come from as these fintech companies are now there to make things easier.
How sustainable this trend is going to be might be questionable but the fact remains that BNPL is revolutionizing the e-commerce industry.
Statistics from Adoric, a company that helps online businesses in improving their marketing efforts, indicate that more than half of consumers financed their online purchases with BNPL last year.
It is easier to extrapolate from this figure that stores that do not support BNPL will inevitably see their sales plummeting and that alone explains why this solution has become the norm in the industry recently.
#4 – Social Commerce
Social media has become embedded in the ordinary lives of billions of people who turn to it for both personal (fun, learning, staying on top of recent developments) and commercial purposes (promoting services and offering products).
With billions of people constantly interacting with different types of content for hours every day, it was highly likely that these platforms would eventually migrate to a model that facilitates in-platform shopping to further monetize their large user bases.
Solutions such as Shops on Instagram, WhatsApp Business, and TikTok Shopping are good examples of this trend. For some stores, these channels have become essential for their success. However, many owners have not yet explored their potential and they may soon realize how powerful they can be.
The macroeconomic landscape is evolving rapidly and the world is no longer what it was one or two years ago. For store owners, understanding the key trends that are shaping the
E-commerce industry at the moment is crucial to stay ahead and differentiate from others by embracing them as fast as they can.