The introduction of the internet to the world in 1993 gave birth to endless opportunities. It brought the world closer than ever before. Information, knowledge, and ideas were exchanged with great ease and were easily accessible to one and all. Since then, the internet and its use have transformed greatly. Today many things are possible because of the internet. Information is available with the tap of a finger. Online shopping is one such possibility that is a reality today.
Amazon was one of the pioneering online shopping sites. From the first book sold by Amazon in the early 1990s to the wide range and variety of products available on Amazon now is just incredible. This only goes to show how shopping trends have drastically changed in over 3 decades.
Over the last 2 years, this trend has only seen a rise due to the world pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus. The world shut down, and the only thing that brought us together was the internet. People not only connected on the net but also shopped. More and more people across the world began shopping online like never before. Online shopping soared in business. The exponential growth in e-commerce meant a large number of deliveries were being made every day. This gave rise to delivery issues like usps missing packages. Packages were already either stolen, lost, or misdelivered in the past. The popularity in the online shopping world post-pandemic only meant more numbers of such incidents. GoPost is a USPS package receiving service introduced to tackle such issues.
The developing countries have also picked up on the trend of online shopping. Let's look at some of the trends that determine what people buy, why they buy, and what influences them to buy. Keeping a track of these factors can greatly boost e-commerce business.
When you look around you will see most people with their heads bent, peering into their mobile phones. Everyone has one and everyone uses one, and people are shopping more on their mobile phones with great fervor. Businesses should optimize their online presence for mobile devices and adopt a responsive and mobile-friendly website. Mobile shopping is a great contributor to e-commerce.
People are spending more and more time on their phones. A major chunk of this time is spent on different social media platforms, the most popular ones being Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Such powerful platforms can be used to advertise products and services. Consumers tend to discover brands and products when scrolling through their feeds. Features like the introduction of the “Buy” button on Facebook and Instagram Checkout and Instagram Shopping are examples of how social media platforms have changed the way people shop.
With the rise and popularity of social media, a new category of people has emerged - the Influencers. Popular influencers influence their devout followers to buy products and services they deem worthy, useful, and helpful. For example, a famous sports player may influence their fans and followers to buy a certain brand and type of sports shoes. An influencer gaining popularity on social media platforms can also direct and influence their followers to use certain products.
What is personalized shopping? Sounds like a lot of work, however, it is not so. Personalized shopping is simply presenting relevant products to each customer depending on his/her tastes or choices or needs. This information is deduced by collecting customer data like search queries, purchase history, shopping cart, location, etc. Also, personalized email messages, relevant discounts, and information, and an an-easy-to-navigate website enhances customer experience and satisfaction.
Online shoppers want to be able to visualize products and items they want to purchase. They want to try out products just as they would at a store. Augmented reality shopping allows customers to virtually try on, personalize or visualize products. Shoppers would be able to better imagine what a dress or shoe would look like on them. For example, IKEA has an app that allows customers to visualize what the furniture would look like in their homes using their phone's camera.
Chatbots are increasingly being used on most websites. People are continuously interacting with chatbots to answer frequently asked questions. Chatbots are easily accessible and can be used to provide relevant information to customers. It can provide product information and discounts, offers, payment options, and take feedback too.
Voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa are quite a rage these days. They allow effortless shopping by helping customers to place an order without moving a muscle. Voice assistants guide customers through their online shopping experience. Shoppers conveniently voice-search for their item(s). A voice-search-optimization strategy would greatly benefit online shopping sites to facilitate voice-search queries.
E-commerce is not only limited to shoes, clothes, furniture, etc. Online grocery shopping existed but ever since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, online grocery shopping exploded in demand. It was a way to avoid crowds yet complete grocery shopping chores from the comfort of your home. Plus the convenience of shopping delivered right to your doorstep is an added benefit.
With the availability of different payment methods, customers prefer to choose how they wish to pay. Payment is not only confined to the use of debit cards and credit cards. Social payments are a rising trend today. People prefer to pay using their Paypal account, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. Soon cryptocurrencies will also be another form of acceptable payment option in the near future.
As shopping moves from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping sites, customers tend to come back to shop from the same site if they experience a satisfactory delivery system. Fast deliveries and safely received deliveries are two of the top defining factors for customer satisfaction. People look forward to receiving their shopping as soon as possible. A tie-up with an excellent delivery service provider can enhance customer experience. The use of a package receiving service like Stowfly can ensure the safekeeping of deliveries at any time of the day. It acts as an alternate shipping address where packages can be safely delivered and the recipients can collect them at a time convenient to them.
To sum up, the above 10 shopping trends largely dictate a consumer's online shopping behaviors. Keeping track of them and optimizing your website to best suit the needs of the consumer will greatly improve and expand your business.