It’s true what they say: The only constant is change.
Ecommerce, as with everything else, is always evolving. Customers are switching up their online shopping habits, and ecommerce brands are right there with them, looking for new and better ways to capture attention.
Figuring out how and why the industry is shifting can be tricky. But when you have your finger on the pulse (like we do), you start noticing the ebbs and flows of ecommerce trends.
We know that if you want to impress your customers and grow your business, you need to stay up-to-date. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some 2024 ecommerce trends to watch out for.
A Look Back at Ecommerce Trends in 2023
Before we explore where things are headed, it’s worth recapping where things have been. In 2023, the world of ecommerce continued to move toward a tech-centered, friction-free experience for everyone involved.
Some of the most notable trends from the past year include:
- Mobile shopping – The desktop computer’s days as a shopping tool are numbered. More than three-quarters of Americans report using their smartphone to shop online. In response, brands have doubled down on mobile-first websites and conversational commerce (shopping through popular messaging apps).
- AI and machine learning – As you’ve probably noticed, AI has been having its moment in the spotlight. Everyone from Amazon to Shopify has integrated AI and machine learning (ML) into their everyday business. The general feeling has been that if you’re not using AI in some way, you’re lagging behind—because customers are expecting it.
- Personalized experiences – Thanks to the spread of AI and ML in 2023, the power of data is being harnessed like never before. Brands are using these tools to analyze existing data and predict future customer behavior. The result? Highly targeted ads, product recommendations and email marketing delivered directly to consumers.
The Top Ecommerce Trends for 2024
Now, let’s turn our gaze to the future. While it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen with ecommerce trends, 2024 is unlikely to be wildly different from 2023. Many of the top trends from the past year will continue or evolve slightly as our tech and culture change.
With that said, some trends will be more prominent than ever. These are our predictions.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Yup, you guessed it. It should be no surprise that AI will continue to dominate the ecommerce landscape in 2024. A survey by McKinsey showed that 55% of corporations were already using artificial intelligence tools in 2023, and that number is expected to grow.
Here are some of the ways AI will specifically transform ecommerce.
Now that reliable AI-powered assistants are available, many brands will use messaging bots for online shopping, customer service and more. The advances in AI tech have made it easier for bots to handle nuanced customer interactions, so you can expect fewer human agents and more robots.
This strategy can save you money on customer service reps, but never forget the value of human-to-human interactions.
Like it or not, brands will be using AI-generated content in their marketing, social media, and even product listings. Full or partially AI-made photos, videos and copy will likely start cropping up everywhere you look.
If you plan to jump on this trend, proceed with caution. AI-produced images and text often need some sprucing up.
AI Marketing Tools
With AI, marketing is also set to become more efficient—and more accessible to businesses of any size. The latest AI marketing tools can help you automate your workflow, hone in on your audience, improve your SEO efforts, and much more.
Tasks involving data analysis are likely to see the biggest changes. AI tools allow you to make sense of your data quickly and easily and create personalized campaigns for specific audiences. Data has always been vital to ecommerce, and now it’s more powerful than ever.
However, not all consumers are all-in on trading their data for a more personalized experience. That brings us to our next trend.
2. Privacy and the Shift to Zero-Party Data
Although data will still be your best friend as a business owner, accessing and utilizing that data may become more complicated. Consumers today are more mindful of how and where their data is used.
In a 2022 study, 87% of respondents said they want more control over their digital identity. Policymakers are listening.
As of December 2023, 12 states have consumer data privacy laws on the books, and a handful of others are working on their own versions. Shoppers from any of these pro-privacy states can easily opt out of third-party cookies and limit the data you can collect.
Enter zero-party data.
Zero-party data is information your customer shares directly and intentionally with you. We’re not talking about on-site trackers or the analysis of customer purchase history. This is info provided intentionally in response to questions you ask.
Because more and more consumers will want to take charge of the information they’re sharing, think of more ways to acquire this freely given data. For example, you can still learn a lot about your audience with:
- User profiles
3. Conscious Commerce
With every year that passes, customers are more inclined to shop with brands that care about social and environmental causes. The data shows that consumers are increasingly seeking ethical, sustainable choices in every sector, from consumer packaged goods to food.
In 2024, those customer convictions will be more important than ever. If your ecommerce business isn’t tapping into the growing audience of ethical consumers, it might be time to act.
Depending on your industry, you may be able to appeal to a growing number of ethical consumers (and make a difference) by switching to:
- Carbon-neutral shipping options
- Recycled packaging and materials
- Organic ingredients
- Ethical, fair-wage labor practices
- Supply chain transparency
If you’re already employing these responsible practices, that’s terrific! 2024 is the time to make sure they’re front and center on your ecommerce site and backed up with proof. Your audience will be happy to see it—and your bottom line may grow in the process.
4. Virtual and Augmented Reality
We’ve already seen some of the growth of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively) in the past few years. Still, in 2024, the potential for this technology is going to explode.
As VR and AR tech become less of a novelty and more of a common consumer good, a growing number of customers will be able to “try before they buy.”
With AR and VR, shoppers can see how your products might fit into their lives from the comfort of their homes. Someone looking for a dining table can use AR to visualize it in their house; someone seeking a new shirt can have their avatar try on clothes in the metaverse.
The possibilities, in theory, are endless. It’s an exciting time to be selling online.
And even if mainstream adoption of this tech is a few years away, the people who are using it are following through with purchases. According to the World Economic Forum, 32% of VR-owning consumers have bought a product after testing it in a virtual setting. An investment in AR and VR shopping, then, could be well worth your while.
Make 2024 Your Best Year Yet
From AI and VR to shifting sentiments around privacy and responsible consumerism, it’s clear that 2024 will be another year of exciting change for businesses everywhere.
However, one thing that’s staying the same is the importance of jumping on the right trends and strategies to boost your brand. Our trend predictions deal with the overarching state of ecommerce. But what will work best for your business will depend on your needs and goals.
At Human Marketing, we can empower you to reach those goals. Our ecommerce marketing services help you make sense of evolving trends and harness them to grow your online business.
If you want to find out more, drop us a line. Together, we can make 2024 your most successful year to date.