Future trends in eCommerce – The eCommerce industry is trending with huge opportunities for many companies. That is why Seven Peaks, a premium member of the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, have researched the eCommerce market’s recent past to help predict the future trends of eCommerce for 2022 and beyond.
Opportunities in the eCommerce industry
Ecommerce is not just a trend but is now a way of life, and it is just waiting to reach its highest potential. There was speculation that the eCommerce business model(s) would be hit very hard by the worldwide pandemic, but the opposite happened. These people were proven wrong as many companies kept on growing and coming out stronger than ever before. Moreover, many new companies entered the market. Because they noticed that there is a lot more to explore. This gives possibilities to discover future trends of eCommerce. It makes sense that in a time when everyone is stuck at home, due to multiple lockdowns, people start shopping online more often. As they are not able to go outside and visit a physical store. Therefore, they will have to adjust and shop online.
Technological developments as a future trend in eCommerce
Another thing that makes people feel more comfortable ordering online is that many shops offer to try out the outfits you order. When they arrive at your home you have the option to send it back if you don’t like it or when the size is not right. But, an ongoing trend of people shopping online was already going on before we ever heard of COVID-19, for example, many online shops have become more advanced with the possibility to try on clothing and accessories from home with the use of virtual reality. What we have also noticed is that there are a lot of people that are uploading videos on YouTube and other platforms that explain the future trends of eCommerce, but most importantly how to start and set up your own eCommerce website.
Insights on the future trends of eCommerce
A 2019 study by Bain & Company, “Riding the Digital Wave” made some predictions which were expected to be reached in 2025. The shocking outcome was that the prediction of having 310 million digital consumers in South East Asia for 2025 was reached near the end of 2020 already. Of course, we have to take into account the pandemic. This has kept many people at home during the lockdown, which certainly has increased the number of digital consumers. But, this growth is huge and shows that there is a lot of potential in this digital market. Even before the pandemic, there was an upwards trend in online shopping. For example, the food delivery industry. These are some really interesting insights of the future trends of eCommerce to keep an eye on.
The rise of eCommerce during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to work from home, causing people around the world to become more connected to the internet. Many companies were forced to start up their online eCommerce stores to stay active online and meet the changing consumer demands as people were unable to reach or visit physical stores during specific lockdown periods. This proved that more stores around the world needed an active online presence to survive in the growing online market, or else their physical store(s) would simply have to close down along with their business.
Future customer behaviour trends of eCommerce
As the growth has increased so rapidly the changes and developments have been easy to notice. When we are looking at customer behaviour we can see that people purchase products in more different categories than before. One of the reasons for this is that they are becoming more comfortable buying products online and they also trust online shopping more. Purchasing processes have become easier as people have gotten more familiar with online shopping thanks to new technology innovations that have emerged to make online shopping smarter and easier through using artificial intelligence to communicate with customers, using virtual reality to see virtual showrooms/stores, and more. Customers are becoming more open to switching brands if they have a bad experience shopping online, but reliability along with a great value offering can still generate more returning customers. Therefore, offering a superior customer experience is more vital than ever to stay ahead of the competition that may be selling the same or a similar product/service.
Shopify market share growth during the Pandemic in 2020
Growing eCommerce platforms
To introduce this section, we will use Shopify as our example. Shopify is a commerce platform that allows users to quickly and easily launch an online commerce business to sell to customers online, wherever they are. It is best known as a store-builder with easy customisation options through its app store and APIs. This stock analysis shown below presents the size and growth of Shopify – going from about $404 on the 1st of January 2020 to around $1132 on December 31st 2020. Comparing this to the growth it had from the start of the company in January 2016 until the end of 2019 it only grew from $23 to $400. To conclude this analysis, it took Shopify almost 4 years to get from $23 to $400, but in 2020 it managed to grow from $400 to about $1132 in only one year.
Besides Shopify, there are some other big players like WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a customisable, open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress. With the combination of WooCommerce with WordPress, you can start to build your online eCommerce store. Note that with the WordPress platform, it is advised to have your WordPress website hosted on a web hosting provider, along with buying your custom domain name and getting an SSL certificate to support the security of your website all separately. Along with WordPress, there are also some other good alternative platforms like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, BigCommerce, Volusion, and Prestashop.
Top-performing categories in 2022
Let’s take a look at the future trends of eCommerce and compare the top-performing categories of 2022 in the eCommerce business. We noticed that products for the house & garden are very popular, as well as food and last but not least sports & outdoor. Which makes a lot of sense looking at the situation we have been living in with the worldwide pandemic going on. People are having to stay at home and are looking for things to do such as playing sports in the garden like badminton, volleyball, etc. But, walking is becoming very popular as well. So, people decide to buy some proper shoes to make sure their feet are supported very well. People want to stay active and walking in nature gives them the daily activity they are looking for.
Next to this, it is an ideal opportunity to work on the house and garden as there is more time left than ever before. People decide to buy tools to paint the house, equipment to make something themselves or buy furniture to decorate the house. They are getting creative and trying out things for their house to kill the time they have to spend at home. And then of course the food delivery that is becoming a nice option for people that prefer not to go to the supermarket as there is always a risk of catching the COVID-19 virus. Nowadays, many supermarkets are offering delivery services. It is possible to just do your grocery shopping online and it will be delivered sometimes even on the same day. But, also ordering meals for dinner is a good option as people don’t want to cook and cannot get out to have dinner at the restaurant they like.
More top-performing categories to know
Many retail shops are closed for a long time already and it is a big question when they will be able to open again in many countries. But, an ongoing trend of ordering online was already discovered before the pandemic. We expect this trend to continue for 2022 as well since it is not looking like we will get back to normal very soon. Even if we get back to normal this year there will still be some damage that has to be repaired.
Online food delivery services as an eCommerce trend
Another eCommerce trend worth noting is online food delivery platforms, both on mobile apps and websites, that offer restaurants to showcase their food menus on their platform in exchange for a certain fee. This way, more food companies or restaurants can be exposed to more customers through people finding their restaurants on their mobile phones and desktop computers. This trend has surged especially during the COVID-19 pandemic period when people are advised to order food deliveries to eat at home rather than out at restaurants. Especially for food as there are more and more companies that are offering to deliver the food to the customer’s house. With applications like Grab, Uber eats, Foodpanda, and many more it becomes easier for restaurants to offer these services. It is very straightforward to set up the delivery service. Just place your products on the platform. In return, the application asks for a certain fee for providing the opportunity to sell your dishes.
Top performing companies
The leading eCommerce platforms in Thailand
Let’s take a look at the best-performing websites in the most popular categories from last year. We have found some really interesting data from the companies in the highlighted categories and we will give a nice overview in some tables below to make it more clear. Especially for food as there are more and more companies that are offering to deliver the food to the customer’s house. With applications like Grab, Uber eats, Foodpanda, and many more it becomes easier for restaurants to offer these services. It is very straightforward to set up the delivery service. Just place your products on the platform. In return, the application asks for a certain fee for providing the opportunity to sell your dishes.
Leveraging website strategies for eCommerce success
A core reason why online eCommerce websites have seen success in today’s digital age is due to their offering of a wide range of products while still maintaining competitive prices – large eCommerce websites such as Shopee and Lazada are great examples of this eCommerce success. In exchange for providing a platform for the sellers, they receive a certain amount or percentage of money. Shopee and Lazada are most used in Thailand because they have a very quick delivery times. As research has shown, the most important factors for a customer to return to buy from you are the price, the product variety, delivery fees & delivery time. A core reason why online eCommerce websites have seen success in today’s digital age is due to their offering of a wide range of products while still maintaining competitive prices – large eCommerce websites such as Shopee and Lazada are great examples of this eCommerce success.
How do these companies drive their traffic to their website?
There are different ways of leading traffic to your website. There are some paid ways of driving traffic and some organic ways as well. Let’s take a look at the most popular ways of advertising online. The first thing eCommerce companies should do when they build a website is to create a website. That website should be an eye-catcher and stand out from the others. After having created an awesome website, it is time to work on SEO. This is one of the most important, if not the most important, things to do. If you optimise your website with SEO, it will be much easier for customers to find you on the internet.
It is a way of organic traffic. This means you don’t have to spend any money. A way to explain this is that if you don’t use any SEO on your website, people will only be able to find you by typing your company name. But, this will most certainly be ranked really low. Another way is by typing in the domain of the website to land on the website. This is very good and important because they are looking for a certain answer or topic. So, if you provide them with the answer they will be likely to take a look at what else you are offering on your website.
There are different ways of leading traffic to your website. There are some paid ways of driving traffic and some organic ways as well. Let’s take a look at the most popular ways of advertising online. By optimising your pages with good keywords that have a lot of volumes and low competition, you will be able to rank for certain keywords. So, if someone searches for a certain keyword that you have implemented on your website, it will be much easier to find your company’s site. Another way of using SEO is by writing articles about topics that relate to your company. By using keywords and optimising the article, people will see your article in the search engine results, which will lead them to your website.
Data Analytics Tools
One of the most reliable and trusted data analytics tools that we recommend using is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is Google’s own web analytics service that allows you to track your website traffic through Google’s reports. Through Google Analytics, you can track a wide range of demographics such as age, gender, location, language, and even what kind of mobile devices your audience are on while visiting your website. Google Analytics also provides detailed website traffic insights, such as how you acquired your web traffic through organic search, direct search, website referrals, and social traffic from social media platforms.
We also have Google Ads as a tool. This might be the most powerful way of leading traffic to your website. As Google is the biggest and most used search engine in the world. You can implement your Google Analytics on your website. In this way, you will receive all useful information about the behaviour of your website visitors. Now you can see what to improve on and how to better target your audience. With the data analysed on Google Analytics, you can create advertisements on Google Ads. These ads will be shown on Google itself in the top part of the search result page.
Another data analytics tool that we recommend, with more of a focus on social traffic, is Facebook. Facebook has advanced and detailed insights into our post’s impressions, engagements, and clicks from both our organic and paid Facebook advertising actions. Facebook also provides its own Facebook Pixel tool. Integrating the Facebook Pixel into your website allows you to receive valuable data to use to help you optimise your advertisements for Facebook – as there are a lot of active users on Facebook, with the biggest average age category being from ages 25 to 34.
With millions of daily active users, Facebook still populates a very large audience that fits most companies’ target groups. Facebook Ads has a lot of different options when it comes to advertisements, allowing you to choose from many different variables to focus on so that you can target a very specific audience by location, behaviour, interests, and more.
Gaining social traffic to your eCommerce website
Most of the big eCommerce websites have a very good marketing team. Which decides which strategy should be chosen. They have a huge marketing budget which allows them to experiment a lot as well. But, next to paid marketing there are also free options on Social Media. Social Media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc are recommended to be used. As you can build a customer base which attracts traffic to your website. Especially when you are able to gain a lot of followers on these Social Media platforms. The nice thing about Social Media is that you will be able to focus and target a certain audience. By posting about something that is related to your business and what people are interested in.
That is how you can create mouth-to-mouth or referral traffic. And even if you would like to create paid advertisements, you will be able to do so. The advertisements allow you to target a specific target group, so you will have a better chance to reach out to the right audience.
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