The current state of online retail has been adapting to accommodate the fast-paced changes in customer behavior.
Factors such as prolonged lockdowns and the prevalence of work-from-home setups have encouraged consumers to veer towards practicality and convenience.
Just as the types of products consumers have been buying has changed due to the shift of daily lifestyle, so has the ways that they choose to make purchases in the online space.
As retailers look to keep up with the demands of their customers, understanding some of the following trends can help brands make choices that bring themselves closer to the customers they want.
1. Purchasing through Social Media
Social media has steadily become a staple in our daily lives for well over a decade now, and social media marketplaces aren’t a new trend either. Since social media giants like Facebook or Instagram boast over hundreds of millions of users, it makes sense to incorporate a system of commerce from inside the applications themselves so that users don’t have to go to external websites.
As a result, social commerce has emerged as one of the foremost channels for online shoppers to make purchases. Since 2015, social commerce has been gaining traction, but it’s during the lockdowns that it seems to have swelled beyond previous expectations.
In 2021, social commerce generated around a sum of $475 billion in revenue, prompting brands to notice the swift change in customer preferences. Retailers have now incorporated social commerce as an integral part of their e-commerce push, and are spending 74% more on social media ads in 2021 as compared with 2020.
2. Mobile is Leading The Way
Mobile devices have been currently leading the way as the most used medium for online purchases. As of 2022, mobile phones are responsible for 49% of online purchases, with desktop computers coming in second with 43% and tablets with 8%.
There’s a strong connection between social commerce & mobile commerce – 93% of mobile consumers prefer to purchase products from within social media applications as opposed to browsers, which helps shed light on why the preferential move to social commerce is not an isolated event.
With mobile phones & social commerce expected to continue dominating the total shares of online sales throughout 2022 and beyond, retailers would be wise to invest in increasing their visibility on social media marketplaces, and refining their UI for a pleasant mobile experience.
3. Declining Brand Loyalty
An interesting byproduct of online retail is that consumers have been more inclined to try new brands. One reason for the change is that buyers are prioritizing necessity and price, two things that some brands may not always represent the best of.
Convenience also plays a huge role in the decline of brand loyalty, since customers have found that many substitute brands that cover & operate in the e-commerce space are more experienced, welcoming, and reliable than older brands who have struggled to make the jump.
One example of a feature customers have looked for in their previously trusted brands is BOPIS (“Buy Online Pick-up In Store), which has become an important factor of a holistic ecommerce ecosystem. Currently, 59% of consumers are interested in BOPIS setups, wherein 64% of them have preferred to buy online and pick-up in store since the pandemic.
4. Combining In-Store & Online Shopping
With physical stores & online marketplaces growing at their own individual paces, the stabilization of the pandemic seems to be signaling a future where the two facets of retail become more connected rather than fragmented.
Customers will emerge in the new-normal with more experience in the e-commerce space, but may also retain the interest for live & physical social interaction through in-store experiences.
Thus, with their newfound tech savvy, it’s likely that three customer groups will emerge: customers that will prefer in-store transactions, customers that will mix both in-store and online shopping, and customers who will remain in the e-commerce space.
For now, with in-store shopping still uncertain in many parts of the world, one of the ways retailers have bridged the gap between online and offline is through BOPIS or Click & Collect.
5. Healthy & Sustainable Shopping
The entrance of Gen-Z in the e-commerce space has also contributed greatly to how retailers should holistically view their customers. Being a new subgroup in the retail customer ecosystem, Gen-Z shoppers have been shown to prioritize healthy and sustainable brands more than their predecessors.
Gen-Z shoppers reportedly spend less, with only 19% willing to spend on credit compared to the 30% of Millennials. However, their spending habits are consistent with the alignment of their shopping values – 73% of Gen-Z consumers are said to be willing to pay 10% more for products that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
6. Personalized Experiences
Since convenience has been one of the topmost priorities of customers, personalized shopping experiences are important if retailers want to increase customer retention and satisfaction. Around 66% of consumers now expect brands to understand their needs.
Online shoppers expect brands to take note of historical purchasing data, and are biased to retailers who are quick to present content that makes each subsequent purchase easier.
For as long as consumers continue to stay online, brands should look to create targeted recommendations for customers, and invest in analyzing customer data & information data to better inform themselves as to how they can make each shopping experience different from one customer to the next. This differentiation of customer experience – one that is individualized and unique per consumer can spell the difference whether one brand can stand out from the rest of the competition or not.
With these in mind, it’s important to recognize that e-commerce is an extremely fast paced industry, and the introduction of new technologies can happen faster than one can realize.
Mobile & social commerce may be leading the pack in terms of the mediums preferred by online buyers today, but a slight nudge in a customer’s environment tomorrow can tip their preference elsewhere yet again.
Behavioral changes in customer’s shopping preferences is no different – since technological changes affect the way customers interact and incorporate the machinery around them, the bottom-line is that retailers should always be on the lookout for how consumers are evolving.
Looking to give your customers the best shopping experience possible? Sign up here and get a 14-day free trial of Omnirio today!
Want to know more about Omnirio? Got any questions for our team? Book a demo with us!