Top 10 eCommerce Trends Executives Must Know in 2023

Ecommerce is entering a new era of innovation and growth driven by technology, changing consumer habits, and macroeconomic shifts. As an ecommerce executive, staying on top of the latest trends is critical for futureproofing your business.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll overview the 10 most important ecommerce trends you need to know for 2023 and provide data-backed strategic recommendations to help you adapt.

1. Ecommerce Growth Remains Strong Globally

The ecommerce industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade. And despite its massive size, ecommerce continues to expand at double-digit rates:

  • Global ecommerce sales will reach nearly $7 trillion by 2025, reflecting a 11.5% CAGR Statista
  • 10 countries make up 90% of sales, but emerging markets are catching up quickly. China generates 50%+ of all ecommerce transactions Business Insider
  • Mature markets like North America and Western Europe are growing around 10% annually. However, emerging regions like Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East are seeing 20%+ growth. eMarketer

Strategic Takeaway: The macro growth story remains strong. While you should maintain focus on major markets like the US and China, expanding internationally into high-growth emerging markets can unlock the next wave of revenue growth.

Global retail ecommerce sales 2016-2025

Global retail ecommerce sales 2016-2025

Chart showing global ecommerce sales rising from $1.8 trillion in 2016 to projected $6.4 trillion by 2025

2. Asia Pacific Leads in Emerging Ecommerce Markets

While China still accounts for the majority of ecommerce globally, emerging APAC markets will be the fastest growing over the next 5 years:

  • India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines set to grow 25-30% annually Forrester
  • Young demographics, increased internet and mobile access expanding reach
  • Adoption of mobile payments like GCash (Philippines), GoPay (Indonesia) also driving growth by removing friction
  • Global players like Amazon and payments apps like PayPal expanding aggressively across Asia
  • Plus fast-growing local leaders like Flipkart, Tokopedia, Lazada capturing share

Strategic Takeaway: APAC‘s youthful digital-native consumers make it the standout growth opportunity. Winning here requires building your brand locally with tailored catalog, payments options and fast shipping.

Emerging APAC markets lead ecommerce growth

Emerging APAC Markets Ecommerce Growth

Chart showing 25%+ projected ecommerce growth for India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines

3. Customer Acquisition Costs Are Rising

The growing competition among ecommerce retailers is driving up the cost of customer acquisition:

  • Paying for ads on platforms like Facebook and Google is up over 50% YoY as retailers fight for traffic Forbes
  • Thousands of new online stores launch every month, further intensifying competition
  • The average order value for new customers is declining as shoppers spread purchases across retailers

This trend is reflected in rising customer acquisition costs:

  • Customer acquisition costs grew 12% YoY in 2021 DataWeave with paid advertising being the largest cost bucket
  • Top DTC brands spent $233 on average to acquire each new customer in 2021, up from $214 in 2020 DataWeave

Strategic Takeaway: Standing out from the crowd is getting pricier in paid digital channels. Retaining and maximizing lifetime value of existing customers through loyalty programs, personalized experiences becomes even more critical.

4. Conversational Commerce via Chatbots Enhances Service & Sales

Chatbots and conversational interfaces are revolutionizing customer service and product discovery:

  • Chatbots can reduce customer service costs by 75% through 24/7 automated support Haptik
  • 60% of B2B and 45% of B2C companies use chatbots to qualify leads, resolve issues, recommend products and more ThriveMyWay
  • Integrations with payment systems, order tracking, product catalogs enable seamless transactions
  • Leading retailers like H&M are rolling out chatbots across web, mobile apps and messaging apps

The business impact speaks for itself:

  • $7.5M in revenue generated for Levi‘s by their virtual stylist chatbot AVA Bold360
  • 20% increase in order value for Sephora customers engaging with chatbot Bold360

Strategic Takeaway: Chatbots are becoming the new face of customer service – deploy AI-powered bots across your touchpoints to boost conversions and lower overhead. Prioritize integrations like payments that remove friction.

5. Mobile Commerce Accounts for Majority of Ecommerce

Mobile shopping continues to gain dominance as customers increasingly use their devices to shop on-the-go:

  • Over 70% of ecommerce transactions now happen via mobile apps Statista
  • Time spent shopping online via apps was 80%+ in 2021 vs only 50% in 2017 Statista
  • Apps provide unique capabilities like push notifications, location integration, AR camera that boost engagement

Leading retailers now see 60-70%+ of sales coming from mobile channels:

  • 60% of transactions for Domino‘s happen via mobile app Fortune
  • 70%+ of Birchbox‘s sales come through mobile YourStory

Strategic Takeaway: While mobile-friendly websites remain important, future-focused customer experiences will happen in apps. Invest in your mobile presence – build a shopping app with compelling features beyond basic transactions.

6. Augmented Reality Provides Virtual Product Experiences

Augmented reality technology that superimposes digital objects in the real-world is gaining traction:

  • 71% of shoppers want retailers to leverage AR so they can visualize products at home Threekit
  • While only ~1% of retailers have deployed AR, early results show 2X conversion lift Threekit
  • AR enables virtual try-ons, place furniture in a room, digitally test makeup, see sneaker designs in 3D

Sephora saw high engagement for its AR-powered virtual try-on:

  • 32% of users activated AR while browsing lipstick Reuters
  • Those who did were 11X more likely to make a purchase than other app visitors Reuters

Strategic Takeaway: AR is an emerging technology, but early movers can gain advantage. Test applications like virtual dressing rooms for higher value categories like furniture, jewelry, eyewear.

7. Alternative & Emerging Payments Expand Options

While cards remain popular, consumers want the flexibility of additional payment methods:

  • 46% of customers prefer retailers that offer multiple payment options PWC
  • BNPL payments are booming in popularity, especially for higher ticket items. Transaction volume to exceed $100B in 2022 CNBC
  • Digital wallets like Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay simplify mobile checkout

Providing preferred payment methods boosts conversion rates:

  • Klarna increased conversion 27% for Lulus by offering pay-in-4 installments BusinessWire
  • Afterpay helped Fenty Beauty drive 2X higher average order value Business Insider

Strategic Takeaway: One-click checkout and flexibility matter more than ever. Offer multiple payment options – installments, digital wallets, cryptocurrency – to remove friction and boost conversions.

8. Personalized Experiences Drive Engagement

Today‘s consumers expect relevant, tailored recommendations and offers:

  • 30% of consumers are willing to spend more for personalized products/services PWC
  • AI algorithms analyze past purchases, browsing history and more to surface product recommendations
  • Retailers like Amazon attribute 35%+ of revenue to their recommendation engine McKinsey

Personalization provides measurable sales lifts:

Strategic Takeaway: Treat every interaction as an opportunity to provide relevant suggestions based on each customer‘s unique interests and behavior. Invest in data infrastructure and personalization engines.

9. Visual & Voice Commerce Are Rising Discovery Channels

Product discovery is moving beyond typed search as consumers embrace new interfaces:

  • Image searches drive 22%+ of Google queries, especially shopping searches Semrush
  • Voice assistants like Alexa in over 120M+ US households enable voice-initiated purchases Statista

Winning on these emerging platforms requires new optimizations:

  • Detailed image alt text helps search engines understand product photos
  • Conversationally-written product descriptions improve visibility for voice queries

Casper saw a 20X higher click-through rate after optimizing for image search on Google Blue Acorn

Strategic Takeaway: Optimize both visual elements like product photos and conversational voice search snippets to boost discoverability across touchpoints.

10. Sustainability Influences Purchase Decisions

Consumers increasingly factor sustainability and ethical values into buying decisions:

  • 75% of consumers care about fair worker treatment when choosing a retailer PWC
  • 73% consider environmental impact of supply chain and operations PWC
  • 72% look at diversity, equity and inclusion practices before buying PWC

Transparency and progress around ESG issues is now a competitive necessity:

  • Buyers willing to pay 10%+ premium for sustainable products IBM
  • Companies like Patagonia that lead in environmental and social impact benefit from loyalty

Strategic Takeaway: Mission and values now weigh heavily alongside price and quality. Companies must demonstrate commitment to ESG throughout their operations and supply chain.

Key Strategic Takeaways for Ecommerce Executives

The ecommerce landscape is shifting dramatically as new technologies empower consumers. While the overall outlook remains highly positive, simply having an online store is no longer enough to stay competitive.

Here are my key recommendations based on the top trends:

  • Invest in owned mobile apps and conversational commerce to provide next-gen buying experiences
  • Expand into high-growth Asia Pacific markets with locally-relevant strategies
  • Counter rising digital ad costs by maximizing lifetime value of existing customers
  • Leverage AI and data-driven platforms to deliver personalized, relevant interactions
  • Optimize for emerging discovery channels like visual and voice search
  • Commit to ethical values like sustainability and inclusion that align with buyer priorities
  • Test emerging tech like AR and payments that remove friction and boost engagement

Ecommerce leaders who stay agile and forward-looking will be best positioned to acquire, convert and retain digitally-powered customers in 2023. I hope this guide provides valuable directional insights as you shape your ecommerce strategy. Please reach out if you would like to further discuss any of these trends or recommendations. I‘m excited to see how the top players in this space will continue innovating to push the ecommerce industry into the future.

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