Ecommerce has existed for years, but it’s exploded in popularity in the last decade or so, with the percentage of retail sales happening online increasing rapidly.
Most major traditional retail companies have online stores, and there are all kinds of online-only businesses that exist. Some ecommerce stores are run entirely by one person, and some are massive operations with thousands of employees.
Online shopping is a normal part of life for many consumers. In the next few years, we can expect that it will become even more common.
If you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur or considering opening your own online retail business, it’s advantageous to explore the factors behind ecommerce’s success.
This article explains a few of the biggest reasons that can help to explain global ecommerce growth!
1. Increase in mobile device use
Mobile phones have contributed to more internet activity in general. Many people have a smartphone that allows for nearly constant internet access. Wherever you are, you can go online via your phone.
Online shopping is a popular way for consumers to pass the time on mobile devices. Browsing ecommerce stores is easier and more accessible than ever, which may be the greatest reason we’ve seen growth in online shopping. Well-designed mobile sites and apps tend to run faster and smoother than desktop sites, too.
Statista predicts that over 53% of all ecommerce sales will occur via mobile devices by the end of 2021. This data lines up with overall mobile trends from the last few years.
Mobile search engine use is also overtaking desktop search, and more and more people are turning to smartphones as their primary device for internet usage.
The rise in mobile browsing highlights the importance of mobile-friendly design, which is a trend that isn’t likely to disappear anytime in the near future for ecommerce.
For your business to take advantage of online shopping’s current popularity, it must be easy and enjoyable for customers to interact with your site on mobile devices. Keep this in mind if you’re in the process of designing or developing your retail website!
2. Data provided by consumer preference tracking
One of the most effective ways to increase sales and encourage customers to return to your shop is to personalize the experience. When the items displayed to the customer are tailored to their interests, they’ll be much more likely to make purchases.
Personalization is now easier than ever and allows for better marketing techniques. Advanced algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) can all play a role in observing and analyzing customer data.
Based on this information, this technology can determine which products the customer is most interested in. It can then create a unique shopping experience and tailored content for each of your site visitors to bolster your marketing efforts.
In brick-and-mortar retail stores, all customers have the same experience. They see the same products in the same layout, and they have to search for what they’re interested in.
As online commerce becomes more personalized, consumers will do more of their shopping on the internet, ensuring the continued growth of online sales.
3. Enhanced experience for customers
Online shopping can be a better experience for customers than in-person shopping for a number of reasons. As I mentioned previously, personalization is a major benefit of ecommerce.
You can create tailored recommendations for shoppers based on their browsing habits, which makes the experience more enjoyable for the customer. It also leads to more time spent on your site and higher sales.
Artificial intelligence chatbots are another recent advancement that has improved the online shopping process. In the early days of the internet, chatbots were usually clunky and ineffective. Today, they can quickly and easily help customers with most requests and concerns.
Being greeted by a chatbot when you click on a site is similar to being greeted by a store associate in a brick-and-mortar retail business. However, shoppers don’t feel pressured or obligated to interact because the AI isn’t a real person.
This absence of pressure allows for a more enjoyable experience when shopping for a product and often encourages more sales.
Chatbots make customer service much more convenient both for the store owner and the customer. Your site visitors don’t have to call with questions or wait for a response to an email. Instead, they can get immediate answers from the chatbot.
Multiple payment options have enhanced the customer experience as well. More and more online retail businesses are accepting alternative payment methods like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
These forms of payment are fast and secure, so they most likely have also played a role in increasing ecommerce sales in recent years.
4. Larger range of products available
Ecommerce stores have lower overhead costs than traditional retailers, which allows them to invest more money into products. It’s usually easier for online businesses to offer a wide range of products than it is for brick-and-mortar stores.
Offering a wider variety of items has become especially manageable with the rise in dropshipping usage.
With the dropshipping model, ecommerce retailers don’t have to stock their products themselves. Instead, whenever they make a sale, they purchase the item from a third-party seller and have the product shipped from a warehouse.
This style of business also reduces the risk of ecommerce retailers running out of items.
Traditional stores don’t have unlimited space to hold their stock. When they run out of a particular item, their customers can’t buy it from them. Ecommerce businesses that use dropshipping are far less likely to run out if their products are held in a massive warehouse.
5. Increase in smart speaker usage
Smart devices like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are becoming more popular year after year. It’s expected that the majority of American households will own a smart speaker within the next few years.
Although online shopping isn’t the most popular use of these devices, they do make shopping much more convenient!
Voice-activated speakers allow you to make purchases simply by talking to the device. The speaker walks you through the entire buying process using only voice commands.
This is much faster than manually typing in your search and your payment information. The added convenience of this technology has helped boost online sales around the world.
Smart speakers will probably be an especially popular way to purchase items like groceries, cleaning products, or office supplies as their usage continues to grow. These are the types of items that people often realize that they’re missing when they’re busy with other tasks.
When using your phone to shop online, you have to take out your phone, type in the products, and enter your credit card number. However, with a smart speaker, you can simply ask your smart device to buy the items and then carry on with the task at hand.
Many people are still concerned about accuracy and security when it comes to shopping via a smart device. For this reason, the trend hasn’t quite caught on everywhere yet.
However, it’s very possible that smart devices will soon be a massive contributor to the growth of the ecommerce industry.
6. Integration of social media
In recent years, social media has taken over the internet. Most people have at least one social media account, and many internet users check their social profiles every day.
Social media has gradually become connected to so many aspects of our lives, including shopping. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places for brands to advertise, for shoppers to ask questions, and for customers to leave reviews.
As more people spend more time on social media, the general public’s exposure to the ecommerce industry will increase.
Social media provides new digital marketing opportunities for brands to connect on a more personal level with their customers, strengthening digital commerce and ecommerce efforts alike. It’s a direct line of contact between you and your audience, and it’s a chance for your brand to establish its image and better market to shoppers.
The vast majority of ecommerce retailers have at least one social media profile. If your business doesn't already have a social media presence, creating one is a good way to get involved in the current ecommerce boom.
7. Convenience of online shopping
The convenience of online shopping is unparalleled, and more consumers realize the benefits each year. Online stores never close, so customers can browse at all hours.
You can shop online on holidays or in the middle of the night. You never have to worry about crowds of people or long checkout lines.
Another reason ecommerce is ideal for customers is because it requires no travel. As soon as you have an interest in buying something, you can browse the internet for it. You don’t have to spend time driving to the store, so it offers instant gratification.
You also don’t have to physically wander around a store looking for an item when you shop online. Typing a keyword into a search bar is much easier than searching for a product in a brick-and-mortar store. If you want to compare items from different online stores, all you have to do is open a new tab.
Convenience is the top priority for many consumers. If an ecommerce site is well-designed and easy to navigate, the shopping process is faster, simpler, and more streamlined. This does put some extra pressure on ecommerce businesses, though.
Customers expect a quick and easy shopping experience. If your site isn’t designed with the user in mind, you may have a difficult time attracting and keeping visitors.
8. Low cost of running an online store
Ecommerce isn’t just expanding because more consumers are purchasing from online stores. In the last few years, the number of ecommerce entrepreneurs has massively increased, too.
Opening an online shop is usually much easier than opening a traditional retail business. You don’t have to pay for a storefront or for utilities.
Depending on the size of the business, you may not even need to hire other employees. Operational costs for ecommerce stores are a fraction of the expenses for brick-and-mortar stores.
Because the overhead is so inexpensive, starting an ecommerce business is relatively low risk. It does require some investment, but it’s not nearly as much of a commitment as opening a physical storefront.
What’s more, you can also devote a larger portion of your financial resources to developing your products and your marketing strategy.
With the attraction of a comparatively low level of commitment, it’s easy to see why global ecommerce growth has exploded!
9. More interest in sustainability
Ethics and sustainability are popular topics in retail shopping right now. Many consumers, especially younger ones, prefer to shop from brands that use eco-friendly practices.
A 2018 report from Statista describes how 63% of respondents were okay with paying more money for clothing or footwear crafted using eco-friendly materials.
With the many eco-friendly processes and supplies available, it’s clear why customers may limit their search for a product to one created by sustainable businesses.
One of the most important considerations with sustainability in ecommerce is shipping. Biodegradable or recyclable packaging and supplies are a big selling point for environmentally-conscious shoppers. Paperless communication and ethical sourcing of products are ideal, too.
Online shoppers can browse businesses from all over the world. If they’re concerned about sustainability, they’ll buy from a store that aligns with those values.
Ecommerce businesses can include a section on their website that explains their sustainable practices, which can win over many customers and help to increase revenue.
Ecommerce’s growth has increased steadily along with the internet. The last 5 to 10 years have been especially important for the ecommerce industry. This is due to smartphones, AI, and other new technology making browsing the internet easier than ever.
Despite the uncertainties of a global pandemic, ecommerce is still going strong.
If you’re an ecommerce retailer, it’s important to pay attention to new trends in the industry. Notice the reasons that online shopping is becoming more popular, and make sure that your business is taking full advantage of them.
Convenience and accessibility are the primary benefits that draw people to ecommerce. To capitalize on the growth of ecommerce, your online store needs to be both convenient and accessible for your target audience.
Fortunately, it doesn’t look like the factors contributing to ecommerce’s growth are going away anytime soon. Mobile devices and social media are here to stay, and technology like AI and machine learning are still in their early days.
There’s an excellent chance that we haven’t even seen the peak of the ecommerce industry yet.
If you’re interested in launching your own online store, you won’t want to miss out on joining forces with the WiziShop ecommerce solution.
In the next few months, you’ll be able to sign up with the English version of our platform and create your own high-quality, professional ecommerce website. Be sure to visit our homepage and provide your email address to sign up for early access and email updates!