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E-commerce Trends 2024
Apr 9, 2024

E-commerce Trends 2024: 10 Insights for the Future of Online Shopping

E-commerce and digital marketplaces are fast-paced and constantly evolving, so what trends can online retailers expect going into 2024?

Despite the return of in-person shopping, e-commerce remains strong. In fact, experts project global retail e-commerce sales to rise from about $6 trillion to over $8 trillion by 2026.

With this growth, competition intensifies. To differentiate themselves, online retailers must provide outstanding, personalized customer experiences. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of industry trends and consumer behaviors influencing e-commerce.

10 Trends Shaping the Future of Online Shopping Today

E-commerce is changing at an unprecedented rate, and understanding the trends shaping its future is crucial for online retailers aiming to excel in 2024.

1. Seamless Omnichannel Experiences Will Make or Break Retailers

In 2023, consumers embraced returning to in-person shopping, but this didn’t diminish e-commerce. Instead, customers are now shopping across various channels and touchpoints for each purchase. They browse online shops, third-party marketplaces, social media apps, and brick-and-mortar stores. And they expect a smooth shopping experience with minimal disruptions.

Statistics show that 73% of retail consumers shop across multiple channels, and retailers using three or more channels increase customer engagement by 251% compared to single-channel retailers.

To deliver a cohesive brand experience, retailers must maintain a presence on all online platforms, including their website, social media, and third-party marketplaces like Amazon. They also need to optimize the omnichannel customer experience by integrating backend operations, ensuring customers can seamlessly continue their journey regardless of where they start.

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2. Conversational Commerce Gets More Human

Gone are the days of robotic and awkward chatbot experiences. Thanks to generative AI and LLMs, conversational commerce is becoming more human. Interactions with chatbots for service inquiries, product questions, and more, now feel personalized and natural.

Chatbots are enhancing online shopping with conversational AI and first-party data, replicating the best in-store interactions across all digital channels. They simplify product searches, offer personalized responses, and streamline purchases for a seamless experience across digital platforms.

As technology progresses, this trend will continue to grow. Intelligent AI chatbots provide customers with better self-service experiences, making shopping more enjoyable. This is crucial, as 68% of customers say they wouldn’t use a company’s chatbot again if they had a bad experience.

3. Headless Commerce Revolutionizes E-commerce Operations

The trend of headless commerce is rapidly gaining traction in the business world. This modular architecture enables ecommerce teams to introduce new experiences more swiftly.

Unlike traditional setups, where any changes to the back-end systems require developer intervention, headless commerce allows employees to update online interfaces using APIs and other user-friendly tools.

According to a study by Salesforce, retail businesses are already using headless commerce:

  • 76% state that it offers more flexibility and customization
  • 72% report that it increases agility, enabling teams to make storefront changes faster
  • 66% find that it improves integration between different systems

Customers are also benefiting from headless commerce. They are experiencing fresher experiences more frequently across all devices and touchpoints. Moreover, headless commerce leads to richer personalization, enhanced omnichannel experiences, and optimized performance for ecommerce websites.

4. Subscription Models: A Boon Across Industries

The subscription business model has seen widespread adoption across various sectors, from streaming platforms to food, clothing, and pet supplies.

In 2023, subscriptions generated over $38 billion in revenue, doubling over the past four years. This surge in popularity can be attributed to the mutually beneficial nature of subscriptions: they offer customers freedom of choice while providing businesses with a continuous revenue stream.

This growth trajectory indicates that subscriptions are not just a passing trend but a fundamental shift in consumer behavior. As more industries explore and adopt subscription models, businesses are finding new ways to engage with customers and build long-term relationships.

Additionally, the subscription model’s ability to generate recurring revenue provides businesses with stability and predictability, making it an attractive proposition in an ever-changing market landscape.

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5. The Mobile Revolution in E-commerce UX Design

Remember the time when mobile-optimized websites were the next big thing? However, over the past decade or so, mobile commerce has skyrocketed in popularity and convenience.

The landscape has shifted significantly. Brands now prioritize mobile-first experiences over merely optimizing desktop sites for mobile users. For example, 91% of consumers now purchase online on their smartphones.    

And in 2024, mobile commerce is projected to represent 40.4% of all e-commerce sales. By 2025, mobile commerce will account for $710 billion (or 10.4% of all retail transactions).

Consumers consistently demonstrate their preference for shopping via mobile devices. Therefore, digital retailers must deliver experiences tailored specifically for mobile platforms:

  • Incorporate fingerprint and facial recognition technology for streamlined login and checkout processes
  • Develop dedicated mobile apps with e-commerce features optimized for smaller screens
  • Offer mobile-friendly payment options, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, to enhance the checkout experience

6. The Rise of ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) + BOPIS (Buy Online, Pay In-Store)

As consumers increasingly combine their online and offline shopping experiences, retailers face challenges in tracking the impact of their virtual UX on physical sales.

ROPO (research online, purchase offline) is a growing trend where consumers conduct product research online but make their purchases in-store. This trend highlights the importance of a seamless omnichannel experience. Similarly, BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and curbside delivery options simplify shopping.   

However, scaling these services can pose significant challenges for retailers. It requires them to quickly adapt traditional stores into efficient fulfillment centers to meet consumer demands.

Fortunately, data analytics and AI advancements enable retailers to better understand and map out customer journeys. Retailers who invest in a unified customer data platform can stay ahead of the curve and effectively navigate these e-commerce trends.

CrediLink by TechBlocks accelerates revenue growth for digital retail and e-commerce by unifying digital financing and payments.  It seamlessly integrates multiple options like buy now pay later (BNPL) and bill payment into one intelligent solution, providing essential intelligence and control for retailers.

Integrating CrediLink into your existing e-commerce platform is a seamless headless experience, powering online, mobile, and in-store financing opportunities through a single API-driven platform.

7. Augmented and Virtual Reality to Enhance Online Shopping

One of the biggest hurdles for online shoppers is the inability to physically try products or visualize how they will fit into their lives. Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) have revolutionized this aspect by enabling shoppers to visualize and interact with products before making a purchase where:

  • Shoppers can virtually “try on” clothes and makeup using their smartphones
  • AR allows them to see how furniture and home appliances will look in their spaces
  • VR showrooms enable shoppers to interact with products virtually, even customizing them before buying, as demonstrated by Audi’s Oculus experience.

A survey conducted by Snap/Publicis Media revealed that 80% of shoppers feel more confident in their purchases when using these technologies, and 66% of AR users are less likely to return their purchases. Studies suggest that retail businesses that deploy AR in their operations will witness: 

E-commerce Trends 2024: 10 Insights for the Future of Online Shopping

While AR and VR have made significant strides in recent years, the potential of these immersive technologies is only just beginning to be realized. Expect e-commerce businesses in all industries to introduce augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality experiences in 2024.

8. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Drives E-commerce Innovation

Love it or hate it, AI has become a permanent fixture in the e-commerce landscape. While AI has been a valuable tool for e-commerce for some time, its mainstream adoption in 2023, particularly with generative AI, showcased its transformative power.

As AI continues to proliferate, it’s evident why it ranks as the #2 trend in 2024 for e-commerce. For online retailers, AI offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Personalizing customer experiences and recommendations
  • Optimizing supply chain logistics and inventory management
  • Fine-tuning digital commerce strategies to reach target audiences more effectively

Most businesses (97.2%) are investing in big data and AI, with 91% of top businesses reporting ongoing investments that they aim to increase. Retailers that remain hesitant about AI and machine learning may be disadvantaged.

Rather than shying away from AI, integrate it thoughtfully and intentionally into your 2024 e-commerce strategy. Understand the potential risks, build trust through transparency, and proactively address common challenges to fully leverage the power of AI in e-commerce.

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9. The High Demand for Personalization

As AI continues to revolutionize e-commerce, its impact on personalization is especially significant. Consumers are increasingly aware of AI’s capabilities and expect businesses to use it to enhance their shopping experiences.

For instance, 24% of consumers believe retailers should leverage AI to offer more personalized recommendations. When customers allow businesses to use their data, they expect to receive hyper-personalized, curated experiences. This includes guiding them to products based on their past purchases, behavior, and engagement across different channels. It also means providing personalized rewards through loyalty programs and reaching them with targeted messaging on their preferred channels.

Retailers who fail to deliver tailored experiences risk losing customers. However, success in personalization also hinges on customer trust in data practices. Which takes us to…

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10. Privacy and Transparency: Key Principles for E-commerce

While customers look for personalized experiences, they are equally concerned about privacy and transparency in data practices.

By the end of 2024, Gartner predicts that 75% of the global population will have their personal data protected by privacy regulations. Companies that violate these regulations face significant fines and legal repercussions.

Moreover, businesses that breach customer trust, particularly regarding personal data, risk losing customers permanently and receiving negative reviews. Therefore, data privacy and transparency should be central to any personalization or customer experience strategy in e-commerce.

Maintaining customer trust must remain a top priority as companies embrace new AI capabilities and hyper-personalization strategies.

Wrapping Up

When retail businesses combine these e-commerce trends with valuable technology insights, they can make significant strides in gaining traction and boosting sales. Investing in areas that enhance the customer shopping experience can yield substantial returns in the long run.

And working with a partner like TechBlocks will make everything easier, regardless of the complexity of your needs. At TechBlocks, we abide by principles that prioritize business problem-solving and ease of operation while providing flexibility for the future.   

And the best part is that TechBlocks has entered into a strategic partnership with BigCommerce, solidifying a dynamic alliance to revolutionize e-commerce endeavors. This collaboration is poised to bring innovative solutions and drive unparalleled growth for online retailers worldwide.

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Want to learn more about how TechBlocks can help your online retail business?

About the Author

Kevin Gordon

Born in Technology, Raised in Marketing – This is the one-liner Kevin uses to describe his 20+ year career. Kevin is our Director of Marketing and joined the team in 2021, coming from technology start-up, SkipTheDishes.

Starting out in technology, Kevin has a unique blend of technical and marketing experience, with experience as a computer hardware technician, web designer, programmer, Windows & Linux systems administrator, and product development manager, which has allowed Kevin to lead a team of high-performing developers and systems administrators to build integrated omnichannel marketing & sales technology platforms used in retail stores across Canada and the USA.

In addition to his technology background, Kevin has 12+ years of progressive data-driven marketing experience in B2B and B2C industries, including legal, retail, agency, financial technology and more, with over eight years of direct leadership experience in marketing roles.

Kevin has education in Diversity & Inclusion from Cornell University, Business Administration and Project Management from Red River College and additional formal training in Change Management and Business Analysis.

Kevin Gordon