Ecommerce Futurescape: Trends for 2024 and Beyond

Worldwide ecommerce revenue is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10% reaching 3.4bn users and a market volume of US$4,991bn by 2028. Amidst the steady growth, staying ahead of trends is paramount for businesses aiming to capture a larger share of this expansive market.

As we embark on a new year, we compiled our predictions around key ecommerce trends set to take center stage together with the technologies that will fuel them. Proactive engagement with these trends will be pivotal for brands aspiring to excel and secure a prominent place in the global ecommerce ecosystem.

Here are 5 ecommerce trends for 2024 and onward with opportunities for brands to effectively conquer them:

1. Hyper-Composable Commerce

Coined by Gartner, composable commerce refers to the modular, microservice, and API-based approach for building ecommerce infrastructures allowing organizations to combine various best-of-breed solutions to create their stack. With significant benefits over monolithic platforms through ecosystem collaborations and agility, composable architectures also carry the risk of management and integration complexity requiring organizations to govern a multitude of solutions for improved performance.  

With the advancement of low-code/no-code (LCNC) technologies, organizations will push the boundaries of microservice architectures to drive hyper-composable commerce and unlock higher levels of modularity, flexibility, and adaptability.

Low-code/no-code technologies offer several benefits in the context of composable commerce reducing complexity and facilitating business and less technical user involvement. Gaining more traction in the advanced enterprise development space, they will allow organizations to easily customize any aspect of their technology without extensive coding efforts, integrate with anything without limitations, and deploy anywhere aligned to their security strategies. Rather than swapping out large blocks, citizen or novice developers will be able to modify features in line with business goals optimizing time-to-innovation and management costs.   

Trend #1 Opportunities for Brands

  • Take control of your tech stack: Evaluate the speed and flexibility of your solution portfolio in adapting to requirements and research options that will improve your performance.
  • Experiment with low-code/no-code: Pick an isolated yet sophisticated use case to test out the capabilities of LCNC technologies and observe the impact on related KPIs.
  • Upskill and empower your teams: Invest in awareness and training programs to broaden development contribution and overcome your talent shortage.

2. AI-Augmented Experiences

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the generative AI market is expected to explode growing to a size of $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years from a mere $40 billion in 2022. With GenAI applications taking the world by storm, online businesses have started experimenting with select capabilities for different use cases to elevate customer and employee experiences.

The positive outcomes of early experimentation will set the stage for wider adoption of generative AI with extended use cases and a growing sense of trust within boundaries.

This strategic adoption promises a more personalized, efficient, and engaging shopping journey for customers, enhancing overall satisfaction and fostering loyalty. Expect smarter chatbots and virtual assistants that understand and respond to user queries more intelligently, intent-based predictive search functionalities that anticipate customer needs, and optimized shopping flows that streamline the entire purchasing process. This infusion of AI-driven capabilities will not only elevate customer satisfaction but also contribute to the long-term success and growth of online businesses.

E-commerce businesses are poised to enhance employee experiences by integrating GenAI across various facets of the workplace. According to recent Forrester reports, global AI decision-makers expect 51-75% of employees will use GenAI technologies for their work by the end of 2024 unlocking 50% higher productivity and efficiency. From smart marketing automation to product design, AI tools will continue to cultivate a more supportive, efficient, and engaging work environment eliminating repetitive mundane tasks and enhancing collaboration.  

Trend #2 Opportunities for Brands

  • Diversify your GenAI use cases: Explore a broad spectrum of applications in both customer-facing and internal domains to deploy innovative solutions.
  • Tap into higher efficiency savings: From automating routine tasks to optimizing complex processes, leverage generative AI capabilities to realize tangible improvements.
  • Refine roles and responsibilities: Revisit existing roles and working models to better complement and govern AI applications unlocking effective human-machine synergies.

3. Seamless Hyper-Personal Journeys

Businesses continue to move beyond traditional personalization, venturing into anticipatory and context-aware realms. This shift is driven by a desire to forge deeper connections with customers, fostering long-term loyalty. As our 2023 Ecommerce Shopper Trends survey revealed, 61% of customers think they get more or less the same experience across online shops requiring brands to invest more in memorable differentiating interactions.

Real-time contextual interactions will play a pivotal role, ensuring that customer engagements are not only personalized based on their complete history but also tailored to specific contexts.

Informed product and content curations across channels will become more sophisticated, offering users a more relevant and enjoyable journey. Personalized loyalty programs, dynamic pricing strategies, and more organic integration of user-generated content will further contribute to creating holistic ecommerce experiences. The emphasis on better unified and omnichannel commerce will be a cornerstone, ensuring seamless transitions between online and offline touchpoints. Both B2B and B2C customers stand to gain significant value from hyper-personalization, as tailored experiences cater to the unique needs and preferences in both contexts.

Trend #3 Opportunities for Brands

  • Invest in real-time data management: Base your strategies on timely and accurate data scalably processed via advanced AI/ML capabilities to make every interaction count.
  • Create thoughtful empathetic curations: Strike a balance without being too personal or intrusive making sure customer data is used appropriately for their benefit.
  • Quantify the impact on your customer base: Closely monitor the impact of your personalization strategies on customer relationships both in the short and long term.

4. Multi-Sensory Shopper Engagement

The convergence of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), voice commerce, and other multi-sensory experiences will continue to reshape and elevate the ecommerce landscape. AR and VR enable virtual try-ons and visualizations reducing uncertainty in online purchases, while voice commerce streamlines transactions through voice commands making the process more convenient. These technologies enhance the overall shopping experience by providing immersive, interactive, and intuitive interactions for consumers.

Multi-sensory experiences will not only address traditional ecommerce challenges but also open new creative avenues to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping worlds.

Immersive technologies are expected to boost global GDP by US$1.5 trillion in less than a decade according to PwC predictions. From complete virtual stores to interactive advertising and thermochromic packaging, diverse applications allow businesses to shorten sales cycles, reduce returns, and increase conversions. Educational content, such as product tutorials or usage guides, enhance customers’ understanding of offerings establishing brands as a trusted source of information.

Trend #4 Opportunities for Brands

  • Address your journey pain points: Position immersive applications primarily in places where traditional processes fall short such as try-ons for a high-return category.
  • Personalize the augmented experience: Incorporate shopper personas and context when designing interactive tools for maximum engagement.
  • Research to remove any friction: Analyze if and how customers use your immersive tools to identify and remove any existing usage barriers.

5. Localized Global Expansion

The localized global expansion trend in ecommerce reflects a strategic shift among businesses aiming to reach international audiences while tailoring their approach to local markets. In the coming year, this trend is expected to continue its momentum as brands recognize the importance of adapting to diverse consumer preferences and cultural nuances.

Ecommerce organizations will position themselves to not only capture global markets but also build stronger connections with customers by demonstrating a genuine understanding of local contexts.

Digital businesses will navigate the complexities of global expansion, tap into new markets, and position themselves for sustainable growth on an international scale by carefully planning and executing localized strategies. In addition to the standard practices of region-specific marketing, localized support, payment, and supply chain management, brands will amplify their presence through new branded microsites and prominent marketplace integrations. Culturally relevant product delivery will be accelerated with GenAI technologies tailoring assets to local shopper expectations. Adaptable and scalable technologies will provide the operational agility required to meet the unique challenges presented by concurrently managing diverse geographies.  

Trend #5 Opportunities for Brands

  • Localize your product information and content: Fully customize your key assets to better align with regional dynamics and buyer expectations.
  • Establish strong partnerships for growth: Identify and onboard the most relevant players in each new market that will help accelerate your expansion.
  • Orchestrate with adaptive centralized tech: Adopt modern technology components that will allow you to easily manage all moving parts.

Conquering 2024 and Beyond

As the global ecommerce landscape evolves, the identified trends for 2024 and beyond present unique opportunities to thrive. From embracing hyper-composable commerce and harnessing the power of AI-augmented experiences to creating seamless hyper-personalized journeys, engaging in multi-sensory shopper experiences, and strategically navigating localized global expansion, there is a clear roadmap for success.

Proactive adoption of these trends will not only allow your organization to stay ahead of the curve but will also help you establish a strong presence in the competitive ecommerce ecosystem. Waiting on the sidelines may mean missing out on valuable opportunities and falling behind early adopters.

The key lies in agility, innovation, and a customer-centric approach, ensuring you are well-positioned for sustained growth and success in the years to come.

Key Topics
Composable Commerce
Generative AI
Multi-Sensory CX
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