When we predicted online and offline shopping trends back in 2017, the focus was, inevitably, on mobile searches, branding, and the buyer experience. When we look at what the future holds in a retail capacity, especially now about the pandemic, everyone relies more on what online shopping can do. But what is the potential for the future of online and online shopping in the next year?
The last few years have been all about D2C (Direct To Consumer) commerce. Customers have needed access to brands at lower prices, but there is a growth in premium private label brands. The D2C sector is experiencing a massive shake-up; customers are looking to private brands not for any form of the bargain but because of superior products offered and the personal and improved shopping experiences associated with premium brands:
While many users rely on eBay or Gumtree for their second-hand purchases, the shift has moved to sustainability instead of cost:
The luxury market is increasing its grasp, and this is where second-hand sales of luxury items will change this industry. Brands are now opening up their own reCommerce marketplace. eBay or Gumtree's experience is a no-frills unexciting approach, but the reCommerce industry provides an exciting shopping experience.
AI is already helping customers to find specific products and visualize their products better. From the perspective of a business, AI will soon help online stores find customers for intelligent algorithms. Current trends analyzed alongside the sales channels buyer behavior and the products show a personalized approach for the customer to benefit. From the perspective of businesses, this will save hours of report writing and number-crunching from boosting profits right away.
This is where it gets interesting. While brick-and-mortar stores are still vastly popular, the growth of e-commerce in light of the pandemic has highlighted that while people are still looking to purchase items online, there is a growing trend in mixing the online with the physical world. E-commerce s booming, and while it's not catching up with brick and mortar stores, there is a growing trend for pop-up shops with our favorite online retailers:
Physical locations are still here to stay, but many retail outlets will soon become a place for experiences. Much like the common car showroom, many retail outlets will start to use stores as a way to display products. But the brick-and-mortar store is not going anytime soon. While the E-commerce numbers have crept up in 2020, and retail stores have not benefited as much from the pandemic, customers now prefer to get groceries delivered or purchase items online. But the brick-and-mortar store that we all know is not going away.
The customer in 2017 didn't have as much access to smart products as the contemporary one. Alexa has been fantastic for helping people around the home, such as turning on lights and playing music, but they've started to infiltrate e-commerce:
With companies working to utilize SEO opportunities with smart speakers, this leaves many businesses looking to corner a market that needs quick access to online retail stores. Time is of the essence, and smart speakers like Google Home are paving the way.
An Increase in Rentals
There have been significant growth in P2P (peer-to-peer) platforms, and while e-commerce is riding high, there is still a significant problem with shopping online. Returns are causing problems in many ways, including:
It seems that rentals can be on the increase again. Once upon a time, we lived in an age of renting items like televisions or furniture, and this is something that many retailers are, again, looking to expand into. By offering consumers the opportunity to rent electronics, furniture, or even clothing, this is the perfect opportunity for businesses to expand their reach while also minimizing the potential for returns.
Going one step further than smart speakers, the shoppable TV ads rolled out by NBC at the end of 2019 helped viewers purchase items they saw on screen. If a customer is watching a show and likes the item of clothing a character is wearing, their programs connect to a mobile phone app to help customers purchase that item. Soon, this will be incorporated into smart televisions where the overriding goal is to turn shopping into a seamless experience.
Which one is better for the average customer? While the AI components highlight a more seamless experience for customers and require less work for the business, there is a wide variety of resources to highlight each one is still relevant in the modern-day. But it's this coming holiday season when the answer will become apparent.
Checkout: 20 Online Shopping Statistics for 2020
The jury is still out for this year, but we can safely say that online and offline shopping and still at loggerheads with each other, but with exciting changes on the horizon, the future looks bright for retail.