No event has had more profound effects on consumer behavior and business marketing than the pandemic. Seemingly overnight, companies had to pivot from a brick-and-mortar business model to a digital one. The change caught many unaware without the framework to implement digital strategies.
Consider these facts.
Remote work forced by lockdowns provided incredible savings for consumers post-COVID, offering new opportunities for merchants to capitalize. Shopify anticipates continued tailwinds in its subscriptions’ revenue and expansion of its ecosystem on a larger global scale. The company has allocated over $1 billion for 2022, including $200 million for capital expenditures.
These investments are essential, given the evolving state of consumer expectations. Better support, more personalized experiences, and shipping transparency rank top on the list. However, these prospects are also tempered with the headwinds of supply chain issues, labor shortages, and rising inflation.
Let’s take a deep dive into the e-commerce trends and how Shopify can help you grow business despite these challenges.
Consumers want more than a faceless brand. They need a personalized experience. Think of going to your favorite restaurant. Before you’ve even sat down, your usual beverage is waiting for you at the table. The server may give you a large portion of your favorite entree but charge for the smaller one. They know your name, and you, theirs.
Consumers want the same experience online.
According to a survey by Sprout Social, 80% of respondents believe society is more divided than ever. Nevertheless, it presents businesses with a unique opportunity to foster connectedness and build consumer loyalty. It also creates trust and shows potential buyers that a merchant understands their wants. This is the edge that businesses need in the post-pandemic times to overcome the challenges brought along by those precarious times - if businesses can build a closer connection to the consumers and prove that they care, it is likely to give them the push required to succeed in the highly competitive and ever-evolving marketplace of today.
The Sprout Social data also show that this brand affinity can drive sales, with 57% increasing their spending and over three-quarters choosing it versus the competition. A personalized experience can improve your bottom line by over 10%, as nearly half of retailers realized after implementing these strategies.
It’s one thing to create a better buying experience. It’s another to get consumers to your site. Affiliate marketing offers a brilliant solution that benefits the merchants and third parties by increasing your reach to new segments. The affiliate brings traffic to your site and receives compensation for the leads.
Affiliate marketing benefits businesses by exposure while reducing advertising costs. It also brings a personalized element with real people recommending your products or services. According to HubSpot, 81% of consumers are more likely to trust someone than know instead of a retailer hawking their goods. It is a smart strategy to implement after the pandemic times. Not only does it keep your customer acquisition cost down, it builds external stakeholders who are passionate about driving your revenue just as much as you are. When we give affiliates incentives to perform better - they do!
Snowball: Affiliate Marketing helps you better manage the results of your affiliate marketing with unique codes for every customer. You can, in turn, use these data to fine-tune the personalized shopping experience. It also gives businesses insights into the best performing market segments and messaging.
It is extremely easy to set up as well. When a customer makes a purchase, a unique affiliate code is generated automatically for them, providing them with an incentive for word-of-mouth. It is human tendency to tell your family and friends about products and services you love; with Social Snowball, these personal reviews turn into a source of revenue for the company.
A major part of the online shopping experience is the ease of selecting and getting the stuff you bought. That makes shipping details crucial to e-commerce. Buyers want to know when and how merchants will deliver their purchases. And the cost must be free or very low. According to SaleCycle, the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment is unexpected higher costs.
Free or low-cost shipping was the main reason consumers shopped online in Q4 2021.
Consumers expect merchants to provide it, with 80% setting a specific amount for this savings. It’s worth noting that 66% expect it on anything they buy online. It’s fair to say that shoppers put more weight on this cost than what they’re buying. At the very least, no one wants to find out that businesses are making money on shipping.
With the growth rate of e-commerce, every consumer has tons of alternatives on hand. Therefore, to succeed, it is essential to set yourself apart in the space and provide the highest value to the customers. The data is already telling us what they need, and there are several apps can streamline this part of the sales and shipping cycle.
The evolution of consumer behavior and buying habits has embraced a growing awareness of accountability and sustainability. Shoppers are using their dollars for more than just purchasing. Our research has shown that 77% of customers consider the environmental impact of their purchases. That runs the gamut from packaging to delivery.
This is perhaps the most crucial trend of 2022. Not only is it an exercise in brand building, it also expands the scope of the business to have a positive impact on the environment. To get out of the rut that Covid-19 has put every business through, this is the golden opportunity to get back into the field with a fresh perspective.
Buyers’ concerns extend to a brand’s impact on society, with 69%, considering it a reason to trust one business over another. Consumers expect companies to make wise choices, with 81% viewing it as a deal-breaker. Although high costs can negatively affect website conversion, shoppers are willing to pay more for assurances of sustainability.
Consumers want businesses to share their values. Transparency has taken on a whole need meaning in this age of social media and advanced technologies. There’s a high cost for failing to deliver. According to Accenture, 53% of respondents will hold a brand accountable for its actions or words. They will share their bad experiences with others online with the risk of them going viral.
Our research has identified production and the supply chain as the key drivers– and opportunities– for sustainability. Don’t worry; Shopify has plenty of ways to help your business be sustainable.
Remember, with trust comes brand loyalty and engaged consumers.
Listening to consumers and building a brand that promotes a more personalized experience with a sustainability mindset is the future of e-commerce. Businesses have learned that people vote with their wallets. While the pandemic catapulted the world to a digital marketplace, it’s up to the merchants to take the reins and harness the trends. As long as we are open to listening to what the trends are saying, they will tell us exactly what we need to grow our business. Luckily, Shopify has the tools to continue to ride the waves to success.