The e-commerce trends for the year 2024

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

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Buy now pay later, gamification in online retail, the use of artificial intelligence and the future potential of live shopping - in 2023, we have brought you some important E-commerce trends presented. But what will things look like in 2024? What trends will determine the market? It is always difficult to make precise predictions for the new year, as both technologies and consumer habits in e-commerce can change quickly. Nevertheless, there are some trends that will have a lasting impact on online retail in the coming years. We have put together an overview for you:

Trend 1: Artificial intelligence and machine learning

With ChatGPT at the latest, AI has become the frontrunner of all trends - including in e-commerce. AI will play a major role in online retail in the future. But what exactly could it look like? For example, companies could use AI algorithms to offer customers personalized recommendations based on their shopping behavior, improve customer service and safeguard your cybersecurity. Through machine learning, data analysis and robotics, AI can also help to make processes more efficient, reduce costs and improve the supply chain security of your online store. It can also improve demand forecasts and optimize stock levels based on this information.

Some big players such as Amazon and Victoria's Secret are already using AI-based software, for example to reduce return rates or offer a better online shopping experience. The discounter Netto has also already implemented an AI-based "Pick & Go" smart concept was introduced in a store in Regensburg, which - similar to Amazon Go - allows customers to shop without having to check out.

Trend 2: Virtual and augmented reality

With the further development of VR and AR technologies, online retailers can offer immersive shopping experiences. Customers will then be able to try out products virtually or experience them in an AR environment. However, unlike AI, VR and AR technologies will only really take hold once the technologies have reached the masses. Corresponding high-end devices, such as the Apple Vision Pro, can certainly accelerate this effect. However, it remains to be seen whether this will be the case by 2024. Nevertheless, AI and VR will also play an increasingly important role in online retail. A corresponding integration into your online store is therefore recommended in any case.

Trend 3: Voice commerce

Voice-controlled assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri or Google Assistant are becoming increasingly popular. Online retailers can already adapt their platforms to support voice commands and enable users to make purchases via voice commands from the comfort of their smart home.

Trend 4: Sustainability, ethical consumption & second-hand shopping

Consumers are placing increasing value on Sustainability and ethical consumption. Online retailers can make their supply chains more transparent, use environmentally friendly packaging and promote products with sustainable certifications.

The positive development of the second-hand market is also very interesting at the moment. As reported by the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (bevh)more and more consumers are turning to buying and using used, repaired or borrowed goods. So-called "preloved goods" are becoming increasingly popular in Germany: among 19 to 29-year-olds, 18.4% of respondents stated that they order used products online "frequently" and 31.9% "occasionally". This trend is likely to continue in 2024.

Trend 5: Social commerce

Social media will continue to play an important - if not central - role in online retail. Platforms such as Instagram or TikTok will most likely expand their shopping functions to enable consumers to buy products directly via the platforms. Here, too, it makes sense for online retailers to get to grips with this at an early stage and integrate their own products into the platforms in the best possible way.

Trend 6: Same-day delivery and delivery drones

Delivery speed will continue to be an important factor in e-commerce. Online retailers can optimize their logistics processes to offer same-day delivery in certain selected regions. In addition, delivery drones could also be increasingly used in the future to deliver parcels quickly and efficiently. Bundesliga club Darmstadt 98, for example, is already participating in the Pilot project of the "Wingcopter" delivery drone service and sends fan merchandise from the online store to customers via delivery drone.

Trend 7: Personalization & individualization

Online retailers should increasingly rely on personalized offers to strengthen customer loyalty. By analyzing customer data with the help of corresponding software or AI tools, you can offer customized recommendations and personalized advertising.

Trend 8: The website design of the future?

The classic website designs of online retailers or online sales platforms have become the average standard. It is important to stand out from the crowd and this is exactly what can change for many providers this year: Adobe recently unveiled 24 award-winning website designswhich online retailers should also follow: Interactivity and creativity are combined in a three-dimensional experience, and the customer experience should be optimized through scrolling and swiping movements - both on laptops and cell phones. This allows customers to scroll through digital stockrooms, select products, display information directly and, of course, place orders. However, good technical implementation and a smooth customer experience are essential.