Gross sales in online retail in Germany increased by 10.8 percent The fall in the number of new orders, crises such as the inflation associated with the war in Ukraine and the ongoing tensions in supply chains - it was a challenging year for the industry. In addition, online retail is facing the challenge of transforming itself in a climate and environmentally friendly way. Not least because the value of sustainability is becoming increasingly important to society. It is therefore all the more important to recognize the upcoming trends in e-commerce at an early stage and to be able to take advantage of them. You can find out what promising trends 2023 will bring for online retail here on the fynax blog.

Trend 1: "Buy now, pay later"

"Buy now, pay later" (BNPL) means nothing more than "buy now and pay later". It is practically a modern name for the classic purchase on account, as we know it from the Quelle and Otto catalogs, among others. The new payment function is seen as a sales booster for e-commerce companies and payment service providers such as PayPal or Klarna. In principle, the payment method is a useful tool for both merchants and customers, which can be used as a flexible alternative to traditional payment methods, especially in times of economic uncertainty. Small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as online merchants, can retain existing customers and attract new ones by introducing the payment function.

Trend 2: Cybercrime in e-commerce

The risks of cybercrime for online retailers will continue to be a defining issue for e-commerce in 2023: organized cybercrime with Trojans, traditional means of fraud or the theft of retailers' and buyers' access data must be taken seriously. Regular awareness security training for new and existing employees is a good idea, as is the introduction of hardware and software-based security programs. So-called "bug bounty" programs can also be used to search for weak points in the security system and readjust the protective measures accordingly.

Trend 3: Optimization and automation of supply chains

Ensuring an e-commerce company's ability to deliver is essential. In the medium and long term, automating supply chains with the help of AI (artificial intelligence) programs is the most sustainable solution. In our fynax trend study we also go into more detail about sustainability and supply chains in online retail. But in general, small and medium-sized companies also need to introduce more flexible and agile processes, such as cloud-based software programs for monitoring supply chains. Good and flexible customer communication is particularly important for every online retailer, as this communication plays a decisive role in customer satisfaction in the event of supply chain problems.

Trend 4: Second-hand - an opportunity for e-commerce

Due to the current product shortage, supply bottlenecks and the changing purchasing behavior of consumers, used goods or de facto new goods in particular are increasingly becoming the focus of customers again.

Even if the main reasons for a purchase are likely to be the lower price of the products and sustainability, online retailers and platforms must pay particular attention to the quality of their service when selling used goods: This means - reliable products, reliable service and reliable complaint options.

Trend 5: The revolution of the online shopping experience

Entertainment and gamification are key concepts for the new Type of shopping experience for e-commerce customers. Studies show that younger audiences in particular are motivated to buy products through entertainment elements. The integration of entertainment and gamification approaches, such as the configuration of mini-games on the online store's website or short videos, increase the length of time customers stay and thus also increase their motivation to buy. Links to social media events also help to strengthen customer loyalty, attract new customers and increase their length of stay on the platforms.

Trend 6: Real-time shopping via livestream

The megatrend from China should soon establish itself in Europe and also take off in Germany. Live shopping ties in with the previously mentioned entertainment elements in the shopping experience, as real-time shopping also offers interesting elements that can increase the amount of time consumers spend online. 3D product demonstrations, testing products or trying on clothes, for example, give prospective customers a better and, above all, more authentic impression of the product in question.

Smart communication options, such as the introduction of likes, comments or live surveys during the product presentation, can also help you to make the shopping experience even more interactive. Since livestreams can be shared via your own website or social media platforms, SMEs or small businesses in brick-and-mortar retail should also consider this idea.

In live shopping, however, the choice of host or presenter is particularly important: you can either choose them as a KOL (Key Opinion Leader), i.e. as an influencer, or as a KOC (Key Opinion Consumer). A KOL usually has a very high reach on social media channels and is therefore particularly suitable for acquiring new customers. A KOC, on the other hand, can score points by exuding greater authenticity and credibility as a "normal" consumer of the product. A KOC is therefore particularly suitable for retaining existing customers and building a relationship of trust with them.

Trend 7: Sustainable sales figures through customer profile

Maintaining your existing customers is extremely important, especially in 2023. There are various customer retention strategies for this, but the incentives strategy is probably one of the most promising: in the so-called "incentivize" strategy, only selected customers receive the right to purchase certain products.

One example would be the Birkin bag from Hermes, where only customers who generate enough sales receive the right to purchase. Nike also pursues a similar strategy: participation in the so-called "Nike Raffles" by lottery determines selected customers who receive the right of first refusal on exclusive shoes. Incentive strategies can be used to motivate consumers to buy in the long term.

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