Live Shopping Trends To Expect In 2023 For The eCommerce World
In 2020, the retail industry was forced to re-examine business models and create new forms of online shopping. But are virtual clienteling and livestream shopping just temporary adjustments? Or are we already witnessing the beginning of a new phenomenon that blurs the lines between online and offline? Swirl uncovers the top 10 trends to watch out for in 2023.
According to this article, the estimated global ecommerce growth rate for 2023 is anticipated to be around 8.9%, with global ecommerce sales projected to reach a whopping $5.9 trillion. This reflects a 1.8 percentage point increase compared to the growth rate observed in 2022, which experienced a considerable decline compared to the previous year.
In a rapidly evolving landscape such as this, it is critical that all of us in the retail industry are prepared for new trends and consumer preferences. With the right tools, we can make the most of our inventory, maximize customer reach, shorten the purchase journey, and generate high value SQLs.
Let’s dive into the ecommerce trends to expect in 2023.
1. 5G Will Trigger An Explosion In Live Shopping And Video Commerce
It's been a decade since India embraced 4G, with Airtel pioneering the launch of 4G services in 2012. Since then, the adoption of 4G has been rapid. According to Nokia's India Mobile Broadband Index, the number of 4G users has skyrocketed to over 700 million users between 2015 and 2020. Out of these users, 46% utilize their devices for e-tail and e-B2B purposes, while 54% engage in activities such as social media, YouTube, and OTT video streaming.
In 2023, India has commenced the rollout of a new and ultra-fast 5G network. Currently, Indians spend an average of approximately five hours per day on their smartphones, surpassing even China in terms of usage. Furthermore, short videos have emerged as the fastest-growing format. Live shopping and video commerce are set to become some of the most thrilling ways to shop in the near future.
2. Your Sales Staff Will Become Your Most Important Assets
According to a survey conducted by TimeTrade, a prominent provider of online appointment scheduling, an impressive 90% of customers exhibit a higher likelihood of making a purchase when assisted by a knowledgeable associate. By leveraging their well-trained teams to offer guidance and information to potential customers, brands can witness conversion rates as high as five times by incorporating virtual shopping, including virtual clienteling, into their online sales strategy.
While livestreaming, influencers and celebrities undoubtedly bring value to the table, they can be financially burdensome in the long run. Many brands find it more cost-effective to utilize their already efficient sales team as hosts for livestream sessions. Customers appreciate the authenticity of employees and the prompt responses to their queries, leading to increased confidence in purchasing from the brand.
Read our blog about turning retail associates into livestream shopping hosts.
3. Virtual Clienteling Will Become As Important (If Not More) As On-ground Customer Service
One of the greatest obstacles in ecommerce is converting first-time buyers into lifelong customers. Brands can create a lasting connection with customers by offering virtual clienteling services, such as through Whatsapp, SMS, email, video calls, and more.
The retail industry learned in 2020 that ecommerce can generate revenue even during lockdowns and restrictions that impact physical stores. Brands can maintain agility by creating a robust virtual shopping experience, including live shopping and other virtual shopping options.
Find out more about Virtual Clienteling Strategies in our blog.
4. D2C Will Explode, And Mission-driven Brands Will Be The Next Big Thing
A study by Deloitte found that brands that are driven by purpose report a higher market share and grow 3X times faster than the competition. Nobody can ignore the calls to #shoplocal and #supportsmallbusinesses and D2C brands with a unique voice and purpose will become more visible in the retail landscape.
Around the world, conscious shoppers are choosing to amplify independent brands with whom they feel connected. This is where small businesses have a rare edge over retail giants – by showing who you are, you are more likely to find your champions. Many brands use virtual shopping or one-to-many livestreams to take customers behind the scenes and show them the beating heart of the company.
5. Authentic Content To Take Centerstage
As any marketer knows, influencers and celebrities have a knack for grabbing attention. However, with consumers being bombarded by celebrity-endorsed products and reports of paid followers, trust has taken a hit. When it comes to product demos and tutorials, smaller-scale influencers known as micro- and nano-influencers are gaining traction. According to an article in Forbes, these influencers with a smaller but more engaged following are seen as more trustworthy and reliable.
But here's the catch: influencers, big or small, can be expensive. For brands just entering the live shopping scene, it may not always be feasible to bring in an influencer or celebrity. However, fret not! In the coming years, authenticity will matter more than ever. Your own retail associates can step up as successful hosts for virtual shopping, leveraging their deep product knowledge and brand expertise. This way, you can optimize your sales staff while creating an engaging shopping experience for your customers.
6. Dark Stores Will Become More Popular
In the post-pandemic world, we are likely to see many retail stores turning into ‘dark stores’ as business models evolve to suit the new world of shopping. Online orders will continue to rise, making it more feasible to convert retail spaces into logistics centers. An article in Economic Times covers the rise of the trend in India.
A dark store is a physical space that is used to fulfill orders, store inventory, and maintain a physical presence to cater to online shoppers. Brands can save on the costs of multiple retail outlets that must provide a fully branded (and expensive) experience to the few customers who walk in. With a centralized location, the man-hours of the staff can be put to better use – engaging with customers with higher buying intent, and managing the supply chain and fulfillment. Many brands use these dark stores for filming virtual shopping video content.
7. More Brands Will Shift To Livestream Retail
Prior to 2020, livestream ecommerce was predominantly popular in the cosmetics, personal care, and fashion sectors. However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of ecommerce and live shopping. The Ernst & Young Future Consumer Index, published in early 2021, revealed that 60% of consumers are now visiting physical stores less frequently than before the pandemic. Additionally, 43% of consumers have transitioned to shopping online for products they would have previously purchased in-store.
As this trend continues to rise, industries that traditionally rely on physical presence, such as real estate, automobile, financial services, medical, and dental, will increasingly shift toward online models, with live shopping playing a significant role in their strategies.
8. M-commerce Or Mobile Shopping Will Rise Exponentially
As mentioned above, the 5G boom is still in its nascence, especially in India. As 5G penetrates more demographics of an already-online audience, m-commerce will become the ‘next big thing’. This article in Business Insider predicts that mobile shopping will become the preferred way of shopping for online purchases.
For most brands, this means brands will have to offer mobile-friendly content as well as full integration with major payment gateways.
9. Personalization Will Contribute More To Add-to-Cart And AOV
It came as a surprise to many that customers are more willing to share personal data in order to receive more customized options and services. This eye-opening study by Deloitte concluded that not only are customers looking for personalized products or services; a majority of them are comfortable paying more for them.
The study went so far as to say that businesses that do not offer personalized service risk losing revenue and customers. With the one-to-one virtual shopping feature offered by Swirl, brands have seen a 400% increase in Add-to-Cart and as much as 7X more engagement.
See how A D2C jewellery brand 3Xs average order value and increases customer engagement by 117% with live commerce.
10. Customers Will Demand Seamlessness
If you feel overwhelmed by the complexity and heavy reliance on technology, you're not alone. Our key prediction for online shopping in 2022 is that consumers will prioritize one thing above all: simplicity. In the coming years, customers will expect the seamless convenience offered by big brands, combined with the personalized service provided by boutique brands. Simplicity and seamlessness will be the buzzwords of the future.
In the realm of eCommerce and virtual shopping, achieving simplicity requires attention to intricate details. Brands must ensure smooth integration between ecommerce platforms and payment gateways, create adaptive websites and compelling video content, and offer one-click access to options and services. By mastering these aspects, brands can deliver a streamlined experience for virtual shopping.
If 2020 was a year for enduring and accepting, 2021-23 are the years in which great evolution and adaptation have taken place across industries. As the second year of the pandemic comes to an end, there are still uncertainties and vulnerabilities for every business. But one thing is certain: the way forward has begun to emerge, and agile brands that have adapted to the new world have already started seeing the difference.