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eCommerce is a fast-moving world, with trends constantly shifting as customer demands change. Did you notice how quickly businesses adopted generative artificial intelligence (AI) as ChatGPT became popular? Suddenly, AI assistants and content creators were everywhere.

Within months, commercial leaders overwhelmingly supported using generative AI and machine learning often or almost always, and 0% said it should rarely or never be used.

The sudden and swift rise of generative AI illustrates how quickly things go from unheard of to industry standard in eCommerce. Keeping up with online retailers requires attention to the latest trends.

If your store could do with more sales and leads, your eCommerce strategy may need a revamp. To know for sure, enjoy this guide to the top eCommerce trends of 2023 and the best ways to implement them in your business.

eCommerce — the buying and selling of goods online — has become a significant focus for many business owners. eCommerce sales make up 19% of worldwide retail sales, and that percentage is trending towards nearly a quarter by 2027.

Every retail business should develop a stellar eCommerce strategy centered around the latest trends. But that’s easy to say.

Cultural shifts and constant technological advancements make for an eCommerce market that’s never stagnant from month to month. While sticking too closely to trends can leave you struggling to stand out, a static, outdated store isn’t a good approach either.

It’s best to use the following trendy strategies as inspiration for a fresh and personal take on your eCommerce presence.

In 2023, the most impactful eCommerce trends include augmented reality and virtual reality, social commerce and livestream commerce, voice search, buy now pay later policies, personalization and sustainability, conversational commerce, headless websites, composable commerce and MACH architecture.

Let’s consider each of these trends in depth, including how to get your eCommerce brand’s foot in the door.

Immersive shopping experiences with AR and VR

Virtual reality (VR) involves creating a 3D digital world that visitors can explore. On the other hand, augmented reality (AR) overlays some virtual visuals onto real life. With either, you can engage with your audience while making their shopping experience interactive and immersive to an unparalleled level.

VR is uncommon, as most of the general population hasn’t invested in the equipment to run an immersive VR experience. But VR has still found niches in eCommerce, such as virtual tours of shopping centers.

AR is much more common in eCommerce. With AR, you can display interactive products in 3D — projecting demos of furniture in your personal home, and previewing how clothes or makeup look on your own face instead of a model’s.

Christian Dior created an AR campaign on Snapchat where shoppers could “try on” new sneakers in the app.

For instance, Christian Dior partnered with Snapchat to launch an AR, letting customers try new Dior sneakers and purchase directly within Snapchat. The marketing campaign generated 2.3 million views and a 6.2x return on ad spend.

Implementing AR or VR is not cheap or quick. But there’s less competition in this area — only 38% of marketers used AR in 2022, and only 28% used VR. You have a more significant opportunity to stand out.

Here’s what you’ll need to create a worthwhile AR or VR experience:

  • Powerful hardware to test and render AR or VR.
  • An AR/VR development tool like Unity, Unreal Engine, ARKit, ARCore or A-Frame.
  • Software for 3D modeling, animation and design.
  • 360° imaging tools to capture products, objects and rooms.
  • AR/VR developers, UI/UX designers, 3D modelers and animators.

If these resources are feasible for you, develop an exceptional VR or AR experience before they become commonplace.

Voice search is becoming a daily tool

Nowadays, 58% of consumers aged 25 to 34 use voice search daily. In particular, people use virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Siri to shop while out and about.

The majority of consumers use voice search daily.
Custom image (Stat source)

Furthermore, 16% of all users ask for results near them. This makes it especially important to optimize your website for voice search on mobile devices, especially if you have a physical storefront. But even online-only marketplaces should take this eCommerce trend into account.

Here are some ideas to jump on:

  • Create content to target some long-tail, conversational keywords. These are usually phrased as a question. Perform keyword research to see what people are searching for.
  • Test whether voice assistants correctly lead people to relevant parts of your website.
  • Ensure your website navigation is fluid on mobile.
  • Set up a Google My Business panel so local shoppers can find you.

Most shoppers expect personalization

Most shoppers expect personalization in their shopping experiences.
Custom image (Stat source)

At this point, 71% of consumers expect personalization when shopping online, and 76% get frustrated if they don’t get it.

When the majority of your audience enjoys personalization, expect to be rewarded when you deliver.

When the majority of your audience enjoys personalization, expect to be rewarded when you deliver.

Customers want products and services tailored to their unique needs. They want targeted recommendations and promotions, and they want a check-in when they reach a milestone or make a purchase.

This is relatively easy to do on a superficial, one-size-fits-all level with just a marketing plugin on your website. But sophisticated personalization takes more work. Above all, consumers are tired of generic marketing attempts. Be creative and reach out to individuals.

While every industry is different, here are some examples to inspire you:

  • Track user activity in real time in order to tailor recommendations, promotions and emails. Use an AI-driven customer relationship management tool to determine which approaches each customer prefers.
  • Keep the customer life cycle in mind and change your messaging based on where customers are in their journey.
  • Take an omnichannel approach: Analyze customer data across all platforms so you can deliver consistent, personalized experiences.
  • Consider privacy-first personalization since more people are starting to prefer it.

Social commerce can change how people shop

eCommerce businesses are integrating social media platforms with their outreach strategy to speak directly to customers, increase product discovery, raise brand awareness and facilitate loyalty programs. But does it drive actual sales?

Social shopping is a popular eCommerce trend.
Custom image (Stat source)

Social shopping, meaning purchases directly on social media, has struggled to gain trust among consumers; in a 2023 study, only 17% had recently purchased through social media. Despite this, 59% of companies say they saw more sales from selling on social networks, so it’s safe to say social shopping has a future for now.

There’s room for success: Other areas of social marketing have been very well received. Influencer marketing has exploded, doubling since 2019.

There’s also social search, which has quickly become a valued target. A Google executive suggested that 40% of young people use TikTok or Instagram as their primary search engine.

While landing sales on social media is an underdeveloped art for now, fostering trust and brand awareness is one thing social media has always been excellent for.

Taking advantage of social commerce requires a solid marketing team and patience as you build trust with a community.

Real-time shopping with livestream commerce

Livestreaming is immensely popular in some industries, from gaming to sports to vlogging. With livestream commerce, you broadcast a video showcase of your products. That stream connects directly to your online store so viewers can instantly buy.

It’s easy to see how a live product demo and direct engagement with leads can increase trust and motivate them to purchase. This trend overlaps with social commerce since YouTube, Twitch and TikTok are all go-to livestream platforms.

Live commerce has reached extreme popularity in China, with 77% of people purchasing products via livestream — similar success has been found in India, Thailand and Indonesia.

Livestream commerce is a popular trend, especially in some Asian countries.

Another study found that in the U.S., only 20% of respondents had bought via livestream, but a third had heard of doing so. The difference indicates that livestream commerce is a lucrative market waiting to be tapped in Western countries.

To capitalize on this eCommerce trend in 2023, you’ll need a compelling host and a social media marketing team to plan engaging streams.

Buy now, pay later policies prioritize flexibility

The best way to clinch more sales is to streamline the customer journey as much as possible. Every inconvenience is another chance for customers to lose interest, which is why sales funnel management is so popular. But no amount of it can offset the deterrent of a hefty price tag or checkout total.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) services allow customers to pay in installments. People use it to instantly make a large purchase and pay for it gradually — without racking up significant credit card debt and, consequently, a higher monthly fee.

Greater flexibility in payment methods means one less roadblock, fewer leads backing out at the last second, and more people capitalizing on the palatable option of several small payments.

By 2026, BNPL services will grow by 274% and account for 24% of global eCommerce purchases.

Implementing this trend is a no-brainer and a breeze; configure a trusted payment gateway like Klarna or PayPal’s Pay Later.

Customers demand sustainability

People are increasingly concerned about the environment and willing to make personal sacrifices to help.

Interestingly, nine out of 10 consumers are willing to delay deliveries to an eco-friendlier date — 29% would even delay by up to five days.

Sustainability in an eCommerce brand is highly appealing to consumers.
Screenshot (Source)

In contrast, only three out of 10 online shoppers say they’re influenced by a company’s sustainability initiatives. At this point, people can easily detect which brands are going eco-friendly as an easy cash grab.

If you’re going to embrace sustainability, it needs to be genuine and impactful.

If you’re going to embrace sustainability, it needs to be genuine and impactful.

Here are some eco-friendly ideas that may resonate with you:

  • Reduce your products’ packaging and switch to biodegradable packaging.
  • Give customers the option to delay deliveries to a specific date in favor of sustainability.
  • Work with sustainability-focused shipping carriers.
  • Donate to environmental causes.
  • Reduce commute emissions by cutting business trips and allowing remote work.
  • Look into renewable energy for the office, revamp your recycling, use LEDs and cut down on paper.

Generative AI is changing conversational commerce

Google Business Messages helps build a conversational commerce strategy.

Conversational commerce refers to companies using social networks, live chat and messaging services to connect with customers. Notably, visitors are 82% more likely to convert if they’ve spoken to you via live chat. A little bit of engagement goes a long way to boost conversion rates.

The advent of generative AI has significantly shifted the trend since it became possible to offer human-like conversations with AI. Chatbots now have a much deeper contextual understanding compared to pre-programmed bots that quickly got confused and caused frustration.

To get started with this latest eCommerce trend, try tools like Google Business Messages, live chat plugins for WordPress or omnichannel customer service software like Zendesk.

With AI being a hot topic lately, keep in mind the vital importance of human support agents. Chatbots are no replacement for qualified employees, and customers will still request human service in many scenarios.

Chatbots are best used to handle simple requests, leaving your support team to do the heavy lifting of customer service.

Chatbots are best used to handle simple requests, leaving your support team to do the heavy lifting of customer service.

Headless and MACH architecture enable omnichannel selling

MACH architecture stands to dominate in 2023 and beyond.
Screenshot (Source)

Headless architecture is a flexible way to structure your online store. By decoupling the front end of your store (such as images, buttons and fonts) from the back end (such as product catalogs, customer data and inventory), you can use the back end across multiple channels.

In other words, headless commerce grants easy syncing of key data across various channels, rather than maintaining several iterations of the same infrastructure. The same data source can link to your social selling on TikTok, your mobile app and your presence on third-party eCommerce platforms like Amazon.

With eCommerce shifting towards omnichannel approaches — maintaining a presence on as many selling avenues as possible — headless architecture enables what would otherwise be a data juggling act.

MACH architecture is a similar principle but expanded. MACH stands for microservices, API-first, cloud-native SaaS and headless. The goal is to increase scalability and deliver a service across multiple channels instead of separate builds for your website, app and social selling profiles.

To implement this 2023 eCommerce trend in architecture, build a budget and look for specialized developers and designers who can help.

Composable commerce enables modular design

Composable commerce is a different approach to the same ideal that headless and MACH architecture inspire.

Rather than creating a monolithic application, composable architecture involves designing each aspect of your store as a building block you can mix and match in various applications.

For example, your brand’s shopping cart would be an experience designed for compatibility with both your website and your mobile app.

Notably, composable commerce is best achieved by picking the best vendors for each service needed — choosing the best in fulfillment alongside the best for delivery and the best payment gateway — rather than limiting yourself to a single one-size-fits-all provider.

The goal is to build personalized customer experiences, quickly deploy new apps and enjoy the flexibility of mixing and matching your modules.

To get involved with composable commerce, consider implementing packaged business capabilities using an API. Developing composable components will require skilled developers.

The future of eCommerce

eCommerce in 2024 is poised to be as exciting as ever, with innovations like generative artificial intelligence and augmented reality adding totally new experiences to online shopping.

While it’s impossible to know where the trends will shift as new technology emerges, we can make some predictions.

As the eCommerce landscape develops into 2024, expect refined augmented and virtual reality marketing campaigns. Long-tail keywords will become a higher priority to capitalize on voice search, and AI-driven personalization strategies will become the norm. Livestream and social commerce will catch on — in contrast, AI chatbots may become impersonal in consumers’ eyes.

BNPL: While it was the COVID-19 pandemic that launched BNPL into the public eye, its popularity has remained. Customers want flexibility and convenience, so BNPL will become a near-universal payment option.

Sustainability: As people worldwide grow frustrated with environmental neglect, public opinion could sour toward companies that clearly ignore sustainability opportunities.

Headless, MACH, and composable architecture: More vendors with the technical means will move away from monolithic eCommerce stores and implement these more efficient systems, leading to greater productivity and omnichannel success.

Conversational commerce: Despite the swift adoption of AI-powered chatbots, consumers may demand human connection as the market becomes oversaturated with AI.

AR and VR: Marketing teams will continue using AR and VR as unconventional experiences to raise brand notoriety; the experiences will become increasingly immersive and polished.

Voice search: Voice search will only become more widespread for mobile shopping. Businesses with physical locations will scramble to optimize for long-tail keywords and gain increased foot traffic.

Personalization: AI-driven personalization will continue to foster engagement; marketing and sales teams will compete between brands to refine their execution fully.

Social commerce: As a whole, social selling may get off the ground and gain recognition as an untapped market. And in particular, influencer marketing and social search will be further established as highly effective.

Livestream commerce: While Eastern countries enjoy the full potential of livestream commerce, a few Western pioneers may reveal a ripe market in the U.S. and Europe.

The eCommerce industry continually grows as new technologies emerge and consumer culture shifts, currently towards personalization, omnipresence and convenience.

Now you’re up to date with the changes, and you have ideas to make the most of your grasp on 2023’s eCommerce trends.

Here’s something that will never go out of style: Customers hate when they can’t find a desired product. That’s why Bluehost’s online store hosting comes with eCommerce plugins preinstalled, including unlimited product listings complete with search and filter functions.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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