7 eCommerce Trends to Watch Out For in 2024

31 Jan
7 eCommerce Trends to Watch Out For in 2024

Every year, eCommerce marketers are flooded with strategies and trends to win shoppers over. 

In 2024… it might all look a liiiiiitle different. Things are moving fast. 

Customers want better delivery options, more personalized experiences, and the option to buy products straight from social media. On the flip side, it's an exciting time for retailers. Generative AI, dynamic pricing and more opportunities around sustainability are driving a better shopping experience for customers. 

To win shoppers over in 2024, retailers need to think outside the box, embrace new trends and meet customers where they are. 

Here are 7 trends to watch out for this year 👇

1. AI Will Become The Ultimate Assistant

If there was one trend from 2023 we can all agree on—it was AI. 

ChatGPT was everywhere. Augmented reality empowered customers to view a product without stepping foot in a store. And AI-powered chatbots held the customer service fort for brands 24/7. 

AI isn't going anywhere in 2024, especially for the eCommerce industry. 

Just look at how shoppers are using generative AI. When Salesforce surveyed 2,400 consumers and 1,125 retail leaders for its latest Connected Shoppers Report, it found the tool was changing the way people shopped. 

Shoppers using AI chart

Retailers are also leaning on AI for everything from product recommendations to virtual customer experience and behavior tracking. For example, Walmart recently acquired Zeekit to give shoppers a virtual dressing room to see how clothes fit before they buy. Meanwhile, Instacart launched a ChatGPT-powered AI search tool where users can “Ask Instacart” to help with food recommendations. 

The writing is on the wall. AI will continue to grow and help retailers improve customer experience. 

2. Environment and Sustainability Will Win More Customers

The carbon footprint from eCommerce purchases is growing—and customers are becoming more aware of negative impacts. 

Carbon emissions due to eCommerce logistics are predicted to hit 25 million CO2 metric tons by 2030. So it's no surprise more millennial and Gen Z customers want to prioritize ethical company practices like sustainability in their purchasing decisions. More customers are now turning to stores practicing "sustainable commerce" to minimize the impact of their purchases on the environment. 

In fact, over half of consumers expect their online delivery to be carbon neutral, and six in ten are worried about overpackaging and want brands to be more responsible about their footprint. 

To meet these changing expectations, eCommerce stores switch things up and: 

📦 Use packaging materials made from recycled content. Think recycled, compostable, or biodegradable materials. 

🍃 Ask customers if they want to offset any carbon emissions associated with their purchase, like packaging or shipping

👣 Talk about sustainability efforts and share what moves are being made to cut your carbon footprint and packaging

With more than a third of US customers willing to pay a surcharge for eco-friendly delivery, some brands may even find a path to offset these costs to meet customer expectations. 


3. Social Will Drive (Even More) Traffic 

Social commerce will continue to grow as a channel for consumers to buy products. 

According to Shopify, 49% of brands plan to boost their social commerce investment. And it's a wise move when you look at the potential rewards. 

Social commerce was responsible for over $900B in spending last year, but by 2030, shoppers are expected to spend a whopping $6.2 trillion. According to Salesforce, this spending will happen because: 

  • 50% of shoppers say they discover new products on social media,
  • 36% of shoppers said they have purchased something on social media, up from just 11% in 2021—an increase of 227%.
  • Social is turning into a one-stop shop (excuse the pun). Shoppers now use social and chat channels to discover products, get help and complete a purchase.
Shopping channels chart

Salesforce's report found that Facebook will be the top platform for social commerce this year with an expected 64.6 million buyers, and nearly 47 million expected to shop on Instagram. 

Then, there's the younger shoppers. The millennials and Gen Z spenders who hang out on TikTok.

Insider Intelligence data estimates the platform will gain nearly 10 million social buyers this year—more than the net increase of Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram combined. The platform has also copy + pasted Amazon's selling flywheel: 

Amazon and TikTok flywheel

Business Insider says this strategy puts creators and user-generated content in charge of selling products—a human element that platforms like Amazon can't compete with. 

2024 will be the year social commerce explodes, and retailers must prepare for how their store will adapt and handle the changing way people shop. The challenge is to understand what channels and strategies work (and what doesn't) in this emerging social commerce space.

4. Dynamic Pricing Will Be Widely Adopted

More eCommerce retailers will start to look at dynamic pricing to change product prices depending on factors like demand, supply chain, and competition. 

A decade ago, major companies called dynamic pricing the future of retail. According to the Investors Chronicle, 25-30% of retailers in the UK and Europe are already using it, mainly those selling consumer goods, groceries, electronics, and sporting goods. 

Now, eCommerce companies like Amazon and Best Buy are seeing amazing revenue results. A Business Insider report found Amazon changes prices every 10 minutes or over 2.5 million times every single day. It uses a mix of algorithms and ML technology to track customer data, product availability and third-party competition to automatically update prices to maximize profits. 

But it also means a consumer could miss out on the best price for a product. Just look at the price of this internet router currently selling for $29:

mini wireless pocket router

After a bit of digging, we found it wasn't always this price. In fact, it has swung between a low price of $9 and a high of $50.99!

Amazon price history graph

Dynamic pricing could soon be widely adopted to automatically fluctuate pricing based on demand, stock, and customer behavior, ensuring consistently competitive pricing.

But if you don't want to lose customers… make sure you keep the pricing field fair. 

5. Shoppers Want Even Faster Delivery. But Is It Realistic?

Delivery options remain the main reason for cart abandonment in 2023. It's obvious retailers are looking for a way to meet customer expectations at the checkout to avoid this. 

World Economic Forum research suggests this may require services like same-day delivery, which is experiencing 36% annual growth. In fact, same-day and next-day delivery for the B2C market is projected to hit 1.9 billion parcels in France and the UK by 2027. While the US is predicted to have a slightly slower adoption of same-day delivery, the service is still expected to hit an aggregate retail online share of about 15% by 2025. 

In areas like China, growth is even more rapid. Instant delivery already makes up more than 10% of overall parcels—about 3 million every day. Retailers like Alibaba have invested around $15 billion in driverless tech and logistics automation to meet the growing demand. 

The move is being dubbed the "last mile ecosystem", but can retailers meet customer expectations? 

Retailers like JD Sports have teamed up with Instacart to offer customers same-day delivery in over 500 locations. Zipline is launching drones to deliver packages in a handful of US cities. And the big hitters—Walmart, Home Depot, and Target—have expanded so customers can get faster, same-day deliveries. 

The real question for 2024 and beyond won't be if faster delivery is possible. It is if smaller eCommerce retailers can meet these expectations. 

6. People Will Still Shop Online—But More Will Collect In-Store

Customers may be buying online, but they're open to stepping foot into a brick-and-mortar store to collect their items. And the trend—dubbed 'Buy Online, Pick up In-Store' (BOPIS)—is growing. 

A part of this may be down to shoppers not wanting to wait for shipping times or needing an item at the last minute. 

The National Retail Federation found 70% of shoppers think BOPIS improved their shopping experience. Further data from found curbside and in-store pickup options were gaining traction not just in the US, but in markets from Australia to Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom and the UAE. 

National Retail Federation data

What's interesting is BOPIS transactions aren't just on the rise—they are raising how much shoppers spend in-store: 

  • Of the 9 million American shoppers who picked up their online orders in person, almost 47% said they buy additional items when they collect their items
  • Nearly 40% of Aussies who collected their item in-store made an additional purchase
  • Between 25% to 27% of consumers in the U.K. and Brazil also make an extra purchase when they drop into a store to pick up an item
National Retail Federation data

The takeaway?

US stores have a huge opportunity to capitalize on BOPIS transactions to boost average order spend. If your brand has brick-and-mortar locations, think about the details—like where the customer collects their pickup from— to increase extra purchases when they come in. 

7. Subscriptions (Might) Make a Comeback

Subscriptions aren't dead. According to imarc, the subscription box market was worth nearly $33 billion in 2023, and it's growing annually at around 14%. 

But the reason we think subscriptions will be a trend this year is how people are using them. 

Just look at how Brits are leveraging subscriptions to combat the cost of living crisis. Research by Zuora found 84% of UK shoppers think subscriptions help them maintain normal finances and keep track of spending. 

For eCommerce retailers, subscriptions may be worth including in this year's product strategy. While customers will want a tailored and personalized approach, features like flexibility around opt-in/opt-out fulfillment will be essential, the reward will be recurring revenue. 

Retailers like Stitch Fix are even blending AI tech with a subscription service to offer personalized clothing recommendations to customers. The store uses AI data to analyze fashion trends and customer preferences to create a curated look for every customer's lifestyle and budget. The shopper can then customize how often they want to receive a new clothing order and if they want to switch any items out. 

Stitch fix site

Subscription models may be the ultimate you-scratch-my-back-i'll-scratch-yours strategy for eCommerce retailers in 2024. 


Ready to meet customer expectations in 2024?

The jury is in. Customers want more sustainable shopping experiences, faster delivery, and to buy products on social media. 

Our advice?

Embrace the changes. Try out some new strategies (even if they don't work). And meet customers where they are at—whether it's a TikTok store, a subscription box or more sustainable packaging. 

This year, these changes to your store = big wins at the checkout 🤑

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