According to leading eCommerce expert and best-selling author, Paul Waddy, artificial intelligence, sustainability, social commerce, and providing value are the key trends that will frame the future of online and retail sectors in 2024.
Waddy predicts that new applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence will drive ecommerce in the coming year. Advancements in AI technology will allow businesses to personalise customer interactions, improve systems, and increase efficiency through automation. "eCommerce brands can go a long way with AI-powered chat and content creation if the models are trained to codify and operationalise brand tone," said Waddy.
"This will lead to stronger conversations, an increased customer base, and more loyal customers," he said.
In addition, the strategic advisor emphasised the importance of eco-friendly practices. Sustainability has become crucial in retail as consumers are more aware of the environmental implications of their purchases. "Brands need to support this by offering a wide range of sustainable options, providing transparent information about product sourcing and manufacturing processes, and promoting responsible consumption practices," Waddy said. He also highlighted the need for competitive logistics, shorter delivery times, and decreased carbon emissions through effective transport and packaging methods.
Despite the significant rise of the social commerce market, which is predicted to reach US $7.03 trillion by 2030, future trends in social commerce will aim at enhancing omnichannel commerce, authenticity, and a mobile-first approach to user experience. "In 2024, major trends in social commerce include delivering seamless omnichannel commerce that lets consumers build their own buying journey, embracing authenticity when engaging with your audiences and taking a mobile-first approach to UX design," stated Waddy.
According to Waddy, another trend reshaping eCommerce is the emphasis on value to combat inflation. As consumers' budgets shrink, online spending may decrease. However, consumers are not halting all discretionary spending, he said. "They are being highly thoughtful and intentional about where, how, and on what they spend their hard-earned dollars," Waddy said. He said retailers should continue to ease buyers' anxieties by offering easy returns and budget-friendly options, delivering reliable, predictable, top-tier service, and rewarding loyalty with enticing perks and bonuses.
In conclusion, Waddy maintained that companies aiming to stand out in the stiff competition must leverage these insights to stay innovative and relevant in the digitisation age. He said, "AI, green practices, social commerce, and providing real value are not just trends but the building blocks of successful ecommerce and retail businesses in 2024."