In the oversaturated yet booming eCommerce world, business leaders need to constantly find new ways to stay ahead of the competition, while solidifying their position in the target markets. The problem is not that the eCommerce playing field isn’t big enough for everyone, because it is — the problem is that modern online shoppers have the opportunity and the freedom to choose between thousands of brands.
Brand-hopping in the eCommerce world has therefore become commonplace, which leads to a big customer churn and financial loss when constantly trying to acquire new customers. Your goal as an eCommerce leader should be to generate new sales, yes, but it should also be to inspire people to keep coming back for more.
That’s when omnichannel eCommerce steps in as a powerful way to achieve both. Let’s take a look at the omnichannel eCommerce trends you should know and use to your advantage in 2023.
What does omnichannel eCommerce entail?
Omnichannel eCommerce is a framework used by an online retail brand to build brand awareness, visibility, and trust on all relevant channels. This framework allows the brand to generate qualified leads, acquire new customers quickly, and most importantly, to retain loyal customers over the long term.
The foundational pillar of omnichannel eCommerce is omnichannel marketing, which serves to create a seamless shopping experience on all relevant online platforms for the brand. Unlike multi-channel marketing where individual channels might not be connected and tend to work on their own, the omnichannel approach ensures brand and shopping consistency throughout.
These channels, or touchpoints, can include:
- Your website
- Social media pages
- Review sites
- DMs and email
- A dedicated app
- Your brick-and-mortar store
The more relevant channels, the better; however, you need to focus on creating a consistent and seamless shopping experience across all the channels. Let’s take a look at some of the touchpoints and trends to use in your strategy.
Click and collect is a rising opportunity
While it might not seem like it at first glance, in-store pickups are a great opportunity both for the shoppers and the retailers. On your end, click-and-collect is an opportunity to cut shipping costs, delays, and processing by simply holding an item for the customer. Operationally, it can also significantly unburden your entire shipping process.
On the customer’s end, click and collect options save a lot of time and eliminate any shipping fees if their order total is not high enough for the seller to cover shipping fees. Knowing your targeting persona and your audience, you’ll be able to optimize click and collect, shipping, and other options to suit their needs and preferences.
Connecting the online and in-store experience into a seamless process is the key to winning customers over. You need to show them just how easy it is to buy the product and pick it up on their terms, all while getting a consistent brand experience from the online and physical store.
Given the fact that click and collect is only going to rise in 2023, it’s a good idea to add this option to your website.
Use native ads to generate conversions
Native advertising is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal, and it should be an integral part of your omnichannel strategy. It’s important to advertise your products and brand on other platforms and publications where you can naturally integrate them through compelling storytelling or other types of content.
This approach opens new channels for your omnichannel strategy, and allows you to expand your brand’s reach without focusing solely on traditional online ads. You can also integrate your products seamlessly on your website through insightful articles and infographics, making sure you compress your images without losing quality in order to make your website run smoothly.
Aside from your own high-quality content, be sure to place native ads on relevant websites in your niche, including other social media channels that can advocate for your brand or promote your products in a natural way. The tone of voice and branding should be consistent wherever your products or brand appear online.
Use email to drive sales and generate leads
Email marketing continues to be one of the most powerful marketing tools in the eCommerce space and is a crucial piece of the omnichannel puzzle. This channel opens a direct line of communication with your customers and allows you to consistently deliver high-quality messaging, according to the user intent and where the individual is on their shopping journey.
Email also provides an opportunity to minimize your cart abandonment by sending automated emails reminding people that they have items left in their carts. When sending out a sales email in an attempt to get a potential customer to complete an action quickly, provide value and a clear incentive.
If the customer has been looking at a particular product for some time but hasn’t bought it yet, you can send them an email with a small incentive to nudge them towards conversion.
Email is also a vital channel to nurture long-term customers and inspire brand loyalty. Remember, email a direct line of communication with your audience, so sending regular updates on products, new offers and arrivals, and relevant news about your brand is a great way to keep your online store in people’s minds.
Leverage social media in numerous ways
Another powerful way to drive eCommerce sales in 2023 is through social selling. Social selling has been gaining momentum in recent years, and nowadays we can’t imagine a growth-oriented eCommerce brand not having a social media presence.
People don’t just want to follow you for your posts or to see what’s new, they want to follow you for the ease of use and the streamlined shopping experience that social selling brings to the table. The fact that leveraging product information and branding is so easy on social media today gives you an opportunity to capture the customers’ attention and give them a quick and easy way to make a purchase.
You can do this directly in the DMs by accepting orders in the chat, or you can post links to the products in the post. You can also tag different parts of an image so that people can instantly go to the desired product page.
This approach creates a powerful social selling platform that will greatly supplement the sales you make in your online store.
Optimize for seamless mobile purchasing
Mobile eCommerce is only going to rise in the years to come as people get more and more accustomed to purchasing products on their smartphones. People used to bookmark the products they wanted and then make the purchase from their computers, but as online stores become more mobile-friendly and as brands continue making dedicated apps, people are starting to get accustomed to mobile commerce.
Capitalize on this growing channel and invest in mobile optimization and even a branded app in 2023. An app gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of content creation and messaging, and the fact that it will collect user data automatically means you can easily craft content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
It’s also important to note that the Gen-Z demographic is already dominating the eCommerce customer pool alongside the millennials, and are constantly using their phones to find new brands and products. This generation is not afraid to use their handheld device to make a quick purchase, so use that to your advantage.
Drive retention with subscription commerce
It should go without saying that customer retention should be one of your top priorities moving forward. As the eCommerce industry becomes increasingly competitive, it will be the brands that are able to retain customers and stay relevant in their hearts and minds that will solidify their position in the market.
To that end, another great channel you should invest in is subscription commerce. Modern online shoppers are increasingly using subscriptions to ensure simplicity and convenience when shopping online.
If you can put your products into truly valuable monthly boxes and subscription packages, you are going to unlock another growth hacking opportunity by inspiring people to subscribe. Offering easy exchanges and returns will only boost the popularity of your subscription service, and you can add referral discounts and perks when people bring in new subscribers.
The possibilities with subscription commerce are endless, and paired with customer engagement software to handle all queries and nurture your subscribers makes it an excellent tool for retaining subscriptions over the long term. This trend is only going to grow in the years to come, as online shoppers will continue to look for ways to purchase great products without the hassle of perusing websites and choosing sizes - it can all be done for them when they subscribe.
Over to you
Omnichannel eCommerce has become one of the most powerful ways for growth-oriented brands to get ahead, generate new customers, and keep them at their side. By leveraging these trends and best practices, you can carve out a space for your brand in a competitive eCommerce niche and boost customer acquisition and retention in 2023 and the years to come.