By Percy Hung, Contributor to Forbes
Beginning in early 2020 and raging through 2022, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the lives of people to undergo a facelift. The seismic shift toward online shopping, in particular, has had profound impacts on businesses across the globe.
Against this backdrop, this article explores three online shopping trends to watch in 2023, helping you navigate the dynamic e-commerce landscape and devise your business’s growth strategy in challenging times.
1. Video Shopping
When it comes to online marketing, few would doubt Bill Gates’ famous proposition that “content is king.” Recently, however, a new form of content—videos—has taken the throne.
As of 2022, the average person spends an estimated 100 minutes watching online videos per day. TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing app, has more than 1 billion monthly active users, and the figure is expected to nearly double to 1.8 billion by the end of the year.
As videos gain prevalence and dominance as a form of media consumed by the masses, video shopping will likewise bring about changes in the way that people browse and shop online.
Simply put, video shopping involves the use of video content to promote one’s products or services. The roles of videos in online shopping are multifarious, spanning different customer touchpoints in the purchase journey.
Product videos, for example, bring products to life in the virtual world. They provide close-ups and 360-degree views of your goods, as well as how your products can be used or applied in practice. This visually engaging form of media is great for helping shoppers understand your offerings and often nudges them toward making purchase decisions.
Livestreaming, on the other hand, capitalizes on people’s see-now-want-now mentality. Since its first appearance on China’s Taobao marketplace a few years back, it has quickly risen in popularity and proved itself to be a driver of sales in many instances, such as Singles Day, one of the biggest shopping festivals in Asia.
The world today sees digital marketers banging out video content at unprecedented rates. TikTok is undergoing explosive growth, and Instagram is fast pivoting to turn itself into a video-based social platform. A new era has arrived, and e-commerce players must brace themselves for it.
2. New And Emerging Payment Options
From bank transfers to credit cards and mobile wallets, new payment options emerge every now and then. The online payments sector is still evolving today, and some exciting developments are anticipated in the near future.
Buy now pay later (BNPL), for example, is a type of embedded finance that has gained significant traction in recent years. This form of payment or financing is exactly what it says on the tin: People can buy merchandise now and pay for them later, and this is usually achieved by splitting the purchase amount into multiple installments to be paid over time.
Most merchants and platforms offer BNPL services free of interest, making it an appealing option for purchasing high-value items. The BNPL market was valued at just $120 billion in 2021 and is projected to more than quadruple its growth to $576 billion by 2026.
Another trend to note in this respect is the popularization of cryptocurrencies—not for trading and investment, but for making actual payments. Putting insights into numbers, as much as 45% of consumers said in a 2021 survey that they’re willing to use crypto payments in the next two years.
Going forward, more new and diverse payment methods are expected to enter the scene. While the wide array of payment options offers more choice, flexibility and convenience to consumers, the plethora of options is bound to bring problems to businesses as they must find ways to integrate these new developments with their e-commerce infrastructure.
3. Cross-Border Online Shopping
Regional lockdowns and quarantine policies stemming from the pandemic outbreak may have restricted people’s travel plans, but it certainly doesn’t stop people from making overseas purchases—quite the contrary. The years-long pandemic probably contributed to the growing popularity of cross-border e-commerce, as consumers now buy online what they can’t buy in person.
A post-pandemic report revealed that three out of four (76%) online shoppers have made purchases outside of their own countries in 2021, up from only 69% two years ago. In another report, the top three reasons for shopping overseas are found to be lower prices, access to items unavailable locally, and discovery of new and interesting products.
From my point of view, the cross-border e-commerce market will continue to reach new heights since the traditional barriers to making overseas purchases have been reduced (if not eliminated) by the collective efforts of stakeholders across the world.
To illustrate this, state-of-the-art fintech solutions are now available for digital merchants to process cross-border payments, a pandemic-proof global logistics network is in place and, most importantly, groups of digital-savvy consumers are ready to spend their money across geographies in the borderless world.
Some Last Words
As Charlie Munger, the billionaire investor, once said, “opportunity comes to the prepared mind.” The great consumer shift towards online shopping no doubt presents challenges for businesses navigating the new normal, but it also creates opportunities for innovation and growth.
In 2023, video shopping, new payment options and cross-border e-commerce are three key trends to watch and capitalize on. Keeping an eye on these trends and preparing for how your company might transition toward them can make all the difference.
Article originally appeared on Forbes.
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