Switching your print on demand supplier? Get in touch with us here

1. The ever-evolving ecommerce landscape and the digital marketplaces

Global ecommerce trends: What's dominating the market?

The way we shop online is changing super fast. Think about it – from cool techy personal touches to going green, online shopping is mixing the latest innovations with what we, as customers, want. 

This article will spotlight the most impactful global ecommerce trends currently shaping this dynamic domain and offer insights into the future of online shopping and ecommerce sales strategies.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • The digital evolution has transformed ecommerce from a novelty to the norm, driven primarily by the rise of comprehensive digital marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, and Etsy.

  • Customers prefer to shop online on the go, making optimization of ecommerce platforms for mobile-first experiences necessary for seamless checkouts.

  • AI is enhancing user experience with personalized product recommendations, and chatbots are streamlining customer service with humanlike conversations.

  • Consumers are increasingly drawn to eco-friendly products and practices. Brands emphasize sustainable sourcing and operations, with a rise in second-hand and upcycled online marketplaces.

The ever-evolving ecommerce landscape and the digital marketplaces

Think of the early 2000s: Ecommerce was a novel concept, a space where consumers would tread with caution. Fast forward to today, and it's the norm rather than the exception. 

Virtual storefronts are now giving brick-and-mortar establishments a run for their money. One of the main catalysts for this transformation is the rise of digital marketplaces. 

Platforms like Amazon, Alibaba, and Etsy have taken the concept of a marketplace and supercharged it. These aren't just places to buy and sell; they're entire ecosystems. They offer everything from consumer reviews to AI-driven product recommendations, from one-click purchases to global shipping.

To remain competitive in the dynamic ecommerce landscape, businesses must capitalize on these six emerging trends that are re-shaping consumer behaviors and purchasing decisions:

1. The rising mobile commerce

Have you ever found yourself browsing an online store during a commute? You're not alone! The allure of mobile commerce or 'm-commerce' is undeniable and has seen a remarkable surge in recent years. 

If we were to trace back, there was a time when online shopping was synonymous with desktops. However, the tables have turned dramatically. As smartphones became more advanced and ubiquitous, consumers started to find solace in the convenience of shopping on the go.

Adopt mobile-first strategies like leading ecommerce platforms

Recognizing this shift, many of the leading ecommerce platforms have adopted a 'mobile-first' approach. This doesn't merely mean having a mobile-responsive site; it goes beyond optimizing every aspect of shopping online for mobile users. 

From seamless checkouts to easy navigation, the focus is to cater to the smartphone shopper. Ecommerce sites, like Amazon and Shopify, are continually refining their mobile interfaces, ensuring they're intuitive, fast, and efficient.

Tailor user experience (UX) design for mobile users

UX design for mobile devices is an art in itself. Given the limited real estate compared to desktops, designers face the challenge of presenting all essential information without overwhelming users. 

There's a meticulous focus on aspects like button sizes, scroll lengths, and visual hierarchy. Moreover, with the introduction of features like dark mode, designers now also ensure that mobile shopping experiences are comfortable for the eyes, regardless of the environment or time of day.

2. AI and machine learning transforming ecommerce

These days, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies are no longer reserved for sci-fi novels; they're heavily shaping modern ecommerce by adding layers of sophistication and personalization that were previously unimaginable. 

Remember the last time you browsed an ecommerce store and saw product recommendations that felt eerily accurate? That's AI at play. Using ML algorithms, ecommerce platforms analyze a user's browsing history, purchase patterns, and even time spent on certain products to curate a list of suggestions tailored just for them.

Chatbots and virtual shopping assistants

Gone are the days of waiting on hold to resolve a query. Now chatbots and virtual assistants are at customers' disposal to address their inquiries in real time. Whether it's tracking an order, finding product details, addressing return policies, or updating customer data, these AI-driven chatbots streamline customer service. 

Some advanced bots can even engage in natural human-like conversation, offering interactive and personalized shopping experiences and turning shoppers into loyal customers.

Predictive analytics for inventory management and sales forecasting

On the business side of things, AI and ML prove to be game-changers. Predictive analytics, powered by these technologies, can provide insights into future online sales trends, helping businesses manage their inventory more efficiently. 

By analyzing historical data and current market trends, companies can forecast demand, ensuring they neither overstock nor run out of popular products. This not only reduces logistical headaches but also optimizes profit margins.

3. Sustainability takes center stage

Today's consumers are not just concerned about what they buy but also how and where it's sourced, its environmental impact, and the values of the brands they support. 

The green wave, as some call it, is reshaping the ecommerce landscape in a profound way. As awareness of environmental issues like climate change and plastic pollution grows, consumers increasingly seek out eco-friendly alternatives. 

There's a rising demand for products made of sustainable materials and organic ingredients.

Emphasize sustainability and ethical practices in brand messaging

Recognizing the paradigm shift, brands are adopting sustainable practices and making it a core part of their messaging. 

Transparent supply chains, cruelty-free testing, fair trade certifications, and carbon-neutral operations are no longer mere buzzwords—they're badges of honor that brands proudly wear. 

This shift is evident in their marketing campaigns, product descriptions, and even in the interactive stories they share about their sustainability journeys.

Upcycling and second-hand online marketplaces

One man's trash is another man's treasure. The adage holds especially true in the current ecommerce scene, with platforms like Depop, Poshmark, and The RealReal gaining momentum. 

These online marketplaces specialize in selling second-hand, vintage, or upcycled products, catering to consumers who are keen on reducing waste and giving products a second life. It's fashion and functionality with a conscience, emphasizing that 'old' can be 'new' again.

4. Evolving consumer purchasing habits

The digital age has caused a shift in consumers' purchasing patterns. It's not just about owning a product anymore; it's about the entire journey from discovery to post-purchase. Ecommerce platforms are continually adapting to align with these new purchasing habits. 

There's a growing sentiment, especially among younger consumers, that experiences are more valuable than possessions. This mindset has bolstered the rise of rental platforms for everything from designer dresses to high-end electronics. 

Why buy an expensive gown you'll only wear once when you can rent it? Platforms like Rent the Runway and Le Tote are thriving on this very concept.

The increase in direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands

DTC brands are the modern online retail rebels, bypassing traditional retail channels to sell directly to consumers. This approach allows them to maintain better control over their brand narrative and offer competitive pricing while also fostering a relationship with their audience. 

Brands like Warby Parker, Casper, and Glossier have shown how effective this model can be, combining quality products with compelling storytelling. 

This shopping experience is mainly offered through social media platforms, often termed "social commerce," to users who want to purchase products or services without leaving the social media site.

“Buy now, pay later” options and digital wallets

Buying flexibility is a significant factor in purchasing decisions. "Buy now, pay later" options, offered by platforms like Klarna, Afterpay, and Affirm, allow consumers to purchase a product immediately but defer the payment through manageable installments. 

In addition, digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Pay simplify the checkout process, making it faster and more secure. With a few taps, consumers can complete their purchase, eliminating the need to enter payment details manually.

5. Supply chain innovations

In an age where next-day delivery is almost an expectation, and consumers demand transparency about where and how products are sourced, the supply chain has undergone significant transformations. 

These transformations are not just linked to speeding up deliveries but also to ensuring efficiency, transparency, and adaptability in an ever-changing market landscape. To deliver products fast and reduce shipping costs, many businesses are transitioning from centralized warehousing to a more localized and distributed inventory model. 

Instead of storing all products in one massive warehouse, companies are placing smaller quantities of inventory in multiple locations closer to their customers.

Utilizing micro-fulfillment centers

Building on the localized inventory model, micro-fulfillment centers are becoming increasingly popular. 

These are compact, tech-driven warehouses located in urban areas, often using automation and robotics to quickly process online orders. 

They enable ecommerce businesses to efficiently serve densely populated areas, ensuring that products are always a short distance away from the end consumer.

Integrating IoT and blockchain for transparency and traceability

With consumers becoming more discerning about product sourcing and authenticity, transparency in the supply chain is paramount. 

The integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) allows businesses to monitor products in real time, from manufacturing to delivery. Blockchain, on the other hand, offers traceability. 

For example, a consumer buying a luxury item or ethically sourced produce can trace its journey from origin to purchase, ensuring its authenticity and ethical credentials. This technology fosters trust between consumers and the brands they choose.

6. Augmented reality (AR) enhances online shopping

Imagine trying on those shoes, checking how that sofa looks in your living room, and seeing how a lipstick shade complements your skin tone—all without making a purchase. Thanks to Augmented Reality (AR), this isn't just wishful thinking; it's now the new reality of online shopping. 

Fashion and beauty brands predominantly offer virtual try-ons nowadays with AR technology. This technology is not only enhancing the shopping experience for consumers but also instilling confidence in them to make the right purchase decisions, effectively reducing return rates.

Enhance product listings with AR

Product listings are not just static images and descriptions anymore. AR brings products to life, allowing users to engage with them in a 3D space. 

Furniture brands, for instance, are leveraging AR to let users place virtual furniture in their real living spaces, helping them gauge size, aesthetics, and fit. 

Such interactive listings provide a richer understanding of the product, making the online shopping experience more like a visit to an offline store.

Integrate AR with mobile apps for an immersive shopping experience

With the ubiquity of smartphones, integrating AR into mobile shopping apps can now offer features like virtual fitting rooms, 3D product previews, or even interactive AR-based catalogs. 

By creating such immersive experiences, brands not only entertain but also provide practical value to online shoppers, allowing them to interact with products in ways previously limited to brick-and-mortar stores.

Understanding the role of print on demand in modern ecommerce

In the agile ecommerce world, where rapid adaptation to market trends is crucial for businesses, print on demand has emerged as a powerful solution. This model revolves around the on-demand production of items and offers unique advantages to both businesses and consumers. Here's how print on demand is shaping the modern ecommerce industry.

1. Reduced upfront investment

Traditional retail necessitates a hefty upfront investment in inventory, which can lead to overstocking or stockouts. Print on demand eliminates this risk by enabling online retailers to produce products only when orders are placed. 

Businesses no longer need to worry about how many units of a product will sell or unsold inventory. This reduction in upfront costs minimizes financial risk and lowers the entry barrier for new entrepreneurs.

2. Catering to niche markets and creating personalized products

Print on demand's flexibility makes it ideal for serving niche markets. Brands can experiment with unique designs without worrying about unsold stock. This has led to an explosion of specialized stores catering to very specific interests, from fandoms to hobbies to cultural movements. 

Moreover, the model naturally aligns with the trend of personalization. Consumers increasingly seek products that resonate with their identity, and print on demand facilitates this by allowing for customized designs.

3. Environmental advantages with minimal waste

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it's a crucial component of modern consumerism. Print on demand aligns well with eco-conscious ethos. Since products are only created when ordered, there's a significant reduction in waste associated with unsold inventory. 

Plus, many print on demand services are integrating eco-friendly printing practices and materials into their operations. When compared to mass production, which leads to surplus items being discarded, this model is more sustainable.

Optimize your ecommerce business with Gelato

In the fast-paced realm of ecommerce, staying ahead of the curve requires innovation, agility, and a deep understanding of consumer preferences. This is where Gelato comes in with its future-forward approach. Gelato's strategy positions it as a beacon for businesses looking to step up their game in today's competitive ecommerce market.

  • Localized production: By leveraging localized production hubs, Gelato ensures that products are created closer to the consumer. This means shorter shipping distances, faster delivery times, and a significant reduction in transportation emissions.

  • Custom products: Consumers today desire products that resonate with their unique tastes and values. Gelato rises to this challenge by offering the ability to produce custom products, such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and wall art, ensuring that every item is not just another piece off an assembly line but a tailored experience.

  • Sustainability: Gelato's local production approach is inherently eco-friendly. By minimizing long-haul shipping and producing on-demand, the brand significantly reduces waste and carbon emissions.

Gelato's cutting-edge approach encapsulates the future of ecommerce with a blend of speed, sustainability, and localized strategy. For businesses looking to thrive in the evolving ecommerce landscape, Gelato's print on demand service is the key to unlocking unparalleled success. Don't be left behind; sign up for Gelato now!


Next steps

Start selling products with Gelato