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1. Key shopping trends for the 2023 holiday season

From click to cart: Understanding shopping trends and insights for the 2023 holiday season

Over the past ten years, ecommerce has moved from a novelty to a necessity. Today, it's a core part of our daily routines. In 2022, global ecommerce sales reached an astounding $5.7 trillion. What's more, this growth trajectory is predicted to continue, with estimates suggesting the global ecommerce market will exceed $7.5 trillion by 2025. These figures show that the expansion of ecommerce is far from reaching its limit.

This impressive growth isn't just a matter of chance. It's driven by changes in technology, alterations in consumer behavior, and the evolution of shopping patterns. In this blog post, we'll analyze these shifts, particularly focusing on the anticipation and strategy for the busiest shopping period – September through January 2023, also known as the “Peak” season.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • With over half the world using smartphones, making your online store mobile-friendly isn't just a good idea, it's a must. Aim for a site that looks and works great on mobile and a checkout that's as easy as pie.

  • Offering a shopping experience that feels tailor-made can boost your sales and keep customers coming back. Use targeted product recommendations, personalized emails, and individualized customer service to create an exceptional shopping experience.

  • Social media isn't just for chatting and sharing photos anymore. Make the most of "shoppable" posts, team up with influencers, and encourage customers to share their own content about your brand.

  • Understanding how and why your customers shop online and how much they value reviews can help shape your approach. Make your site user-friendly, keep your prices competitive, and respond proactively to customer reviews to enhance their shopping experience.

Key shopping trends for the 2023 holiday season

If there's one thing that we've learned over the past decade, it's that peak shopping periods have become increasingly unpredictable. No two years are alike and it's difficult to accurately predict what will happen during this time. Nonetheless, there are some key trends that are set to shape 2023, and with a bit of forethought, smart retailers can use these trends to their advantage. Here are some of the key ecommerce trends to watch.


Rise of mobile shopping

Our smartphones aren't just gadgets anymore – they're like extensions of ourselves. They're our music hubs, our daily planners, and increasingly, our virtual shopping carts. As we inch closer to Peak 2023, the importance of mobile shopping, also known as m-commerce, is clearer than ever.

With over 5 billion people using smartphones in 2023 and 65.7% of all e-commerce sales made via mobile devices in 2022, it's safe to say m-commerce is ruling the retail world. By 2025, just the U.S. alone is expected to rack up $710 billion in mobile sales.

These numbers are a wake-up call for businesses: if your online store isn't mobile-friendly, you're missing out. Having a sleek, easy-to-use mobile shopping experience isn't a fancy extra anymore – it's a must-have. But how can your business tap into this trend?

How to leverage this trend:
  • Mobile-responsive design. Make sure your website or app adjusts to the device it's viewed on. This way, customers can enjoy all the perks of your desktop site, but in a mobile-friendly format.

  • Easy-peasy checkout. Ditch the complicated checkout processes – they're a one-way ticket to abandoned carts. Keep things simple with features like one-click checkout, saving customer information, and a range of payment options. This can boost your conversion rates and keep customers coming back for more.

  • Mobile-friendly marketing. Make your marketing mobile-friendly too. Tailor your emails, in-app notifications, or texts to alert customers to new products or sales that match their shopping history or preferences. This can help you attract and retain customers in this mobile shopping era.


Personalized shopping experiences

The online shopping world is a bustling marketplace and standing out can be tough. That's where personalized shopping experiences come into play. By using customer data and analytics, businesses can offer tailored recommendations and marketing to shoppers.

Personalization is a game-changer. Around 76% of shoppers are more likely to buy from brands that provide a tailored experience, and 71% now expect personalization as the standard. It's all about understanding customers' behaviors and preferences, and using that information to create experiences that resonate with them. The result? More sales and repeat customers.

One standout brand that's nailed personalization is Amazon. Its recommendation engine uses a user's browsing history, purchases, and wishlist items to suggest products. Coca-cola also capitalized on the power of personalization with their "Share A Coke" campaign, printing popular names on their cans and bottles, leading to a surge in sales and customer engagement.

How to leverage this trend:
  • Custom Packaging. Unique unboxing moments. Custom branded packaging adds a personal touch to the shopping journey, leaving a lasting impression on customers. Consider including personalized thank-you notes, stickers, or exclusive inserts to surprise and delight shoppers.

  • Targeted product recommendations. Using customer data can lead to product suggestions that match shoppers' unique interests. This approach has been successful for companies like Amazon, which attributes 35% of its total sales to its recommendation engine. Shopify users can give a boost to their growing store with Glood.AI - this App is praised by top brands for providing an exclusive shopping experience to their users.

  • Personalized emails. Retailers can use customer data to send out targeted emails, which can include "abandoned cart" reminders or discounts on viewed items. Tools like MailChimp and Hubspot are great for creating tailored emails.

  • Personalized customer service. Giving each customer a personalized experience based on their past purchases and interactions can help create long-term loyalty.


Social commerce and influencer marketing

In today's interconnected world, the boundary between social media and ecommerce is becoming less clear. This fusion, known as social commerce, is growing at an impressive rate and changing the way we find and buy products.

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok have added shopping features that let users discover, share, and buy products without ever leaving the platform. In fact, the number of social commerce buyers in the U.S. is expected to reach 114 million by 2025.

Influencer marketing has a significant role in the rise of social commerce. Trust in traditional ads is on the decline, and consumers are looking to influencers for shopping advice. Around 61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations, and the global influencer marketing industry is now worth $2.1 billion.

User-generated content (UGC), such as reviews, ratings, images, and videos created by consumers, is another powerful force in ecommerce. Shoppers who see UGC convert at a rate that’s 3.8% higher than average.

How to Leverage this Trend:
  • Shoppable posts. Many social platforms now let businesses tag products directly in their posts. By using this feature, businesses can transform their social media accounts into virtual storefronts.

  • Influencer collaborations. Partnering with influencers can help businesses reach potential customers in a more genuine and trustworthy way than traditional advertising.

  • Encourage user-generated content. UGC acts as social proof and influences shopping decisions. Brands can drive UGC by creating campaigns that motivate customers to share their experiences with the brand's products, often through contests or features on the brand's social channels.

Insights into consumer behavior

To succeed in ecommerce, you need to understand your customers and what makes them tick. This means knowing why they shop online, what they’re looking for when making buying decisions, and the factors that influence their purchase behavior. Read on for key insights that can help you capitalize on customer behavior.


Understanding purchase decision-making process

Buying a product is seldom a straightforward process. Customers weigh factors such as cost, convenience, and trust. Assisting customers in making decisions quickly and confidently can boost an ecommerce brand's conversions and sales.

Traditionally, the customer decision-making process involves five stages:

  • Recognizing a need.

  • Searching for information.

  • Evaluating alternatives.

  • Making the purchase decision.

  • Evaluating post-purchase satisfaction.

In the ecommerce world, elements such as product availability, shipping speed, pricing, product reviews, and website user experience can shape these stages.

Here are some key strategies for smoothing the customer journey and minimizing cart abandonment:

  • Improve website usability. A well-organized, easily navigable website with clear product descriptions and high-quality images can retain potential customers.

  • Offer competitive pricing. Keep an eye on your competitors' prices. Price-conscious consumers often compare multiple options before deciding.

  • Deliver excellent customer service. Quick, helpful customer service can set your business apart. Be available and responsive across multiple channels, and have a clear, fair return policy.

  • Simplify the checkout process. A complex checkout process often leads to cart abandonment. Make it simple by offering guest checkout options, multiple payment methods, and pre-filled customer information.

  • Follow up on abandoned carts. Some customers leave their carts intending to return later. Sending personalized email reminders can nudge them towards completing their purchase.


Impact of customer reviews and ratings

Customer reviews and ratings are a major driving force in ecommerce. They're more than just feedback – they shape the choices of potential buyers and can make or break a business's reputation.

A whopping 93% of consumers admit that online reviews sway their buying decisions. Star ratings are particularly crucial; 40% of buyers prefer businesses rated at 4 stars or above.

Given their influence, it's vital for businesses to manage reviews wisely. Here's how:

Maximizing positive reviews:
  • Prompt for feedback. Ask your customers for reviews. They often enjoy sharing their experiences.

  • Simplify the process. Make it easy for customers to leave their feedback. The simpler it is, the more inclined they'll be.

  • Showcase good reviews. Flaunt positive feedback on your website, promotional materials, and social platforms. They act as testimonials for potential customers.

Handling the inevitable negative feedback:
  • Address with care. Always reply to unfavorable reviews promptly and professionally, showcasing your brand's commitment to customer satisfaction.

  • Offer solutions. Act on legitimate grievances. This might mean a refund, replacement, or some other remedy.

  • Adapt and grow. Use critiques as a learning tool. If there's a recurring issue, consider a change in your business operations.

  • Ask for updated reviews. After addressing a concern, encourage the reviewer to share their renewed perspective.


Wrapping up: Get ready for ecommerce's next big leap

Ecommerce is evolving at breakneck speed, driven by ever-changing customer behavior and expectations. For online retailers, the key to success lies in meeting customers where they are – on their mobile devices, social platforms, and always online – while delivering a remarkable shopping experience.

The future of ecommerce will continue to be shaped by continuous technological progress, with data-driven decisions and tailor-made experiences becoming the standard. To stay in the game, businesses big and small need to harness consumer data and exceed customer expectations with stellar experiences.

The successful ecommerce companies of tomorrow will be agile, responsive, and innovative. With customer satisfaction at the forefront, businesses must listen, learn, and adapt to create lasting bonds with their customers.

Check out Gelato’s holiday 2023 preparation page for more tips on how to win the Peak season.


Next steps

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