Ecommerce predictions 2024: Top 5 trends & predictions

Take a look at the biggest trends that are likely to shape the world of ecommerce in 2024 and beyond!
Throughout the short history of ecommerce, once fact remains unchallenged - brands with a healthy channel mix and a well organized tech stack will be best positioned to take advantage of growth, or weather a storm if the market dips.  

2023 was a year of considerable change in the world of ecommerce and the following year is likely to be just as impactful. Some trends that have emerged recently will grow in importance and there will be others that we’re yet to experience. 


Looking to the year ahead is always speculative, but let’s take a look at what we’re likely to experience in 2024 and beyond.



1. Social commerce and shoppable content to continue growth

Social commerce is certainly not new in 2024, but is likely to grow in importance. Brands that have a strong presence on hugely popular platforms like TikTok have an unrivaled opportunity to increase their share of wallet.


In 2023, Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company made the decision to discontinue TikTok Storefront, replacing it with TikTok Shop and eliminating the need for users to leave the platform to complete their purchase. 


This enhanced shopper experience will be a concern for other ecommerce marketplaces in 2024. By creating a unified sales channel and social media platform, TikTok will be able to understand viewing habits and shopping preferences without cookies or tracking pixels, enabling accurate targeting, providing a highly effective way for brands to streamline purchases. 


It’s not just marketplaces that are worried about the rise of Tikok. You can expect other social media platforms to lean into shoppable content on their channels. Meta is focused on enhancing its ‘in stream’ purchasing with an upgrade to Shop Ads. The ability to complete a product purchase in a few clicks will soon be widespread no matter which social media platform you’re using. 


The draw of influencers has been on the radar of ecommerce brands for a few years now, but the growing popularity of live commerce, where influencers showcase their favorite products on a stream, with the ability to make an instant purchase is set to grow in 2024.


Already a trend in Asia, Walmart has embraced the trend with Walmart Live. Typically shoppers who choose to join a stream showcasing a particular category have a high buying intent and are a great target for brands.



2. Looking beyond borders: selling internationally set to continue!

Despite geopolitical challenges, it is getting easier and easier for brands to sell internationally. Especially into large economic blocs, like the European Union. 


Cross border ecommerce (especially a new region) certainly should not be taken lightly. This has always been the case and remains to be, but there are a few emerging trends that make this growth option more viable than ever in 2024. 


Firstly, the continued growth of Amazon marketplaces around the world presents a familiar ‘landing zone’ for brands to ‘test the water’ into a new market. If you’re a US seller looking to start in a European country you can use the same ASIN and automatically transfer your ratings and reviews, which gives you a handy running start as well. 


Third party fulfillment providers are also strengthening their operations to compete with Amazon and this competition is a positive for brands with the ambition to start in a new market. 


With innovative technology like AI powered large language models (LLMs), accurate listings translations that can be localized are getting better and better. This is another barrier to entry that is being broken down. 


Marketplace integration software enables brands to easily add new channels from all over the world, linking seamlessly with your back end systems (ERP, PIM, WMS) simplifying overseas expansion considerably.


If you are a North American brand considering selling in Europe, take a look at our recent webinar, with insights from mDesign, 10XCREW, and ShipBob.



3. Retail media to become ever more important!

Retail media has been growing for a while now, but as marketplaces continue to dominate consumer shopping preferences, this form of advertising is likely to increase further. 


There are a few contributing factors that can fuel the growth of retail media in ecommerce. The first of these is data privacy and the phasing out of cookies.


The impact this trend has on channels that rely on cookies for their targeting is already being felt by ecommerce brands. It has already become harder (and therefore more expensive) to target based on activity on the web using channels like Instagram and Facebook. This is likely to accelerate as Google finally ends its use of third party cookies in H2 2024


With brands less able to effectively shoppers who have shown an intent to buy via social media, the best way to ensure they reach the right audience is to advertise on marketplaces themselves. 


Another catalyst for retail media is the allure of a high margin revenue stream for marketplaces. With a highly competitive ecommerce environment to contend with, ads are a way for the marketplace to make profit without deterring sellers by taking a cut of their revenue. 


Brands should be careful to stay up-to-date with the latest advertising options and best practices on every marketplace they sell on, as this will be a priority for many marketplaces in 2024. Some are more aggressive than others in reserving visibility for advertisers (Allegro, for example) and there will be many different offerings among marketplaces around the world. 



4. Sustainability and ethical shopping in focus

Sustainability is a highly important cause, particularly among younger consumers. Depending on the category, it can be a very significant factor towards the ultimate purchase decision. This is likely to increase in 2024 as the climate crisis shows no signs of slowing.


When selling on marketplaces like Amazon, you are associating your brand and what it stands for, with the destination on which you’re selling. This phenomenon can be positive; Amazon has a great reputation for delivery and customer service. But on the negative side, brands on Amazon have to take on some of the baggage of Amazon’s historically poor reputation on sustainability.


Brands can try to overcome this by diversifying their channel mix and selling on multiple marketplaces. Moving off Amazon completely is a drastic step and not recommended, considering that there will be an impact on your carbon footprint for every ecommerce purchase, no matter which channel you use.


The most environmentally ethical channels for brands are the ones that sell refurbished second-hand items. These have grown in popularity with consumers who are environmentally conscious or looking for a hidden gem! Popular marketplaces selling refurbished goods include; Backmarket, Refurbed, and of course eBay



5. The end of free returns for Fashion?

Fast fashion is great for consumers, but terrible for the environment and expensive for brands and marketplaces. As a result, some marketplaces and retailer sites have made the decision to stop free returns. This is likely to become standard practice in 2024 as consumer expectations begin to shift in this direction.


As a result, brands must provide a high level of accuracy on their product detail pages, Amazon A+ Content becomes even more important than it already is. If you end up shipping an item that doesn’t match your listing, you’re more likely than ever to receive negative reviews! Avoid at all costs!


If you’re looking for a simple way to ensure that your listings meet the requirements of marketplaces and sales channels, make sure that you’re automating your listings with listing management software. Don’t rely on a copy paste approach - the stakes are too high.



Final words

2024 is set to be a fascinating year for ecommerce. With the continued rise of TikTok and its rivals playing catch up, or brands trying to overcome the challenge of sustainability in an industry that relies on delivering products quickly, some brands will prosper while others will surely struggle.


Throughout the short history of ecommerce, once fact remains unchallenged - brands with a healthy channel mix and a well organized tech stack will be best positioned to take advantage of growth, or weather a storm if the market dips.



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