The rapidly evolving e-commerce and digital marketplace landscapes remain at the forefront of change as we move in 2024. Despite the resurgence of brick-and-mortar shopping, the e-commerce sector continues to flourish. Projections indicate that global retail e-commerce sales will increase from approximately $6 trillion to just over $8 trillion by the year 2026.

This expansion breeds intense competition among online retailers, compelling them to differentiate themselves by offering unparalleled, tailored customer experiences.

Achieving this level of service requires a deep understanding of the current industry trends and consumer behaviors shaping the future of e-commerce.

1 Online retail success will depend on seamless omnichannel experiences

In 2023, the allure of in-person shopping made a significant comeback among consumers. However, this resurgence did not signify a decline in e-commerce activities. Instead, buyers have shown a preference for utilizing various channels and points of interaction for their purchases.

From digital storefronts and external online marketplaces to social media platforms and physical retail locations, individuals engage in activities such as research, comparison, purchasing, and seeking customer service across various environments. Their expectation is clear: to navigate these processes seamlessly, with minimal to no interruptions.

73% of shoppers in the retail sector engage with various channels for their purchases. Retailers who integrate three or more channels into their strategy see a 251% boost in customer engagement compared to those relying on a single channel approach.

For a unified brand experience, it’s crucial for retailers to establish a consistent presence across all digital channels—this includes their proprietary websites, social media platforms, and third-party marketplaces like Amazon.

Also, optimizing the omnichannel customer journey is essential. By integrating backend systems, retailers can ensure that customers have the flexibility to resume their shopping experience seamlessly on any platform, picking up exactly where they left off, regardless of the touchpoint they choose.

  • Enable options for customers to buy, service, or return online and in-store items for enhanced convenience.
  • Fully adopt social commerce to stay relevant among millennial and Gen Z consumers.
  • Deliver personalized customer service that empowers and reassures customers.

Brands that excel in integrating a unified omnichannel strategy, offering seamless and customized experiences, will continue to dominate the market in 2024.


2 Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the e-commerce landscape.

Whether you’re a fan or critic, artificial intelligence (AI) has established its permanence in our world. It’s been an asset for e-commerce sectors for some time, but 2023 saw generative AI bringing its capabilities into the limelight for everyday consumers, showcasing its profound potential.

As AI continues to expand its footprint, it’s no surprise that it has been identified as the second most significant trend in e-commerce for 2024.

For e-commerce businesses, AI serves as a dynamic instrument that enables them to:

  • Customize experiences and suggestions for their customers
  • Streamline processes ranging from supply chain and inventory management
  • Sharpen their digital marketing efforts to more accurately engage with their desired audiences

The staggering fact that 97.2% of companies funnel resources into big data and artificial intelligence (AI) speaks volumes. Additionally, a significant 91% of leading enterprises acknowledge their current investment in AI and plan to amplify this investment further

Retailers hesitant to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) might soon face significant challenges.

Rather than avoiding these technologies, thoughtfully and intentionally incorporate them into your e-commerce strategy for 2024. Recognize the potential risks, foster trust by being transparent, and actively address prevalent obstacles.


3 Social commerce to drive engagement in 2024

In the United States, 96.9 million individuals shop directly through social media platforms. This trend is set to rise as younger millennials and Generation Z become more predominant in the market. 83% of Generation Z shoppers initiate their buying journey on social media. Brands are increasingly streamlining the process, allowing consumers to easily find and buy products on their preferred social media apps, especially Instagram and TikTok. This not only enhances their social standing but also sets a new standard for consumer expectations across various industries.

Projections indicate that 2026 social commerce will surge to $2.9 trillion, underscoring the urgent need for retailers to embrace social media platforms immediately

.2024 e-commerce trends within social commerce encompass:

  • Facilitating an omnichannel commerce experience that empowers consumers to tailor their purchasing path
  • Prioritizing Authenticity in Audience Interaction
  • Adopting a mobile-first strategy in user experience design

4 Eco-Friendly Initiatives: The Financial Benefits of Embracing Green Practices

Sustainability continues to be a critical concern for consumers, especially as they witness the direct effects of climate change. This focus is expected to grow stronger into 2024, with eco-friendly choices becoming more sought after. Consumers are showing a readiness to invest more in sustainable products and companies.

However, achieving true sustainability is challenging. Particularly in the U.S. There’s a growing wariness towards “greenwashing” as people become more discerning about the Authenticity of eco-friendly claims..

Mintel’s most recent report on consumer behavior indicates that 60% of consumers in the U.S. believe many companies are merely feigning sustainability

Relying solely on regulatory mandates and industry certifications is insufficient for meeting consumer expectations. To outperform their competitors, brands must exhibit significant and tangible advancements toward sustainability objectives and swiftly adapt to evolving situations.

E-commerce businesses should intensify their focus on sustainable operations and show a genuine, unequivocal commitment to environmental responsibility. This is particularly crucial for attracting younger customers, who prefer patronizing companies that resonate with their beliefs. However, should they perceive a lack of sincerity in these efforts, they will not hesitate to turn away.

5 Understanding your customer: Tailored customer service is essential.

Farewell to the one-size-fits-all approach in customer service! Nowadays, consumers demand tailored experiences throughout their journey, including interactions with customer service. Personal preferences, transaction history, and previous interactions should all shape how they are engaged today.

Recently, companies have understood that customer service is a tangible extension of the brand, embodying its desired attributes through human interaction. However, merely acknowledging the role of service agents in representing the brand is insufficient. Why? Because in customer interaction, the service essentially becomes the brand itself. Each interaction with the service department holds significant power in shaping the customer’s perception of the brand, particularly as digital channels continue to gain prominence.

This shift in customer service dynamics necessitates organizations to think innovatively about addressing intangible elements like empathy and tone of voice. They must ensure service agents have immediate access to relevant information to address any issues or pain points customers may encounter, even in swiftly changing scenarios.

As smart speakers and assistants continue to advance in intelligence, their usage among consumers is steadily increasing.

Approximately 40 % of internet users in the United States use a voice assistant monthly. To maintain a competitive edge, e-commerce brands should prioritize optimizing their websites for voice commerce.

Major retailers have already begun facilitating direct orders through smart speakers, with more joining the trend. Digital retailers must prioritize enhancing their commerce experiences by aligning with natural language patterns. Consider how real people discuss your products, not just algorithms. It’s crucial to optimize responses for voice search, focusing on clarity and brevity to avoid user disengagement. However, voice commerce isn’t solely driven by smart speakers; smartphones also play a significant role in a blended commerce experience, pointing to the next e-commerce trend 2024.

7 Mobile-first UX design dominates.

In the era of yore, circa 2010, mobile-optimized websites emerged as the cutting-edge trend. Fast forward to today, and mobile commerce has surged in both prevalence and convenience over the past decade and beyond.

This shift has led to a reversal in priorities. Rather than retrofitting desktop sites for mobile use, brands prioritize mobile-first experiences.

An impressive 91% of consumers now opt to make online purchases via smartphones. In 2024, projections indicate that m-commerce will claim a substantial 40.4% share of all e-commerce sales.

It’s projected that mobile commerce will account for $710 billion in sales by 2025, representing approximately 10.4% of total retail transactions.

Repeatedly, consumers express their preference for shopping via mobile devices. It is imperative for digital retailers to cater to this demand by providing tailored mobile experiences:

  • Incorporate fingerprint and facial recognition technology for streamlined login and checkout processes.
  • Create a specialized mobile application with e-commerce functionalities meticulously optimized for smaller screen sizes.
  • Provide convenient mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Google Pay to enhance the checkout experience.

8 Inflation is altering the dynamics of online consumer spending patterns.

Inflation remained a prevalent concern throughout 2023, and indications suggest a continuation into 2024. With tighter budgets, consumers are expected to exercise caution in their online purchases to deter impulsive buying tendencies.

However, it’s important to note that discretionary spending hasn’t completely halted. Instead, consumers are adopting a more deliberate approach, carefully considering the worth and impact of each expenditure and prioritizing value in their purchases. However, the notion of value is multifaceted.

According to Mintel’s 2024 Global Consumer Trends report, consumers reevaluate their value perceptions. With diverse views on quality and budget constraints, they seek a balance between quality and cost. Retailers should prioritize strategies to alleviate shopper concerns, such as offering hassle-free returns and budget-friendly options.

67% of online shoppers verify the return policy before purchasing, and a poor policy may deter them from buying. Conversely, 92% of shoppers will likely buy from a brand again if the return process is straightforward. Providing “basic” packages and other cost-effective options can greatly benefit consumers aiming to save money.

Retailers can enhance their emphasis on delivering value beyond mere cost savings. This includes:

  • Embracing ethical, sustainable, and socially conscious business practices that resonate with consumers, even during financially challenging times.
  • Offering dependable, consistent, high-quality service, as any inconvenience may lead customers to seek alternatives.
  • Acknowledging loyalty by providing desirable perks and bonuses.

9 “Please wake me up before you go: Incorporating ROPO (research online, purchase offline) and BOPIS (buy online, pay in-store).”

As consumer behavior reshapes the customer journey, retailers may find it challenging to effectively monitor how their virtual user experience translates into physical sales.

Although the concept of ROPO (“research online, purchase offline”) isn’t new, its popularity has surged as more individuals integrate various channels into their buying process. Before purchasing in-store, people prefer to conduct product research online, utilizing e-commerce platforms, third-party marketplaces, and online reviews.

While the core experience remains largely unchanged, our capacity to track this journey has significantly improved.

Processes like BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and curbside delivery seem straightforward: customers shop online and choose either in-store or curbside pickup, receive a confirmation email, and then either check-in via phone call or location-based services to alert employees for package retrieval. However, scaling these services poses significant challenges for most retailers, necessitating agility and rapid adaptation to transform traditional stores into efficient fulfillment centers.

Thanks to a wealth of ownable, traceable data and advanced analytics bolstered by AI technology, we now have better tools to map out customer journeys and gain deeper insights into what works and doesn’t.

Retailers that have yet to invest in a unified customer data platform—capable of consolidating data from multiple sources—should prioritize doing so now to remain competitive in this evolving e-commerce landscape.

“ROPO + BOPIS: E-commerce Trends in 2024”

  • Frictionless omnichannel commerce empowers consumers to craft personalized buying journeys.
  • Maintaining privacy and transparency remains pivotal for fostering customer trust.
  • “Human as a premium” gains significance in e-commerce trends.

10 E-commerce becomes immersive through the integration of AR and VR technologies.

Augmented and virtual retail experiences have revolutionized online shopping, addressing a key challenge faced by shoppers: the inability to “try on” products or envision how they will fit in their space. These technologies allow consumers to visualize and interact with products before purchasing. For instance, individuals can use their smartphones to virtually “try on” clothes and makeup.

At the same time, augmented reality allows them to see how furniture and home appliances will look in their spaces, exemplified by IKEA’s AI-driven app. VR showrooms, such as Audi’s earlier Oculus experience, enable shoppers to virtually engage with products or customize them before buying. Overall, AR and VR e-commerce experiences play a vital role in alleviating customers’ concerns about online purchases.

According to a Snap/Publicis Media survey, 80% of shoppers express increased confidence in their purchases when utilizing these technologies. At the same time, 66% of shoppers who engage with AR indicate a decreased likelihood of returning their purchases.

Immersive technology has made significant strides in recent years, yet its journey is only beginning. Anticipate witnessing e-commerce enterprises in every sector introducing augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality encounters in 2024.

11 Personalization and curated experiences are highly sought-after

In our previous discussions, we’ve explored how AI is revolutionizing the e-commerce landscape, particularly its ability to fine-tune various elements of the shopping experience. However, AI’s profound influence on personalization demands dedicated attention.

As consumers grow increasingly savvy and accustomed to AI’s sophisticated capabilities, their standards for how businesses leverage such technology are escalating.

Twenty-four percent of consumers believe that retailers should utilize AI to enhance the personalization of recommendations.

When customers grant permission to use their data, they anticipate a tangible return on this investment, manifested through highly personalized, curated experiences. These experiences may include:

  • Directing them toward products aligned with their preferences, leveraging insights from past purchases, behavior, and engagement across various channels.
  • Providing tailored rewards as part of loyalty initiatives.
  • Engaging them through targeted messaging on their preferred platforms, ensuring resonance with their individual preferences

As personalization capabilities advance, retailers failing to deliver such tailored and relevant experiences risk permanent customer attrition.

12 Consumers continue to prioritize privacy and transparency above all else.

E-commerce shoppers seek outstanding, tailored, and fluid experiences without compromising their privacy through dubious data handling methods.

By the end of 2024, Gartner anticipates that three-quarters of the global population will have their data protected by privacy regulations. This implies that companies violating compliance will encounter substantial fines and legal ramifications.

In addition to the financial perils associated with regulatory infractions, brands that betray their customers’ trust, particularly regarding their personal information, risk permanently losing their patronage. Furthermore, they may encounter a barrage of negative reviews as a consequence.

In 2024, e-commerce will require prioritizing data privacy and transparency for any personalization or customer experience strategy. As businesses harness new AI capabilities and delve into hyper-personalization tactics, maintaining customer trust must remain a paramount concern.

13 Valuing the Human Element

In digital commerce, the focus often centers on leveraging emerging technologies to facilitate business growth, scale operations, and provide exceptional virtual engagements. However, amidst the pervasive influence of AI, there’s a growing recognition of the value of human interactions.

According to Mintel, consumers are starting to cherish the distinctive qualities inherent in human interactions – emotions, empathy, creativity, and the longing for genuine connections. To strike a harmonious balance between advancement and preserving the human touch, brands and consumers will increasingly seek out and appreciate these uniquely human attributes as a counterpoint to impersonal algorithms.

According to a survey, 58% of American consumers believe engaging with a real person contributes to positive experiences when interacting with salespeople and customer service representatives.

In the forthcoming years, we anticipate witnessing a burgeoning trend labeled “human-as-a-premium.” Brands will pivot towards weaving together connectivity in both technological and emotional dimensions, emphasizing how a single product or transaction can enhance various aspects of an individual’s life. As brands progress and integrate technology to enhance efficiency, productivity, and scalability, they must remain mindful of the occasions where a human touch can elevate even the most digitally driven encounters.

14 Direct-to-consumer channels empower brands and retailers for success.

The direct-to-consumer (DTC) model, once exclusive to digitally native brands seeking cost savings and unique customer experiences, is now being adopted by brands of various sizes and backgrounds. This shift is partly driven by the desire for first-party customer data and as a response to exorbitant rents for physical retail locations.

DTC brands dominate the U.S. market, boasting the highest share globally, while DTC sites ranked as the third most preferred online purchase channels in 2023.

Consumers bypass third-party retailers and opt for the brand’s customer experience when it’s more convenient, dependable, or provides superior rewards or pricing.

In 2024, anticipate an increased focus from brands and retailers on enhancing their direct-to-consumer (DTC) experiences. This strategic shift aims to gather greater amounts of high-quality customer data, enabling the delivery of personalized services that foster lasting customer loyalty.

15 Retention is propelled by subscription commerce.

Consumers continue to favor subscription models, appreciating the fusion of automation’s convenience with the pleasant anticipation of receiving curated packages, particularly in physical product subscriptions.

E-commerce vendors find this approach appealing as it ensures steady, predictable revenue streams.

By 2026, the global subscription e-commerce market is forecasted to achieve a value of $904.2 billion.

Subscription models remain highly popular across various industries, from physical goods to digital streaming services. Nearly any digital vendor can leverage the benefits of effective subscription commerce. To distinguish their subscriptions, brands can offer personalized features such as:

  • Affordable pricing options tailored to different budgets.
  • Products customized to match consumer preferences.
  • Convenient and flexible fulfillment choices.

While retaining subscription members is essential, ensuring easy cancellation and membership management is equally crucial. Governments are increasingly scrutinizing dubious subscription practices, and making it arduous for customers to end their memberships can negate any goodwill established by simplifying the ordering process.

In 2024, customer-centric experiences will emerge as the predominant trend in e-commerce.

Transitioning from subscription retail to personalization and advancing towards unified omnichannel commerce, the prevailing trends shaping e-commerce in 2024 share a common thread: prioritizing the customer experience.

Reiterating the importance of this focus, always remember to inquire, “What would my customer want?” Adhering to this guiding principle will undoubtedly help you navigate your path effectively.