I originally published this article on The Future Of Commerce.
Enterprise e-commerce solutions have to be holistic, comprehensive, relevant, and up-to-date with customer needs and market trends. In order to deliver an end-to-end suite of applications and services, large e-commerce vendors have to maintain a clear strategic partner approach.
At SAP, innovation is a core element of our partner strategy. In order to offer customers a relevant ecosystem of partners, we always scout for solutions that are both innovative and enterprise-ready to complement our offerings. To deliver on that commitment, in 2017 SAP established SAP.iO, with an ongoing mission to build the company’s next generation of partners.
Startup trend: Better personalization, real engagement
To embrace personalization in 2024, brands must move beyond intrusive pop-ups that offer monetary incentives in exchange for a consumer’s email/phone number. While this type of transactional strategy may lead to an initial purchase or attract potential new customers, it falls short in delivering genuine value and real engagement. This is why improving e-commerce personalization is a top startup trend 2024.
According to a McKinsey & Co. study, fast-growing companies drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than slower-growing companies.
To truly connect with customers, brands should prioritize interactive, value-based content that enables the collection of proprietary first-/zero-party data. Boston-based startup Jebbit helps brands do this with solutions for building product recommendation quizzes.
The quizzes provide insights into consumer preferences and lifestyles, which companies can use then use to make personalized, relevant recommendations to each consumer.
The beauty of this data lies in its capacity to deliver consistent, genuine value. Brands can harness it across their tech infrastructure to drive personalization throughout the customer journey and the customer lifecycle. The result is trusted consumer relationships that last.
“The brands that excel are those transforming key lifecycle moments from one-way communication into two-way experiences, fostering discovery, inspiration, and education,” says Jebbit CEO & Co-Founder Tom Coburn.
In 2024, customer advocacy becomes more important than ever
With customers having more choice than ever and the cost of paid acquisition continuing to rise, the need to improve retention, loyalty and profitability has never been greater. The experts at startup Mention Me believe that in 2024, customer advocacy marketing will become the most efficient way for businesses to drive sustainable growth, making it a top trend in e-commerce.
In short, it’s getting your customers to love your brand so much they keep coming back and bringing their friends. The power of this virtuous cycle is evident when you consider referred customers have a 2x higher lifetime value than non-referred customers and are 5x more likely to refer others.
Roy Robinson, CPO at Mention Me, says 2024 will continue to be challenging for many e-commerce brands. Gone are the days of growth at all costs; the name of the game is now profitability. Using unique advocacy insights from your customer base can identify hidden segments of high-value customers, which can help drive 40% of your revenue, he says.
“Retaining and growing these high-value segments can make the difference between merely surviving and sustainable growth,” Robinson adds.
Through the world’s first AI-powered Customer Advocacy Intelligence Platform, the startup is helping brands like PUMA, and Huel to identify, nurture and activate their biggest fans, turning customer advocacy into a sustainable, measurable growth strategy.
Startups make immersive experiences a top trend 2024
Today’s e-commerce sites look relatively similar across every category and product type, whether a brand is selling toothpaste or luxury goods. This 2D, grid-like environment lacks interactive, memorable assets for brands to stand out. Conversely, a growing number of consumers are fluent in gaming and expect every one of their engagements online to be highly immersive, visual and play-centric.
Immersive experiences are shopping solutions that enable brands to meet consumers on their terms through interactive, social, gamified 3D environments. These solutions help brands achieve higher conversion, increased loyalty, and memorability over time, making them a top startup trend for boosting e-commerce in 2024. According to a Coresight Research survey of 150 brand and retailer decision-makers, 88% of companies that have invested in immersive, virtual stores have seen increases in their total sales as a result. This underscores the importance of 3D, interactive shopping experiences in creating an effective digital strategy.
Obsess is an immersive shopping platform, powering more than 300 virtual stores and experiences for global brands such as Ralph Lauren, Charlotte Tilbury, L’Oréal, J.Crew, Corona, Crate & Barrel, Johnson & Johnson, and more.
“Immersive experiences are no longer just a nice-to-have for retailers; they are an absolute necessity,” says Neha Singh, CEO & Founder of Obsess, a startup based in New York City.
More than three-quarters of today’s consumers now play video games, and that’s changing the way that they behave across all digital environments—especially when they’re shopping online, she says.
“These consumers expect online shopping to look, feel and behave like a video game. The brands and retailers that are winning in today’s hyper-competitive market are the ones that are creating meaningful connections to their customers through game play and visual storytelling.”
Startup trend: Improving CX in B2B commerce
The B2B market, which has traditionally lagged behind B2C in digital transformation, is now trying to catch up. Despite this, many companies face challenges in adapting to this evolving landscape. While B2B commerce and e-shops have seen a surge post-COVID-19, it’s clear that merely having an e-shop isn’t enough for sustainable success.
The pressure’s on: Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.
“To be truly future-proof, B2B organizations must assess their consumer purchase journey, identifying pain points and activating solutions for optimization,” says Lamees Butt, SVP at Zoovu, a startup with offices around the world.
In navigating the B2B selling motion, companies must consider the customer experience aligned with genuine product needs. Historically, achieving this synergy has been challenging due to siloed and complex product data.
Zoovu’s AI-powered discovery platform solves this problem by enabling B2B and B2C businesses to help buyers discover products and make purchase decisions, wherever they are.
Video commerce trends up in 2024
One of the most striking trends in e-commerce is the rise of video as a powerful tool for storytelling and showcasing products with 96% of marketers seeing video as an important part of their marketing strategy.
This has given rise to video commerce as brands maximize the impact of this trend by creating a direct connection between video content and product details for easy discovery and purchasing.
Video commerce formats include shoppable videos, interactive videos and live shopping that help brands boost e-commerce through social media experiences. This transforms the e-commerce shopping experience from browsing long product lists to interactive video-based discovery, which has significantly higher engagement and conversion rates.
In China, live shopping has become a major sales channel accounting for 10% of all online sales, says Karoline Gross, Founder & CEO, Smartzer.
“Based on the strong results we’re seeing in other markets, we see how video commerce can quickly become one of the core elements of online shopping globally,” she adds.
Startup partnerships lead the way in e-commerce innovation
E-commerce has come a long way, but we can expect even more innovation ahead as startups set their sights on ways to improve it as consumer needs and habits change.
New technologies, with AI likely playing a big role, will help brands deliver seamless, personalized, and interactive e-commerce experiences that drive loyalty and sales.