According to Sue Azari – E-Commerce Lead at AppsFlyer, global retail e-commerce sales are expected to continue rising in 2023, presenting both challenges and opportunities for retailers, specifically in Africa. To succeed in the coming year, retailers should focus on creating better customer experiences and staying ahead of evolving e-commerce trends.
The rise and rise of mobile commerce
Mobile commerce has been on the rise for some time, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. According to AppsFlyer benchmark data, total mobile app installs on the African continent grew by 17% in the first part of 2022 compared to early 2021. With more consumers shopping and purchasing products using mobile devices, mobile commerce sales are expected to see significant growth in 2023 and beyond. Retailers should prioritize mobile solutions, such as mobile payment options like Apple and Google Pay, to meet the growing demand for mobile commerce. In addition, retailers should focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences on mobile devices, as mobile is becoming the preferred channel for shopping among consumers.
Omnichannel E-commerce coming into play
After a period of mostly online shopping during the pandemic, consumers are returning to in-store experiences. Retailers are expanding their number of stores, and online retailers are opening physical pop-up stores to meet this demand. To enhance the in-store experience, retailers are incorporating technology such as AI and apps. These tools allow associates to access customer account details, provide better service, and ensure in-store inventory is reflected in real-time online. Shoprite is a prime example of this, already implementing AI in their South African stores, aiming to enhance the customer journey through the store.
Social commerce is another trend expected to see significant growth in 2023. The global social commerce market is projected to reach $604.5 billion by 2027, driven by the high engagement levels on social media platforms. Retailers should explore ways to integrate social media into their e-commerce strategies, such as using social media platforms for product discovery and online sales. Additionally, retailers can use social media platforms to build customer relationships and create a sense of community around their brand.
Personalization and Customization
Personalization has become a key trend in e-commerce and is expected to grow in 2023. Consumers are looking for personalized and customized experiences that cater to their individual needs and preferences. To meet this trend, retailers should use data and technology to personalize their marketing campaigns, product recommendations, and customer service. Additionally, retailers can offer customization options for products, such as personalized clothing or jewellery.
The e-commerce industry is continuously evolving, and retailers must be adaptable to stay competitive. By keeping an eye on these trends and focusing on customer experiences, retailers can take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead in 2023. However, retailers must also be aware of the challenges that come with these trends, such as the need to constantly innovate and improve, balancing the cost of technology and personalization while still keeping the target market in mind.