How Customer Behavior is Shaping eCommerce and What to Expect in the Years to Come

Over the past couple of years, customer shopping behaviors have altered and changed. Customers have gained new perspectives on shopping and focused on themselves. They’ve realized they have the upperhand when it comes to purchasing items, especially from online retailers. But what does that mean for eCommerce companies now? How do new shopping behaviors shape eCommerce, and what can we expect those new behaviors to be over the next few years?

2022 is the year of adaptability for eCommerce businesses.

As we enter 2022, consumers are starting to see a glimpse of normality. However, they come with a new sense of resilience and confidence. Consumers now think about their priorities, the ease of virtual convenience, and the causes they support. Adapting to fit the mindset of the consumer can help your eCommerce business.

The state of today

For 2022, customers are looking for convenience, transparency, and higher technology offering to improve their buying experience. Things like curbside pickup and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help consumers decide on a product or even a brand. The importance of getting into the mindset of the consumer and understanding their shopping behaviors can help you adapt your eCommerce to fit their needs. And in return, help you gain more loyal customers and increase your revenue. 

Finding out what customers are looking for when shopping can help you alter your business to reflect their needs. In this section, we discuss the trending customer behaviors, and what companies can do to adapt to the consumer’s needs.

Consumer shopping priorities have changed

The shopping priorities have changed over the past couple of years. Before, consumers would make the decision of if they should go to the store or purchase online. Now, it’s the simple question of do I need it today, or can it wait? With the expansion of same-day delivery and curbside pickup, consumers now fit shopping into their own schedule instead of the other way around. 42% of consumers say they would buy more from a store if they could pick up via curbside.

ECommerce businesses need to think in that same mindset. Optimization is key. Optimizing your website to provide up-to-date inventory and being upfront with delivery and shipping options can entice consumers to purchase. By enabling your site to track inventory, you can see customer trends in real time.

Consumers look for sustainability

Consumers want to help the environment now more than ever. Simon-Kucher & Partners’ The Global Sustainability Study 2021 shows the shift of sustainability in their purchasing behavior — 85% of people shifting their focus to sustainability purchasing. From second-hand clothing to eco-friendly packaging, consumers look for brands that share the same viewpoints and provide transparency on how they are making a difference. 

Businesses should set their sights on being transparent when it comes to their sustainability efforts. Make your sustainability messages as clear and concise as possible. Think about this as you look into your content marketing to attract customers and promote these things to get their attention. And if your company isn’t looking at sustainability, it will need to as the demand for recycled goods and eco-friendly products become the new norm.

The increase of virtual convenience

The demand for convenience when shopping increased dramatically in recent years. With consumers looking for convenience, businesses are now moving their offerings virtually. Things like contactless payments, virtual doctor appointments, and on-demand delivery have eased shopping for consumers and added a layer of safety during the pandemic. In Euromonitor International’s study, 76% of consumers took health and safety precautions when leaving their home.

man in grey sweater putting cardboard boxes into black bag for delivery

However, it doesn’t stop there. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming more available, it can help aid consumers in making the final push to purchase. How? From virtually placing furnishings in your home to customer-centric searches, consumers have the ability to see if the products work for them in real-time. AI-powered websites and services help customers find products quicker. 

For eCommerce businesses, think about how you can align your business to provide virtual convenience while keeping your customers’ needs and safety in mind.

The constant shopping experience

As the world moved virtual over the past couple of years, consumers have used this to shop. People are constantly looking for new trends and products. Social media has enticed consumers to always be shopping. As they scroll through their feeds, they are constantly looking for new products to purchase. In most cases, they don’t have a clear goal — causing the rise of passive shopping. For these consumers, they want to see themselves in the brand’s message when advertising is presented to them. 

If they actively search for your brand and visit your website, it’s good to think about what might cause a consumer to continue through your site. Beyond inclusive advertising, the use of heat maps can help you find the areas of your site that seem the most important to your customers.

However, social media isn’t the only cause of the always-shopping approach. People are seeking apps too. Consumers want to be able to skip searching for brands online and simply click a shop’s app on their phone. For these consumers, push notifications with discounts or exclusive member offerings can further entice them to open your store’s app and potentially make a purchase.

The rise of monthly subscriptions

Subscriptions saw a rise at the beginning of the pandemic as stay at-home orders and lockdowns were in place. However, it doesn’t seem to be decreasing anytime soon. Subscriptions provide ease for consumers when it comes to shopping. There is no longer the need to purchase one good from a company when the ability to receive a box full of goods seems more enticing.

selfcare box with brush and jade face roller

Types of subscription:

  • Curated boxes. This subscription service delivers a surprise to customers with each box, like clothing collections and beauty samples.
  • Replenishment boxes. This subscription option replenishes essential items like dog food or diapers on a regular basis.
  • Access. In this subscription service, consumers pay a membership fee to access discounts and deals. For example, Amazon Prime is a membership service that allows the consumer to get discounts on products and free shipping. 

For companies, subscription services are great for multiple reasons. By offering subscriptions, you have the ability to increase a customer’s bond with your eCommerce business, provide upfront revenue, and provide more data than ever before. However, offering subscription services can be difficult with a proper partner.

The change in personal values

As people spent the last two years at home, many reevaluated their values, personal goals, and lifestyle. Now, they’re looking for experiences and moments that better their lives. For example, consumers are now moving toward products and services that increase their mental health or physical health. 

The question businesses need to ask themselves is “how can my business help my consumer’s personal growth?” By answering this question, your business could unlock new marketing ideas and tools. For example, Airbnb implemented the new Flexible Destinations feature to help consumers find unique stays rather than traveling to a specific location.

Conclusion

It’s important to understand how customers’ buying behaviors can shape your eCommerce business. By adapting business to your consumers’ needs, you have a better opportunity to strengthen your business’ bond with its consumers and in turn increase revenues. Think about how your business can offer convenience, new technologies, or memorable moments for your customers as you navigate through 2022 and the years to come. 

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