The U.S. e-commerce market is forecast to grow to more than $560 billion this year, according to Statista, and the market is nearing $3.5 trillion in global revenue. By 2022, it’ll surpass $5 trillion globally.
A key driver behind e-commerce’s growth is not only its uber convenience, but also the unique niches and customer experiences that brick and mortars continually struggle to challenge. This is evident in the ever-shrinking share of brick-and-mortar revenue, which will see e-commerce take 17.5 percent of the overall pie by 2021.
Operating an e-store isn’t as simple as it sounds though. Part of what makes e-commerce a thriving marketplace—how dynamic it is, also forces stores to stay on their toes.
Let’s review the state of the e-commerce industry for 2019 and beyond with these 29 stats:
Nearly Everything Will Be Purchased Online via Mobile Soon
It’s predicted that around 95 percent of purchases will be made online by 2040. Unsurprisingly, Millennials and Gen Xers are the biggest online shoppers — 67 percent and 56 percent, respectively, prefer to shop online over brick-and-mortar stores. And not only do they prefer it, they spend 50 percent more time doing it.
Meanwhile, 42 percent of in-store consumers conduct research online while in physical stores. Shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones to browse. In Q3 of 2018, 61 percent of visits to retail sites were from mobile devices. These visits may not be adding up to conversions yet, but many of these users come back to purchase on desktop, which is still responsible for 61 percent of online orders. Nearly half of e-commerce traffic (43 percent) comes from organic Google searches. For both traffic and revenue generation, organic leads all channels followed by Google CPC, direct and email.
Cart Abandonment Remains Revenue Enemy No. 1
Before we go any farther, let’s take a moment to review what e-commerce is. Per online store platform provider Shopify, it concerns every electronic or internet monetart-based tranaction—and as the above stats show, it’s kind of a big deal.
However, it could be even better. The average e-commerce shopping cart abandonment rate hovers just under 70 percent. Per the Baymard Institute, unexpected extra costs, namely shipping, were responsible for 55 percent of abandoned carts. We’re at the point at which stores need to factor free shipping into their margins if they can’t afford to offer it outright.
Even setting a free-shipping order threshold is better than nothing, given almost one-quarter (24 percent) of shoppers are ready to spend more to qualify for free shipping. And if you’re not already sending cart recovery emails, you should be. These messages have an average open rate of 45 percent.
Trajectory Hinges on (AI) Customer Service
We’ve all felt annoyed after a bad experience with a company. While some of us let it go, a significant portion of us do not. One-third of Americans would consider switching companies after a bad customer service experience. This amounts to an average annual loss of $62 billion.
Meanwhile, 42 percent of B2C customers purchased more after a good customer service experience, while 52 percent stopped buying after just one bad customer service interaction, per Zendesk.
E-commerce stores that have yet to reach a transformative level with their customer service shouldn’t be worried—at least, if they’re investing in chatbots, AI and other customer-service automation strategies. Gartner stated back in 2011 that 85 percent of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020. They also recently estimated that 25 percent of customer service operations will be virtual by 2020. Assuming chatbots continue developing, and other automation techniques allow for timely help and solutions, companies stand to improve customer satisfaction, and of course, experience.
But It’s Guided by the Customer Experience
Speaking of the customer experience, it remains the most important component of retaining customers and cultivating a brand. Over half of customers (64 percent) say the customer experience is more important to them than even price.
An Accenture study found that 43 percent of customers prefer companies that personalize their experiences, and nearly half of consumers (48 percent) will spend more when their experiences are personalized. Brands should want to customize their customers’ experiences, but they have little choice regardless. Forty-one percent of consumers switched companies because of a lack of trust and poor personalization, costing businesses $756 billion.
Offering an exceptional experience involves the synergy of various marketing channels. After all, 73 percent of people use more than one channel to do their shopping, per a Harvard Business Review study. Brands that maintain consistent interactions with consumers across different channels retain valuable customers. In fact, companies with strong omnichannel experiences retain 89 percent of their customers, compared to just one-third of companies with weak omnichannel experiences.
Given the rapid pace at which e-commerce has evolved at over the 30-plus years, it’s likely each year will bring more progress and change than the last. However, if these stats about e-commerce tell us anything it’s that we’re amidst an age of no-hassle shopping thanks to automation.