From Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality to subscription services and B2B transactions, Calicantus highlights the top trends for Digital Commerce for the coming year.

The 10 e-commerce trends you can’t miss

With the increase in online shopping during the Black Friday and festive periods, companies are now looking towards the next growth targets for 2024. New strategies aimed at building customer loyalty and expanding business reach are accompanied by carefully preparing online channels so as to properly cater for the future changes.

To be ready to seize all the opportunities of Digital Commerce, Calicantus – Italy’s leading online sales company named Growth Leader 2024 by Il Sole 24 Ore and The Financial Times – offers an overview of the major trends in Italy and abroad.

Among the most obvious consumer demands, at the top of the list we have fast and cost-effective ordering and shipping. Clearly, 24-hour delivery has become a key factor in maintaining a high competitive advantage, and it requires precise planning and continuous coordination of shipments using specialised couriers.

Being present in Marketplaces with product sheets that are rich in images and details allows sellers to efficiently exploit the potential of online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, which have firmly established their supremacy in the e-commerce sector also for 2024. 

In the coming months, a major increase in Social Commerce is expected, with new opportunities to engage and increase the customer base. To maximise the benefits, we recommend investing in a solid social media presence and adopting a content strategy with product showcases, engaging videos and collaborations with creators. In this context, key factors are active interaction with the audience, and prompt response to comments and messages.  

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are radically transforming e-commerce, with strong expansion predicted for 2024. Machine-learning algorithms process large amounts of data, enabling tailor-made shopping experiences for customers based on relevant product suggestion systems, AI-based chatbot customer support, and marketing campaigns that foster deep connections and sales drives.

When e-commerce has high sales volumes, it’s essential to implement an Order Management System (OMS) that can orchestrate all phases while giving an excellent customer experience, from order placement through to parcel receipts. Order processing is a complex process involving several departments inside and outside organisations such as sales, administration, warehouse, shipping, and customer service.

The potential of Augmented Reality (AR) to transform the e-commerce sector is immense. Consumers will be able to preview products in their own environments before buying, thereby minimising uncertainty and increasing overall satisfaction. In 2024, companies that incorporate AR into their e-commerce strategies will gain a significant competitive advantage by offering shoppers engaging, interactive and captivating shopping experiences.

To exploit the power of this new technology, we recommend integrating AR functionality into product pages or mobile apps.

Through generative artificial intelligence, the functionality related to voice searches will be decisively enhanced to make the customer experience more engaging, with a conversational approach.

Global Market Insights forecasts indicate global sales in excess of $30 billion by 2024, with 55% of homes equipped with smart speakers. Optimising for voice search therefore allows marketers to reach a growing market and increase organic traffic to their e-commerces.

No less interesting are subscription services, a trend that is set to continue in 2024. For a successful launch, it is crucial to implement a user-friendly subscription management system to enhance the overall customer experience by providing value through exclusive benefits such as discounts, early access to new products, and personalised recommendations. Adopting subscription services opens up opportunities to cultivate lasting customer relationships and generate recurring revenues.

B2B transactions will increasingly move online, necessitating a change in the way companies interact with buyers. Digital catalogues, simplified ordering systems, and customised pricing are becoming the norm in the B2B e-commerce space.

According to Wunderman Thompson, 90% of users expect a B2C-like shopping experience also in the B2B sphere, while Forrester predicts that B2B online sales will exceed $2.3 trillion in 2024 and could exceed $3 trillion by 2027.

Generation Z and Millennials, who are taking on decision-making roles for B2B purchases, prefer to research and buy products online, often bypassing traditional sales interactions.

Headless e-commerce architectures are now increasingly popular for companies seeking flexible solutions that give seamless backend updates and real-time customisation across different front-end channels.

According to IDC, many e-commerce platforms (especially in B2B) struggle to meet modern customer experience standards, thus driving the adoption of the headless model.

The top priorities highlighted by IDC in digital commerce platforms include operating on a global scale (30%), exceeding customer expectations (23%) and creating combined offers with various suppliers and collaborators (22%).

In the headless configuration, the front-end and back-end operate independently, offering greater customisation and design freedom.

Let’s make way for the best Advertising

Last but not least, a plus should be given to advertising, which remains a key activity for e-commerce promotion, but which sees some substantial changes:

PPC Automation 

Data are needed to have optimised automations, so tracking becomes essential. 

First Party Data

In 2024, digital marketers will face a new situation with stricter privacy regulations and the rejection of third-party cookies, so the industry is moving towards prioritising proprietary data as the new standard. Proprietary data collected directly from customers offer greater accuracy, reliability and compliance, and enable marketers to create highly customised and effective marketing initiatives.

Advanced Conversions

With Google Analytics 4, we saw a number of improvements to Google Ads measurement. The use of advanced conversions is a way to improve the accuracy of conversion data by combining data from the company’s website analysis with advertising data from the accessed Google Accounts. 

Using this function can greatly improve Google’s ability to display advertising to the right audience at the right time, while reducing spam and increasing budget efficiency.

Social Media advertising

According to the Global Digital Overview, about 70% of people check at least one social media platform per month, and the numbers are growing. Ignoring social media in PPC strategies limits reach, so it is necessary to choose which platforms are the most suitable for one’s buyer persona and potential buyers, and to include them in the business strategy.

Choose your value partner

Calicantus Srl is Merchant of Records of important companies such as Flos, Elica, AS Roma (Roma football club), Pampers, Kimbo, Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano, Selle Italia, Selle San Marco, and Fantic Motor, for which it manages the e-commerce operations under outsourcing by taking on the most delicate areas including customer care, logistics, shipments, returns, and administration. In the last 15 years, Calicantus has developed a structured ecosystem of people, processes and technologies that simplify integration with pre-existing business systems, thereby accelerating go-to-market for omnichannel online brand sales.