What Amazon Shopping Trends Can Teach Us About Ecommerce
8 minute read
Just as the vast biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest can often serve as a microcosm of the planet’s broader ecology, the sheer scale of Amazon.com’s operation can also provide some insights into the behaviours and trends shaping the global economy.
One can argue the insights the ecommerce giant provides are more extensive than its namesake rainforest.
Amazon shopping trends play out across a massive digital marketplace spanning 180 countries, sporting a network of more than 300 million active users and 1.9 million global selling partners. These figures are expected to contribute to a projected $121 to $126 billion in net sales in Q1 2023, according to Amazon.
Now identified as the third-largest company in the world, it’s easy to see why the marketplace is often considered a well of insights for brands eager to stand out – both on and off the platform.
Explore five major Amazon shopping trends that have helped catapult the platform to its meteoric success and redefine and brand expectations when shopping or selling online.
1. Personalisation Is Not ‘Nice To Have’ – It’s Expected
Amazon is the king of ecommerce personalisation – especially when it comes to product recommendations. The company recently launched “Amazon Personalise,” a tool for developers to create their own recommendation engines based on the retailer’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven system.
Today, most shoppers expect to receive that level of accommodation wherever they shop online. According to 2022 Salesforce research, 56% of global customers expected offers to “always be personalised,” up from 52% in 2021. They also expect brands to “anticipate their needs” when shopping – 62% felt this way, up from 56% in 2021.
2. The Rise of Rapid Fulfillment Is Leading To Supply Chain Changes
Nearly everyone is familiar with Amazon Prime, Amazon’s “premium” customer service package that nixes most delivery charges while guaranteeing one and two-day fulfillment on a wide range of products. It was revolutionary at its launch for addressing some major barriers to buying in ecommerce (i.e., delivery times and delivery fees) and still drives a tremendous amount of Amazon sales today.
Naturally, it’s a great deal for customers but can often put strains on vendor supply chains. Traditional supply chain models tend to skew lean – typically keeping a minimal, need-based inventory on hand, with production volumes planned well in advance.
But with increased demand for free, fast, and frequent deliveries, vendors are typically forced to maintain larger inventories to fulfill those requests – which has effects up and down the supply chain.
Brands would be well-advised to consider the ways that a more traditional approach to supply chain management may hold them back from fulfilling customer expectations about delivery times and other fulfillment issues.
3. Customers Are Doing More Mobile Browsing and Purchasing
More than half (67%) of U.S. Amazon customers report preferring to shop on a desktop or laptop computer instead of a mobile phone, reports retail advertising firm CPC Strategy, and 24% said they preferred using their mobile device.
However, that statistic can be slightly deceiving.
For starters, respondents’ answers correlated strongly with age, likely suggesting a slow but steady upward trend to come. (The trend is those who are 35 and younger have a clear preference for mobile devices, whereas online shoppers of 55 and over prefer to use desktop or laptop devices.)
Second, that statistic refers to online purchases alone and doesn’t reflect the number of folks who may have used a mobile device at earlier points in their path to purchase.
While perhaps minor, when you consider the number of studies suggesting customers are more likely to research products on their mobile devices – not on a traditional computer – it raises important questions about the value of a solid mobile experience throughout each stage of the funnel.
Of course, Amazon shopping trends have long supported their app that makes mobile purchases and product research as seamless as possible. Features like “swipe to buy” and product watchlists allow customers to return to touch points, whether they’re in the mood for a mobile or desktop experience.
4. More Customers (and Brands) Are Comfortable With Online CPG Purchases
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a number of projected online trends, including a sharp uptick in the sale of products once considered ill-suited for ecommerce: consumer packaged goods (CPGs), especially groceries.
While Amazon was making moves in this space long before COVID-19 (the company acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017), a short-term aversion to in-person shopping fostered some new habits among consumers – and it now appears that Amazon was, again, ahead of its time.
Amazon’s U.S. grocery ecommerce sales will increase by up to 12.9% in 2023 to $29.12 billion per FBA MasterClass, a mentorship program to help students find success through Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). However, the rest of the economy quickly balloons to catch up. U.S. grocery retail ecommerce sales are slated to double over the next couple of years, from $122.39 billion to $243.67 billion. The latter figure represents the rise of both traditional supermarket brands branching out into ecommerce spaces, as well as a number of brands embracing a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model on their own channels.
And, globally, online grocery sales are projected to surpass $2160.7 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 19.97% from 2022 to 2030, per the global research firm Precedence Research.
5. (Relevant) Multimedia Is Increasingly Essential
The ability to closely inspect a product, read its labels, and watch it in action are all well-established expectations of online consumers today – and as a result, they owe a great deal to Amazon’s early championing of A+ content.
It’s becoming progressively difficult for brands to stand out on the Amazon marketplace without it.
Essentially, multimedia content afforded to some trusted Amazon vendors empowers them to present a compelling brand story, address common customer objections, and fully present the potential of products.
And far from being mere bells and whistles, the system works.
Amazon users who watch videos on the platform are three times more likely to purchase a product than those who don’t, per the digital marketing agency Nuoptima. Brands selling both on and off Amazon should ask: Are we using multimedia for its maximum potential?
Consider the gaps between your in-person retail experience and its ecommerce equivalent – while your customer may not be able to hold the product in their hand, perhaps it would be nearly as helpful to view it in someone else’s, or to watch an informed tutorial on the best way to use your product. Maybe they could even enjoy an augmented reality solution that visually places the product right in their living room.
Think of the ways multimedia can help bridge that gap between the physical and digital – and go for it.
Follow Amazon Shopping Trends Without Becoming ‘Trendy’
Keeping your eye on customer, vendor, and retailer behaviour and how they intermix with Amazon shopping trends can be a powerful way to rethink your ecommerce strategy across a variety of channels – not just on The One.
The next time you hear about a “win” on Amazon, think about the ways you can incorporate similar benefits to your customers on your own channels.
Create Experiences Equipped to Win on Amazon
To successfully compete on Amazon, you need to transform your Amazon product pages into full-funnel brand experiences optimised for visibility and conversion – regardless of your selling model. Check out Salsify’s resource section, “Create Engaging Brand Experiences That Win on Amazon.”