2024 is predicted to be a monumental year for digital marketing. The eCommerce industry is expected to face some interesting challenges as we embrace the changes predicted to shape the digital marketing landscape for the New Year; some of the top level challenges for eCommerce include:
The predicted rise in voice search is likely to impact eCommerce brands that heavily rely on visual aids (style, colour, & fit of clothing for example) to sell their products As consumer preferences shift towards more ethical and sustainable practices, eCommerce brands who do not adopt these values might see a drop in conversions The expansion of social commerce will prove to be a struggle for those brands that do not adopt these practices, as consumers increasingly shop straight from their social media apps – rather than visiting the eCommerce website. That being said, moving into 2024 with a strong marketing strategy that considers these challenges, and takes into account the following predictions, will likely lead to a year in which eCommerce brands will continue to thrive!
1. 2024 will revolutionise the way we search “Search has expanded far beyond traditional search engines. More people are using YouTube, voice search, TikTok, image search, etc. as ways of finding information. They can even gather large amounts of data from other social media users with tools like the Instagram question box so you can get recommendations from people that have made similar purchases or experiences. These kinds of ‘real world’ recommendations may be seen as more useful as they come from other users and not a biased brand.” – Sarah Macklin, Click Consult
In the eCommerce sector, the evolving search landscape introduces both challenges and opportunities.
With the prediction that TikTok might become the number one search engine (outranking Google) combined with the surge in image-based searches has the potential to transform how consumers discover and interact with products. This potential shift towards video and visual search holds promise for eCommerce – but the same cannot be said for the growing prominence of voice search…
Voice search poses a challenge for the eCommerce industry by eliminating the visual element that eCommerce brands require to provide information to potential customers about their products. As a result, eCommerce brands must adapt by optimising product listings for voice queries and finding innovative ways to convey product information to users without relying on visual aids.
The predicted rise in using generative AI as a popular method of search in 2024 – particularly if generative AI tools begin to integrate real-time data – has the capacity to elevate user experiences in eCommerce by delivering personalised product recommendations. This involves leveraging real-time data to understand evolving consumer preferences and trends.
2. Changing consumer preferences will impact brand messaging “Today’s audience, armed with a wealth of information about global cultures and perspectives, seeks brands that align with their ideals and actively contribute to positive change.” – Julie Sowa, Managing Director, Click Consult
For years, the driving force behind consumer purchase decisions lay in weighing up the differences between quality and price; but in 2024, it is predicted that we will see more consumers taking into account factors such as brand values, company position on sustainability, and increased concerns about data privacy before making a purchase.
To align their values with that of the consumer, eCommerce platforms can actively communicate their commitment to ethical and sustainable practices in their marketing activity. For example, fashion retailers could highlight clothing lines crafted from recycled materials or manufactured using environmentally friendly processes.
Data-privacy is predicted to become increasingly impactful in 2024 with the depreciation of the third-party cookie. To address this, eCommerce businesses can prioritise secure payment gateways and transparent data usage policies. This entails emphasising the responsible handling of customer information to build trust with their user base.
3. Social media will become the new PR platform “As we approach 2024, social media is not just a channel for brand visibility, it’s emerging as the new digital PR platform.” – Lara Harding, Senior Content & Social Media Marketing Executive, Click Consult
In 2024, the eCommerce sector will undergo a significant transformation with the rise of social media as a central PR platform. This shift signifies a fundamental change in how eCommerce brands manage customer feedback and incidents.
eCommerce brands need to take a proactive approach in addressing both positive and negative viral content. This is crucial for capitalising on the potential for increased sales, whilst also mitigating reputational damage.
In 2023, brands that have reacted quickly to negative viral content have proven not only to salvage their reputation but also to turn the situation into a successful PR stunt. This adaptability enables them to create compelling content that resonates with their audience, which in turn enhances customer loyalty and potentially leads to increased sales.
4. Paid Media channels will continue to expand “I predict that we will see a continued rise of ‘new’ paid media channels. TikTok will continue to grow in popularity and available volume – but we are also expecting (hoping) the advertising interface to take on a step or two allowing for even more tactical targeting on the platform.” – Will Dixon, Head of Paid Media – Click Consult
Following the success of Netflix’s ad-supported tier, causing other similar platforms to follow suit in 2024, the continued popularity of video-first social media platforms, and the rise of Connected TV (CTV) – the platforms available for paid media are only going to grow in the New Year.
eCommerce brands should continue using TikTok’s concise video format to produce captivating content, such as product demonstrations, using creative and entertaining approaches to encourage user interaction and sharing.
Furthermore, CTV presents an opportunity for eCommerce brands to craft immersive and interactive shopping experiences. By developing shoppable content or advertisements on CTV channels that align with the interests of their audience, brands can facilitate a seamless transition from viewing to purchasing. This approach offers a unique and convenient shopping experience for consumers.
5. AI will redefine digital marketing “AI-driven Augmented Reality will transform how brands engage with audiences… with its ability to merge digital and real-life experiences we will see an unprecedented level of customer engagement.” – Sarah Boyd, Content Marketing Manager, Click Consult
AI is transforming the eCommerce sector, particularly in its search capabilities. In 2024, the role of AI in paid media is likely to grow substantially; with the ability to develop personalised offers, dynamic pricing, as well as being capable of scrutinising market trends, competitor pricing, and customer behaviours.
Augmented reality is already making huge strides for eCommerce in 2023 – and this is only predicted to expand in the New Year. From fashion try-ons to home design simulations, these tools effectively boost customer engagement, drive conversions, and enhance consumer experiences, presenting exciting opportunities for innovative marketers to explore.
6. Social Commerce will be the new way to shop in 2024 “Social commerce is stepping up big time. We’re not just talking platforms anymore; it’s about turning everything into a shopping opportunity. It’s this whole blend of content and commerce, making it feel like you’re not even shopping—just living an experience. It’s not just clicks; it’s a whole new way businesses are getting us to buy without even feeling like we’re buying”. – Andrew Smith, Marketing Director, Click Consult
In 2024, eCommerce stores need to ensure that their products are listed on social media sites through their social commerce platforms (i.e. TikTok shop) in order to keep up with the competition. Social commerce is going to make the marketing to purchase journey far smaller – with everything available to the user without having to leave the application.
In regard to CTV (mentioned above) and the potential for immersive shopping experiences on the television, eCommerce brands need to go beyond mere product listings by intricately weaving captivating narratives around their offerings and establish immersive experiences that seamlessly align with the diverse desires of consumers. This idea of incorporating storytelling into the advertising, and purchasing journey for the customer blends into the original purpose of the TV to entertain and tell stories.
7. Video content will continue to dominate “There’s likely to be more of a shift towards video content by advertisers. User behaviour has been moving towards video for a while, and now with Google launching Demand Gen to compete with the more visual social channels, there’s more opportunity to target users through video. Despite this, video creation is still something a lot of businesses struggle with, making it a big opportunity for those that do create high-quality video ads.” – Tom Reynolds, Senior Paid Media Executive at Click Consult
From the enduring popularity of short-form videos to the pivotal role video plays in advertising strategies, video content stands to maintain its reign as a dominant force in 2024.
As digital advertising becomes increasingly video-centric, eCommerce brands should look to make use of AI-powered video generation platforms to create captivating video-content in a cost effective manner. Leveraging the increasing popularity of video-advertisements is predicted to improve product visibility and brand recognition.
In 2024 eCommerce stores should also use the power of live streaming on social media to their advantage, as it presents opportunities for exclusive product launches, interactive sales events, and glimpses behind the scenes of the manufacturing process.
Summary & final remarks The marketing landscape of 2024 is set to undergo a transformation, driven by several key trends in technological advancements and shifting consumer behaviours. Harnessing the potential of these trends is not just a matter of survival, it is an opportunity for eCommerce brands to thrive and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.
For more information on how the emerging trends are predicted to shape the search landscape in 2024, download our latest guide “Expert Digital Marketing Predictions for 2024”